This document was produced after attending the 2005 Jamboree. There have been several improvements to the Jamboree experience including the upgrade of cell phone service and the use of smart bracelets and Jambo bucks cards, etc..

Hopefully some of this information will prove to be helpful.



What should I expect at the BSA National Jamboree?


This may be the question you are asking yourself. As I was preparing to go to the 2005 National Jamboree as an Assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 1530, I was asking the same question. I looked around on the internet, and found a couple of sites that gave information about what I should expect, but after reading the information, I was still looking for answers, so I decided to put together information to answer some of the questions I had and hopefully help others that will be attending future Jamborees.


Q.        Do I need to pack everything that is on the list that comes from the national office?

A.        Our council took the list from the official Jamboree Leaders Guide and added a few things that were recommended by previous
  Jamboree attendees. Below is the personal equipment list of Troop 1530. Quantity and comments have been added for each item.


            Photo ID (1)


It is important to have scouts take photo ID card. Photo ID’s should be state or school issued. The airports did not card scouts as long as the adults had their driver’s license with them, and all the names listed on the tickets were correct. The leader’s guide stated that the scouts would need their ID to cash checks or money orders at the trading post during the Jamboree. As far as I am aware of, no one was carded when making a transaction at the trading post.


Calling Card (1)


Calling cards are a must for scouts. Cell phone service is poor at best. Some of the adults were able to get cell phone service in certain locations, but I was unable to get service the entire time I was at Fort A. P. Hill. The base has rows of pay phones set up at each sub camp and at the main trading post for the scouts to use. One thing that everyone needs to know about calling cards is that every time you use a calling card to call from a pay phone, 30 minutes of calling time is automatically deducted from your card before anyone ever answers the phone. The time you talk is also deducted from your calling card.


Traveler Checks ($20 increments) (To be determined by parents)


Personally I took traveler’s checks and a credit card, but I sent traveler’s checks with my son and it seemed to work fine for him. As far as I know, he never had to use his ID for cashing traveler’s checks. As a side note about traveler’s checks, the smallest increment in which you can purchase traveler’s checks is $20.00.


Travel bag (provided) (1)


Each person in our contingent was provided a travel bag with their name on the top. The cost of the duffel bags was included in the cost the council charged to attend Jamboree. The duffel bag was great for packing clothing for the tour of Washington D. C. before and after the Jamboree.


Day Pack or School Back Pack (empty) (1)


This was one of the best items I could have taken on the trip. I was able to keep my camera, water bottle, and souvenirs all in one place. It also came in handy going to the arena shows, because security only allowed two backpacks per troop to enter the arena area, so the Scoutmaster and I both carried in our backpacks. He carried all the scouts and leaders cameras, and I carried in enough snacks for everyone in our troop. While touring the exhibits at the Jamboree, you are able to pick up patches and brochures that are given away, and the backpack provides a great place to store these items. For scouts that like to trade patches, and there were thousands, the backpack is also a great place for keeping your patch trading kit. *Note: be sure to keep up with your backpack at all times especially if you have any thing of value stored there.


Trunk (that will fit under a cot)* (1)


This is a must have item. All the clothing and other personal items you will need while at Jamboree must be keep in a trunk that will fit under your cot. Our troop used the plastic trunks that can be bought from Wal-mart or most sporting goods stores. The plastic trunk help to keep everything dry when it rained. It had to be able to fit under the cot because two scouts shared a tent, and there is not much room between cots.


Long shank lock for trunk (plus keys or combinations) (1)


Each trunk should have a lock to keep everything safe when no one is in camp. We instructed our scouts to bring long shank locks for their trunks. Sometimes the small shank locks when placed on the trunk, do not move enough to allow room to get the key into the lock or allow the scout to see the numbers (if he is using a combination lock). Each of our scouts were instructed to give to an assigned adult leader either an extra key or the written combination to their lock, just in case one of the scouts lost the key or forgot the combination.


Wide mouth plastic bottles (suggest Nalgene)* (2)


As the American Express slogan goes “Don’t leave home without it”. The same can be said for the wide mouth plastic bottles. The scouts need to carry water with them everywhere they go, and using these types of bottles, they can attach them to their belt loops or put them in their day pack. The wide mouth also makes the bottles easy to clean.


Pair broken in Hiking Boots (1)


I carried a pair of boots, and I wore them once or twice, most of the time I wore my tennis shoes.


Pair Tennis Shoes/Sneakers (1)


A pair of well broken in tennis shoes will be a great asset to you during your trip to the Jamboree.


Watch (1)


I recommend that each scout wear a watch to the Jamboree. There are several shows and events in which you will receive a scheduled appointment time, and the scouts will have to be back at camp at a certain time in order that the troop may proceed to these events together.


Pair of work gloves (1)


One item that I took, but do not remember using.



