This adventure will introduce new Scouts to basic outdoor skills while helping more experienced Scouts improve and develop skills they learned in previous ranks.


  • Reading weather instruments, including a basic understanding of barometers.
  • Tying two half hitches.
  • Improved camping skills (less dependent on parents/adult leaders).
  • Cooking a simple meal.
  • A Scout is cheerful, clean. [Bear Character Compass]

ADVENTURE REQUIREMENTS (Bear Handbook, page 42)

  1. While working on your Bear badge, camp overnight with your pack. If your chartered organization does not permit Cub Scout camping, you may substitute a family campout or a daylong outdoor activity with your den or pack.
  2. Attend a campfire show, and participate by performing a song or skit with your den.
  3. Make a list of items you should take along on your campout.
  4. Make a list of equipment that the group should bring along in addition to each Scout’s personal gear.
  5. With your den, plan a cooked lunch or dinner that is nutritious and balanced. Make a shopping list, and help shop for the food. On a campout or at another outdoor event, help cook the meal and help clean up afterward.
  6. Help your leader or another adult cook a different meal from the one you helped prepare for requirement 5. Cook this meal outdoors.
  7. Help set up a tent. Pick a good spot for the tent, and explain to your den leader why you picked it.
  8. Demonstrate how to tie two half hitches. Explain what they are used for.
  9. Learn how to read a thermometer and a barometer. Keep track of the temperature and barometric pressure readings and the actual weather conditions at the same time every day for seven days.


Meeting 3 will take place at an outdoor camping location. In advance of the outing, the leader will need to make arrangements with the outing location and confirm the outing plan with families, including transportation and any additional items they need to bring. Make sure a tour and activity plan has been submitted, if required, and activity consent forms are distributed, signed, and collected.

This adventure should help your Cub Scouts further their knowledge of camping and living in the outdoors. Last year, when they were Wolf Scouts, you or another leader probably did most of the work. As the Scouts get older, they should be taking on more of the responsibility for themselves. You may need to borrow camping and cooking equipment from a neighboring troop or pack.

A good way to improve your own skills would be to attend BALOO (Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation) in your district. The course provides a lot of information on basic Cub Scout camping techniques. Keep the menu plans simple, and cook food the kids will want to eat (this is not a TV cooking show). Enjoy!

Some chartered organizations do not allow camping as part of the Cub Scout program. For boys in packs chartered by those organizations, the activities in this adventure can take place during a family camping trip or during a daylong den or pack outing.



  • U.S. and den flags
  • Several small tents—with poles, stakes, rain flies, and ground cloths
  • Menu items (remember to keep things simple!)
  • Homemade barometer parts
  • Equipment for playing “SPUD”—a soft ball or a rolled-up pair of socks (See Meeting 1 Resources.)


Icon Explore a Tent

  • Have a tent set up in advance so the Scouts can see what it’s supposed to look like: ground cloth laid, stakes properly in the ground, lines all taut, rain fly not touching the tent, etc.
  • Have them look around the meeting area so they can decide where to set up a tent for an overnight campout.


You will need to review proper tent location, etc., during Activity 1. The Resource section of this meeting has information to assist you.


  • Conduct a flag ceremony of your choosing that includes the Pledge of Allegiance and, as appropriate, the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
  • Optional: Recite the Outdoor Code as a den or use the Outdoor Code opening from the Appendix.


  • Introduce the Bear Necessities adventure to the den. Build interest by describing the goals of the adventure and some of the activities that are planned.
  • Carry out business items for the den.
  • Allow time for sharing among Cub Scouts


Icon Activity 1: Set Up Tents (Requirement 7)

Assemble a tent with the help of all the Scouts. This can be done indoors if necessary for your meeting, but it would be better outside. Show them how to use a ground cloth properly. Demonstrate how the poles are assembled and attached to the tent. Show how to put the stakes in the ground and how to assemble and attach the rain fly.


While most tents are put together in a similar fashion, each one is a bit different. Be sure you practice before the meeting so you know how it’s done.

