The Scouts’ Patrol Box Checklist
A checklist for an independent patrol of Scouts on standing camp
What should be in your Patrol’s Patrol Box? Of course, that depends on the sort of camping and cooking you will be undertaking. As a Scouter in an active Scout Group based in Belfast, I felt I should write a checklist for our Patrol Boxes that suits the sort of camping that we do.
So what sort of camping do we do in 10th Antrim? We run typically “Scouty” standing summer camps with Icelandic patrol tents, a large mess tent and each Patrol looking after themselves out of dining shelters. The Scouts usually spend the first day of camp building their camp gadgets; their table and chairs and a dresser. Extra time is then spent building a flag pole, a gate and then a volleyball net, in that order!
All of cooking is done by the Scouts on fires in half barrels. They’re then responsible for cleaning up after themselves. The Scouter Team have very little to do with this, we tell the PLs and sometimes a designated Patrol Chef, how to cook the meals and then they get to work. They will usually spend around two hours processing firewood, prepping food, cooking the meal and cleaning up after. Funnily enough, these four jobs will work as the sub headings for the contents of our patrol boxes.
- Matches – or some other method of ignition
- Saw – a good bow saw
- Chopping block
- Fire barrel
- Chopping boards x 3 – to allow multiple scouts to chop at the same time and to allow separation of cooked and raw
- Sharp knives x 2 – multiple to allow different choppers or for food hygiene reasons
- Bread knife
- Tea towels
- Kettle – There should always be hot water on to boil
- Veg peeler
- Cheese grater
- Measuring jug
- Jerry can for drinking water – Should always be full
- Jugs for juice
- Billies x 2 – once for sauce and one for carbs
- Large frying pan
- Fire gloves
- Fish slice
- Serving spoon
- Basin x 2 – one for washing and rinsing or handwashing
- Washing up liquid
- Brilo pads
- Drying racks
- Dish clothes
- Kitchen roll
- Antibacterial spray – for the tables
- Hand wash
- Hand sanitizer
There are two key things missing from this list: food and personal items.
When it comes to food, the leaders hold on to this and give it out before each mealtime. This allows us to discuss each meal with PL, explaining different dietary requirements, preparation and portions. We store all the food together in our mess tent. We keep most things in two large patrol boxes and six ice boxes. The iceboxes are separated by cooked, raw and fresh food. All the food is stored off the ground on table tops.
We also ask our Scouts to supply their own personal items. We find they look after them a bit better when cups and bowls are their own. They should supply their own cup, plate, bowl, knife, fork and spoon.
It’s important that your PLs are responsible enough to divide up the labour fairly. We ask our PLs regularly questions like, “Who did the dishes?” or “Who lit the fire?”. We try to make sure that jobs have been split equally and suggest to the PLs, if they haven’t done anything in a while, that they should muck in. We find that if you have to tell a PL once they aren’t doing enough, you don’t have to tell them again. And new, first year Scouts will always respect a hardworking, fair PL a bit more.
Like I’ve said, the list above is by no means exhaustive. If you’re cooking on gas, it’ll change a lot of the list. If you have no intentions of making mashed potato for example, leave out the masher. Or if you plan to make some bread, maybe add a Dutch oven and a loaf tin. It’s up to you to plan your checklist, referring to your meal plan and the type of camping you are used to.
We’d love to hear how your Patrol Box checklist differs from ours or if you think we have missed something vital please let us know!