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Resources include the Camping merit badge worksheet in PDF format Adobe Acrobat PDF and Word format Microsoft Word DOC document, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.
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Camping merit badge is required for the Eagle Scout rank.
Camping merit badge is required for the National Outdoor Badge for Camping.

Camping merit badge
Status: Eagle-required
Created: 1911
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 001
Requirements revision: 2018
Latest pamphlet revision: 2016


Camping is one of the best-known methods of the Scouting movement. When he founded the Scouting movement in the early 1900s, Robert Baden-Powell encouraged every Scout to learn the art of living out-of-doors. He believed a young person able to take care of himself while camping would have the confidence to meet life's other challenges, too.

The Camping merit badge was one of the original 57 merit badges issued by the Boy Scouts of America in 1911.

Camping merit badge requirements

  1. Do the following:
    (a) Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while participating in camping activities and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards
    (b) Discuss with your counselor why it is important to be aware of weather conditions before and during your camping activities. Tell how you can prepare should the weather turn bad during your campouts.
    (c) Show that you know first aid for and how to prevent injuries or illnesses that could occur while camping, including hypothermia, frostbite, heat reactions, dehydration, altitude sickness, insect stings, tick bites, snakebite, blisters, and hyperventilation.
  2. Learn the Leave No Trace principles and the Outdoor Code and explain what they mean. Write a personal plan for implementing these principles on your next outing.
  3. Make a written plan[Note 1] for an overnight trek and show how to get to your camping spot by using a topographical map and one of the following:
    (a) A compass
    (b) A GPS receiver[Note 2]
    (c) A smartphone with a GPS app[Note 2]
  4. Do the following:
    (a) Make a duty roster showing how your patrol is organized for an actual overnight campout. List assignments for each member.
    (b) Help a Scout patrol or a Webelos Scout unit in your area prepare for an actual campout, including creating the duty roster, menu planning, equipment needs, general planning, and setting up camp.
  5. Do the following:
    (a) Prepare a list of clothing you would need for overnight campouts in both warm and cold weather. Explain the term "layering."
    (b) Discuss footwear for different kinds of weather and how the right footwear is important for protecting your feet.
    (c) Explain the proper care and storage of camping equipment (clothing, footwear, bedding).
    (d) List the outdoor essentials necessary for any campout, and explain why each item is needed.
    (e) Present yourself to your Scoutmaster with your pack for inspection. Be correctly clothed and equipped for an overnight campout.
  6. Do the following:
    (a) Describe the features of four types of tents, when and where they could be used, and how to care for tents. Working with another Scout, pitch a tent.
    (b) Discuss the importance of camp sanitation and tell why water treatment is essential. Then demonstrate two ways to treat water.
    (c) Describe the factors to be considered in deciding where to pitch your tent.
    (d) Tell the difference between internal- and external-frame packs. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.
    (e) Discuss the types of sleeping bags and what kind would be suitable for different conditions. Explain the proper care of your sleeping bag and how to keep it dry. Make a comfortable ground bed.
  7. Prepare for an overnight campout with your patrol by doing the following:
    (a) Make a checklist of personal and patrol gear that will be needed.
    (b) Pack your own gear and your share of the patrol equipment and food for proper carrying. Show that your pack is right for quickly getting what is needed first, and that it has been assembled properly for comfort, weight, balance, size, and neatness.
  8. Do the following:
    (a) Explain the safety procedures for:
    (1) Using a propane or butane/propane stove
    (2) Using a liquid fuel stove
    (3) Proper storage of extra fuel
    (b) Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different types of lightweight cooking stoves.
    (c) Prepare a camp menu. Explain how the menu would differ from a menu for a backpacking or float trip. Give recipes and make a food list for your patrol. Plan two breakfasts, three lunches, and two suppers. Discuss how to protect your food against bad weather, animals, and contamination.
    (d) While camping in the outdoors, cook at least one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner for your patrol from the meals you have planned for requirement 8c. At least one of those meals must be a trail meal requiring the use of a lightweight stove.
  9. Show experience in camping by doing the following:
    (a) Camp a total of at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities or events.[Note 3][Note 4] One long-term camping experience of up to six consecutive nights may be applied toward this requirement. Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent.
    (b) On any of these camping experiences, you must do TWO of the following, only with proper preparation and under qualified supervision:
    (1) Hike up a mountain, gaining at least 1,000 vertical feet.
    (2) Backpack, snowshoe, or cross-country ski for at least 4 miles.
    (3) Take a bike trip of at least 15 miles or at least four hours.
    (4) Take a nonmotorized trip on the water of at least four hours or 5 miles.
    (5) Plan and carry out an overnight snow camping experience.
    (6) Rappel down a rappel route of 30 feet or more.
    (c) Perform a conservation project approved by the landowner or land managing agency. This can be done alone or with others.
  10. Discuss how the things you did to earn this badge have taught you about personal health and safety, survival, public health, conservation, and good citizenship. In your discussion, tell how Scout spirit and the Scout Oath and Law apply to camping and outdoor ethics.