Once the Scouts see how it all comes together, have two of them take down the tent, fold it up, and then assemble it again. Switch to a new team and continue until all of them have had a chance to assemble and take down a tent (it will be helpful to have more than one tent for this exercise). Remind them that a Scout is helpful, and they can take part in setting up and breaking down campsites now that they are older Cub Scouts.

Now proceed to the locations they chose for setting up a tent, and discuss campsite consideration based on what they selected (see Meeting 1 Resources for more information). It would be good to reinforce this discussion during the next campout, when you can point out some “unhelpful” elements at the site (rocks, drains, winds, etc.). If you are meeting indoors, you can use index cards to label mock elements around your meeting room for Scouts to consider.

Icon Activity 2: Menu Planning (Requirement 5)

The goal of this requirement is to cook a SIMPLE meal with good, balanced food choices that will involve minimal cleanup. Items like packaged mac and cheese, beef stew, or other simple heat-and-eat choices will be fine. Be sure to plan a balanced meal by including fruits and vegetables and a healthy drink to round out the menu.

  • Decide which meal the den will cook—lunch or dinner.
  • Be aware of any allergies in your group and adjust accordingly.
  • With the den, decide who will buy and transport the food. Will you do it as a group? Will every Scout bring part of the meal?
  • Discuss how all other members of the den are trusting and counting on each Bear to keep his word and bring the item he promised so the whole group can enjoy the food.

Icon Activity 3: Barometer Activity (Requirement 9)

  • Distribute the homemade barometer parts. Show the Scouts how to assemble them as described in the Meeting 1 Resources.
  • Then show Scouts how to take a barometer reading. Have them mark the current pressure level on the cardboard. Be prepared with the exact current barometric pressure from a newspaper or online source to give Scouts a starting point for their scale. You can find the current barometric pressure reading in your area by visiting www.noaa.gov. Enter your location under the forecast search, and it will provide the barometric pressure.
  • Have Scouts place the barometers on a level surface indoors when they bring them home. Tell them to read their barometers each day, mark the current level on the cardboard, and record the reading on the chart in their handbooks; the point is to observe whether the barometric pressure is going up or down.
  • They should also record the temperature—either from their own thermometers or by watching a TV weather report. If the weather report includes a barometric pressure reading, they should continue to record that as well and compare the exact readings to the movement of the straw.

Icon Activity 4: Game

If time permits, play the “SPUD” game (see Meeting 1 Resources).


  • Den Leader’s Minute: Give a quick reflection on what it means to you as an adult to camp in the outdoors. Ask each Scout, in turn, to say what it means to him.


  • Serve refreshments, if desired.
  • Record completion of requirements 7.
  • Work together to clean up the meeting place.



Cub Scout camping will take place in sites approved by the local council (council camps, local parks, campgrounds), so some choices may be limited, but there are still several considerations to keep in mind when laying out your campsite for a pack event.

