Camping EssentialsCold-Weather Gear

For any extended trek or overnight excursion:


For All Excursions

  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow (optional)
  • Sleeping mat
  • Pocket knife
  • Personal first aid kit
  • Water bottle
  • Flashlight or headlamp that works (with spare batteries)
  • Personal mess kit (heat-resistant cup or insulated mug, fork, spoon, plate)
  • Boy Scout Handbook
  • Plastic bag to store wet boots in tent (or even in your sleeping bag at night to keep them warm for the morning)
  • Personal snacks – GORP, granola bars (please make sure to store appropriately overnight to avoid animals)
  • Merit Badge pamphlets (optional)
  • Map and compass (optional)
  • Fire lighting materials (optional) – fire starters or flint, matches in waterproof container

Keeping Clean

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Soap
  • Comb
  • Waterless hand cleaner
  • Small towel
  • Washcloth
  • Toilet paper (if camping off trail)

Accessories and Extras

  • Backpack to hold personal gear
  • Watch
  • Camera
  • Notebook
  • Pen or pencil
  • Sunglasses
  • Whistle
  • Nylon cord
  • Binoculars
  • Raincoat or poncho

Cold Weather Gear

IMPORTANT: The sleeping bag temperature rating is really only good to about 20 degrees HIGHER than the rated temperature (e.g., a zero degree rated bag is good to about 20 degrees). If there is a chance of precipitation, you should plan on bringing a synthetic sleeping bag, not down, because will better retain its warmth, even if wet.

  • Sleeping bag (synthetic) – zero degree rated or lower, if sleeping outside
  • Extra old blanket(s) to put under the sleeping bag as an insulating pad or over sleeping bag for extra insulation (optional)
  • Insultated pad to put under the sleeping bag (foam rubber, air mattress, etc.)

Winter clothing in the outdoors is best worn in layers. The clothing works best if several light layers are worn to start the day and then scouts can remove one or two layers as the day progresses. Layers can be put back on at night as the temperature lowers and activity decreases. For cold weather camping, especially with a potential for precipitation, wool and synthetics are much better alternatives to cotton. If you get cold, you can sleep in your winter coat and snow pants to stay warm.

  • Warm long-sleeve shirt
  • Turtleneck/Long-sleeved shirt or T-shirts for layering (synthetic will help wick moisture away)
  • Long pants (fleece or wool)
  • Warm sweater (fleece or wool) or hooded sweatshirt
  • Warm long underwear (polypropylene)
  • Hiking boots or winter boots
  • Extra pair of footwear (sneakers are OK)
  • Light-weight socks (pull moisture away and keep your feet warmer; NOT cotton)
  • Heavy socks (wool is best – they will be warmer, even if wet)
  • Spare socks to wear to bed and the next day
  • Windproof jacket, coat, or parka with hood
  • Snow pants or ski pants to wear over regular pants
  • Wool cap or synthetic ski cap that covers the ears (can be worn for sleeping)
  • Face mask for complete coverage of exposed areas
  • Mittens or gloves (fleece or wool) with water-resistant shells, preferably multiple pairs
  • Lightweight knit gloves for sleeping
  • Hand and/or feet warmers
  • Wool scarf