Operation Essentials - What to pack #6

Often, packing for a camping trip can seem quite monotonous. As we’ve geared up for 2017, Project 2013 alumni have shared their thoughts on some of the unique and nifty essentials that we feel are necessary for a dynamic jamboree experience. While their recommendations in previous Operation Essentials may have recommended particular brands, we recognize that there are a variety of options that may better fit your preference, whether for financial reasons or simply taste. Here are the highlights of their recommendations:

Michael Shostek, assistant jamboree vice chief for Program during Project 2013, made sure to purchase extra staff polos prior to the jamboree.

Shostek noted that, “Only one polo is provided to staff. It was well worth the investment in additional polos.” He mentioned that, “Extra polos will help you live up to one of the most important points of the Scout law -- clean!”

Kelsey Files, a Trek Guide during Project 2013, sported his Columbia Watertight II Rain Jacket for the rainy days at Garden Ground Mountain. 

“It struck the right balance between being able to keep me dry from the rain, but not too watertight that it made me sweat inside the jacket,” Files noted. “It’s also very packable, allowing you the room needed for your other trail essentials. No one wants to drag around a bulky jacket.”

Taylor Bobrow, a member of the Program Team during Project 2013, could always be spotted carrying his 21 oz. Hydroflask bottle to stay cool and hydrated. 

Bobrow remarked that, “What continually impresses me is the Hydroflask’s ability to keep water very cold for very long.” He also noted that, “The bottles powder coating stops the bottle from sweating, keeping my other packed belongings dry.”

Matthew McGovern, an associate chapter adviser for the Trek Guides during Project 2013, used a pair of well-worn Vasque boots for the duration of the jamboree. 

McGovern noted that, “Those Vasque boots served me well for a number of years and hikes, from the Rockies to the Catskills. Having them broken in beforehand made them all the more effective in keeping my feet safe from blisters.” He also noted that, “The high tops kept my ankles safe from rolling or twisting hiking around as I hiked around the jamboree site, and the GORE-TEX lining kept my feet dry during those sudden West Virginia afternoon storms.”

Ryan Waldrop, a Trek Guide during Project 2013, used a Black Diamond Spot Headlamp while he covered the trail at night. 

Waldrop commented, “That headlamp lasted me throughout the duration of the jamboree, and was a nice investment rather than having to hold a flashlight every night. I made sure to pack about a dozen AAA batteries, since the headlamp would use three at a time. Also, whenever I turned it on, it would flash the remaining battery life for three seconds. This way I would know if I should pack extra batteries with me at the start of the day.” He went on to say, “The headlamp is even waterproof, so I’ve had nothing to worry about whenever it has rained while I’m using it.”

Here’s the complete packing list from the Operation Arrow Staff Overview Guide:

  • 2’×2’×3’ duffel bag 
  • Sleeping bag (lightweight in stuff sack with 30-degree rating is good) 
  • Reusable lunch bag (Staff will be eating breakfast and dinner in the staff dining hall, and you can pick up a Summit-2-Go lunch after breakfast to put in your reusable bag. Disposable plastic bags will not be provided.) 
  • Coffee cup
  • Eating kit (reusable bowl, spoon, fork, knife - base camp and subcamp staff only) 
  • Two 1-liter water bottles 
  • Toiletry kit (keep it small—a drawstring bag is recommended so you can hang your kit while in the wash facility) 
  • Two bath towels 
  • Two hand towels 
  • Flashlight 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Day pack 
  • Clothing 
  • Two field uniforms (Class A) 
  • OA sash 
  • Good, broken-in hiking boots 
  • Lace-up shoes (lightweight sports) 
  • Rain gear (lightweight)
  • Scout headgear 
  • One jacket or sweatshirt (synthetic is good) 
  • Two sets of sleep clothes 
  • Five pairs of underwear 
  • Four or five Scout/jamboree T-shirts/polo/activity shirts (antimicrobial synthetic is good)
  • Three or four BSA uniform shorts/longs 
  • Three or four pairs of BSA socks 
  • One BSA belt 
  • Two or three good pairs of hiking socks
  • Two or three pairs of other socks 

Note: Operation Arrow staff members must bring both their full field uniform with OA sash and the Operation Arrow staff uniform. The Operation Arrow polo shirt and hat, accompanied by Scout pants, a Scout belt, and Scout socks, comprise the official OA staff uniform during the 2017 National Jamboree. Arrowmen should expect to wear such attire in all instances except when they are off-duty or engaged in an activity that calls for special apparel, such as a field uniform. Supervisors will communicate details regarding those special circumstances, and the appropriate level of dress, as they arise. Staffers should also comply with jamboree-wide uniforming requirements, including the display of staff credentials, which can be found in the Jamboree Staff Guide.


  • Air or travel pillow 
  • Swimsuit 
  • Water shoes 
  • Sunglasses 
  • Solar camp shower (three-gallon) 
  • Solar charger

For more information on packing lists for this summer’s adventure to the Summit Bechtel Reserve, please review the Jamboree Staff Guide.

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