  • Location. A campsite facing the south or southeast will get more sunlight and generally will be drier than one on the north side of a hill or in the shade of mountains or cliffs. Cold, damp air tends to settle, causing the bottoms of valleys to be more cool and moist than locations a little higher. On the other hand, hilltops and sharp ridges can be very windy and should be avoided in lightning-prone areas.
  • Size and shape. A good campsite has plenty of space for your tents and enough room to conduct your activities. It should be usable as it is, so you won’t need to do any digging or major rock removal to shape the area. The less rearranging you do, the easier it will be to follow Leave No Trace principles and leave the site exactly as you found it.
  • Protection. Consider the direction of the wind and the direction from which a storm will approach. Is your campsite in the open or is it protected by a hill or a stand of trees? Is there a solitary tree nearby that may attract lightning? Don’t camp under dead trees or trees with dead branches that may come down in a storm or light wind. The best campsites are found near small, forested ridges and hills.
  • Insects and animals. All creatures have their favorite habitats. The best way to avoid mosquitoes and biting flies is to camp away from marshes, bogs, and pools of stagnant water. Breezes discourage insects, so you might look for an elevated, open campsite. Don’t forget to check around for beehives, hornet nests, and ant mounds; their inhabitants usually won’t bother you as long as you leave them alone, but give them plenty of room. The same goes for most animals.
  • Ground cover. Any vegetation covering a campsite will receive a lot of wear and tear. Tents will smother it, sleepers will pack it down, and walkers will bruise it with the soles of their shoes. Some ground cover is tough enough to absorb the abuse, but much of it is not. Whenever you can, make your camp on naturally bare earth, sand, graveled soil, or ground covered with pine needles or leaves.
  • Drainage. While a campsite should be relatively flat, it should slope enough to allow rainwater to run off. However, you don’t want to be in the path of natural drainage. Check uphill from where you plan to set up your tent to make sure water won’t run through the site. Never camp in a stream bed! Also, you want to avoid depressions in the ground, as even shallow ones can collect water in a storm.
  • Privacy. One of the pleasures of camping is getting away from crowds and the fast pace of city life. Make camp in places that are far enough away from trails and other campsites. That way you can enjoy peace and privacy while respecting the privacy of other campers.
  • Beauty. The beauty of a campsite often is what attracts visitors to it. Being able to look out from a tent and see towering mountains, glistening lakes, or miles of canyon land or rolling prairie is part of what camping is all about. Find a campsite that gives you spectacular scenery, but camp there only if the site is appropriate for every other reason, too.
  • Outdoor ethics. Be gentle on Mother Nature. You can do a lot to protect and preserve the wilderness by leaving no trace of your visit, no marks along the trail, and a tidy campsite—cleaner than you found it. Don’t harm plants, animals, or insects. Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, and kill nothing but time. That philosophy fits as well in a county park as it does anywhere else.

Activity 3: Barometer

IconUsing Atmospheric Pressure to Forecast the Weather

A shift in atmospheric pressure is one of the most common predictors of weather changes. Weather maps show high and low pressure systems as well as lines of equal pressure called isobars.

Atmospheric pressure that rises slowly over one or two weeks typically indicates settled weather that will last a long time. A sudden drop in atmospheric pressure over a few hours often forecasts an approaching storm, which will not last long, with heavy rain and strong winds.

You can forecast local weather using a barometer and these simple guidelines:

  • Decreasing barometric pressure indicates storms, rain, and windy weather.
  • Rising barometric pressure indicates dry and colder weather.
  • Slow, regular, and moderate drops in pressure suggest a low pressure system is passing in a nearby region. Significant changes are unlikely in the weather where you are located.
  • Small, rapid decreases in pressure indicate a nearby change in weather. This is usually followed by brief spells of wind and showers.
  • A quick drop in pressure over a short time indicates a storm is likely in five to six hours.
  • Large, slow, and sustained decreases in pressure forecast a long period of severe weather, which will be more pronounced if the pressure starts rising before it begins to drop.
  • A rapid rise in pressure during fair weather indicates a low pressure cell is approaching. The pressure will soon drop, signaling the severe weather to come.
  • Quickly rising pressure, when the pressure has been low, suggests a short period of fair weather is likely.
  • A large, slow, and sustained rise in pressure forecasts a longer period of fair weather is on its way.

Barometers are widely used and generally quite reliable at forecasting the weather. There are many types of barometers for sale at a wide range of prices, but a fun project for Scouts is to make barometers of their own from simple household items.

Icon Coffee Can Barometer


  • Balloon (Note: Before using balloons, check to see if anyone in the den is allergic to latex.)
  • Clean, empty metal can
  • Rubber band
  • Straw
  • Tape or craft glue
  • Toothpick or straight pin
  • Cardboard


  1. Cut the balloon in half. Throw away the half with the hole; you will only need the rounded half.
  2. Stretch the balloon piece across the open top of the can.
  3. Secure the balloon to the coffee can with the rubber band. Make sure it is stretched tightly across and that no air can leak out. (This would prevent the barometer from working properly.)
  4. Set one end of the straw at the center of the balloon cover and lay it across the edge of the can. Glue it in place. (Do not use hot glue, which would melt the balloon.)
  5. Glue the pin to the loose end of the straw. The pin will indicate the pressure measurements.
  6. Stand the cardboard vertically next to the pin or tape it to a wall.
  7. Check the Internet or news reports to find the barometric pressure for the day, and make a precise mark on the cardboard at the level of the pin to indicate the pressure.
  8. Check and record the pressure each day to begin creating a scale.

