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Preparation for a Campout

In order to have a really great, successful campout, the scouts of each Patrol will plan their meals and duties in the weeks before the event. This will usually take place during the Patrol meetings which are held during the regular Troop Meeting. Some work can be done by individual scouts at home, or by phone and email (meal selection, recipes, graces, games, entertainment, etc.)

A Campout Planning form is used to record the ideas and assignments for a campout. For each campout, the roles of Patrol Leader, Asst. Patrol Leader, Patrol Quartermaster and Patrol Grubmaster will be indicated on this form. In the case of planned absences of a leader, then a substitute leader can be designated for that campout.

A Campout Meal Planning form helps scouts think through the many aspects of the meals that they will enjoy on their campout. A patrol works on this together. The Grubmaster will do the grocery shopping.

Cooks will prepare a grace to be said before each meal. See this page for some suggested graces and the Scout Beatitudes.

Duty Roster and Roles

Before going on a campout, the Patrol Duty Roster should be filled out. It will have the assignments for various jobs that are rotated throughout the campout. It will be posted in the Patrol's camp area. The typical jobs are:
  • Fire Marshall
  • Chief Cook & Assistants
  • Kitchen
  • Clean Team
  • Leave No Trace
  • Flags & Packing, First Aid, Latrines
Scouts should discuss and plan the tasks that need to happen before, during and even after the campout.

For each campout, the following positions need to be filled in each patrol. Additional duties can be assigned also to help spread out the work.

Firemaster or Fire Marshall

Job Description:
  • The Firemaster makes sure that campfires are safe, properly set up and cleaned up.
  • The Firemaster provides instruction in all aspects related to fire-building.
  • Firemaster is appointed by the Patrol Leader ( if each Patrol has its own fire ring) OR the Senior Patrol Leader (if only one fire ring is utilized).
  • Duties rotate for each outing; or can rotate during the campout.
  • The Firemaster reports to the Patrol Leader OR Senior Patrol Leader.
  • Sets a good example, obeys the Outdoor Code and follows Leave No Trace principles
Note: If the Patrols do not have their own campfire, then the Patrol Firemasters work together for preparation and maintenance of the Troop campfire ring.
In the case that a Patrol will have its own campfire (as for cooking), then the Patrol Firemaster is in charge of the Patrol's fire.
The SPL is responsible for assigning a Fire Marshall in charge of the Troop Campfire ring. This scout cannot be simultaneously in charge of his Patrol campfire.

Firemaster Duties:
  • First Fire Marshall on the Duty Roster will:
    • Get wood in advance for campfires; or makes plans for purchasing it near the site.
    • Select and pack fire wood.
    • Make sure that Troop Fire-Starting Kit/Supplies bag is packed.
    • Request and pack above-ground fire pit if required.
    • Unpacks wood and sets up firewood storage area (dry place).
  • Each Fire Marshall will:
    • Plan Campfire Program with Patrol Leader (Saturday Evening shift Fire Marshall).
    • Set up camp fire ring according to LNT and land owner's rules, with minimal impact to the environment.
    • Set up safe above-ground fire pit if required by land owner.
    • Distribute fire-control water cans (or bucket) and see that scouts in his patrol keep them filled.
    • See that troop water cans are refilled promptly so that the patrol/troop always has an adequate supply of water.
    • Ensure that a person is always attending the fire. A fire is never left unattended.
    • Direct gathering of firewood for Camp Fire. Obeys rules of the property owner.
    • Ensure that firewood and other fire-starting materials are stored in such a way that it stays dry (usually a tarp).
    • Maintain matches and Fire-Starting Kit/Supplies Bag in orderly manner; restocks as needed.
    • Explain the Outdoor Code and Leave No Trace principles.
    • Start, maintain, and end Camp Fire as instructed by SPL (Senior Patrol Leader).
    • Arrange and take care of seating around the campfire. Make sure that chairs are put away and stored so that they are dry (under tarp).
    • Work with the Grubmaster when fire is used for cooking (Dutch Oven, grills, BBQ, food-on-a-stick), to ensure proper set up and safety.
    • Ensure that fire is "out cold" at the end of the evening, before going to bed, or before the troop leaves the site for other out-of-campsite activities.
    • Report missing supplies and restocking needs to Troop Quartermaster.
    • Last Fire Marshall on the Duty Roster will clean up/restore the campfire area and wood pile according to LNT or land owner's practices.
    • Always use the Buddy System.
    • Assign a replacement, with the Senior Patrol Leader's approval, if he cannot be present at the fire.
    • Wear the Scout Uniform correctly. 
    • Show Scout spirit as he lives by the Scout Oath and Law.


