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  • Uniforms on Camping Trips and Hikes

    Personally, I wear my field uniform for all camping trips and hikes. When service projects are especially sweaty and or dirty, I tend to wear the activity uniform. But it's been interesting to see the many takes on when to wear and when not to wear the field uniform.

    Please see the following two threads...

    Bryan on Scouting:

    Ask Andy, the Net Commissioner:

    Honestly, I agree with Andy here....

  • #2
    My new troop, one boy, stated that the new troop will be full-uniform and his first purchase was a pair of used scout pants I have in my resource box at home.

    When a pack asked to come for their Webelos visit, one of the stipulations HE put on the event was that it was expected all the Webelos boys be in full uniform when they come visit.

    In my former troop full uniform was expected, everyone complied, and all griping ended the week of our first summer camp and the staff fawned all over them for being in full uniform for the whole week (except at the waterfront.)

    I think the biggest problem with uniforming is not as much as the boys' preferences, but the adults'.

    At the Centennial Jamboree, I wore a 1910 Scout uniform, my scout that was with me wore a 1960's uniform. People took pictures which was fine, but any scout that wanted to have their picture taken with us had to be in full uniform so they had a time-line of uniforms for their albums. That wasn't my rule, that was what my scout told them. Those that had full uniforms were few and far between, but got nice pictures. One boy was turned down earlier in the week, but caught up to us later on for a picture. He said he had worn his full uniform for 2 days looking for us. We took him down to the tent where they were taking pictures with backgrounds, picked out the old Boy's Life background and paid for his picture. He was on cloud 9!

    It's how you approach the subject of uniform. Half the battle is one's own attitude.



    • #3
      When I was in Cub Scouts, we always wore our uniform to school the day of a Den or Pack meeting. A couple of years, I had my school picture taken in uniform. This is something that should be encouraged for visibility/recruitment purposes.


      • #4
        It is often said the scout uniform is too fragile for outdoor activies. I have worn my uniform to every scout event I attended for the last 9 years. Yes, every den meeting, Pack meeting, patrol meeting, troop meeting, COH, BOR, campout, service project, summer camp and even High Adventure. Yes, I wore my scout pants all day, every day for the 7 days I paddled the back waters during my Northern tier trek. During campouts, the adults in our troop can be seen wearing their full uniform from when we leave the parking lot Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon when we return. Cooking, hiking, camping, Scouting. The only damage to my uniform is a small tear to the shirt when I reached around the trunk of the car getting some gear and it caught on the hinge. No damage from field use. My goal is for the scouts to never see me wear anything but a scout uniform.

        As a troop, we encourage the scouts to remove the class A shirt when we arrive at the campsite to limit dirt and wear on the uniform shirts. Some heed the request while others wear the shirt throughout the weekend. We are a "fully unifomed" troop. Meaning troop members where a uniform shirt, pants, socks and neckerchief at all events. We are willing to "forget to check" for scout socks if they are wearing long pants and the socks are not readily visible. The troop meeting followig a campout, the scouts are permitted to wear scout T-shirts under the presumtion laundry may not have been completed from the weekend.

        When people whin about the $100 price tag, I scoff. 52 troop meetings, 12 campouts, and a week of summer camp in a single year. 75+ wearings a year. In two years, the scout will have worn the uniform 150 times. Less than a $1 per wearing. What other clothing does someone wear that frequently? In 3 years the scout typically has outgrown it and donates to the uniform exchange. New scouts can get parts or all of a uniform for free from the exchange.

        Coaches don't let players on the field without a uniform. Why should scouting be any different!?!


        • Tampa Turtle
          Tampa Turtle commented
          Editing a comment
          We do similar. You must travel in "Class A" or you are not going. Take it off on arrival. Wear it at Flag and if we go out in public. Put it on (stinky by now) on way home. We wear Troop Class B in camp. Want a SMC in camp--better be uniformed.

          I am not wearing the Class A Kayaking for example. And hiking in Florida just seems too hot to wear a Class A over a Class B.

        • jblake47
          jblake47 commented
          Editing a comment
          I always wear my uniform kayaking. If I spill, no big deal, it dries. A good rinse and evaporation cooling on a hot day is not that bad of an idea either.

