Gear Guide

Top tips for packing

Here are our top tips for when you're packing for camps and activities!  

1. Read the kit list & then follow it!  Sorry if this sound’s obvious, but it’s surprising (and frustrating) how many people come to camp without an important bit of kit.  Between us, the leaders have several decades of experience of running safe, enjoyable activities and we use this experience to write the kit lists for camps and activities.  If something is on the kit list it’s probably there for a good reason; if you think it might be a mistake (we do make them), or it’s going to be difficult to get hold of, please talk to us!

2. Get your Beaver/Cub/Scout to pack their own kit.  We’ve lost count of how many times someone's told us (often in tears) that they don't have such and such an item ... only to find it buried in the bottom of their bag or hidden in a side pocket.  By helping pack their own kit they’re more likely to know what they’ve got, what it looks like and where to find it in their bag.  Which means less stress and more time doing activities and having fun!

3. Pack everything into a proper bag!  When we arrive at camp it’s often raining.  Even if it's dry, the ground is frequently wet and muddy, so it’s important to pack your kit into proper bags which can keep it dry if you have to carry it through the rain or it falls into a patch of mud.  Bin bags aren’t robust enough to keep your kit protected (especially if we’re transporting it in a van or trailer) and open-topped shopping bags won’t keep your stuff dry if it’s raining or out of the mud they topple over.  Once your kit gets wet we will struggle to get it dry again so please, please pack it in a proper bag.  If you need to bring several bags, bring several bags!

4. Keep waterproofs, torches and sleeping bags handy! These are often the things that you’ll need first, so pack them so that they’re easy to access without having to empty out everything else in your bag.

5. Don’t bring your best gear!  It’s Scouts – there’s a good chance that whatever we’re doing will involve water, mud, fires, mess or a combination of all four.  We recommend you bring older clothes so it’s not the end of the world if they get messy or end up with a small burn hole from a stray ember! 

For similar reasons we generally ban phones and other gadgetry from camps and activities. (Also because we want you to be having fun doing stuff not just staring at a screen, and it’s unlikely that we’ll have signal or power for charging!)

Please note that The Scouts do not provide insurance for personal clothing or equipment - please make sure that your own domestic insurance covers the kit you’re bringing to camp.

6. Label everything! Please! We can almost guarantee that there will be lost property at the end of camp – if it’s labelled it’s easier for us to get it back to you.  Either use a permanent marker on the care label, or buy some self-adhesive labels (we’ve found “Just-Stick Clothing Name Labels” from WovenLabelsUK to be quite effective but there are other suppliers available).

7. It's all about layers!  Lots of thin layers are better and more adaptable than fewer thick layers.  Synthetic fabrics are also generally better than cotton; they tend to soak up less moisture if they get wet which means they dry faster and tend to be warmer even when still damp.

8. Make sure you can carry your own kit!  Whether we're hiking, going kayaking or camping, you're going to have to carry your kit at least some distance.  At some campsites, this could be as far as 500 metres.  If we're transporting you to camp it's especially important that you can carry your own gear; if necessary split your kit across multiple smaller bags to make it easier to carry.

9. Protect your woggle! Woggles have a tendency to slip off and get lost when you're outside and having fun.  To avoid losing yours, either leave your woggle at home and tie your necker with a Friendship Knot, or double one end back through your woggle to avoid it sliding off and getting lost.

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