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Hiking Merit Badge for 2024

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

Do the following:

  1. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while hiking, and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate and respond to these hazards.
  2. Show that you know first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur while hiking, including hypothermia, frostbite, dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, sunburn, hyperventilation, altitude sickness, sprained ankle, blisters, insect stings, tick bites, snakebite.

Requirement 1 Helps and Answers

Hiking Hazards

  • Cold temperatures
  • Hot temperatures
  • Rain or snow
  • Lightening
  • Injuries
  • Poison ivy or poison oak
  • Insect bites
  • Snakes
Avoiding Hypothermia During Cold Weather Activities

How to Recognize and Treat Hypothermia

Learn how to avoid and treat hypothermia.

How to Prevent and Treat Frostbite

  • 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.

Read more, including about prevention

Prevention and Treatment of Dehydration

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.

Read more

How to Avoid Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

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.

Read more

Treatment for Heat Exhaustion

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.

Read more, including when to call 911.

Sunburn Prevention and Treatment


  • 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

Learn more about sunburn, including options for relief

Blister Treatment

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

First Aid for Tick Bites

While most tick bites won’t cause more than minor irritation, if treated incorrectly complications may occur.

How to Prevent Snake Bites

  • 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

How to Treat Snake Bites

  • 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.
Video Resources

Causes and Treatment of Hyperventilation: 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?

What is Altitude Sickness ?: 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.

First Aid for a Sprained Ankle: Wrap the ankle to stabilize it and provide support.

Hiking Merit Badge Requirement 2: Good Hiking Practices

Do the following:

  1. Explain and, where possible, show the points of good hiking practices including proper outdoor ethics, hiking safety in the daytime and at night, courtesy to others, choice of footwear, and proper care of feet and footwear.
  2. Read aloud or recite the Leave No Trace guidelines, and discuss why each is important while hiking.
  3. Read aloud or recite the Outdoor Code, and give examples of how to follow it on a hike.

Requirement 2 Helps and Answers

Leave No Trace

  • 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.

The Outdoor Code

As an American, I will do my best to
Be clean in my outdoor manners
Be careful with fire
Be considerate in the outdoors
Be conservation-minded

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

Explain how hiking is an aerobic activity. Develop a plan for conditioning yourself for 10-mile hikes, and describe how you will increase your fitness for longer hikes.

Requirement 3 Helps and Answers

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

Conditioning Plan

  • 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

Take four 10-mile hikes and one 20-mile hike, each on a different day, and each of continuous miles. Prepare a written hike plan before each hike and share it with your merit badge counselor or a designee for approval before starting the hike. Include map routes, a clothing and equipment list, and a list of items for a trail lunch. You may stop for as many short rest periods as needed, as well as one meal, during each hike, but not for an extended period such as overnight.*

  1. 10-mile hike #1
  2. 10-mile hike #2
  3. 10-mile hike #3
  4. 10-mile hike #4
  5. 20-mile hike

*The required hikes for this badge may be used in fulfilling hiking requirements for rank advancement. However, these hikes cannot be used to fulfill requirements of other merit badges.

Requirement 4 Helps and Answers

Can You Hike 20 Miles in a Day?

See some tips to be ready for long distance hiking.

  • Have everything ready
  • Start early
  • Keep it light
  • Rest as needed
  • Take care of your feet
  • Stretch

Hiking Merit Badge Requirement 5: Reflection

 Do the following:

Requirement 5 Helps and Answers


Trail Food

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.

Powdered Sports Drink Recipe

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.


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