          Why would one want to wear a t-shirt under the uniform on a hot day? On a hot day, I seldom walk past a water source without soaking down my necker! If it's really hot, the whole uniform shirt goes in. In Florida there's plenty of water for any hike.

          With the wool uniforms of Civil War reenacting, we have all learned that when the battlefield "ice angels" come around, everyone fills their cups with ice water, but they also fill their pockets and hat with ice cubes, too! I've been out in heat indexes of +115 in a wool uniform and didn't have too much trouble handling it.

          A cotton field shirt with the loose fit and opening in front is far more comfortable than a clingy t-shirt fully enclosed made of the same material.


        • perdidochas
          perdidochas commented
          Editing a comment
          We're sort of a compromise troop. We don't wear full field uniforms when in the outdoors (except for Camporees). We do wear full field uniforms every meeting, and during travel to and from outings. We do require uniform pants/shorts (or at the least similar colored ones) and uniform socks (with shorts).

      • #5
        Nothing' but Official Class A Uniforms Myself as a Scout and Now as an Adult unless Told to wear a specific shirt such as Service Corp


        • #6
          No problem wearing field uniform in public. So if I'm on my way to a school event from a meeting I don't bother changing out of it. But when I was a kid, I lost a few uniforms (one was shredded mercilessly for the win of a round of British Bulldog first night of Troop Leadership Training week, one was from theft at Jambo -- I think for our lodge patch), since then ...

          I rarely wear it on unit trips and hikes.
          Never wore it rock-climbing or backpacking. November through April it's under layers of clothing so never saw the point.
          Never on service projects.
          Always on camporees, etc ... (I make sure I don't have minimal bling to discourage sticky fingers.)

          If I manage to pick up some suitable pants and shirts for $10 a set, I might consider wearing them on outings. Otherwise I'm saving my dimes for one of them dress uniforms (i.e. the adult "Class A" if you were to parallel military forms).


          • #7
            We are a big T-Shirt or jeans with the Field Uniform shirt pack.

            I am full uniform down to the socks, sans hat. I don't always were necker, but have started lately sometimes.

            I somehow ended up with the T-Shirts to pass out after the latest order of them by another leader. I still don't know how that happened, since I am very anti T-Shirt.
            I figure I spent $100+ on my son's uniform
            the pack spends around $50/year on bling for it.
            The uniform method relies on the kids seeing their bling, and being proud of it. Working towards it.
            With the exception of the religious medals and other pin-on bling, I see no reason that it can't be worn for any scout activity short of painting, or maybe football.
            I also concede that for winter activities when it would be buried under coats, there's not much point. Then a T-Shirt or such makes sense.

            I was happy to see a photo of some scouts in the latest magazine, on a hike with packs and in their field uniforms.


            • #8
              I find the field uniform impractical in the field. In the summer it's way too warm. In the winter it's a poor layer and you'd never see it. It works in the fall and we really don't get Spring so much as winter or summer. So, I call it a dress uniform. I really like the idea of a uniform, and my troop has to travel in them, but I'd like to see a change. Well, the pants and necker are good, I guess I just don't like the shirt. Who needs epaulets in the outdoors? Who needs troop numbers on a shirt, or a council patch? Military field uniforms all have velcro unit and rank strips and it seems really practical and not nearly as blingy as a scout uniform. Scout uniforms have more bling than any other uniform.

              At troop meetings, the shirts are fine. But the emphasis is on the outdoors so the uniforms should be practical there first. I'd like to see different weights and materials and cheap enough so the scouts can own a summer and winter shirt. Make the patches smaller so they fit on a velcro strip and only the US flag and WOSM patch are sewn on. Everything else fits on a strip above a pocket. Simple and practical. We wouldn't need activity shirts if the field shirt worked in the field.


              • Bando
                Bando commented
                Editing a comment
                Cosign. I really respect those of us who can make the field uniform work for all scouting excursions. I really do. But I'm just not one of those people. I've always been active in troops that almost exclusively traveled in the field uniform, and were completely anal full-uniform troop in meeting settings. But once we got to camp, the shirt and necker were put in the pack until we started for home.

