With Jamboree next week and many troops and crews headed out for tours this week, you’ll love this hack to pack for Jamboree!

First off, for all my travels, this is a unique trip to pack for because you’re combining planes, buses, hotels and tents all into one trip! To make it more complicated, you’ve got the heat and humidity of a West Virginia summer combined with the changeable weather of the Summit! Who better than a Boy Scout to practice the principle “Be Prepared”! So here are a few things to keep in mind when packing:

  1. I’m sure you already know to bring the two field uniforms (formerly known as Class A, including at least one pair of long pants for Day of Service!) but remember also to WEAR a Class A on the flight! Full uniform will help these troops and crews look classy! By the way, Did you know the Scout shop has BSA shorts that can double as swim trunks?! I just bought mine. Priced at $22 it’s a lot friendlier to my wallet than the pants, and I’m pleased to say that they are a light, comfortable material with a plastic waterproof bag tied in the pocket to keep IDs or small papers dry. Too bad I can’t fit my phone inside! But I’m glad to have a pair. They’ll be nice and light in the humid heat. You’ll need five activity (Class B shirts) as well. Your Council likely provided you with a few already, but you’ll probably need a couple extra.
  2. Break in new shoes BEFORE you get on that plane! A lot of walking/hiking can be hard enough on your feet without having to break in your shoes, so if you bought some new ones for Jamboree, break ‘em in NOW! And make sure you have some good socks to go with them. For the ‘just in case’ moments, include some moleskin in your first aid kit. It seriously made ALL the difference when I had a couple extra miles with a couple blisters during a backpacking trip.
  3. Of course, you won’t need it handy on the flight, but once you’re there, keep your compact rain gear in a handy place so you’re ready to poncho-up at the drop of…well, raindrop. The Summit is all set up with systems and structures to help and keep people safe if the weather gets grumpy, but being able to keep dry can make a big difference.
  4. If you don’t want your Jamboree stories and memories to be hijacked by titles like “the worst sunburn of my life” or “so many bug bites I played connect-the-dots on myself” or “I fainted on the hike and missed out on the coolest stuff”, then don’t forget to take AND USE your sunscreen, bug repellent and hat/bandana! I always pack a chapstick with SPF as well. But heads up, that aerosol stuff won’t fly. No, literally, it’s on the hazard list so it’s not meant for checked or carry-on bags. Nationals has specifically said not to bring aerosol sunscreen or bug repellent, so go for the cream/lotion types or regular spray bottles, but say no to aerosol! P.s. Zanfel for poison oak can change the title of your story from “miserable itching” to “too busy having fun!”
  5. Stay hydrated! Bring two water bottles, and you’ll probably appreciate having a daypack reservoir! The Osprey daypack for Jamboree doesn’t have the reservoir included, but is designed for it, so you’ll probably want to pick one up!
  6. Also thanks to that humid heat and general principles of hygiene and consideration to those around you, you’ll probably want backups of most your clothes, including pajamas. Things don’t always dry as quick in that kind of humidity, so being able to wear one thing and wash/allow another to dry can be helpful. Also, think light. A jacket/sweater is probably the only piece of clothing to take one of. Why? Because it stays pretty warm with the humidity; next week the lows are still showing the mid 60s and 70s! If you’re like me, a rain jacket that can be used for rain or warmth as needed is preferred. Oh and don’t forget deodorant.
  7. Cooking gear is included at Jamboree, but your MESS KIT is not! Don’t forget yours!
  8. And while I’m soooo glad they have cots, you may still want a sleeping pad, and you will definitely need at least a lightweight sleeping bag, which is great for compact packing as well! And don’t forget a compressible pillow so you can have a pillow without losing all the space!

Again, we’re not expecting cold nights, so leave behind the cold morning mountain gear!


These are the highlights, but for a complete list, visit http://www.summitbsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/jamboreepackinglist.pdf and for a cool demo on how to pack SMART, check out this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-WKcXCjCxc. Pack smart and you’ll be able to spend more time having fun instead of worrying about having what you need!

Angela Shelley
Japanese Tour Guide turned Jamboree Joy Ride. Combine a dad full of natural curiosity of the world and a love of learning with a Scouting momma whose passion for children, education and the outdoors and you get a family with many Dutch oven cooking, camp song singing, compass-confounded exploring, squirrel-chasing experiences. Despite that, I never would have guessed I would one day be a National Parks and Monuments tour guide for Japanese people. And I never would have guessed I'd then move on to work for Boy Scouts of America.

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