Icon Bottle Barometer


  • Clear glass bottle with a long neck
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Clear straw or narrow tube
  • Rubber stopper or cork for the bottle
  • Cardboard or paper


  1. Fill the bottle just over half full with water. Add a few drops of food coloring to the water.
  2. Bore a hole through the cork or rubber stopper, so the straw will fit through it and still be snug.
  3. Fit the stopper with the straw into the bottle neck to seal it. The straw should be in the water and extend above the top of the bottle.
  4. Gently blow bubbles using the straw to make water rise through it above the stopper.
  5. Follow directions 6 through 8 from the coffee can barometer to create a measuring scale. The water in the straw will rise if the air pressure is low. The water will go down if the air pressure is high.



  • Any ball that is soft and won’t hurt when it hits someone, or a rolled-up pair of socks


  1. Every Scout is assigned a number from 1 to the number of players.
  2. Players form a close circle with one Scout in the center who has the ball.
  3. The Scout throws the ball straight up as high as he can and yells out one of the numbers.
  4. Everyone scatters except the Scout whose number was called. He catches or picks up the ball. As soon as he has the ball, he yells “SPUD,” and everyone must freeze.
  5. The Scout with the ball can then take up to three giant steps toward any Scout he wants. He then throws the ball at the Scout, who can move all parts of his body to dodge the throw—except his feet.
  6. If the Scout is hit, he gets S. If he isn’t hit, the thrower gets S.
  7. Everyone gets back into a circle, and the Scout who received the letter throws the ball up for the next round.
  8. When a Scout has acquired the letters S, P, U, and D, he is out of the game. Or, after a set period of time, the player with the fewest letters is the winner.

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  • U.S. and den flags
  • A skit or song to practice for campfire (See Meeting 2 Resources.)
  • Gear lists—personal and group (See Meeting 2 Resources.)
  • Rope—a 6-foot piece for each Scout, and something to tie the rope to (pole, rail, chair, table leg, etc.)
  • Personal gear list items
  • Some group gear list items
  • Flying disc or ball for “500” game
  • Instructions for “The List Game” (See Meeting 2 Resources.)
  • Items for preparing food
  • Small tents


Game: Going the Distance (See Meeting 2 Resources.)


  • Conduct a flag ceremony of your choosing that includes the Pledge of Allegiance and, as appropriate, the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
  • Recite the Outdoor Code.


  • Carry out business items for the den.
  • Allow time for sharing among Cub Scouts.


Icon Activity 1: Check Weather Logs (Requirement 9)

Are the barometers working? Did you forecast any interesting weather, such as a rain storm, while recording the measurements? What happened to your readings when the weather changed?

Icon Activity 2: Skits and Songs (Requirement 2)

Practice a skit or song for a future campout. Run through it a few times so everyone is familiar with it and understands their part. Remind the Scouts to practice at home during the week if necessary. (See Meeting 2 Resources for skit or song ideas.)

Icon Activity 3: Gear (Requirements 3 and 4)

  • Discuss with the Scouts what gear they should bring on the campout for their own personal care and comfort, based on where and when you are camping. Steer them toward items like tents, sleeping bags, ground cloths, pillows, sleeping pads or mattresses, warm clothes, raincoats, eating utensils, hats or caps, toothpaste and toothbrushes, etc. (See Meeting 2 Resources.) Ask them which items they think are the most important, going around the group and letting each one choose something. Have each Scout say why he picked that item (i.e., a sleeping bag to stay warm at night, to sleep well, and to be ready for the next day). Continue until all the items have been discussed. Talk about the importance of each item on the list, not the just the first two or three that were picked. Don’t forget the Cub Scout Six Essentials!
  • Play the “500” game (see Meeting 2 Resources).
  • Make a Group Gear List (see Meeting 2 Resources).
    — Have the Scouts make their own lists of other gear the group will need to bring, such as a cooking stove, a cooler to keep the food cold, a group first-aid kit, cooking utensils, fire starters, and rope.
    — Once they have done this, play ”The List Game” with the lists (see Meeting 2 Resources) and see who has the most items left when they’re finished. The object of this activity is to get them thinking about the needs of the group, not to come up with an exhaustive list.

