While working on the requirements for the Hiking merit badge, Scouts learn how to plan for a safe hike, considering their route, hazards, equipment needed, the weather conditions, and more. Then they put their knowledge to work by going out on several hikes. Afterwards they reflect on their experience.
Either the Cycling merit badge OR the Hiking merit badge OR the Swimming merit badge is required for the rank of Eagle Scout. Scouts who earn more than one of these badges may count the additional badges as electives.
Hiking Merit Badge Resources
Help with Answers for Hiking Merit Badge Requirements
Find specific helps for some of the Hiking merit badge requirements listed below. Some of these resources will just give the answers. Others will provide engaging ways for older Scouts to introduce these concepts to new Scouts.
Hiking Merit Badge Requirement 1: Hazards and First Aid
Requirement 1 Helps and Answers
- Cold temperatures
- Hot temperatures
- Rain or snow
- Poison ivy or poison oak
- Insect bites
Learn how to avoid and treat hypothermia.
- Remove wet clothing
- Insulate the injured area with a dry blanket
- Seek medical help immediately
- Do not attempt to warm up the injured area on your own.
To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids and eat foods high in water such as fruits and vegetables.
You can usually reverse mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more fluids, but severe dehydration needs immediate medical treatment.
You can prevent heat problems, using these tips:
- Avoid hard exercise during the hottest part of the day.
- If you’re not in shape, slow down and let your body adjust.
- Make sure you acclimate to the environment and get in shape before the event.
- Dress in layers and wear clothing that breathes and wicks moisture away from you.
- Eat snacks that contain a little salt.
- Drink water and keep drinking it.
If you or someone else has heat exhaustion, treat symptoms in the following ways.
- Get out of the heat quickly and into a cool place, or at least shade.
- Lie down and elevate your legs to get blood flowing to your heart.
- Take off any tight or extra clothing.
- Apply cool towels to your skin or take a cool bath. This will help regulate and lower your internal body temperature.
- Drink fluids, such as water or a sports drink. Do not guzzle them, but take sips. Do not drink fluids with caffeine or alcohol.
- Avoid being in the sun between 10am and 4pm
- Wear a broad-brimmed hat, a long sleeved shirt, long pants, and UV blocking sunglasses
- Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30
- Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or if you are sweating or swimming
This animation explains what hyperventilation exactly is. What is the cause of hyperventilation and what are the possible symptoms? And how do you stop it?
Altitude sickness (also known as Acute mountain sickness AMS) is experienced by some people when they are at a high enough altitude. Acclimate yourself when ascending to avoid it.
Wrap the ankle to stabilize it and provide support.
See how to treat those blisters.
Bites and Stings
- Wash the area with soap and water
- Avoid scratching
- Seek medical attention immediately if you become ill, have difficulty breathing, or have severe pain and swelling
While most tick bites won’t cause more than minor irritation, if treated incorrectly complications may occur.
- Don’t chase or try to catch snakes
- Use a hiking stick to poke holes and brush ahead of you
- Watch where you step and place your hands, especially in rocky areas
- Wear gloves and boots to protect your hands and ankles
- Remain calm.
- Gently wash the snake bite with soap and water. Remove jewelry before the area swells.
- Keep the wound site at the level of your heart. Physical activity should be kept at a minimum.
- Get medical help immediately.
Hiking Merit Badge Requirement 2: Good Hiking Practices
Requirement 2 Helps and Answers
- Plan ahead and prepare
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces
- Dispose of waste properly
- Leave what you find
- Minimize campfire impacts
- Respect wildlife
- Be considerate of other visitors
Hiking Safely in Daytime
- Don’t start with a long hike. Condition yourself.
- Set a pace which works for the whole group.
- Watch out for sunburn and dehydration.
Hiking Safety at Night
- Have a light source.
- Be extra careful to stay together.
- If it feels unsafe, stop and wait for daylight.
- Have enough clothing and know how to make an emergency shelter.
As an American, I will do my best to
Be clean in my outdoor manners
Be careful with fire
Be considerate in the outdoors
Footware and Care of Feet
- Wear well fitted closed toed shoes
- Boots are a preferred option
- Wear wool or synthetic socks which are higher than your boots
- Keep your feet dry and clean
- Change your socks at bedtime
Hiking Merit Badge Requirement 3: Conditioning
How Is Hiking Aerobic?
- Aerobic activities increase your breathing and heart rate and make your body use oxygen more efficiently
- Hiking does these things
- Conditioning lets you go further next time
- Do aerobic activities you enjoy to condition yourself
- These can include hiking, swimming, cycling, running, sports, and other activities
Hiking Merit Badge Requirement 4: Five Hikes
Requirement 4 Helps and Answers
Hiking Merit Badge Requirement 5: Twenty Mile Hike
Requirement 5 Helps and Answers
Hiking Merit Badge Requirement 6: Reflection
Requirement 6 Helps and Answers
Go explore the outdoors with these related ideas and achievements:
When you are on the trail for the Hiking merit badge, you don’t have a way to keep food cool and you want something which will provide energy, will travel well, and is lightweight. Trail mix is a popular trail food and there are many possible combinations. Or with a small trail stove, you can heat something up with water.
Sports drinks like Gatorade or Power Aid are designed to replenish the water and salt your body loses when you are active or exercising. You can mix up your own powdered mix to accomplish this for a fraction of the cost of purchasing these drinks by the bottle.