Merit Badge Workbook Merit Badge History

Backpacking - In-Person Class Notes

Please be courteous and arrive early for registration and instructions PRIOR to your scheduled class start time. Remember that your Scout uniform is required to be worn when attending.

It is NOT acceptable to come unprepared to a Scoutmaster Bucky event. You can (and should) use the Scoutmaster Bucky Backpacking Merit Badge Workbook to help organize your preparation work. Please note that the use of any workbook is merely for note taking and reference. Completion of any merit badge workbook does not warrant, guarantee, or confirm a Scout's completion of any merit badge requirements. Merit badge counselors may refuse to accept workbooks, but they are NEVER allowed to require their use.

The merit badge pamphlet has a wealth of information that provides valuable insight and clarification and can make earning any merit badge a lot easier. Doing preparation work and reviewing the merit badge pamphlet PRIOR to attending will ensure that Scouts get the most out of these class opportunities.

If you have any additional questions or need further clarification, please feel free to contact Brian Reiners (Scoutmaster Bucky) via email at scoutmasterbucky@yahoo.com or via cell phone at 612-483-0665.

Things to remember to bring for this merit badge class:

  • Your BSA ID # (not your Scoutbook ID #)
  • If you do not have your BSA ID # (or did not provide it with your online registration) you will need a Merit badge blue card properly filled out and signed off by your Scout Leader
  • Backpacking Merit Badge Pamphlet
  • Scout uniform
  • Supporting documentation or project work pertinent to the Backpacking merit badge, which may also include a merit badge workbook for reference with notes
  • Weather appropriate clothing for the time of year and location of the class for outdoor participation
  • Your backpack and trek supplies
  • Proper footwear
  • A positive Scouting focus and attitude

If you are unfamiliar with the Blue Card Process, please read and understand the Scoutmaster Bucky Blue Card Process.

Backpacking - Online Class Notes

Scoutmaster Bucky Online Class links will be sent out 12 to 24 hours prior to the class start time. Notification will be sent to the email address provided in the registration, so please make sure your email is correctly entered.

Please be courteous and arrive 10-15 minutes prior to the scheduled class start time. Ensure that your internet connection, camera, microphone, and broadcasting environment are working and optimal for class participation. Remember that your Scout uniform is required to be worn when attending.

It is NOT acceptable to come unprepared to a Scoutmaster Bucky event. You can (and should) use the Scoutmaster Bucky Backpacking Merit Badge Workbook to help organize your preparation work. Please note that the use of any workbook is merely for note taking and reference. Completion of any merit badge workbook does not warrant, guarantee, or confirm a Scout's completion of any merit badge requirements. Merit badge counselors may refuse to accept workbooks, but they are NEVER allowed to require their use.

The merit badge pamphlet has a wealth of information that provides valuable insight and clarification and can make earning any merit badge a lot easier. Doing preparation work and reviewing the merit badge pamphlet PRIOR to attending will ensure that Scouts get the most out of these class opportunities.

If you have any additional questions or need further clarification, please feel free to contact Brian Reiners (Scoutmaster Bucky) via email at scoutmasterbucky@yahoo.com or via cell phone at 612-483-0665.

Backpacking Merit Badge
Current Scouts BSA Requirements
as of January 25, 2023

Please make sure you read the top portion of this page for general participation expectations in a Scoutmaster Bucky merit badge class.

Pay careful attention to the action verbs within the requirements. An example to note:

"Tell", "explain", "describe", and "discuss" are commonly used and will require the Scout to perform these actions during the class. When these action verbs are a part of any requirement, Scouts are expected to be prepared to share. Reading responses is not acceptable since it does not fulfill the requirement of showing the Scout's knowledge and understanding.

