Cub Scout Six Essentials for Hiking

Cub Scout Six Essentials for Hiking

We all want our Cub Scouts to be safe especially when we’re doing outdoor activities.  That’s why the Boy Scouts of America has compiled a list of the Cub Scout Six Essentials for Hiking.  The essentials can also be used for other outdoor activities as well.

If you search online, you’ll find many different lists of hiking essentials.  But how did these lists get started?

An outdoor recreation, education and conservation nonprofit organization called The Mountaineers published a book called Mountaineering:  The Freedom of the Hills.  Written by a team of over 40 experts, it’s considered standard reading for mountaineering and climbing.

The third edition of the book, published in 1974, listed the Ten Essentials recommended for safe outdoor activities.  Through the years, the list has been updated to reflect changes in gadgets.  For example, the original list called for a map and compass,  but that has changed to “navigation” which could also include a GPS receiver.

Since our boys won’t be out hiking alone, the Cub Scout Six Essentials is pared down to what they would need.  The items are listed below.  To make it convenient for you if you need to order any of the Cub Scout Six Essentials, I’m including my Amazon affiliate links for each item.

Cub Scout Six Essentials for Hiking

First Aid KitTypically, one of the adults on the hike will carry a larger first aid kit like this one.  So, Cub Scouts will only need a small kit of their own.  Their kits should have some adhesive bandagesmoleskin to prevent blisters, antibiotic ointment (these single use packages are great!) and insect bite pain reliever.  This isn’t a comprehensive list, but it will get your Cub Scout started.

Filled water bottleKeeping the boys hydrated is crucial, especially when it’s hot out.  Everyone should have a water bottle that will hold enough water for the entire hike.  This bottle holds 24 ounces, is lightweight and comes with a carabiner.  If you’re going on a longer hike and need to carry more water, a Camelbak hydration pack is a great solution.  This one holds 50 ounces and has awesome flames printed on it!  My boys love their Camelbaks!

Flashlight – Rather than worrying about fresh batteries, why not take along a rechargeable crank flashlight?  We have a couple of these, and cranking them up to use them definitely has a cool factor!  I like that this one has a carabiner too.

Trail FoodI love trail mix!  Maybe it’s because I can convince myself that the M&Ms are healthy.  🙂  You can purchase trail mix or you can make your own.

Sun Protection – We all know how important sunscreen is–even when it’s cloudy.  These small bottles with a carabiner or these single use packets are perfect to carry on your hike.  And don’t forget your hat!

Whistle – This kids’ camping whistle includes a thermometer, a magnifier and a compass which makes it a great value.  There are two things the kids need to know about the whistle:  1)  It’s only for emergencies, and 2) Three blasts of the whistle means “Help!”   Because they’re going to blow it, tell them that you’re all going to practice the help signal.  After a couple of minutes of this, maybe they’ll get it out of their system!  🙂

What else do you think should be added to the Cub Scout Six Essentials for Hiking?

Yours in Scouting,

P.S. If you’re looking for a cool den meeting idea to help the boys learn the Six Essentials, you’ll want to read this!

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11 thoughts on “Cub Scout Six Essentials for Hiking

  1. Dan Shapiro

    Having been on Search and Rescue incidents, I would also add a large-sized plastic garbage bag. Doesn’t take up much space. Can be used as a sun shelter, cut a hole in the center of the bottom of the bag it can also serve as an emergency rain coat and in winter as a thermal insulation barrier.

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  3. George Leydon

    Used old plastic peanut butter jars for the boys to create a ‘kit’ that could be customized and be ready to go into their backpack for an adventure. Wrapped on the outside with a few turns of different duct tape (lots of colors to choose), filled with 20 feet of paracord (practice the square knot or make a bracelet), a whistle buckle, a zip lock 1st aid bag with bandages, ointment and wipes, a few sealed snacks and cheap finger flashlights (in lieu of a Maglite solitaire) — it was a starting point and helps them think about organization. Even included 20 sheets of toilet paper in another small baggie. Of course the boys thought it was hilarious talking about needing TP when camping. Due to some skin sensitivities, we didn’t add sun screen, but one could get a sample size tube and throw that in too. A grocery bag in each for collecting trail trash. It ended up looking like a little goody-bag-jar of sorts. Cheap way to have every boy get a kit. Wrote name on lid with Sharpie.

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  5. chris

    Maybe it’s a left-over from my own boys being in Boy Scouts and hiking longer distances at Philmont and in the Appalacians (I’m back in our pack with my grandson now…) but I insist on rain gear during the appropriate seasons. A sunny start doesn’t always mean it will stay that way. A rain jacket or a poncho doesn’t take much room and can be compressed even more in a ziplock. No rain gear? Go with the trash bag. It can make a great rain covering with the appropriate holes cut in it.

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