Scouting Forums

Uniform Guide Confusion for Cub Scouts and Scouters

2016-04-29: It is easy to be confused. Some of the BSA web pages and guides are listing old information. This thread is for identifying known and apparent uniform errors.

2019-06-26: Cub Scout Uniforms
Each Cub Scouting program (Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos) handbook for youth has a short description of uniform in the text, and insignia placement charts inside the cover pages.

2019-06-26: Cub Scout Leader Uniforms
The description of the Cub Scout leader uniforms are in the Cub Scout Leader Book (2018, p. 108). The Lion Den Leader polo and T-shirt options are optional uniforms shown in the Lion Den Leader Guide (2018, p. 16).

The Guide to Awards and Insignia is the primary authority for insignia. However current online and paper copies may not have some new insignia. Corrections and newer versions of this guide are posted online.

2018-08-14: BSA Uniform Web Sites

2018-06-28 - Uniform builder added

a. - status unknown. Outdated?, redirecting to wrong Scout Shop web page Summer 2018.
b. Scout Shop Uniform and Apparel, Aug 2018
c. Scout Shop Uniform Builder tool

2018-07-24: Cub Scouting Program References

a. > Programs > Cub Scouts > Uniform.
b. > Programs > Cub Scouts > Parents > Uniform & Awards > The Cub Scout Uniform.

2019-06-28 Related articles and discussion

Last updated: 2019-07-22 07:35 pm PDT


Some of my previous posts

2016-06-23 Webelos Belt Confusion

2018-07-24: What is the “minimum uniform”?

(2019-06-28 post, Guide source updated from 2015 to 2018)

… The “minimum uniform” per “The Neckerchief” part of the Guide to Awards and Insignia, 2018 printing, section 1, Special Regulations, page 13:

When engaged in Scouting activities, members may wear the neckerchief with appropriate nonuniform clothing to identify them as Scouts.

2018-07-24: Uniform Inspection Sheets (2018)

a. > Programs > Cub Scouts > Uniform.
b. > Programs > Cub Scouts > Parents > Uniform & Awards > The Cub Scout Uniform. (Forms were uploaded July 2018, web page still has old document references and links on it.).

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It would be nice if the Scout Shop photos and the written descriptions were correlated. For example, the Scout Shop photo has a Den Leader with green not red pack numerals. When I bought my first leader uniform I was provided with green numerals (as is in the exemplar photo in the Scout Shop website). Research suggested that the green numerals were part of the “centennial” color scheme. Six months later, when I purchased additional green numerals, I was told by the same sales associate that red numerals were for pack leaders and cub scouts. It seems to me that the actual indicator of Cub or Scout unit affiliation is the colored epaulette tabs.


My local Scout Shop has a red patch vest on display. Stapled onto the vest are Whittling Chip, Conservation Good Turn, BSA Family and Climb on Safely patches.

Since Climb on Safely is for adults, this vert presumably represents a (possibly young) adult. While we should all be proud of what we’ve accomplished, one wonders how earning Whittling Chip has remained among the things worthy of being bragged about on a vest.

I joked with the Scout Shop employees about the vest on display the last time I was in there, just like I’m joking now.


In our council, the red brag rags are for Cubs. They have green ones for Scouts BSA, but I have yet to see any older scouts with one.

With that said, I’m looking for a Nap On Safely badge for one of my adult leaders. He was very upset that he missed the Advanced Napping class at summer camp last week…


Green on tan color scheme

The “green on tan” color scheme (unit numbers, basic “trained” badge, etc.) were announced in September 2008 by the Boy Scout Division (now Scouts BSA) for Boy Scouts and Boy Scout Leaders. See Scouting magazine September 2008 article Design of the times, by John Clark.

Den leader wearing Scouts BSA unit numbers

At the Scout Shop Uniform and Apparel web site section is using (2019-06-27) a photo of a male Cub Scout Den Leader who is wearing Scouts BSA insignia. He is incorrectly wearing Scouts BSA green on tan unit numbers.


On the 2016 Scout Leader uniform inspection sheet (6568_103111_Ldr_UniformInspSheet_R12.indd 1 dated 8/29/16 3:45 PM) he is wearing the correct white on red unit numbers.


