Gear Gift Guide

Looking for a great gift for your Scout?

Well, we have have a few ideas.

Please note that examples and links provided are to help inform you about various products available.

You don't have to purchase the example listed and scouts don't need everything on this list.

With a little bit of hunting, you can find similar products at reasonable prices on Amazon, Ebay, gear outlet stores like REI and local big-box stores.

And if you are savvy, you can find treasures in second hand stores, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace.


What gear does my scout really need?

That depends on what type of outing they are going on. Most outings require the 10 Essentials and a backpack to carry them. Overnighters and campouts will obviously require more gear, such as sleeping bags and maybe a tent. And specialty outings will require special gear.

See our Packing Lists Page for lists of gear specific to each type of outing.

10 Essentials

These are required for most outings:

1. Pocket Knife

  • Your scout only needs one, but won't complain if you get a second one : )

  • Spartan Swiss Army Knife

    • Swiss Army style pocket knife with 12 functions!

    • Small, compact and has many uses

  • Small Locking Blade Knife

  • Mora Companion Fixed Blade Knife

    • Note: A fixed blade knife (one that doesn't fold) isn't recommended for regular troop meetings and requires a certain level of maturity

    • Most scout camps won't let you pack a fixed blade knife

    • But for less than $20, you get an excellent survival knife

    • Swedish made Scandinavian grind allows for advanced bushcraft techniques taught in our wilderness survival courses

    • The Fixed Blade construction allows for repeated abuse and advanced woodcrafting knife skills

2. First-Aid Kit

3. Extra Clothing

  • Your choice of warm gear

    • Fleece of puffy jacket/vest

  • Beanie Hat with The Light

4. Rain Gear

5. Water Storage

  • Klean Kanteen Water Bottle

    • Wide Mouth Preferred

  • Nalgene Water Bottle

    • Wide Mouth Preferred

    • Metal and plastic versions

    • Metal versions can be used to boil water on a fire or stove

6. Flashlight or Headlamp

7. Trail Food

  • Something your scout loves

8. Matches and Fires Starters

  • You should have 2 different types of fires starters

  • Titan Stormproof Match Kit

    • These will burn underwater

    • If you can't start a fire with these, you can't start a fire.

  • LMF Swedish FireSteel BIO scout 2in1

    • Good Ferrorod

    • Great for honing basic survival skills

  • Doan Magnesium Fire Starter

    • Used by US Military

    • Excellent survival tool but difficult for most scouts to use

    • Good for older scouts

    • NOTE: Chinese copies of this particular fire starter often don't work

9. Sun Protection

10. Map and Compass

Backpacking Gear

This is your basic gear you'll need for most outings. Most of this gear will also be used for Hiking, Snow, Bike and Canoe outings. The trick is to pack what is necessary, while limiting weight and bulk. Less is often more.


  • 50-65 Liter Backpack

    • Used on most trips that involve camping

    • Most important consideration - it fits

    • Second consideration - cost

    • Third consideration - lighter weight is better

    • Fourth consideration - looks cool

      • Anything that meets the first three requirements will meet the fourth one also

    • Teton Scout 3400 Backpack (55L 4.2 lbs / 1.92kg)

      • Just the right size if you know what to pack

      • Economical Backpack ~$60-80

      • Adjustable suspension (adjusts as scout grows with minimum hip of 28")

      • New and used ones at

      • youtube review

      • NOTE: Teton also makes a Scout 45L, which is small for conventional backpacking

    • Teton Explorer 4000 Backpack (65L 5.1lbs / 2.3kg)

      • Very similar to the Scout 3400, but bigger and with better pockets

      • Allows you to carry more than the Scout 3400 - which isn't always a good thing

      • Economical Backpack ~$85 (sometimes less on

      • Adjustable suspension (adjusts as scout grows with minimum hip of 28")

      • This pack is a little big and a little heavy

      • Review

    • Higher End Backpacks

      • Generally need to be fitted (your scout may grow out of these quickly)

      • Recommend that you take scout to REI and spend 1-2+ hours trying on different packs loaded with weight and walking around store

      • Gregory Baltoro 65 (65L and 4.84lbs / 2.20kg)

      • Osprey Atomos AG 65 (65L 4.5lbs / 2.04kg)

      • Ultralight weight options are available, but tend to be expensive, sometimes delicate and spartan