                I just can't see how the current field uniform is practical in most active scouting situations. And I'm a person that really values the uniform. If you can do it, that's fantastic. But for my money, I'll take a scouting t-shirt and the official shorts or pants over a uniform shirt and necker if there's any physical activity involved.

            • #9
              Robert Baden-Powell said, "Show me a poorly uniformed troop and I'll show you a poorly uniformed leader." I wear my uniform to everything, and I encourage my leaders and scouts to do the same.


              • RememberSchiff
                RememberSchiff commented
                Editing a comment
                No surprise coming from a military man. On the other hand, Seton was more focused on woodcraft and Indian lore than military customs. I have seen photos of Seton wearing functional outdoor clothing of the day, I have yet to see a photo of him wearing a scout uniform beyond perhaps a campaign hat. Perhaps others have. I have wondered about Seton's opinion on uniforming.

                Seton served as Chief Scout of the Boy Scouts of America from 1910 until 1915. As his daughter put it, ‘Seton did not like the military aspects of Scouting, and Scouting did not like the Native American emphasis of Seton. With WW I, the militarists won, and Seton resigned from Scouting’

                My $0.02

            • #10
              When all is said and done and terminology has been redefined multiple times over the years. I have often wondered why they call it the field uniform and then not wear it in the field. I'm thinking if they wanted a dress uniform they would come up with something else to look better than the field uniform.



              • #11
                I've been around a long time and I have never seen a fully uniformed troop where there wasn't some heavy influence from the adults one way or another. Not that I'm judging, I really don't care. But one has to take "it's the boys program" with a grain of salt. Our uniform policy is the scout handbook. It's pretty cut and dry, which keeps the adults from influencing the scouts with their personal opinions. We do have an activities uniform, mostly to give the field uniform a break in the Oklahoma 100 degree heat. But field uniforms are expected at meals and assemblies. Our guys do know how to wash uniform. I personally feel the uniform is a great tool for character self reflection. Just about every boy passes through a phase (around 14 years old) of paying special attention to their self image while wearing the uniform. How they handle it is a reflection of their character and a great opportunity to guide them in the values involved with the uniform. I also find adults struggle with the Uniform method more than any of the Other seven methods because their reasoning for or against it is more emotional than pragmatic to the growth of the scouts. Boys aren't near as emotional about uniforms and as a result, they are rebellious when they don't get reasonable answers that apply to their generation. Barry


                • RememberSchiff
                  RememberSchiff commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I also find adults struggle with the Uniform method
                  1. There was no Uniform Method prior to 1982...just 7 methods of Scouting before then.
                  2. The uniform is still optional.
                  3. A scout is a scout whether he is wearing the uniform or not.
                  3. The Aims of Scouting can be achieved without uniforms.

                • DuctTape
                  DuctTape commented
                  Editing a comment
                  My father was too poor to buy a uniform as were the rest in his patrol/troop. All $ saved and earned went to other gear. Their "uniform" was a handmade arm band with a drawn on patrol emblem.

              • #12
                While i do not find the Field uniform 100% practical for field use. I do think some improvements have been made since I joined in the mid 80s.

                I like the 1st generation nylon switchback pants, the ones with the zipper in the ankles. Ok they had the wrong waist sizes, and were a little long, but I have used them in the field for both scouting and non-scouting outdoor events.

                I am also glad for the Thorlo lt. uniform hiking socks,, and again have used them for the outdoors. Only complaint I have about them is that BSA is stamped onthe foot of the sock, not made into the top like the green uniform socks, and some "uniform police" have tried to nail me on that. PLUS I've found the same exact socks, with BSA on them, at Walmart once. Also don;t like the fact they do not make a knee sock version

                Haven't used the Thorlos foudn here yet:

                As for the shirts, the original ODL shirt wasn't for the ouotdoors IMHO. I got a long sleeve Centennial shirt, and it's ok. Don't have one of the newer shirts with a yoke.

                BUT I loved the tan, collared activity shirt made just before the CUs came out. Used that alot in the summer