Patrol Boxes

Cambridge District Scout Archives

The Patrol Box was a designed to carry kitchen gear to camp.  Also known as chuck or grub boxes in America they are not exclusive to Scouting.  They may be a simple crate or an elaborate unit of drawers and compartments which when folded it looks like a large box.

One of the functions was to provide secure transport in trains and lorries.

28th Cambridge 1961 Walesby Forest

With spaces for food, water, fuel, utensils, stoves etc. they often incorporate carrying poles, retractable legs and fold down surfaces.  They keep food safe and equipment tidy. Occasionally it became a matter of honour patrol box should be always packed and ready making camping preparations easier.

For Troops without their own permanent headquarters they became a viable alternative to Troop Corners.

Many designs can be found in old magazines and newer versions on the web.


2nd Cambridge 1927

Cambridge Archives

1954                5th Cambridge                         Entering for the Hele Camping Competition ‘They suffered an unkind setback at the start: the bottom fell out of the camping box, on the way to the station.’

1957                54th Cambridge           Court of Honour          Skipper suggested that ‘Patrol Boxes be up to date and that all Scouts have staves’.

1958                54th Cambridge           Court of Honour          ‘Patrol boxes to consist of a small box in the large one.  The small box to contain things for troop meetings i.e. rope, ball, etc.’

1968                54th Cambridge           Patrol boxes were occasionally part of the daily inspection at camp

Current Examples

28th Cambridge            Four basic boxes can be found at the 28th Cambridge.  Colour coded they are robust crates with no internal adornments or legs.  They may have been used to separate gear by patrol before camp, protect gear on the trip to camp and/or as storage at camp.  Coming from the Post Office about 1980 they are very robust but too heavy for ready use.

No written records exist of their use and their date of construction is unknown.

50th Cambridge           A large metal box used as a patrol box is retained by the 50th  Milton and Landbeach.

54th Cambridge           Wooden examples in stores, an un-adapted box

and one with a padded lid and remnant dividers inside

CUSAGC                       Metal chest or trunk possibly used for this purpose

Modern equivalents

Many patrol boxes have been replaced by the seal-able plastic crate.  They are more fully protective of food stores, often transparent for ease of locating gear, waterproof, and pack into smaller cars.  They are more practical for those groups without their own Headquarters but probably fail to act as a working hub of a camp kitchen in quite the same way.

JWR Archivist Jan 2019