  1. To complete this requirement, you may use the Scout Planning Worksheet at Adobe Acrobat PDF.
  2. 2.0 2.1 If a GPS-equipped device is not available, explain how to use one to get to your camping spot.
  3. A footnote reading "All campouts since becoming a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may count toward this requirement." no longer appears in the current requirements. However, although not specifically stated in the requirements, this still applies, even though the Varsity program has been discontinued.
  4. Editor's note: effective December 31, 2017, the Boy Scouts of America ended the Varsity Scouting program.

The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Scouts BSA Requirements, 2019 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #648914)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Camping is available here! (PDF or Word) with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need! Or click here to print just the Camping requirements. has PDF and Word versions of workbooks for Scouts BSA ranks and merit badges, Cub Scouting ranks and adventures, and STEM Nova awards.

  1. Camping merit badge is on the Eagle Scout required list (requirement 3.k.).
  2. The Advancement Campout includes all of the camping skills through First Class.
  3. The BSA Camping Troop Program Feature offers meeting and activity plans to include Camping as one of your monthly themes.
  4. Camping is a popular summer camp merit badge.

Requirement resources

Links and Video Links are available for

1. First Aid Videos and Links: Hypothermia - Frostbite - Heat Reactions - Dehydration - Altitude Sickness - Insect Stings - Tick Bites - Snakebite - Blisters - Hyperventilation

2. Leave No Trace - Outdoor Code
3. Topographical Maps - Compass - GPS - Online forum discussion on the Interpretation of Requirement #3 (Scouting magazine)
4b. Meal Planning - Cooking Gear - Campsite Selection - Tent Setup
5a. Clothing for Warm Weather and Cold Weather - Layering
5b. Footwear links and videos
5c. Clothing - Footwear - Sleeping Bags - Sleeping Pads
5d. Outdoor Checklists
5e. Outdoor Checklists - Packing a Backpack - Clothing - Outdoor Gear - Footwear - Sleeping Bags - Sleeping Pads
6a. Tent Types - Tent Setup
6b. Sanitation - Water Purification including ways to purify water.
6c. Campsite Selection - Tent Setup
6d. Backpacks with Internal- and External-Frame differences, advantages and disadvantages.
6e. Sleeping Bags
7a. Outdoor Checklists
7b. Packing a Backpack - Shouldering a Pack including balance, etc.
8a & 8b. Backpacking Stoves - Cooking Gear
8c. Meal Planning - Recipes - Food Handling
8d. Cooking Skills - Backpacking Stoves
9a. Ask the Expert: What is (and what isn’t) a camping night for the Camping MB? —
9a & 9b.Ask the Expert: Interpreting Camping merit badge Requirement 9a —
9b1. Hiking Skills
9b2. Backpacking Skills - Snow Sports
9b3. Cycling Skills
9b4. Canoeing - Whitewater - Small-Boat Sailing - Rowing
9b5. Cold Weather - Troop Program: Winter Camping
9b6. Climbing