IconActivity 4: Menu Review

Review the menu choices that were made last time. Do you need to prepare any food before the trip? Have all Scouts made plans to bring their required food items?


  • Sing Cub Scout Vespers (see Meeting 2 Resources).
  • Review details for the upcoming outing in Meeting 3. Make sure all Scouts and their families know the plans.


  • Serve refreshments, if desired.
  • Record completion of requirements 3, 4, and 9
  • Work together to clean up the meeting place.
  • Prepare thank you notes for the Scouts to sign at the next meeting.



Icon Game: Going the Distance


  • Several paper bags, buckets, or small boxes
  • Items to throw (small bean bags, wrapped candy, small plastic balls, etc.). Be sure to have twice the number of items as paper bags or buckets, so two boys can play at a time.


  1. Put the containers at separate places along a straight line. Assign points to each place (i.e., two points to the closest, five points to the next, 10 points to the next, etc.).
  2. Have the boys line up. One or two at a time, they will toss their items into the containers to score points. They must keep track of their total points using the honor system. A Scout is trustworthy.
  3. You can make this game more challenging by moving some of the containers far away. Or, have the boys toss the items with their backs to the targets.






Icon Activity 3: Gear


In addition to individual equipment, the equipment listed below should be available for group use.


Icon “500” Game


This game should be played outside.

Flying disc, softball, rubber ball, football, or any other throwing item

The object is to catch the disc or ball enough times to become the thrower. One Scout starts as the thrower, and the other Scouts gather around at a throwing distance from him. The thrower yells out, “100” or “200,” or any amount he wants the throw to be worth. Then, he throws the disc or ball toward the group of Scouts. The first catcher to reach 500 becomes the thrower.

“500” Game Variations

  • When a new thrower is up, everyone starts over at zero or keeps their current tally, whichever is decided at the start of the game.
  • Dead or Alive: Two values can be assigned to a throw, such as “100 dead, 400 alive.” If a person catches the object in the air, he gets the “alive” value. If the object hits the ground first, he gets the “dead” value. Values like “200 dead, 400 alive” are legal.
  • If using a ball that bounces, standard values can be assigned such as 200 in the air, 100 after one bounce, 50 after two bounces, and 25 for all others.
  • Grab Bag: If the thrower yells, “Grab bag” for a throw, the Scouts have no idea what the value is. It may be 500 or minus 10,000. Typically, “Grab Bag” is ruled illegal at the start of a game.
  • Jackpot: Whoever catches this throw is automatically the next thrower. “Jackpot” is typically used by someone who has been up a long time or needs to leave.

Icon List Game

This game can be used for any activity that involves brainstorming for lists of items.

Give the Scouts a topic and tell them to come up with items that are needed. For instance, “What items will the den or pack need to bring in addition to your personal gear?”

Let them write down the items privately for a minute or two. Once they’re done, pick a Scout to say one item. If the item is also on someone else’s list, it does not count for points. If a Scout comes up with an idea that only he listed, he gets a point. Continue around the group until all listed items have been mentioned, and then total up the points. The winner is named “The King of the Group Gear Listers,” or another fun title, and receives a round of applause.

The object is to encourage the Scouts to come up with ideas that aren’t just the common, easy answers.


