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Pack Overnight Camp

So our pack has a camping trip planned for Next weekend and Wisconsin just passed an executive order limiting occupancy of buildings to 25%, which would only allow 1/3 of our pack to attend camp, with what we have reserved.

We want to open up the option to tent camp for the older scouts. Are there guidelines as to how cold it can be for cub scouts to tent in.

Weather Forecast shows 38 for nighttime low temp.


I’m not aware of any specific national rules. We’ve been out and had a light freeze overnight. I’d check with your council or maybe your unit commish to see if there are any local council rules.

Check and see if your Council has a polar bear patch or counts frost points, too!

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If Denis’s council is like mine which covers part of western Wisconsin, the award for cold weather camping requires being outside for 24 hours when the temperature drops below 0. In my council, it is called the Zero Hero award. My daughter earned it at Northern Tier when the overnight temp dropped to -39 degrees Fahrenheit. We don’t have an award for camping when it gets below freezing. That would be too easy in MN and WI :smiley:


Yeah, our Council’s requirements are a high temp below 32F during the day, plus a few other pretty easy requirements. The Chief Pontiac Trail (https://www.chiefpontiacprograms.org/credHike.html) winter hike requirements are easier for the weather, but tougher on the other requirements… And the CPT requires post-hike essays and hand-drawn route maps :grimacing:

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Right, youth sign up for scouts to write essays.


It’s not my favorite part of the activity, but if someone can’t come up with 200 words reflecting on a two-day hike & kayak excursion, I gotta wonder how engaged they were in it. It took my son all of 20 minutes to knock the essay out, and he was done with it the same afternoon we got home.

I’m all for the map, though. It really reinforces the orienteering and map & compass skills for the participants.

I believe the guide to safe Scouting says something like no winter camping for cub scouts, but it doesn’t define that. I’d suspect that’s because 38 degrees might be a brisk fall day in WI, but it’d be frigid cold for Southern CA.

I have camped with cub scouts on nights that dipped down into the upper 30s. I’m on Ohio.

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I searched the Guide to Safe Scouting for the word winter and did not find any prohibition on Cub Scouts camping in winter or cold weather. Common sense with the safety of the Scouts must be used.

Here we go, it actually is more explicit in referring you to your council than I remember.

But what is cold in southern CA is shorts weather in MN. I visited my dad near Palm Springs one January. It was in the 50s. I was wearing a short sleeve shirt and no jacket while “locals” were wearing parkas.


Yep, that’s why it’s council specific.

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So I discussed with council, and they essentially said they have no guidelines, just as long as the parents who are camping with the scouts are equipped and knowledgable about cold weather camping.

This is my favorite answer.

I’m the outdoor activity chair for a Pack in Southern California. Once a year we plan a trip that somehow always ends up with an overnight forecasted low of 36-38F. We don’t plan it - it just seems to happen. We often wake up with frost on the ground or frozen water. We all survive, the kids think it’s cool, the parents complain. I just make sure everyone knows what the weather will be, and give them very specific examples of what to bring and what to wear to bed. Advice is all geared towards the normal So Cal resident who thinks 50F is parka weather. As long as everyone knows what they’re getting into, they thank me for the info and enjoy themselves.


Our council also requires at least 1 or 2 adult leaders to have taken BALOO training. When I took BALOO, our council specified what the cold weather requirements were for our Cub Scouts (our council does not allow outdoor camping for Cubs between Nov & Mar). Our council requires the campground to either be on a council approved list or have certain amenities like flush toilets & running water for Cub Scout camping. I have mixed emotions about the rules, but I do understand that not every family is up for rugged camping, so I get it.

Good point. That is a guide to safe Scouting requirement. I have some quotes below.

" At least one adult on a pack overnighter must have completed Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation ( BALOO , No. 34162) to properly understand the importance of program intent, Youth Protection policies, health and safety, site selection, age-appropriate activities, and sufficient adult participation."

“Overnight camping by Lion, Tiger, Wolf, or Bear Cub Scouts as dens is prohibited. Webelos dens may participate in overnight camping.”

I’m in SoCal. I thought the definition of cold here is when we have to put on socks to wear our sandals.


The challenge we have is getting our council to offer BALOO training during COVID. The 2 leaders in our Pack will be moving up to the Troop this year.

Your quote is misleading. The purpose of BALOO is to take your PACK camping. The requirement quoted is “DENS can not go camping as a den”. ALL of your youth can go pack camping. There is a one on one ratio for lions and tigers. There is no one on one requirement for wolf, bear, webelos. It is encouraged, not required. (Check with your local council and pack committee). Please read the GTSS for more detail. There is also no requirement for hot showers and flush toilets. The requirement are listed in the appendix of the BALOO syllabus.