Job Description:
  • The Grubmaster makes sure that there is a tasty and nutritious menu for the entire campout.
  • The Grubmaster ensures that the food is purchased, packed and is always properly stored.
  • Each Patrol will have a Grubmaster for the entire campout.
  • Makes sure food is cooked in a safe manner, and addresses potential hazardous situations.
  • Grubmaster unpacks food after the trip, and returns food to proper storage area/bins.
  • Grubmaster and Patrol Leader review the Duty Roster to ensure proper assignments.
  • The Grubmaster is appointed by and reports to the Patrol Leader.
  • Sets a good example, obeys the Outdoor Code and follows Leave No Trace principles.
Grubmaster duties:
  • Leads discussion to develop campout menus, if designated by the Patrol Leader.
  • Reviews menus for nutrition, ease of preparation, recipes on hand, and any special or unusual equipment requirements.
  • Gives Patrol Quartermaster a list of special troop cooking equipment (colander, Dutch Ovens, BBQ, rotisserie, solar oven, etc.)
  • Gives Patrol Quartermaster a list of food items that are requested from the Troop (spices, condiments, pancake syrup, etc. )
  • Shops for food, or designates a Shopper.
  • Reviews Duty Roster frequently to check tasks at each meal(or shift) and for conflicts with scouts at activities, and suggests changes.
  • Throughout the campout, Grubmaster checks menu, reviews any changes to menu, kitchen set up, and food storage.
  • Helps Chief Cook of each meal understand the menu and recipes. Provides cooking or equipment usage instructions if needed.
  • Sees that the patrol eats proper, nutritional food which has been safely handled.
  • Check portion size and quantities, and packs only what is needed for the trip. Repackages food if necessary.
  • Packs food in the cooler with ice for perishables; and packs the Patrol food bin with non-refrigerated items. All of the food must fit into the bin, and tries to avoid extra bags with food.
  • Discusses cooking safety and addresses potential hazardous situations related to the menu.
  • Finds out if the water source is safe to drink (potable water) or needs to be purified.
  • If water needs purification, then instructs scouts in the methods to be used during the campout.
  • Makes sure that drinking water and beverages are adequately available to help scouts avoid dehydration.
  • Makes sure that the Patrol camp area has a hand washing station with proper soap.
  • Ensures that garbage facilities are properly set up and used during the campout; and garbage is properly disposed of during and after camp.
  • Checks food storage to prevent spoilage or animal break-ins.
  • Helps pack the food into the vehicles or trailer.
  • Works with the Fire Marshall when fire is used for cooking (Dutch Oven, grills, BBQ, food-on-a-stick), to ensure proper set up and safety.
  • Makes sure that all fire safety rules are followed during cooking with open fires.
  • Works with Quartermaster to understand operation of cooking equipment.
  • Always uses the Buddy System during campout.
  • Assigns a replacement if he cannot be present during a certain time period, and tells Patrol Leader of change in duty.
  • Wears the Scout Uniform correctly. 
  • Shows Scout spirit as he lives by the Scout Oath and Law.

Chief Cook

Job Description:
  • Chief Cook ensures that a nutritious meal is properly cooked and served on time.
  • Duties rotate for each outing, or can rotate during the outing.
  • Chief Cook can assign Assistant Cooks for each meal.
  • Prepares a grace before all meals.
  • The Chief Cook is appointed by and reports to the Patrol Leader.
  • Sets a good example, obeys the Outdoor Code and follows Leave No Trace principles.
Chief Cook duties:
  • Review menu and recipes to understand cooking requirements.
  • Organize the preparation of the meal (schedule, tasks, people).
  • Assign and supervise helpers (if any).
  • Make sure the meal is prepared well and on time; makes a timeline or schedule to plan out and overlap tasks.
  • Informs Patrol Leader if he needs extra time or to be excused from activities in order to cook.
  • Always uses Buddy System.
  • Makes sure that there is a place to cook food, and to eat meals.
  • Keeps a clean, safe, orderly, and sanitary food preparation and cooking zone.
  • Gather food and beverages from the chow box and cooler, as needed.
  • Gather cooking gear and utensils.
  • Set up and operate cooking equipment safely; ask Grubmaster for instructions if necessary.
  • Work with Fire Marshall when fire is used for cooking (Dutch Oven, grills, BBQ, food-on-a-stick), to ensure proper set up and safety.
  • Works with Clean Up crew; requests cleaning of the pots, pans, and patrol cooking utensils during and after cooking.
  • Returns food, spices, and any unused portions to chow box or cooler. Uses good packaging to prevent leakage or contamination.
  • Sets table for the meal, or provides a nice, clean eating area. Sets table with condiments required for the meal.
  • Provides a grace before scouts eat their meals ( or assigns this to someone).
  • Reports any missing or malfunctioning equipment to Patrol Quartermaster (or Troop Quartermaster).
  • Wears the Scout Uniform correctly.
  • Shows Scout spirit as he lives by the Scout Oath and Law.