Song: Cub Scout Vespers
(Tune: “O Christmas Tree” or “O Tannenbaum”)


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  • Camping gear from lists (Personal and Group)
  • Food for cooking meals
  • Thermometer and homemade barometer
  • Small-sized rope for Activity 4 knot-tying—enough for each Scout
  • Plan for transportation to and from camp location.
  • Confirm that a tour and activity plan has been submitted, if required, and that transportation to and from the event is in place. Secure signed activity consent forms.
  • Unit den leader should have in possession (if required by local council practices) the tour and activity plan and a copy of the Guide to Safe Scouting.

This outing will complete requirement 1 for this adventure.


Remind the Scouts of the slogan, “Take only memories, leave only footprints,” and the adage that Scouts always leave a campsite better than they found it. Bear Scouts focus on the Outdoor Code principle of “Be considerate in the outdoors.” Discuss ways that they can demonstrate that principle when they are at a campsite. Point out to them the things that previous campers may have left behind and remind them that if we leave it here also, other campers will think it was ours. So let’s clean up!


  • Say the Pledge of Allegiance and, as appropriate, the Scout Oath and Scout Law. If the den does not have a United States flag, ask one Scout to display the flag on his uniform for the group.
  • Go over the activities planned for the outing.
  • Share the time that the dinner preparation will begin.
  • Share the time the campfire will begin.


  • Carry out business items for the den.
  • Allow time for sharing among Cub Scouts.


Icon Activity 1: Set Up Camp (Requirement 7)

The Scouts should be putting up their own tents with minimal help from adults. They should be able to explain why they are putting their tent in this specific location based on site considerations. Have them lay out the tent on the ground where they think it should go. Then, before completely pitching it, have them review the location with an adult.

Icon Activity 2: Practice Skit or Song (Requirement 2)

Have the Scouts practice their skit or song for presentation at the campfire show. Check to make sure any needed props or costumes are ready to go.

Icon Activity 3: Prepare and Cook Your Meal (Requirements 5 and 6)

  • Prepare and cook your meal. Try to let every Scout have a hand in preparing and cooking the food, if possible. If you have a large group, divide the tasks so that some will do the cooking for one meal and cleanup for the next, or vice versa. You need to be sure all Scouts have a practical hand in the project and learn something from it. This might be a good time to discuss how a Scout is clean. Remind them of the importance of washing hands before preparing food to avoid spreading germs. Be sure everyone helps clean the utensils used to cook and eat the meal. Be sure all trash and food scraps are disposed of properly.
  • Be sure to have the Scouts help with at least one other meal so they can improve on the skills they learned and add to their cooking knowledge.

Icon Activity 4: Two Half Hitches (Requirement 8)

  • Have the Scouts demonstrate how to tie two half hitches to secure a rope to a post, rail, or tree. Have them teach the knot to another Scout. Scouts can find instructions for the knot in the Bear Handbook.

Icon Activity 5: Thermometer and Barometer (Requirement 9)

  • Set up the thermometer and homemade barometer. Have the Scouts observe the readings at several times during the day. Does the weather appear to be changing? Use the barometer you constructed as a model for Scouts to follow as they construct their own barometers.

Icon Activity 6: Games

  • Play “SPUD,” “500,” or any other game.

Icon Activity 7: Campfire (Requirement 2)

  • Perform the campfire songs or skits they prepared. Enjoy the campout!


  • The closing for this plan may be part of the ending of the campfire, or maybe the morning after camping out. It should be inspirational and ideally reference the outdoors.

A Walk with Nature
John Muir was a naturalist, writer, conservationist, and founder of the Sierra Club. He said “In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.” I ask you, what did you seek when you arrived at this outing? Did you find it, experience it? Now think for a moment about what else you have experienced in our time outdoors. (Pause). Let us travel safely from this place, back to our homes, in hopes that we may soon walk again with Nature.


  • Record completion of requirements 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8.
  • Work together to clean up the campsite.
  • Send thank-you notes to those who helped.

BearNecessitiesToonsUpon completion of the Bear Necessities adventure, your Bears will have earned the adventure loop shown here. Make sure they are recognized for their completion by presenting the adventure loops, to be worn on their belts, as soon as possible according to your pack’s tradition.

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