  • Winter Outing Backpack

    • With ingenuity, scouts can strap gear on the outside of their summer packs

    • A larger Backpack such as the Teton Grand 5500 (90L 6lbs / 2.7kg)

      • This pack is really too big for 4 season use

    • If you are getting a pack just for the winter, consider making an equipment sled (Pulk)

      • It is often easier to drag a Pulk filled with gear than to carry a stripped down winter pack

      • A Pulk is cheaper to put together than a winter pack

      • Many scouts can't carry a 90 Liter Pack full of gear

  • Daypack

    • Use on day hikes

    • Doesn't need to be and shouldn't be large

    • Large enough to hold 10 essentials, lunch and rain gear


  • Avoid Cotton

  • Adventure Shirt

    • Synthetic microfiber - drys quickly

  • Adventure Pants

    • Nylon - dries quickly

    • Convertible pants are popular with scouts



Sleeping System

  • Sleeping Bag

    • 20-35° EN Rating

    • Fill: Synthetic or Down

      • Synthetic - less expensive; more forgiving if becomes wet; better option for Pacific Northwest

      • Down - lightest and most compact option, expensive, loses insulation ability if wet; requires special care

      • Cotton - NOT acceptable; loses insulation ability if wet, soaks up water like a sponge

    • Note: a sleeping bag designed for woman may be lighter and a better fit for smaller scouts

  • Synthetic Sleeping Bag Examples:

  • Sleeping Pad

    • Type: Air or foam

  • Sleeping Pad Examples:


  • Our troop has tents, but if you want a personal tent...

  • Type: Backpacking (dome or hybrid)

    • NOTE: Most tents are designed for Car Camping and are too large and heavy for backpacking

  • Size: 2-3 person

  • Weight: Aim for around 2 Pounds per person

  • Fly: Full-length (not toupee rainfly)

  • Examples:


  • Isobutane Stove

    • MSR Pocket Rocket 2

      • Simple over-canister stove

    • Jetboil Zip

      • Cook System - comes with pot

      • Great for boiling water for dehydrated meals and hot drinks

    • Many other stove options are available which may be less expensive, lighter, or more stable

  • Small Pot

    • 750-1600 mL

    • Use for boiling water

    • May be used as a bowl if not eating out of bag

    • MSR Alpine 775 mL Stowaway Pot

      • Stainless Steel is durable and easy to clean

      • Price is reasonable

      • Heavier than titanium counterparts

Water Purification

Other Gear

Winter Gear

Although winter is only one season out of the year, it requires the most gear. Not having the right gear will be problematic in the cold, and even dangerous. You will need most of your Backpacking gear PLUS:



  • When purchasing clothing for outdoor use, avoid cotton. Cotton retains water and leads to hypothermia in cold environments.

  • Polyester, nylon and other synthetic materials retain minimal amounts of water and dry fast.

  • If you look in Goodwill, you can sometimes find excellent gear for a tiny fraction of the retail price

  • Rugged Rain Gear Shell

    • Should be large enough to fit over other layers of clothing

    • Breathable Waterproof fabric such as Gore-Tex is preferred

    • Jacket should have a hood

  • Heavy Weight Layer

    • Fleece or puffy jacket

  • Medium Weight Layer

    • Synthetic or wool pullover

    • Mid weight bottoms

  • Base Layer

    • Synthetic or wool long underwear

    • Costco has these every year

      • They are on the thin side - but you can wear both sets

      • But they are pretty good deal when they go on sale

      • Thicker is preferred

  • Silk Weight Layer

    • Under Armour type layer - aka Silk Weight

    • Stretching and thin

    • Wicks moisture away from body


  • Gloves

    • Insulated Shells

    • Ideally waterproof

    • If not waterproof get second pair

  • Glove Liners

    • Wool or Synthetic

    • Should have 2 pairs

  • Rubberized Snow Gloves

    • Use when working with snow blocks and building snow shelters

    • Coated Gloves


  • Wool Mountaineering socks

    • Smartwool Mountaineer

    • If your boots aren't waterproof, you'll want more pairs of dry socks to change into