Menu Planning and Food Shopping

The Patrol Leader is responsible for menu planning at campouts. He can ask the Grubmaster to be in charge of this, and to lead the discussion.

This means he can plan the menu himself, do menu planning as a group activity in patrol meetings or assign menu planning to another member of his patrol.

Menu planning should take into account the following:

  1. Meals:
    • Number of meals to be planned
    • Determine any restrictions on how they are to be prepared (for example, limited time or equipment available for a particular meal)
    • Address issues concerning specific food restrictions, allergies or preferences
    • Location of meal, such as at the campsite or away from campsite (on the road, on a hiking trail, beachfront, etc.)
    • Possible cooking methods due to location or fire restrictions
    • Suggest special meals or opportunity to practice a new method or recipe (Dutch Oven, solar oven, rotisserie)
    • Get recipes
  2. Duty Roster:
    • Set up the duties so that the scouts know who is the Grubmaster, Cooks, etc. and will take their turn when it comes up.
    • Assign cooks to certain meals according to their interest (or rank requirement needs).
    • Assign duties sensibly, so it works! (Cook cannot be on Clean Up crew at the same time.)
    • Explain/review tasks that are expected to happen during each shift.
    • Add duties that are specific to the event, campout or location. Eliminate duties that are not needed.
  3. Budget: Keep cost of food for the weekend in the (average) range of $2.50 per meal per patrol member. Purchase store brands or sale items whenever possible as these are less expensive. Especially be aware of purchasing the right quantities for your use during the campout. Try to avoid having leftover O. J. and milk, both of which are somewhat expensive to throw-out. Consider "Tang"-type dry breakfast drinks and canned evaporated milk so if you buy too much it can be saved for a future outing.
  4. Food List:
    • Make sure you have the details about amount, Brand name, size of can, type of ingredient (crushed, whole, canned or fresh, etc.)
    • Keep in mind those food and related items provided by the troop at each campout (no need to purchase additional quantities as a patrol).
    • Check with the Quartermaster for current food supplies.
    • Buy only what you need!
    • Watch out for any restrictions about glass containers for the trip (no glass permitted on canoe or backpacking trips).
    • Fruits and vegetables don't need to be "fresh" or raw; consider fruit beverages, dried fruit, canned fruit, instant/dried potato mixes.
    • Fruits and vegetables should be "durable" - that means can pack and travel well without damage (who likes bruised pears or smashed bananas?).
  5. Food storage and preservation:
    • Meats and poultry items must be packaged in leak-proof plastic container/bag to prevent cross-contamination.
    • Perishable foods, especially fresh meats, should be used early-on in the campout to ensure they are safe for use.
    • Re-package foods into smaller containers/bags and take only the amount that you need. Keep cooking instructions!
    • Ice is usually available in the Church kitchen ice-maker.
  6. Troop supplied food items: Usually these items do not need to be purchased by individual patrols. Tell the Quartermaster in advance of the trip, which items are required for the Patrol's meals. Leftovers of these items are returned to the Quartermaster. Often there are convenience and canned food items leftover from previous campouts too. Check with the Quartermaster for current food supplies.
    The items available for most campouts are:
    • cooking oil
    • salt/pepper, seasoned salt
    • other spices (if your recipe calls for something specific let the Quartermaster know)
    • condiments such as ketchup, mustard in small packets
    • pancake syrup
    • cocoa mix
    • bug juice mix (i. e. Kool-aid, Lemonade)
    • popcorn
    • peanut butter and jelly for snacking purposes or as a meal substitute (but use your own Patrol crackers, bread).
    • some of the other items specific for the evening "cracker barrel" or campfire dessert
    • sugar
    • baggies
  7. Meal and Recipe ideas:
    Want some great outdoor recipe ideas? Ask mom or dad for some suggestions. Get the recipe for our favorite dish. Go along on a family grocery outing and scout out what's available.
    Look for convenience foods (in boxes or packages) that only require hot water for quick and tasty meals.
    Check out recipe books, the Scout Handbook or Fieldbook, and the Cooking Merit Badge book. Use the internet and search by keywords such as: campout food, barbecue, outdoor cooking, backpack cooking, campfire cooking, trail food, etc.

Campfire Program

See the Campfire Program Planner document for planning a campfire program