Guidance on Kit

We hope that you find the guidance on this page helpul. We are not endorsing or recommending any specifice item, manufacturer or retailer listed below. The information provided is just for guidance and to give examples of what sort of equipment a scout may require for there continued scouting life.

All ‘personal’ kit should be clearly named with the scout’s full name. We have lost count of the number times that a scout has claimed an item not to be theirs, used another scout’s as it was similar or left after an item behind after an activity. Also do not send a scout on a camp or activity in ‘good clothes’ as we will get wet and muddy. We also dont want to be left with a coat or other item that we cannot return stright away and the scout may then need for school or other activity.

When looking for equipment, shop around. Many retailers will give a discount for members of the Scout Association if you show your necker. Also look at which retailers are part of the Easyfundraising website and help raise funds for Irwin Scouts at no cost to you. Also use rather than and you can choose Biggleswade Scout Group as your charity to support.
Many of these retailers can be found on out Useful Links page.

The items that every scout really should have are: (click on the blue links for examples)

  • Hiking boot – A pair of sturdy hiking boots with ankle support are a must for any scout. We will do hiking that may sometimes last a number of hours and there is nothing worse than poorly fitting or unsupportive hiking boots. We also realise that a scout may grow out of more than 1 pair while in scouts so do not go mad on price. Leather rather than fabric are better for young people as they are easier to clean and do not need re-waterproofing. They may also be in good enough condition when a scout grows oout of them to hand on to a younger scout.
  • Rucksack. – We may not do very many hikes when a scout will need to carry all their kit. We will however do plenty of camping and scut having ALL of their personal kit in ONE rucksack is important. Space is always limited in a tent with 2-3 scouts in it nd also in any vehicle should we travel further a field and need a van or minibus. A reasonable sized rucksack is therfore essential. We also say that every scout should carry there own rucksack when arriving or leaving camp – no more Sherpa Mum or Dad.
  • 3 season sleeping bag – We will camp in a number of different sleeping enviroments from a bivvi, which is basically a tarpaulin and a rope; to large bell tents with beds or even bunk beds in a dormitory. We also camp in all seasons and a scout will soon complain if they are too cold at night. A ‘mummy bag’ in a ‘compression bag’ is easier to pack than a ‘square sleeping bag’ that needs rolling up to repack is easier for a scout to repack. A scout should practice a few times putting the sleeping bag back into it’s ‘compression bag’ before comeing on camp!
  • Waterproof coat – A waterproof coat is a must for a lot of activities, whether it is a camp, a hike or just out and about on a summer camp. Again, this is another item th a scout will grow out of. A small lightwieght kagool can be useful if it ‘a just in case’, but a slightly heavier weight will service most situations. Try not to get one that is too heavy as we will always suggest wearing multiple thinner layers on colder days, and the coat is only the top layer of what could be 3 or 4 layers. However make sure it is big enough to fit over these additional layers and still allow free movement. With or without a hood is a personal choice, but remember if it does not have a hood a seperate hat will be required.
  • Cup, Bowl, Plate, Spoon, Knife and Fork – These items are easily found in most of the outdoor shops (Go Outdoors, Millets,etc), Online retailers, Halfords or even supermarkets. We do however have a few pointers:
    1. They do not have to match!
    2. They should all be named!
    3. The cup should ideally have a handle as we will serve hot and cold drinks.
    4. They should be unbreakable (plastic or metal). This will also mean they are lighter that crockery.
    5. The bowlis ideally plastic. We will often serve soup and metal bowls can get too hot to handle before the scout has retuned to the table!
    6. Knifes should be upto the job of cutting most food but please no steak knives! The scouts do the washing up and we do not want injuries
    7. SPORKS ARE A NO!!! We often serve more than 1 course at a meal. If the scout uses a spork for cereal they do not then have a knife and fork for the full english with a scout staple of Eggy Bread!


  • Sleeping/roll mat – Most of the times that we camp, we will be in tents and scouts will sleep on the ground. A sleeping or roll mat is therefore essential. Not only for comfort, but it also offers some insulation from cold damp ground. A scout MUST be able to re-roll their mat and attach to the rucksack after use, but this can be done with the help of another scout, so practice with them before they first use it. There are some that concertina or fold rather than roll (see example). These can be a bit more expensive depending on where you buy them from, but they are thicker and certainly easier to pack away. Self-inflating ones are again nicer to sleep on than the simple roll mats but are a bit more difficult to put away for small hands.

Other useful items:

  • Microfibre Travel towel – These are great, particularly if we are on a longer camp thatn 1 night. If we are on a longer camp we will often say bring 2 towels. One for showering, etc. and one for use after water activities. These dry quickly and take up very little space when you only have 1 rucksack for all you stuff.
  • Dry sacks – Whilst all rucksacks say they are waterproof they never are really waterproof. We used to suggest that a scout double packed their kit in a rucksack using a bin liner and plastic bags from the supermarket. However these are getting harder to find and we should really minimise our use of thes bags. Dry sack therefore are a great idea, as there in nothing worse than waking up after a night of rain on camp to find it wasn’t quite tucked inside the bivvi enough and that all the clean dry clothes are no longer dry.
  • Heavy duty rubble sack – This might sound like an odd item, however as we mentioned above rucksacks are not waterproof. One of these can be used to line the main compartment of the rucksack and then all the other kit placed inside, either in dry sacks or smaller plastic bags. They are cheaper than liners for rucksacks and are stronger than bin liners, so can be used over and over again. A second one can be used to wrap the sleeping bag (in its compression bag!) in the bottom section of the rucksack. A damp sleeping bag is no fun or use when camping in November!
  • Travel or inflatable pillow – This might sound like a luxury as a pillow case stuffed with a fleece that is not being worn works just as well. However all scouts seem to like to bring a pillow and this seems to be the one item they can never get into a rucksack and the one item they always seem to drop in a muddy puddle when leaving a camps site. There are numerous different types sop shop around and find the one the scout prefers.