Shoulder Loops

The Scouts BSA forest green shoulder loops (item 64017) are probably also incorrect. The 2016 Scout Leader uniform inspection sheet show him wearing the blue Cub Scout shoulder loops.

The current 2019 Scout Shop store uniform information display (undated) has a corrected photo with the male den leader wearing the Cub Scouting blue shoulder loops (item 677) and white on red unit numbers.

The unit number colors are described in the Guide to Awards and Insignia Cub Scout Insignia section.

The Guide to Awards and Insignia, Universal and Non-unit Insignia section states:

Shoulder loops, ribbon, on shoulder epaulets; the color identifies the wearer’s primary registered position in Scouting

The 2015 and 2016 Scout Leader Uniform Inspection Sheets have a different statement:

Scouters wear the color shoulder loop of the program in which they are serving:
blue, Cub Scouting;
forest green, Boy Scouting;
blaze (orange), Varsity Scouting;
green, Venturing;
silver, Council and District;
gold, regional and national.

If I was a den leader and also an elected district member-at-large on the district committee I might be wearing silver shoulder loops.

Last updated: 2019-06-28 05:26 pm PDT

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Cub Scout Leader Uniform Descriptions

Lion Den Leader Uniform

Lion Den Leader Guide (39003, © 2018 Boy Scouts of America, 2018 printing), p. 16

A Lion den leader can wear the same official uniform as other Cub Scout leaders in the pack. The Lion polo or Lion T-shirt would also be appropriate. For more information or questions you may have on proper uniforming for your position, check with your Cubmaster or council.

Other Den Leader Guides

There is no description of the Cub Scout Leader uniform in the Den Leader Guides for Tiger, Wolf, Bear and Webelos den leaders, only a listing of the uniform inspection sheet in the “Additional Resources” section. The description of the Cub Scout leader uniforms is in the Cub Scout Leader book.

Cub Scout Leader Uniform

Cub Scout Leader Book (33221, © Boy Scouts of America, 2018 printing) “Uniforms and Insignia” section has a description of the Cub Scout leader uniforms on page 108.

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That is a Den Leader office badge on his uni. It also appears he is weaing a cub leader neckerchief with a wolf slide.

In reply to:

Yes, the is wearing the blue and gold Cub Scout leader neckerchief (64070 “Neck CS Ldr”) and Wolf slide (80000 “Slide CS Wolf”).


The wearing of Den Leader neckerchiefs is optional per the Cub Scout Leader Book (2018), page 108.

That brings us to the subject of neckwear confusion for CS leaders.

Last updated: 2019-06-28 10:17 am PDT

As to neckers, back in the day we turned our collars under. I cannot get my collars to go over the necker neatly so I either go without or go old school.

Neckwear for Cub Scout Leaders

This post is about the BSA confusing information pertaining to what is available to be worn around the neck with the official tan uniform shirt and lady’s official yellow uniform blouse.

Cub Scout Leader Book (2018)

Adult Leader Uniforms, p. 108

Editors note: I have not been able to identify the “tan dress tie” or the “official blue den leader neckerchief”. The “tan dress tie” may have been discontinued and replaced by the bolo tie.

Tie: Men’s uniform shirt may be worn with or without:

  • tan dress tie, or
  • Cub Scout leader bolo tie

Den Leader neckerchief (optional): Official blue den leader neckerchief

Guide to Awards and Insignia (2018)

Bolo tie, p. 20

Bolo tie, No. 830; Cub Scout leader, optional wear with open-collar shirt.

The Neckerchief, pp. 11-13

Official neckerchiefs. Official neckerchiefs are triangular in shape. … Cub Scout leaders may wear the blue and gold Cub Scout leader’s neckerchief, No. 64070. … A Webelos leader wears a neckerchief, No. 64078, similar to the Webelos Scout neckerchief, except that it has gold embroidered edging and is larger.

Neckerchief slides, p. 13

Neckerchief slides. Several official slides are available from Handicraft slides made by youth may also be worn.

