Startup Scouting Equipment

Congratulations, you’ve chosen to join a very active, very outdoor-oriented troop. In order to have fun in the wilderness (no matter what the weather!), it’s important to live up to the scout motto: Be Prepared. That means having the right gear for camping and for in-town scouting.

A few words about gear. The troop does maintain some “loaner” gear if you don’t have your own personal stuff yet, or can’t afford to buy it all at once. We’re also really picky about gear quality and fit for some outings, so it’s important that you talk to one of the adult leaders before you go buy anything expensive, because there’s some stuff we won’t allow. Most guys start out with the things marked R (required - we don’t have loaners) and SR (strongly recommended - we have a few loaners), then build up from there. We will always provide what’s necessary when family means cannot.   Most families find that over the course of the first year or so, normal purchases of jackets, pants, shoes, etc. can "double" as scouting and in-town gear with careful selection.

The troop also arranges several discount group purchases each year through local and on-line vendors Bivouac to help families. As we hear of them, we will send information about special sales out via email. We encourage families to patronize our Troop+8+Recommended+Outfitters as these businesses we've found to sell reliable gear and offer decent assistance and prices over the years.   Many local vendors have long-term relationships with the troop, and deserve your support.  

Scout Shop Items

There are a few items you need to have as a Boy Scout. These can be purchased from the Council office on Huron Parkway (just North of Washtenaw).

  • 1 The Boy Scout Fieldbook (orange cover) (recomended)   This offers a good introduction to outdoor skills we use.
  • 1 Uniform: Shirt, patches (Greak Sauk Trail Council, troop 8, patrol). Troop 8 does not wear a neckerchief, but we'll issue you a "Figure-8 knot" instead.  Troop 8 also considers olive green scout pants optional, though we like the new nylon scout pants with the zip-off legs.   However, any  tan or olive khaki dress/casual/outdoor pant is acceptable (not denim). R

Except for these items, we can not recommend any other gear from the scout shop.

Outdoor Clothing

Troop 8 camps in a wide variety of weather conditions. To ensure the comfort and safety of scouts, we require equipment checks prior to most outings. The following items are generally expected for most outings year-round. The troop is able to provide a limited amount of gear-for loan when necessary, but we would encourage you to consider these items for purchase.

  • Several pairs of stretch-wool or wool polypropylene socks. Good year-round for protecting feet in all kinds of conditions.R
  • One pair lightweight, high-topped hiking boots, appropriately treated to ensure they’re waterproof. These have become much less expensive recently, and are well worth it for dry feet and foot support both in camp and on hikes.SR
  • 1 pair “Midweight” polypropylene long underwear tops & bottoms. Polypro goes by several names, including Capilene, Thermax, and “wicking fabrics.” If there is any one clothing item which will greatly affect your comfort in the outdoors, this is it. The best invention of the 20th Century. Useful year-round. R
  • 2 Synthetic “fleece” jackets or pullovers. More versatile than wool sweaters or lined jackets.SR
  • 1 Set of nylon wind or rain gear, both jacket & pants. (We do NOT allow ponchos) We promise there will be LOTS of cold, rainy days on campouts.  You should look for jackets and pants that are marketed as "waterproof breathable" fabrics.  High-tech name-brand fabrics like Gore-tex or Ultrex are great after you stop growing, or if there are lots of younger siblings, but cheaper knock-offs are readily available.  On trips that are not base-station car camping, we will not allow non-breathable rain gear. R

Because so much clothing (including blue jeans, sweat clothes, and flannel) is made of cotton fibers, we tend to see a lot of cotton on campouts. Please understand that while cotton is soft and cool on a sunny day in the summertime, it makes very poor outdoor clothing in other conditions. Cotton, when wet, holds a great deal of water and acts as a NEGATIVE insulator, actually cooling the body more than if it were unclothed. Sweat clothes, in particular, become baggy and very difficult when soaked. We therefore expect scouts to own non-cotton outdoor clothing, either wool or synthetic. On most campouts, a layered insulating system of non-cotton clothing will be required for comfort and safety.

Camping Gear

  • Sleeping bag and water-resistant stuff sack to put it in. Bags should be synthetic, tapered or mummy cut, with no cotton flannel lining. Most boys use a cold-weather bag (0° F) year round.  Please don’t skimp on the stuff sack - these cost very little, and are infinitely better than garbage bags which are easily torn. It’s best to get one that’s “too big” for the bag, so there’s room for extra gear, and so it’s easier to stuff. R
  • Sleeping pad (closed-cell foam or open cell foam inflatable. Plastic chamber-type inflatables are too easily punctured and take too long to inflate) R
  • Headlamp-style Flashlight  R
  • Pocketknife (swiss army variety is good - scout must have Totin’ Chip safety training to bring)
  • Compass (no need to be expensive - just one of the small plastic jobs with a 1-1 1/2” needle and a straight edge).
  • Watch (Water resistant to at least 6m depth, with alarm)
  • Day pack (like bookbag backpack) R
  • Water-proof duffle bag with good carrying straps (for car-camping trips), or personal backpack SR
  • 1 Set of personal eating-wear (kept in a small nylon “ditty bag”).  A full set includes a spoon, plastic bowl, 12 oz. insulated mug with lid, and a nylon bag to carry all this in. We strongly recommend that boys not use aluminum “mess kits.” R
  • 1 Water bottle. We require wide-mouthed plastic "Nalgene" style bottles. R


You can look in our recommended publications section on the web site to find a number of fun outdoors and resource books that you might enjoy.   However, we do want to strongly recommend getting a copy of Wilderness First Aid: Emergency Care for Remote Locations. This book is the “official” Troop first aid text, which replaces the information in the BSA literature.  SR

Group Gear

Troop 8 provides all group gear for your trips.   This includes 2-man North Face tents, stoves, pots, pans, first aid kits, lanterns, rain flies and other gear for the patrol.   We do not recommend scouts purchase their own tenting or cooking equipment until they are Venturers in high school. Occasionally, scouts inquire about bringing their own tent on a campout. This is OK with the permission of the patrol leader, provided the scout is familiar with the tent setup, the tent is appropriate for the type of campout we are doing.