IT MUST BE NOTED THAT SOME REQUIREMENTS MAY TAKE PLACE OUTDOORS AND SCOUTS SHOULD ATTEND WITH OUTDOOR GEAR APPROPRIATE FOR THE TIME OF YEAR AND FORECASTED WEATHER CONDITIONS. PLEASE ALSO NOTE ANY SPECIAL ITEMS NEEDED FOR USE SPECIFIC TO THIS MERIT BADGE THAT SCOUTS SHOULD HAVE FOR THE CLASS.
IT MUST BE NOTED THAT A NUMBER OF REQUIREMENTS MUST TAKE PLACE OUTDOORS AND SCOUTS WILL NEED TO RECORD AND SHOW PROOF OF COMPLETION, TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE MEIRT BADGE COUNSELOR / INSTRUCTOR, IN ORDER TO BE CONSIDERED FOR COMPLETION OF REQUIREMENT(S).
1.
Discuss the prevention of and treatment for the health concerns that could occur while backpacking, including hypothermia, heat reactions, frostbite, dehydration, insect stings, tick bites, snakebite, and blisters.
Scouts should review this requirement and its components and be prepared to discuss, demonstrate, explain, and show as necessary their first aid knowledge and proficiency as it applies to this merit badge.
2.
Do the following:
a.
List 10 items that are essential to be carried on any backpacking trek and explain why each item is necessary.
b.
Describe 10 ways you can limit the weight and bulk to be carried in your pack without jeopardizing your health or safety.
While this requirement will be completed in the class, Scouts should come to the class prepared with input for the lists and discussion. Scouts will find much of the information necessary for completion of this requirement in the Merit Badge Pamphlet and should arrive having reviewed the Merit Badge Pamphlet. Scouts not having prepared for this requirement and/or failing to actively participate during the class for this requirement will find it difficult, if not impossible to complete during the class.
3.
Do the following:
a.
Define limits on the number of backpackers appropriate for a trek crew.
b.
Describe how a trek crew should be organized.
c.
Tell how you would minimize risk on a backpacking trek.
d.
Explain the purpose of an emergency response plan.
The counselor / instructor will facilitate discussion for this requirement. Only Scouts that positively and actively participate in this requirement's discussion will have an opportunity of completing this requirement. Obviously reviewing the Merit Badge Pamphlet will yield much information needed for successful preparation and participation.
4.
Do the following:
a.
Describe the importance of using Leave No Trace principles while backpacking, and at least five ways you can lessen the crew’s impact on the environment.
b.
Describe proper methods of handling human and other wastes while on a backpacking trek. Describe the importance of and means to assure personal cleanliness while on a backpacking trek.
c.
Tell what factors are important in choosing a campsite.
While time will be allotted in the class to covering the importance of Leave No Trace and camp site selection, it will be structured more as a review of these principles rather than an introduction. Scouts will find it more beneficial to prepare themselves by utilizing a Merit Badge Workbook to organize their notes to use during the class discussion. Scouts not coming to the class with preparation work in the way of formulating their thoughts will find it nearly impossible to finish this requirement on the day of the class.
5.
Do the following:
a.
Demonstrate two ways to treat water and tell why water treatment is essential.
While this requirement will be covered in the class, Scouts should still be knowledgeable and prepared to demostrate proper water treatment and will also have the opportunity to share their preparation with the counselor / intrsuctor during the classon why water treatment is essential.
This requirement component will NOT be covered in the class, however, Scouts will have the opportunity to deomnstrate their ability to treat water and tell why water treatment is essential, if they have the proper items for demonstration. Scouts able to demonstrate (meaning with the equipment and/or means to do so) will have the opportunity to share their preparation with the counselor / instructor during the class for consideration.
b.
Explain to your counselor the importance of staying well-hydrated during a trek.
While this requirement will be covered in the class, Scouts should still prepare by understanding the basics of each component in this requirement by reviewing the merit badge pamphlet and being prepared to explain their findings with the counselor / instructor.
6.
Do the following:
a.
Demonstrate that you can read topographic maps.
b.
While on a trek, use a map and compass to establish your position on the ground at three different locations OR use a GPS receiver to establish your position on a topographic map and on the ground at three different locations.
Requirements 6a and 6b will be covered in the class.
Requirements 6a and 6b will NOT be covered in the class. However, Scouts will have the opportunity to be reviewed by the counselor / instructor for this requirement, providing they can meet the satisfaction of the counselor / instructor for fulfilling the requirement components. Scouts will need to provide their own topographical map (preferably electronic) and a compass.
c.
Explain how to stay found, and what to do if you get lost.
Scouts should be prepared to share with the counselor / instructor what they know and have learned with regards to staying found and what to do if lost as is pertains to backpacking / hiking. Scouts should not expect to be lectured to on this topic. Only Scouts who have done proper and accurate preparation and research for this requirment component will be considered for sign off during the class.
7.
Tell how to properly prepare for and deal with inclement weather.
Scouts will find the Backapcking Merit Badge Pamphlet to be an extremely useful resource for preparaing for this requirement. Be prepared to discuss this requirement as a part of class discussion for sign off consideration.
8.
Do the following:
a.
Explain the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of backpacking stoves using at least three different types of fuel.
Requirement 8a will be discussed during the class. Scouts are encouraged to review the merit badge pamphlet to prepare for this discussion.
b.
Demonstrate that you know how to operate a backpacking stove safely and to handle fuel safely.
Requirements 8a and 8b will be discussed and demonstrated during the class. Scouts are encouraged to review the merit badge pamphlet to prepare for this discussion. Scouts may bring their own backpacking stove if they have one and desire to do so.
Scouts will need to have their own backpacking stove for use during the class with the ability to properly demonstrate it's usage. It is recommended that Scouts coordinate with their parent or guardian for safely demonstrating the usage during the class and make appropriate arrangements. It will be at the discretion of the merit badge counselor / instructor to be satisfied that the demonstration set up is in line with their concerns for safety for the Scout and environment as to whether they will be able to demonstrate this requirement during the class. Think safety, Be Prepared!
c.
Prepare at least three meals using a stove and fuel you can carry in a backpack.
Requirement component 8c will NOT be completed during the class, however an opportunity for discussion will take place during the class for any Scouts that can show they have prepared at least three meals using a stove and fuel that they carried on a backpacking trek. It must be noted that at the discretion of the merit badge counselor / instructor, only Scouts that meet the counselor's / instructor's intepretations and standards for this requirement component will be considered for sgin off during the class. Scouts should make every effort to have supporting documentation and explanation prepared to offer the highest chance of successful sign off. The counselor / instructor will give clarification for those needing to complete or follow up for completion on this requirement component.
d.
Demonstrate that you know how to keep cooking and eating gear clean and sanitary, and that you practice proper methods for food storage while on a backpacking trek.
Scouts will have an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and learning during the class, however those Scouts not coming to the class already to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of food gear sanitary practices and safe food storage, will find it difficult to complete this requirement as a part of the class.
Scouts will need to be creative for the online class in order to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of food gear sanitary practices and safe food storage. Scouts will have an opportunity to share with the counselor / instructor during the onlines ession for consideration for sign off. Be Prepared!
9.
Do the following:
a.
Write a plan that includes a schedule for a patrol/crew backpacking hike of at least 2 miles.
b.
Conduct a prehike inspection of the patrol and its equipment.
If time and weather permit, Scouts having their backpacks MAY have an opportunity to complete Requirement 9e at the end of the class. If this is deemed possible and needed, Scouts will work on Requirement components 9a and 9b as well, otherwise...
Requirement components 8a and 8b will NOT be completed during the class, however an opportunity for discussion will take place during the class for Scouts who feel they have completed these components. Please note that sign off on Requirement components 9 a and 9b are completely at the discretion, intepretation, and satisfaction of the merit badge counselor / instructor. Scouts wishing to be considered for completion will also need to bring a signed note from the Scoutmaster, Adult Trek Guide, or other adult leader (with title) showing that they have satisfactorily completed these components of the requirement.
c.
Show that you know how to properly pack your personal gear and your share of the crew’s gear and food.
d.
Show you can properly shoulder your pack and adjust it for proper wear.
Requirement components 8c and 8d will only be able to be completed by Scouts who have a properly packed backpack with them. The counselor / instructor will facilitate scenarios to help Scouts show their ability and understanding to accommodate successful completion. Scouts not having a proper backpack with ALL necessary personal items will find it difficult, if not impossible to complete these two requirement components during the class.
e.
While using the plan you developed for requirement 9a, carry your fully loaded pack to complete a hike of at least 2 miles.
As stated above, if time and weather permit, Scouts having their backpacks MAY have an opportunity to complete Requirement 9e at the end of the class. If this is deemed possible and needed, Scouts will work on Requirement components 9a and 9b as well. No guarantee is made that this requirement will be completed but thoughtful consideration will be given to make an opportunity.
This requirement component will NOT be completed as a part of the class. Scouts able to show proof of completion, to the satisfaction of the merit badge counselor / instructor, will be considered for sign off on this requirement component. Bring your proof.
10.
Using Leave No Trace principles, participate in at least three backpacking treks of at least three days each and at least 15 miles each, and using at least two different campsites on each trek. Carry everything you will need throughout the trek.