Scouting Literature

Boy Scout Handbook; Basic Illustrated Camping; Okpik: Cold-Weather Camping; Don’t Get Sick; Leave No Trace; Passport to High Adventure; Fieldbook; Conservation Handbook; Belay OnAdobe Acrobat PDF; Backpacking, Bird Study, Canoeing, Cooking, Cycling, First Aid, Fishing, Fly-Fishing, Geocaching, Hiking, Kayaking, Mammal Study, Nature, Orienteering, Rowing, Small-Boat Sailing, Snow Sports, Sustainability, Whitewater, and Wilderness Survival merit badge pamphlets

Books (some of these books may have newer editions)
  • Birkby, Robert C. Lightly on the Land: The SCA Trail Building and Maintenance Manual, 2nd ed. Mountaineers Books, 2006. ISBN 0898868483
  • Brunelle, Lynn. Camp Out! The Ultimate Kids’ Guide. Workman Publishing Company, 2007. ISBN 0761141227
  • Conners, Christine. The Scout’s Outdoor Cookbook. Falcon Guides, 2008. ISBN 9780762740673
  • Forgey M.D., William W. Basic Essentials Wilderness First Aid, 3rd ed. Falcon Guides, 2007. ISBN 0762741414
  • Gorman, Stephen. The Winter Camping Handbook, Countryman Press, 2016. ISBN 0881507822
  • Graham, John. Outdoor Leadership: Technique, Common Sense & Self-Confidence. Mountaineers Books, 1997. ISBN 9780898865028
  • Hampton, Bruce, and David Cole. Soft Paths: How to Enjoy the Wilderness Without Harming It, 3rd ed. Stackpole Books, 2003. ISBN 0811726916
  • Harmon, Will. Leave No Trace: Minimum Impact Outdoor Recreation. Falcon, 1997. ISBN 1560445815
  • Hart, John. Walking Softly in the Wilderness: The Sierra Club Guide to Backpacking, 4th ed. Sierra Club Books, 2005. ISBN 1578051231
  • Harvey, Mark. The National Outdoor Leadership School’s Wilderness Guide: The Classic Handbook. Fireside, 1999. ISBN 0684859092
  • Herow, William C. National Park Service Camping Guide, 5th ed. Roundabout Publications, 2012. ISBN 1885464436
  • Jacobson, Cliff. Basic Illustrated Map and Compass, Basic Essentials Series. Falcon Guides, 2008. ISBN 9780762747627
  • Marrone, Teresa. The Back-Country Kitchen: Camp Cooking for Canoeists, Hikers and Anglers. Northern Trails Press, 1997. ISBN 0965153509
  • McGivney, Annette. Leave No Trace: A Guide to the New Wilderness Etiquette, 2nd ed. Mountaineers Books, 2003. ISBN 0898869102
  • National Museum of Forest Service History. Camp Cooking: 100 Years. Gibbs-Smith, 2004. ISBN 1586857614
  • Oswald, Michael Joseph. Your Guide to the National Parks: The Complete Guide to All 58 National Parks. Stone Road Press, 2012. ISBN 1621280675
  • Pearson, Claudia. NOLS Backcountry Cooking: Creative Menu Planning for Short Trips. Stackpole Books, 2008. ISBN 0811734641
  • ———, editor. NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) Cookery, 6th ed. Stackpole Books, 2012. ISBN 081170940X
  • Randall, Glenn. Outward Bound Backpacker’s Handbook, 3rd ed. Falcon Guides, 2013. ISBN 9780762778553
  • Viehman, John, editor. Trailside’s Hints and Tips for Outdoor Adventure. Rodale Press, 1993. ISBN 0875961703
  • Wright, Micah. Camping With the Corps of Engineers: The Complete Guide to Campgrounds Built and Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 8th ed. Cottage Publications, 2012. ISBN 0937877506
Organizations and Websites

U.S. Bureau of Land Management  •  Florida National High Adventure Sea Base  •  Northern Tier National High Adventure Base  •  Philmont Scout Ranch  •  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  •  USDA Forest Service

Related awards

Outdoor-related awards

See also

Scouts BSA portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

Personal tools