  • Sock Liners

  • Snow Boots

    • Waterproof, Insulated Boots

    • Full length boot preferred as they keep out more snow

    • Shop at Goodwill to save a ton

    • Sorel Boots

      • Known for excellent winter boot

      • Too expensive for youth as they will grow out of these in less than a year

    • This Style or This Style are options

      • Rubberized bottom protects feet from wet snow

      • Calf length uppers keep snow out of boot

      • Uppers should be waterproof and seam-sealed

      • Insulation keeps feet warm

      • If you add a snow gaiter - it's even better

  • Snow Gaiters

Sleep System

  • 20° EN Rated or better Sleeping Bag

    • Down or synthetic fill

    • Down is more expensive but lighter

      • Down is NOT recommended for younger or inexperienced scouts

    • Synthetic is more forgiving it if gets wet

    • Scouts without an acceptable sleeping system are prohibited from overnight campouts in the snow

  • Optional - Sleeping Bag system with Bivy

    • Military modular systems with Gore-Tex bivy can't be beat

    • Waterproof

    • -30° Military Rating

    • Expensive and heavy/bulky

    • NSN 8465-01-445-6274

    • Find in Army surplus stores - sometimes new

    • Watch out of counterfeit ones and used ones that are worn out (missing seam tape on bivy)

  • If you don't have a Military system or 0° Bag - augment your bag

    • Sleeping Bag Liner

      • REI

      • Synthetic or Wool Blanket

  • Tarp

    • 6x8 Tarp found in hardware and big-box stores

    • Use as waterproof ground cloth

    • Also use for emergency shelter or sled

  • Sleeping Pad

    • Required (NOT optional) for snow outings

    • Vital if sleeping on snow or frozen ground


  • Large Backpack

    • Large enough to pack all winter gear

      • If not large enough, you will need to strap gear on outside of pack

    • A Pulk (specialty sled) is a possible alternative - come talk to our team for more information in this

  • Snowshoes

    • The troop has some snowshoes, but you may want your own

    • Sometimes found at Costco - If you get these, mark your name on them

    • REI

  • Ski Poles

  • Snow Saw

    • The Troop will provide these and we can make them for very little

    • Commercial ones are of course better

  • Snow Shovel

    • The Troop will provide these - Costco versions

    • Better ones are very expensive and fragile in the hands of scouts

    • We don't recommend you outfit your scout with an expensive shovel without proper training

Car Camp Gear

Less gear is needed for car camping than other types of camping, but you can also pack a lot more. The goal is to enjoy your outing, so you don't need to skim on comfort items.



  • Tent

    • The Troop will provide these as needed

    • If you want something better, the sky's the limit

    • Note: Backpacking and Car camping tents are different

    • Just about anything is acceptable for car camping - but these may not be acceptable on a backpacking trip

  • Sleeping Bag

    • Car/Site camping is more forgiving

      • Weight and bulk are not that much of an issue

      • If your bag isn't thick enough, add a blanket or talk with scoutmaster

    • 20-35° EN Rating Sleeping Bag if you intend to go on backpacking trips with this bag

    • 20° EN Rating or better if you intend to use on Snow Camping

  • Camp Chair

  • Mess Kit

  • Throw Blanket

  • Lantern

  • Camp Mug

  • Roasting Fork

  • Camp Pillow

    • Pillow from home also works, but will get really dirty

Bike Gear

  • Properly fitted helmet

  • Padded Cycling Shorts

  • Cycling Gloves

  • Tire Patch Kit

  • Mini Pump

  • Water Bottle

  • Bicycle

  • Bike Rack

    • Depending on what kind of Bike Packing we go one, your scout may need one of these

    • Panniers can be made out of 5 Gallon square bucket

Canoe Gear

  • Dry Bag

    • Keeps gear waterproof - even if canoe capsizes

  • Boonie style hat

    • 360° brim protects head from sun

  • Water Boots

  • Canoe

    • You don't need to supply your own canoe, but maybe you want to head out on a family only trip?

    • You can find awesome deals on Offer up and Facebook Marketplace in the winter

    • You may wish to come talk to our canoe team first to avoid buyer's remorse

    • Look for

      • Flat bottom

      • 15-16 feet

      • $200-400 range

      • If you can find a Royalex one, get it or let us know so we can

Other Gear

Ultralight and High End Gear

Specialty made Ultralight Gear is NOT recommended for scouts. It is generally less durable than other gear and not designed to survive the abuse scouts subject their gear to. It is also generally much more expensive than more conventional gear. Scouts may also not appreciate the grams saved or why they have to be extra nice to their gear.