Scout Leader Uniform Inspection Sheet (August 2016)

(All shirt choices below may be long - or short-sleeve.)
â–  Male leaders wear the official uniform shirt.
â–  Female Cub Scout leaders wear either the official yellow blouse or tan uniform shirt.
â–  Female leaders wear the official tan uniform shirt.

Shirts are worn with program-appropriate loops on epaulets.

Neckwear is optional but must be worn according to specifications in the Insignia Guide

(Partial draft to be continued).
Last updated: 2019-06-29 12:22 pm PDT

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No. Cub Scout unit numbers are white on red.
You apparently missed reading my statement below the image. I have moved it above the image. Cub Scout unit leaders wear white on red unit numbers.

The Guide to Awards and Insignia (2018), section 2, Cub Scout Insignia, is the primary authoritative reference.

Unit number, cloth, white on red, Nos. 10400 through 10408 (last digit indicates the unit number for 0 through 8); for unit number 9, order No. 10406. Cub Scout and Cub Scout leader; left sleeve, position 2, touching council shoulder emblem if veteran unit bar is not worn. …

Scout shop should take the picture down from the website if that is the case. Offending photo is still up.

Neckerchiefs and Collars

In reply to:

They still do. See Bryan on Scouting article “Do you wear your neckerchief over or under the collar?” article of May 4, 2018.

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Addressing some things mentioned above:

The “minimum uniform” … [is the neckerchief]

I believe the part of the Insignia Guide referenced near this quote was not meant to convey that the minimum uniform is the neckerchief, so I think that meaning was read into it that wasn’t intended. I think the quoted material was to clarify that the neckerchief may be worn with non-uniform clothing. More info.

the Scout Shop photo has a Den Leader with green not red pack numerals

This rule creates confusion. I wish the numerals simply corresponded to the uniform shirt type. E.g., red numerals go with blue Cub Scout, yellow female Cub Scout leader, or green Venturing. All tan uniforms should have the tan numerals regardless of program.

Shoulder loops, ribbon, on shoulder epaulets; the color identifies the wearer’s primary registered position in Scouting

That doesn’t make sense. The epaulets are an ensemble with the position patch. If your position patch is of a Cub Scout Den Leader, then you wear the blue epaulets. The primary registration is rather arbitrary and may reflect concerns totally unrelated to your current position, such as which unit or level is easiest to register as primary with, which unit or level you registered with first, etc.

Also, I am a Venturing Adviser, but my primary is as a Cubmaster. I would not think of wearing the blue epaulets on the green Venturing uniform shirt.

What we really don’t need are the green unit numerals. We should have only white numerals on red for almost everyone and white numerals on blue for Sea Scouts.

For Webelos crossing over from a pack to a troop with the same unit number, they need to change the numerals on their uniform. Why?

For chartered organization representatives who serve both a back and a troop with the same unit numbers, they need two shirts or some Velcro wizardry.

The way the white on red unit numerals stand our makes them superior to the green ones. They look good on any color uniform. They would even look good on the Sea Scout uniform, but the white on blue looks equally good. The green numerals don’t stand out. They seem to fade into the background.




I just searched the Scout Shop website, and Webelos den leader neckerchiefs are currently unavailable.I had searched for them a few weeks ago with the same result. I wonder whether they’re being discontinued. Very people actually know what they are, and I don’t recall ever seeing anyone wearing one.


I am also fine with that. The current state is just needless complexity.

That’s another case where there is no rational reason for the product to even exist. As I wrote in another post, the leader of a den should simply be called Den Leader across all six years of Cub Scouts. There is no rational reason to change the patch or neckerchief just because your kids entered fourth grade.


Chartered Organization Representatives

In reply to:

Chartered Organization Representative are council (and district) Scouters. When wearing the silver shoulder loops for council/district employees and volunteer leaders and Chartered Organization Representative position badge (No. 490) I believe they should not be wearing unit numbers on their field uniform shirt sleeve. .Is there an authoritative document stating that they may wear unit numbers?

(In my district we have some organizations that sponsor units with different unit numbers.)

Unit numbers are not worn on the dress uniform.

I don’t think I have ever run into a Chartered Organization Rep in uniform.