Sleeping bag (placed in a waterproof bag) (1)


Each person attending the jamboree needs to carry their sleeping bag in a heavy duty garbage bag or some other type of waterproof bag. Storing the sleeping bag in a waterproof bag will help keep your bedding dry.


Inflatable mattress for cot (1)


Recommended for extra comfort while sleeping on the cot. Remember you will be sleeping on the cot for nine nights, and you will want the extra padding.


Sheets (may be to hot for sleeping bag) (1-2)


I took two sheets and used both of them, there were several nights that it was to hot to sleep inside a sleeping bag, so I opted to sleep on top of the sheet instead.



            Inflatable pillow or regular pillow (1)


I took a regular pillow that I stuffed inside the bag with my sleeping bag. The inflatable pillows are not as comfortable as the ones from home.



            Laundry bags (1-2)


To keep from throwing your dirty clothes on the ground and for carrying them to be washed, laundry bags really come in handy. I placed one on the upright pole of my tent to where I could easily put dirty clothing.


            Laundry detergent in small plastic container stored in side a zip-lock bag. (1-2)


I carried two water bottles (the ones like you would get to drink from the store), dried them out and placed powder laundry detergent into them for use at the Jamboree. Worked great. I do not recommend using liquid detergent, because if the lid becomes loose on the trip to the Jamboree, all your clothing could get wet with detergent.



            Flashlight with Extra bulbs and batteries* (1)


            Just like for every campout, the flash light is a good idea.



            Plastic drinking cup with a closed loop handle (1)


This is another item that I took with me, but I did not use, because I had my two wide mouth water bottles to use during the day, and the patrol cook kits had cups to use for the meals.


            Insect repellent (rub on type) (1)


I took insect repellent with me, but never used any. There were no mosquito’s that I can remember, but there were ticks. There are signs all over Fort A. P. Hill warning of the ticks in the area. Personally I did not have any ticks bite me, but several of the scouts did, and I did see several crawling on the ground, and even one on my cot.           



            Heavy duty large garbage bags (2-3)


I took several garbage bags, but did not use any of them. Some of the scouts used theirs to put dirty clothes in to ship back home on the truck.



            Zip-lock bags assorted sizes* (3-4 of each size)


I took assorted sizes, and did not use any of them. I must say that the scouts that to trade patches used theirs to keep all their patches together.


            Sunscreen (1)


This is one item I would greatly recommend packing; the campsites are located in large open fields, which provided a great opportunity to burn if you don’t wear sunscreen.


            Nylon rope suitable for clothes line inside tent*, Clothes pins, and Plastic coat hanger (1 rope 10+ feet, 10-12 clothes pins, 1-2 plastic hangers)



These are other items that I used quite often. I tied rope between the upright poles on the inside of my tent, and used the clothes pins to hang up my clean laundry. I used the coat hanger to hang up my class A shirt so it would not get so wrinkled and would look half way decent when I need to wear it around the Jamboree.


            Hand Towels (2)


            Carried two, used both.


            Wash cloths (2)


            Carried two, and use both.


            Bath towels (2)


            Carried two, and used both.


            Toilet kit (1) (all in zip lock bags or ditty bag – bar soap

                                      in plastic container, comb/brush,

                                      toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, brace care items if

                                      needed, METAL mirror (NO GLASS MIRRORS),

                                      shaving needs/razor if needed, shampoo, lip balm, etc.)


                       This is a must have item at Jamboree.



             Heavy duty poncho or rain suit (1)


            Carried one and use it when it rained.





I have listed the uniform parts and the suggested amounts that each scout should bring to the Jamboree. All of the uniform parts were used by the adults and scouts. Some brought more than the suggested items, but this list seemed to work out fine for most everyone.

            Official Jamboree Uniform:


            3 Class A short sleeve shirts*

            3 Scout shorts

            1 Pair Scout long pants

            1 Scout khaki web or leather belt

            6-8 Pair Scout socks (official red top) (not knee length)

            4-5 Jamboree T-shirts* (will be worn everyday during Jamboree)

            1 Neckerchief slide (NOT PROVIDED)

            1 Jamboree neckerchief (provided)

            1 Jamboree nameplate (provided)

            1 Pair hiking boots/shoes (most scouts wore their tennis shoes)

            1 Wallet or some method to secure funds and ID


            Other Clothing Items


            10-12 Pair of underwear


Could have gotten away with around 8 pair, but carrying 10-12 just means you don’t have to wash them as often.              


            2 Swimsuits


1 would have been enough, most scouts and leaders only got to use them in the hotel. The line at the scuba/aquatics activities was so long not many of our scouts wanted to stand in line.


            1 OA sash (if you are a member of the Order of the Arrow)


            Packed, but did not need.


            1-2 Pair of pajamas, boxers/t-shirts/used as sleepwear


Most scouts and adults slept in boxer shorts or regular shorts, with or without t-shirts.


