Boy freezing in the winter cold wearing woolen hat and jacket on white background

Is Cold Weather Camping Appropriate for Cub Scouts?

Debbie sent in this question:

I’m a new Bear Leader. My pack goes on a Cold Winter Camping trip in Jan as well as Feb every yr. It gets pretty cold here and can be in the 20s and 30s in those months. I’m struggling with this. I don’t see how this can be an age appropriate activity (the want Tigers and up to attend) I also don’t see how this is progression in the camping program. The boys have tent camped in the fall but never done cabin camping. Pack leadership just expects them to camp in 20 degree weather. I’ve tried and other websites but can’t find a guideline about Cold Weather Camping. Can you help me? Thanks.

Thanks for the question Debbie. In our area (Missouri) temps in the 20s or lower are typical during the winter months. Cub Scouts will use winterized cabins in the winter months rather than camping in tents. The cabins have basic heat and often have indoor plumbing.  Boy Scout units will tent camp in very cold weather though.

But, when it doubt about what is appropriate for a specific age group, the BSA provides age-appropriate guidelines for Scouting activities. This chart makes it easy to determine what is appropriate and safe for each age level. If you look at the guidelines, you will see it shows winter camping as appropriate for Scouts BSA and Venturers.

When it doubt, talk to your district leadership. This question has probably been answered for units in your area before.

Readers, what do you think? How cold is too cold for Cub Scouts? Add your comments below.

4 Responses to Is Cold Weather Camping Appropriate for Cub Scouts?

  1. Sandra December 29, 2017 at 2:06 PM #

    Our pack has camped when lows hit 19 degrees. That was a fall campout near Flagstaff, AZ. Our winter campout is in the desert and lows are usually not below freezing. We always tent camp.

    It comes down to appropriate gear. We do our best to educate everyone about the best gear to buy, but sometimes it takes one cold night to make the point!

    If we were staying in cabins, I wouldn’t be concerned about temperatures in the 20s. Cabins usually have some heat source.

  2. Rob Carignan December 31, 2017 at 7:52 AM #

    Our Pack in Maine goes to a Maine National Guard training Site called Bog Brook. There are heated barracks, bathrooms, a “schoolhouse” and a mess hall with full kitchen. We are able to do plenty of outdoor scouting activities but sleep in nice warm bunks.

    Last year the Troop I’m the ASM of came along and they built quinzees.

  3. Jeff Adamson May 29, 2018 at 10:41 AM #

    Camping in colder weather isn’t bad if you prepare for it. However, it’s my experience that Cub Scout parents, and cub scouts don’t always know how to do so. It’s all a learning experience.

    I personally think if Cub Scouts are going to camp when over night temps drop below freezing they need to make sure they are definitely prepared. You can learn how to do stuff like dress in layers and get the right tents and sleeping bags at

    It would also be a good idea to camp somewhere with an option of a heater building just in case some people didn’t prepare well enough. It happens and we’ve all had a campout where we weren’t prepared for the weather.

    On the flip side if a Pack has leaders ready to brave the cold, and parents that want to do it safely. I say go for it. Cold weather camping done right is a lot of fun.

  4. ji December 8, 2018 at 1:06 PM #

    Any and all Cub Scout camping is family camping, right?

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