Scouting on a Budget - a Scout is Thrifty
How to Be Prepared without going broke

Note that referenced prices are dated from when this page was first posted, and are always subject to change.


The Book
  The Boy Scout Handbook - can be obtained at Kittery Trading Post or the Pine Tree Council Scout Shop (see below), but check with our Committee Chairman first. The new edition book costs $9.95, but we highly recommend the spiral bound version for $14.99, which will easily stay open to any page.
The Uniform
  Troop Neckerchief - If your son didn't get one with our colors at his Cub Scout crossover, see our Scoutmaster. We changed the color from the Marshwood purple to more conventional green with red piping in late 2006. We usually keep a couple in stock, or we can order one (approx $8.99+ for spares).
Scout Shirt - These can be obtained at the Kittery Trading Post, or ordered from the Pine Tree Council Scout Shop. tel-1-877-782-7467, fax-207-541-3953. Along with the shirt, you will need: the Pine Tree Council shoulder patch, 338 numeral patches, and shoulder loops. I recommend buying a short-sleeve shirt ($24.99), which will take a little longer for him to outgrow than the long-sleeve. If your budget is tight, we usually have a few shirts passed on by older scouts.
Scout Pants/Shorts - If you wish to buy the Official Scout convertible pants ($34.99-39.99), we won't stop you. To save money, try the local Goodwill and Salvation Army stores. They usually have green pants and/or shorts very similar to the real thing, for $3 to $6 each. Forest Green convertible cargo pants from a discount store are best compromise for price.
Scout Hat - This can also be purchased at Kittery Trading post ($12.99). I strongly recommend writing your Scout's name inside the hat band.
The Equipment - Use this Lightfighter Equipment Guide link for the latest in lightweight packing.
  Use this Patrol Box Inventory Restocking link for "car camping" trips to keep everything organized.
The info below is a bit dated, but may still be useful...
Mess Kit - (Pan, Bowl, Pot. Lid & Cup nested as a compact unit)These can be obtained reasonably at WalMart and sometimes Marden's. The aluminum versions ($8-$10) are much less than the stainless steel ($20-$24).
Utensil kit - (Knife, Fork & Spoon) These are also cheaper at WalMart, about $1-$3.
Backpack - Needed for camping trips. Should be a frame pack with room to tie on a sleeping bag. There are not many stores besides Kittery Trading Post, Eastern Mountain Sports & WalMart or that carry these anymore ($60-$100+). The best deal for those on a budget, is to frequently check the Goodwill stores. I pick them up there for $5 quite often. Check with the troop first before you buy.
Day pack - The choice for day hikes only. The typical book pack most teens use is fine. Any discount store, like WalMart, has a choice at a fair price ($20), Goodwill for under $5.
Sleeping Bag -This may be your most expensive investment. Look over the fine print carefully, and don't be tempted to pick up a cheap one.We camp in temperatures that can dip well below freezing in our unpredictable New England weather. I found that most sleeping bags exaggerate their ratings a little and that a bag rating of 0-10° will be comfortable at 20-30°. Mummy bags are also better at conserving body heat in winter and can be unzipped for ventilation in summer. Expect to pay between $40-$70 for a good one at a discount store. Down is the best insulator, but drops dramatically when wet. I recommend insulation of the Poly holofill type, since it is not uncommon for us to get wet when camping. Use utility straps (also from WalMart) rather than bungie cords to tie it on the backpack. The bouncing motion of a bungie causes more fatigue and they tend to let the bag slip out at inconvenient times.
Ground Pad - The foam ones are inexpensive ($9). The self-inflating ones cost more ($29), but squeeze down smaller and insulate better. Both can be rolled up with the sleeping bag.
Canteen - These come in so many shapes and prices, I won't bother to list them. Just look for two things: carrying strap & leak proof.
Tent - The Troop has been able to supply tents for our Scouts, through the generosity of our Sponsors and from fund-raisers. If you do want buy a tent anyway, be sure to get one with a full-length fly. This keeps out the rain better and greatly reduces the condensation problem in cold weather
Proper Clothing
  Cold Weather Necessities - Spring and Fall Camporees are considered cold weather camping! Read the Scout Handbook for detailed descriptions. You will not be allowed to participate in these events without proper gear. All of this can be purchased at Goodwill or Walmart. Long sleeve shirts, pants and socks of wool, polypropylene or polar fleece will insulate whether it is wet or dry. Long underwear and a sweater is a requirement for camping in this weather. For spring and fall, a full rainsuit is necessary for protection...a poncho will not protect you from wind-blown rain. Plan on getting wet and cold, have a dry change of clothes and a couple extra pairs of socks, a stocking hat, gloves or mittens, and hiking shoes or boots. Tennis shoes may be used for extra, but not primary, footgear.
That covers the basics. Check the Scout Handbook for miscellaneous items and sensible clothing. We do not solicit for any store named here; they are just suggestions. Also check out Big Lot in Portsmouth, BJ's, Sam's Club, etc. All prices listed are approximate and may fluctuate. For on-line deals, check out

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