Scout Kit List

Cambridge District Scout Archive

The following are published kit lists with little explanation. They information contained within these will feed pages on specific items. It is not suggested that , whilst presented chronologically, the lists show a clear cut development of camping skills or resources. Then, as now, lists vary with length and type of camp, relative experience of the troop and the individual and joint resources built up to camp.

The relative lack of spare clothes (underwear and socks) reflects an age when washing was a hard physical chore carried out once a week. My mother recalls helping the family wash on her school lunchtime break because her mother had worn herself out throughout the morning. She used tub, posser, washboard and mangle – no powered aids. A posser is a washing dolly for agitating the clothes in the tub. Clothes were worn for longer. On longer camps washing days were part of the routine and washing lines held more than damp tea towels.

Such events were a norm (what was the alternative?) and they are rarely mentioned. It is only when the weather is so consistantly wet that no washing is possible or when the drying is inadvisably forced around a camp fire and the socks burnt through, that it gains a line in a memoir.

1926 7th Cambridge record (a) ‘new item on the kit list – a groundsheet‘.

13th Cambridge 1936 Blankets – no sleeping bag mentioned

1938 Hymn Book and Mirror (PL’s only)

13th Cambridge 1938 The items on the right are new

1939 13th Cambridge Request to bring ‘Writing paper and P. C.’s’ to the 9 day summer camp. P. C.s are blank post cards whose postage was half that of a letter. It was also a requirement that the boys hair be cut in advance of the camp.

1943 Notable for the ‘change of underwear’ crossed out and the Jam Ration added

c 1945 ‘Needle and Thread’, ‘small personal luxury items may be added’ and a Patrol ‘Gear list’. The Optional list suggests that a watch was not usual. A static camp. Note that whilst undated the ‘Scout Hat or beret’ suggests a slightly later date. The ‘2 spare scout staves’ under Patrol gear implies that a personal staff was part of uniform.

The photograph below from 9th Cambridge camp in the 1950’s would appear to replicate the list above from the 1945. The full uniform is assumed ahead of inspection. The photo is not cropped but specifically of the kit laid out for inspection.

Current camp instructions often include list elements of what should not be brought. Electronic games and mobile phones are sometimes prohibited, whilst at the same time simple mobiles are provided by the troop for contact on hikes.

Cubs are often encouraged or required to bring a cuddly toy, to destigmatize doing so for those who must. The instructions may include not to bring ones ‘very best soft friend’.

Individual food treats to share or for a ‘midnight feast’ are frequent extra items, but occasionally parents are asked to move away from sugar filled items. A sugar burst just before bed is not beneficial.

JWR Archivist Jan 2020