Lake Ridge, Virginia
The Scout 10 Essentials
Prepared. For Life. It’s more than a motto for Scouting; it’s a way to plan and execute each outing, even if it’s just a Saturday morning hike. In the woods, these items can keep you comfortable, warm, hydrated, safe and, most of all, prepared to face what nature puts in your path — whether you asked for it or not.
They’re called “essentials” for a reason. Every packing list starts with these 10 items.
1. A pocketknife or multitool can be handy in a wide variety of situations. It’s useful for tasks as large as building an emergency shelter or lighting a campfire with poor fuel, or as small as repairing a damaged backpack. Keep you knife sharp and clean, and don’t forget to first earn your Whittling Chip (for older Cub Scouts) or Totin’ Chip (for Boy Scouts).
2. A first-aid kit can be a lifesaver. Literally. A few items will allow you to treat scratches, blisters and other minor injuries. They should also allow you to provide initial care while waiting for help for more serious injuries.
3. Bring extra clothing to match the weather. Multiple layers are better than a single massive jacket, because layered clothing is adaptable to a wide range of temperatures.
4. Rain gear is very important. Rain can come in a hurry, and getting your clothes drenched is more than just uncomfortable, it can lead to hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition.
5. A flashlight, headlamp or a rugged penlight is important for finding your way in the dark. Bring extra batteries, too.
6. Trail food is good for maintaining your energy. Bring more than you think you’ll need in case you get stuck (or lost) in the woods.
7. Water can prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Use a lightweight, unbreakable container with a secure lid.
8. Matches and/or a fire starter may be used to light fires for heat, or for signaling for help. Store matches or lighters in resealable plastic bags.
9. Sun protection might include sunblock, sunglasses, lip balm and a wide-brimmed hat.
10. A map and compass are probably the most important tools you can carry in case you get lost.
Here are some hygiene items you may want to pack, depending on the outing:
Waterless hand cleaner
Trowel for digging cathole latrines
COOKING AND EATING
Here are some cooking and eating items you may want to pack, depending on the outing:
Large plastic cereal bowl or kitchen storage bowl
Cup or insulated mug
Water treatment system
Backpacking stove with fuel
Large pot and lid (2.5- or 3-quart size)
Small pot and lid (1.5- or 2-quart size)
Lightweight frying pan (10 to 12 inches in diameter)
For melting snow, add 1 large pot and lid (6 to 10 quarts)
Here are some extras you may want to pack, depending on the outing:
Pen or pencil
Small musical instrument
Hiking stick or trekking poles
Animal identification books, plant keys, geological studies, star charts or other guides