Patch trading is part of every National Jamboree, but in 2013 it actually become an official Jamboree program. So in addition to all the high-adventure and classic jamboree activities that Scouts have grown to love, 2017 will include including the ever-popular, vastly competitive patch-trading experience.

For those who have not see this phenomena, it can be quite a spectacle watching a Scout pulling a patch from his Scout shirt to get just the right patch trade from another Scout.

Patch trading started as a friendship gift. A Scout would take a patch to jamboree and trade it with a patch from another Scout to show friendship. Trading continues to be a great way for Scouters to introduce themselves and make new friends. And among 40,000 attendees it will not be hard to make multiple exchanges.

The Summit Blog suggests three ways to ramp up your patch trading: 

  1. Build your inventory. One of the best ways to be a veritable bartering wrecking ball is to accumulate a handsome stock of patches from which you can trade. Some of the folks you might meet at the jamboree have been trading patches for decades, so come prepared with something cool and unique. It takes a long time to build up a good stock of patches to trade, so if patch trading is your gig, you’d better get started now.
  2. Know your collection. Are you interested in OA lodge patches? High-adventure activities? Councils? You have to know what you’re looking for and what your interests are. It helps you develop a better inventory that you can trade away, and also helps keep you focused while you’re bartering with other people at the jamboree, ensuring you get exactly the kinds of patches you want.
  3. Maintain your kit. Nobody wants to trade for patches that are tattered, dirty, or worn out. Do your best to make sure your inventory of patches is shipshape at all times. One of the best ways to do this is to keep your patches in a watertight plastic bag, like a zippered freezer bag. It not only protects your patches but provides an easy way for potential traders to get a quick glimpse of what you bring to the table.

Which patches are you most interested in seeing at Jamboree? The Summit? Let us know in the comments.

Darryl Alder
Darryl is a retired career Scouter with more than 30 years of service. These days he is a Scouting Ambassador and serves on the Council Membership and Marketing Committee. However, his pride in Scouting is his volunteer service as an Associate Advisor, Varsity Scout Coach, Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, Chartered Organization Representative, and Commissioner.


  1. Avatar
    Jim Orban says:


    Is there going to be a patch traders expo for adults at the upcoming International Jamboree? If so, are you going to be there and can you tell me where will it be?

    Jim Orban

    1. Madison Austin
      Madison Austin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Hi Jim, we won’t be at the World Jamboree this year, so we unfortunately don’t know much about how patch trading is going to work this year, sorry to not be of more help!

  2. Avatar
    Derrick Larsen says:

    I had never experience serious patch trading until I went the 2013 National Jamboree as an Assistant Scoutmaster. It was so neat to see boys of all ages, creeds, and faith coming together and enjoying this neat hobby. They were all very courteous and were fair. I thought I would give it a go and I went and traded myself. My goal was to get the Scouting position patch for the national Key 3. I got one and thought it would be cool to get all three. I traded and traded and traded and finally got all three. When I was done I got to meet a lot of energetic young men from all kinds of backgrounds and I developed my flair for trading. I enjoyed it very much and I treasure my patch collection from that year. I would recommend that everyone attending the Jamboree go trade a patch or two.

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