Camping Merit Badge Activity Planner

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Camping is one of the basic elements of having fun in the outdoors.
- Monthly Weekend Campout - Annual Longterm Campout - Outdoor Adventures - Outdoor Meal Prep

Patrol Leader Merit Badge Planning Guide for the Camping Merit Badge

*** Activities for the Youth Lead Patrol ***

Exploring Camping can be a fascinating youth adventure when done right. Here are a few tips to help the patrol leader get started.

  • Scouts may never add or subtract from the actual merit badge requirements
  • This Planner is only a suggestion of different ideas to make working this Merit Badge both fun and easy.
  • While doing the Worksheet is not a requirement for earning this badge, in many cases it can help you learn key concepts and track your progress.

A. Make Your Plan

Sample Patrol Activity Flyer
  1. Merit Badge Activity Planning Tips - 14 tips for a successful patrol activity. Read carefully before you start your plan!
  2. Share Your Plan - Meet ahead of time with your patrol, scout leaders, parents and especially with the Merit Badge Counselor. Make changes to the plan as needed.
  3. Prepare Activity Flyer - Keep your fellow scouts informed - events, activities, pre-requisites and more.
Patrol Activity GREAT Awesome MB to work as a patrol / Max Size 12 scouts
Virtual Field Trip POOR Intended that you spend time outdoors with your patrol each month
Family Activity GREAT Organize a scout camp that includes the whole family
Service Activity GREAT See outdoor conservation project - Req #9c.
S.T.E.M. Activity FAIR Use modern GPS devices to keep you safe
Field Trip FAIR Find a remote broadcast location
Duty-to-God GREAT Many religious groups hold an outdoor setting to have Duty To God reflections
MB Day GREAT Pre-requisite Req 5e, 8 & 9. Many special Camping MB Day groups abound.
Overnighter GREAT Camp outdoors every month !!!
Summer Camp GREAT Pre-requisite Req 5e, 8 & 9. Ask Summer Camp about their Conservations Projects (Req #9c)

Online Resources

B. Introduction Meeting

Most merit badge activities do best to have a "introduction" meeting where the patrol can discuss how to get started and to plan out their field trips. Send out the activity flyer in advance to use as an meeting agenda. Your scouts will then know what to expect.

Camping is an example of a patrol sized activity. Many rank advancement requirements for camping and camp meals are connected directly to a the scout-led patrol.

News Flash : 2020 Virtual Campouts

  • Updated National BSA Guidelines 13-Apr-2020 - COVID-19 FAQ, UPDATED 4/13/20, In-Person Unit Activities. This statement appears to show the virtual campouts/cookouts are acceptable for rank advancement and merit badge requirements. (But not for OA Advancement.)

  • Req 9A: Camping Merit Badge: "Camp a total of at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities or events ... Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched."

C. Homework / Prerequisites


Assign one or more requirements that the scout can do at home, perhaps as a family activity.

    • BSA Standard List of the Ten Essentials for any backcountry adventure.

Prepare Outdoor Code Plan

  • Req #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.

Prepare Overnight Trek Plan

  • Req #3 Make a written plan for an overnight trek and show how to get to your camping spot using a topographical map and a compass, a GPS receiver and a smartphone with a GPS app.

D. Study Hall Patrol Night

While some scouts may be adept at self-study, others may do better in a small group setting and taking notes on worksheets. Make an agenda. You can facilitate discussion by asking them why each of the principles introduced here would be relevant. Schedule one or more patrol meetings to work this merit badge.

MBC Discussion Group #1

  • Req #1: Discussion - Safety Rules of Camping
  • Req #2: Scout Presentation - Written Personal Plan for keeping the Outdoor Code
  • Req #3: Scout Presentation - Written Plan for Overnight Trek
  • Req #4a: Prepare Patrol Duty Plan
  • Req #4b: Plan Patrol Campout

Pre-Open Gathering Activity : PackCheck

A gathering activity before the official meeting start is a great way to set a fun theme for the meeting.

  • Req 5a: Prepare a list of clothing you would need for overnight campouts in both warm and cold weather. Explain the term 'layering'.
  • Req 5b: Discuss footwear for different kinds of weather and how the right footwear is important for protecting your feet.
  • Req 5c: Explain the proper care and storage of camping equipment (clothing, footwear, bedding).
  • Reg 5d: List the outdoor essentials necessary for any campout, and explain why each item is needed.
  • Req 5e: Present yourself to your Scoutmaster with your pack for inspection. Be correctly clothed and equipped for an overnight campout.
  • Req 7a: Prepare Pack List
  • Req 7b: Pack Inspection - Weight, Balance, Comfort

    • BSA Standard List of the Ten Essentials for any backcountry adventure.

MBC Discussion Group #2

Req #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.

E. Field Trip(s)


It will require multiple outdoor trips to complete this merit badge. Note the scouting outdoor plan calls for one weekend campout per month and one long-term campout each year.

20 Nights Camping

Req #9a: Camp a total of at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities or events. 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.

Prepare Camp Meal

Req #8d: 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.

Note: The meals prepared for Cooking Merit Badge requirements 4, 5, and 6 will count only toward fulfilling those requirements and will not count toward rank advancement or other merit badges. Meals prepared for rank advancement or other merit badges may not count toward the Cooking merit badge.

Meal Plan Worksheets Download both of these spreadsheets from Google Docs to help you create your meal plans. (These are a lot better than the ones found in the M.B. Worksheets!)

TWO Camp Adventures

Req 9b: On any of these camping experiences, you must do TWO of the following, only with proper preparation and under qualified supervision...

  1. Hike a Mountain
  2. 4 Mile Cross-country trip - backpack, snowshoe, or ski trip
  3. 15 mile Bike trip
  4. 5 Mile Canoe Trip
  5. Overnight Snowcamp
  6. Rock Rappeling

Conservation Project

Req #9c: Perform a conservation project approved by the landowner or land managing agency. This can be done alone or with others.

Cooking Merit Badge


Please review the Cooking Merit Badge Activity Planner for more ideas on how to include cooking into your camping activities:

  • Cooking Req #5 : (Patrol Meals) Prepare and serve at least 4 outdoor meals to your patrol or a group of youth.**
  • Cooking Req #6 : (Backpack Meals) Prepare and serve two meals and a snack from the menu planned for this requirement. At least one of those meals must be cooked over a fire, or an approved trail stove (with proper supervision).**

F. Extra Credit

While none of these are actual requirements for this merit badge - they are terrific opportunities to show Scout Spirit, Do A Good Turn Daily and to have FUN!

  1. Activity Reflection: Use this meeting for scouts to ask questions and to reflect on what they gained personally from this adventure. You can also have a discussion on what future opportunities are here.
  2. Court of Honor Exhibit: Pictures, handiwork and other memorabilia from this adventure will make for a great presentation at the next Scout Troop Court of Honor.
  3. Camping Trip Activities - Camping can often play a central role in most of the 48 program features troops may choose as a monthly theme. During a monthly outing, each of these features can serve to provide a focus for activities that are relevant and engaging.

BSA Hiking Guide

  • The Scouting Guide to Basic Hiking (2020-Paperback): An Officially-Licensed Book of the Boy Scouts of America: 200 Essential Skills for the Great Outdoors. Current Scouts, Scout alumni, and readers interested in the outdoors are provided with time-tested advice on hiking and backpacking in the wilderness.

Related Merit Badges

Sometimes it is easier by doing two or more merit badges together as a joint activity:

See Also

  • 9 Things to Know about Merit Badges - - There are more than 135 merit badges. By earning them, you can learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business, and future careers. Here’s how to get the most out of your merit badge experience.