Camping Merit Badge 'CAMPING' nights explained
- The requirement begins with “Camp a total of
20 nights.” That means 20 overnights, so a weekend trip from Friday
through Sunday is two nights.
- Next it says, “at designated Scouting
activities or events.” This means the experiences are held under the
auspices of some level of the BSA, and that “Scouting” happens on
them. For example, an individual family or a couple of Scouts and their
parents heading off into the woods doesn’t count.
- A long-term camping experience is defined as at
least five consecutive nights. One of these experiences is allowed, and up
to six nights may count toward the requirement. For example, Sunday
through Saturday. If a Scout goes on a 10-night trek, only six of those
- If a Scout goes to summer camp twice for a
total of 12 nights, only one of the summer camps will count — for up to
- The remainder of the camping nights must be
accumulated through short-term camping — normally weekend troop
campouts. The long-term camping experience must also be a “designated
Scouting activity or event.” This could be at a council summer camp or
on a troop’s own 50 miler, a Jamboree, high-adventure base, etc.
- All 20 nights must be spent under the sky
or in a tent, so nights in cabins don’t count.
- If camping is done at a camp that provides
tents that are already set up, then all is good. If tents are not
already pitched, the Scout must pitch his tent. If he is sleeping in a
two-man tent, then it would be reasonable the he and his buddy set the tent
up together. Sleeping in a tent that Dad or the Scoutmaster, etc., pitched
- I’ve heard feedback from parents with Scout
in troops that don’t do very much camping. They can get in the long-term
outing, but it takes a long time for their troop to get out on enough
campouts to make up the other 14 nights. As a workaround they suggest they
will send their son to summer camp, but then take him home after four
nights so the experience will not count as a long-term camp. This
doesn’t fulfill the requirement. The short-term campouts provide
variety in both preparation and experience, and the Scouts are more likely
to have to set up their own tent and take more responsibility for outdoor
living skills. A long-term summer camp is still a long-term camp even if the
Scout is there for only a portion of the time. It’s an entirely different
adventure and usually doesn’t call for the same level of self-reliance
required for a short term camp.