This requirement will most easily be completed by Scouts who have done Patrol/Troop backpacking trips in the past and have been a part of the planning. Whether the Scout has this backpacking experience or not, all Scouts will need to make the checklist as a part of this requirement. It is recommended to use a Merit Badge Workbook to assist with this requirement.

Scouts wishing to receive credit for this requirement will need a Scoutmaster, Adult Trek Guide, or other adult leader (with title shown) from the troop to provide a note and signature stating that this requirement has been fulfilled.

11.
Do the following:
a.
Write a plan for a backpacking trek of at least five days using at least three different campsites and covering at least 30 miles. Your plan must include a description of and route to the trek area, a schedule (including a daily schedule), a list of food and equipment needs, a safety and emergency plan, and a budget.
Time will be allotted during the class to work on this component of the requirement. Scouts wishing to complete all of requirement 11 will only be able to do so having already done a backpacking and camping trek meeting these criteria and showing the plan to the counselor / instructor during the class.
b.
Using Leave No Trace principles, take the trek you have planned and, while on the trek, complete at least one service project approved by your merit badge counselor.
c.
Keep a daily journal during the trek that includes a day-by-day description of your activities, including notes about what worked well and thoughts about improvements that could be made for the next trek.
These two components of the requirement (11b and 11c) will NOT be completed as a part of the class, however Scouts having already completed requirement 11a and having executed the requirements of these two components will have time to review with the counselor / instructor for consideration for sign off.