If you have extra money to spend or are looking for a gift for a more experienced scout or scouter, take a look at Darwin Onthetrail.

If you have questions about high end gear, come talk to our hiking team. We have plenty of information to share. We may also have an outfitter discount.

Gifts That Aren't Needed, Practical or Even Useful - BUT are SO COOL

Some of the best gifts aren't all that practical. Sure, 5 Pairs of Smartwool Socks are incredibly useful, but won't be loved like a silly gadget with scout appeal.

Gifts We DON'T Recommend

You can buy whatever you like for your scout. That said, there are some really neat gifts out there that we don't recommend. In the hands of some scouts and scouters, these are dangerous. These may not be on the banned list, but you will want to think twice before gifting these. If you have questions, come talk to us.

  • Chopping Tools

    • Excellent tools in the wilderness, but requires certain level of maturity and proper training to use

    • Axes

    • Hatchets

    • Machetes

    • Gurkha knives

    • All of these are just TOO Dangerous for most people to use, adult included

    • We will train scouts how to properly use these, but they need to be supervised when using them

    • And even if your scout is mature enough to use these, younger scouts in camp may pick it up and cause harm to themselves

  • Combat Style Knives

    • These are the ones that look like Rambo Knives or Zombie Apocalypse Weapons

    • Depending on quality, some are excellent survival tools in the hands of trained youth and adults

    • Unfortunately, they tend to draw a lot of negative attention when worn or used

    • For some, it is just too tempting to throw these at a tree or otherwise use them inappropriately (chopping and stabbing)

    • Most of the cheaper ones are just junk anyways

    • A MoraKniv is not a Combat Style Knife but still requires a certain level of maturity to use or own

  • Weapons

    • Anything designed to be used as a weapon or looks like a weapon

    • This includes toys or props that look like weapons

    • These are problematic and potentially dangerous

  • Expensive Knives and Tools

    • Who doesn't want a $300 knife

    • These tend to get abused, lost and left behind just like their $20 counterparts

  • Carving Knives that DO NOT Lock Open

    • Knives that do not lock open can suddenly close and collapse around your fingers

    • Swiss Army style knives fall into this category, but are small and generally don't cause too much harm

  • Lighters

    • Although excellent tools, these are not suitable for certain scouts

    • Butane Lighters

    • Zippo style lighters

    • Electric arc style lighters

  • Torches

    • Propane powered torches - sometimes used by adults

    • Butane torches - excellent for fire starting, but like lighters, your scout may not be ready to have one of these

    • Road Flares - can cause 3° burns - youth are NOT allowed to carry these on any BSA event

  • Pyrotechnics

    • Youth are NOT allowed to possess these on any outing

    • Fireworks

    • Signally flares

    • Smoke signals

  • White Gas Stoves

    • In the hands of trained youth and adults - these are excellent tools, especially in sub-zero environments

    • There is great risk of burn and fuel spillage

    • Only mature and trained scouts should operate these types of stoves

    • Isobutane and Propane stoves are generally better options

  • Alcohol Stoves

    • Another excellent tool for mature and trained youth, but not for younger ones who may come near the stove

    • Flame is invisible

    • If you spill fuel, knock over the stove or refuel a hot stove - expect a fireball

    • These are NOT recommended by the BSA

  • Homemade Stoves

    • A good to know survival skill and sometimes excellent backpacking tools

    • Use is banned by the BSA

  • Candles

    • Excellent tool in the wilderness, especially in freezing conditions

    • In the hands of inattentive scouts, they can easily burn down their tent while in it

    • Use in tents is banned by the BSA - this significantly limits their utility

  • High Tech and Expensive Gadgets

    • We LOVE these, but...

    • In the hands of youth, these sometimes get lost, smashed or left in water

  • Cotton Clothing

    • Comfortable fabric in the summer

    • May be suitable for car camping where your scout can pack lots of extra clothes to change into

    • In the wilderness, these soak up water and can lead to hypothermia

    • Avoid if possible

  • Expensive First Aid Kits designed for combat or remote expeditions

    • We teach how to use these in the Wilderness First-Aid Course

    • Excellent tools when needed

    • Expensive kits don't make your youth any safer if they don't know how to use them

    • In the hands of the untrained, kits will just get destroyed and wasted