Camping with the Pack

Cub Camping

Cub scouts LOVE to camp. Even if it's in their own backyard. There's just something magical about getting to sleep outside and "in the woods". Camping and scouting builds lifelong memories that many kids will cherish long into adulthood.

Many families join Pack 503 without much prior experience camping. If that's you, the following is a starter guide to help you have an enjoyable experience.

The number of times your kids will go camping is directly proportional to how stress free the experience is for YOU. (It's not the kids driving to the camp outs!) A lot of this starts with good gear. However, until you know you are in it for the long haul, stick to the essentials. Camping is generally affordable, but it's easy to overspend if you're not sure what you're looking for. The essentials are shelter/sleeping, clothing, and cooking.

Shelter and sleeping:

Tent - if you don't have one, ask to borrow one. You'll want something rated larger than your family. A four person tent will only fit two people and their gear, maybe. We have a couple of tents to loan if you need one. If you want to purchase a tent, it can be a good idea to start with a cheap brand (Ozark Trail, Magellan Outdoors, Coleman.) There will be people at the campout to help setup if needed.

The number one most important thing for a good camp, I think, is your sleeping setup. Separating yourself from the ground is essential in cold weather, and comfortable in all weather. There are multiple options, from luxury self-inflating sleeping pads, cheap Walmart air mattresses, folding cots, to hammocks. 

If you're unsure, start with a Walmart air mattress. If you want to spend money on any single luxury camping item, spend it on a good self inflating sleeping pad and/or a cot first. As cub scouts, we don't do any long hike-in campouts, so don't worry about weight. In warmer weather you can simply use a blanket or sheet to cover up. Below 50 degrees or so and you'll want a sleeping bag and something to cover your head (knitted cap, watch cap, beanie, etc.). 

An important thing to know about sleeping bags is that their temperature rating is usually for survivability, not comfortability. If the temperature drops to 40 degrees at night, you'll want a bag rated for 25-30 degrees. The main thing is that you have a good sleeping setup. Everything else is secondary. 


Cooking for your family can be stressful. Cooking outside with limited gear for 30+ people can get REALLY stressful. We're keep things simple at campouts - hot dogs, hamburgers, pancakes, etc., at least until we know how comfortable everyone is with it. Don't worry about bringing food or cooking supplies. Do bring water bottles for you and your scouts!

If you or your scout have food allergies, let an adult leader know prior to the campout!

Clothing & Weather:

We can't control the weather, of course, but we can prepare for it. Dress for the occasion and make sure your scout is, too. Plan on it getting warmer or colder than it's supposed to. 

Things to pack:

Overnighters with the cub scout pack are easy in Kansas. Bring whatever you want to keep comfortable

Necessary - 

Tent - see above

Sleeping gear - see above

Scout six essentials (water bottle, sun protection, flashlight, whistle, trail food, first aid kit)
NOTE: the first three are the important ones for most of our campouts.

Footwear - Closed toed shoes for walking/hiking/running

Extra pair of dry clothes & socks

Bug Spray

Optional (nice to have)-

Cooler - necessary if you want to keep things cool

Camp chairs (lawn chairs)

Fishing gear & bait

Ear plugs - nature is loud, and so are trains

Tarp - useful to keep water out of the cheap tent you borrowed. Put it between the tent and the ground to keep water from seeping through the bottom, or over the top if it rains and the tent leaks.

Fan - Battery powered fan for your tent


Extra food/snacks/drinks you like

Yard games


Do not bring



Electronic games / tablets / phones (for kids)