The Boy Scouts are one of the most important organizations in America. Founded in 1910 to foster values like self-reliance, individualism, and nationalism in young boys, it remains one of the most important Scout organizations in the world. More than 100 million Americans have participated in it since its founding.
And so, it is obvious why enrolling your children in the Boy Scouts would be a great thing to do. But before you do—what do they need to be a Boy Scout?
Well, here’s a short but very useful list of the essential equipment that you’ll need before enrolling your children:
Essential Equipment for Boy Scouts
First aid kits
First aid kits are the most valuable thing that a Boy Scout can carry with them at any time. It’s going to be a real lifesaver (literally) on all sorts of occasions. Cuts and scrapes are very common when Scouts are out and about, and it’s never a good idea to leave those unattended.
Gauze, alcohol, and band-aids are the regular suspects. Your first aid kit should also carry some other essentials, like wound closure strips (instead of suturing needles, which is best to leave to more expert hands—these convenient strips are a better option now), sterile wraps for stabilizing fractures, and so on.
All in all, a good first aid kit should have enough to take care of wounds and trauma. And it should be small, portable, something that is easy for the Scout to transport without it feeling like a burden.
Nothing is more scarier than being in the dark. That’s why we have invented all sorts of ways to carry light sources with us—flashlights being the most convenient ones for adventurers.
When it comes to flashlights, not one flashlight is ever going to be perfect. On the other hand, they go best in pairs: one big flashlight that is equipped with a powerful light, for situations that call for bright lights and another smaller flashlight that is much easier to carry and use, and serves a different purpose.
Flashlights can be divided by lumens, which is a unit of measurement for light or brightness. A small flashlight can be around 100 lumens, while bigger flashlights should be around 400 to 1000.
If we’ve learned anything from Bear Grylls is that water is absolutely essential for adventurers, even little ones. Even though Boy Scouts have many ways of finding potable water in the wilderness, carrying your own is always a must, lest you find yourself to follow the advice of Mr. Grylls.
The type of water bottle you want will most likely depend on your child’s needs. In some cases, a regular water bottle will do just fine. In some other cases, your child might want to use something more practical, and certainly more apt for the context: a pouch-style canteen like this one would be a good choice in that case.
Whatever the case is, as long as the Scout in question carries a good water bottle, that’s all that matters.
Compasses and maps
Boy Scouts are, for the most part, still pretty analog. Even though most smartphones nowadays can work as both a map and a compass, they are seen as unreliable—particularly out in the wild.
Not to worry, though. Compasses are very durable, reliable little tools that’ll help your Boy Scout find his way out of any situation. They are really cool and probably less likely to get lost, break, and so on. And they never run out of batteries like a smartphone would!
With maps, they’re just much more useful. You can get maps of a very particular zone that’ll have way more information than you could find on your phone, so in this respect they are still better than the digital version. Of course, maps can be expensive and a little inconvenient. But they are completely vital to the experience.
Being able to light a fire is of utmost importance. Generally, lighting a fire is usually reserved to certain situations and it’s not something Boy Scouts do often, if they can help it; the point is usually to bring your meals and not spend the night out on a whim.
But if that’s the plan, then you’d better be prepared. Scouts usually make a point of carrying more than one type of fire starters, in case one fails: that’s how important fire is. And their collective experience tells them that matches may not be enough, so it’s always a good idea to carry other sorts of fire starters.
Two is okay, three is being well-prepared.
What’s the one thing that Boy Scouts are immediately recognized for? Clothing.
But of course, most of this clothing is more or less standard, which means there aren’t a lot of options for you to choose from—outside of the regular items to deal with extreme weather.
What you can choose, though, are the classic patches. A Boy Scout is nothing without a few custom patches, which are very popular—outside of the merit badges that are distributed and worn proudly by the Scouts, custom patches are also very popular.
Custom patches can be used for all sorts of purposes, from identifying a certain area or group to boasting of certain skills or achievements.
Custom patches are very customizable, and you can get them in all sorts of presentations. The most favored one by Scouts are embroidered patches because of their look and feel, but you can also find other sorts of patches—like velcro embroidery patches—that can prove just as good, and can be more convenient.
That’s it! Five different types of tools (well, technically six) and just one clothing item. Well, that wasn’t so hard!
We strongly recommend buying these items with your child present. Since they are things they will probably use for years, it’s best for them to see and even get to choose which product, in particular, they’d like. That’ll definitely make for a better experience for them. Which is, ultimately, what it is all about!