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10 Outdoor Essentials for Cub Scouts

Be Prepared when Outdoors

Even during seasons when it is too cold for the Cub Scouts to get out tent camping, we can still get them outdoors on a day hike.  Make sure your Cub Scouts know the 10 Outdoor Essentials.

This list of outdoor essentials is written for Cub Scouts. A list for older Scouts would be similar, but not written in the same manner. And these are the outdoor essentials for the type of adventure a Cub Scout would attend. An older Scout in a backcountry area would have different requirements.

This list  is the same as the lists in the Webelos handbook and the Bear handbook. The Wolf handbook omits the fire starters (which is understandable) and the map and compass. Don’t ask me why the pocketknife was left in the list for Wolves but the map and compass was omitted. 🙂

Outdoor Essentials for Cub Scouts

First Aid Kit

Take a small personal first aid kit. Here are some things you should put in it: Band-Aids of different sizes, soap, antibiotic ointment, tweezers, alcohol wipes, gauze bandage, scissors, safety pins.

Filled Water Bottle

Fill you water bottle before you start on your adventure. An empty bottle won’t help when you get thirsty. Take enough water. You might not be able to refill it. A two quart bottle (or two one quart bottles) works for most outings.


Be prepared for the unexpected. Bring a small flashlight even if you don’t plan to be out at night. If plans change and you have to find your way back in the dusk or night you will be glad you have it. And don’t forget the extra batteries.

Trail Food

You’ll probably get hungry while out on your adventure. Bring some trail food. The best food is not bulky but high in energy. Nuts, dried fruits, and granola are all good choices.

Sun Protection

Protect yourself from the sun. You can still get sunburned even if it is not hot and sunny. Put on sunscreen and wear a hat. Bring your sunscreen with you so you can reapply it when needed.


If you get lost or in trouble, stay where you are and blow three blasts on your whistle. This is a universal help signal and when someone hears it, they will come to you to help.

Map and Compass

Know where you are and where you are going. If the trail becomes unclear, a map and compass will help you determine the right path. But if you are really lost, stay put.

Rain Gear

You never know when the weather might turn bad. You will be more comfortable if you stay dry. And in a pinch, a rain poncho can be used to make an emergency shelter.


A pocketknife can help you make kindling for a fire or other small tasks. Remember, a knife is a tool, not a toy. Don’t forget to bring your Whittlin’ Chip card also.

Matches or Fire Starters

In an emergency situation, you might need to build a small fire to keep you warm or as a signal. Don’t get these out unless you really need them though.

Additional Resources

Leave No Trace Front Country Guidelines

Before heading out on your hike, you should also review the principles of Leave No Trace.

Hiking Safely

Also review these rules for safe hiking for Cub Scouts before starting your adventure.

What’s your 11th Essential?

Here is one Scout leader’s answer. Ask your Cub Scouts this question and see what they come up with. 🙂


2 responses to “10 Outdoor Essentials for Cub Scouts”

  1. Nikki Avatar

    Cub Scouts are not allowed to carry matches or lighters.

  2. Nik Stanosheck Avatar
    Nik Stanosheck

    Cub Scouts have 6 Essentials. Scout BSA has 10.

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