            4-5 Pair of sock liners


            Used, washed, and reused all that I carried




            1 Pair of sandals or flip flops (for shower only)


            I used my pair everyday when taking a shower.


            1 pair of aqua shoes for aquatic activities


I took some with me, but did not use them. I do not thank any of the scouts used theirs either.


Optional Equipment


                1 Bible, Testament, or prayer book


Packed a Bible but did not use, the Sunday Church program handed out programs with printed songs and scriptures.


            1Camera and Film


My son and I both carried digital cameras in water proof bags. Other scouts carried 35mm cameras, and disposable cameras. By all means take or send a camera and film. There are numerous opportunities to take photos, if the scout is willing. NOTE; if sending film, be sure to send enough that the scout will not run out. They do sell film at the Jamboree trading post, but you can purchase it cheaper at home.


            1 Red nylon jacket with Scout Emblem sewn in place.


I packed the jacket and did not need to use it this year. Other people who have gone in the past have told me that they used theirs at night or after a rain.


4-5 Self addressed and stamped envelopes for sending letters home. (Stored in zip-lock bag)


Carried, but did not use. I did not have enough time to write letters, all though some of the scouts did use their envelopes to send letters home.


1 Notebook/paper


I carried a small note book that I used to take some notes about Jamboree and also used to start a journal.


            2 pencils or pens


            Used to write in my journal


            1 Boy Scout Handbook


            Did not carry a handbook and had no reason to need one at Jamboree.



            1 Book or magazine for the plane ride


Personally I did not carry a book or magazine on the plane. The plane had music that could be heard through head phones. There was also an in flight movie.


             1 Extra pair of shoe laces


            Did not carry, and did not need. I made sure I had good laces in my shoes before I left.



1 Small personal radio/CD player with headphones (NO BOOM BOXES)


I carried a small fm radio that I used very little, but the scouts were allowed to carry their personal CD players and I-pods, which they listened to on the plane and the tour bus. The Jamboree does have its own radio station called QBSA which is broadcasting the entire time the Jamboree is in session. Some scouts used their radios to listen to the broadcasted music and Jamboree information.




I packed a small knife in my trunk that was shipped to the Jamboree on the truck. I did need my knife several times while at Jamboree.


            1 Sunglasses and Eyeglass repair kit


            Carried sunglasses and used them only once. Just something else to have to keep up with.


             1 Journal/diary


I took a small note book to take some notes of my trip. I used these notes to make a journal when I returned home. Our troop did have a couple of scouts that wrote in their journal on a daily basis. If the scout or adult going is inclined to write in a journal, they would have a lot to write about.


            1 Patch trading kit (cloth or pillow case + plastic protection + patches + Scout Sprit)


For scouts that like to trade patches, this is a must. Most of the scouts I saw either used a pillow case or towel to put their patches on while trading with other scouts.


1-2 rolls of toilet paper


I took a couple of rolls, and they came in handy. After a couple of days the toilets started clogging up with paper, and people were throwing their used toilet paper on the ground, so the Jamboree staff decided to stop putting toilet paper in the restrooms and issue some to each individual troop. It helped to have your own and to be able to take it back and forth to the restroom with you.




Now that we have covered the personal equipment, let’s answer a few more questions.


Q. I hear there is a lot of walking at the Jamboree. What can I expect?


A. You heard right. From where our troop was camped, it was a 200 to 300 yard walk just to the restroom. The Jamboree does have buses that will take you to certain areas around the base, but with so many people, it is very hard to catch a ride on the bus. The buses that are provided are school buses in which the drivers pack as many people as they can onto the bus. People are even standing in the center isle while going from one spot to another. The buses are a great relief from all the walking if you are lucky enough, or want to wait long enough to catch a ride. When it comes to going to the arena shows, be prepared to walk. We assembled for the arena shows between 3:00pm and 4:00pm and started walking. The walk to the arena show was only about 11/2 to 2 miles from our campsite, but when you are walking shoulder to shoulder with other scouts and leaders down a two lane road, it takes quite some time before everyone is in the area arena. 


Q. What do they mean by a kiosh lunch?


A. Everyone at Jamboree this year received a color coded necklace with plastic tags that represented each day of the Jamboree. When you went to the kiosh (large red and white striped tent), to get your lunch, you removed the tag that represented the current day of the week, and handed it to one of the people working behind the counter, before you were allowed to receive a lunch. The lunches consisted of a Capri juice box, a sandwich, a piece of fruit, and a small dessert. The Jamboree staff tried to change up the type of sandwich that you received and sometimes replaced the fruit with baby carrots and ranch dip.


Q. What amount of money should I send with my son?


A. Well it depends on how much money you want him to spend. I can promise that most scouts will spend what ever you send them. I sent my son with $150.00, but I know of other parents that sent less that $100.00 and their son did just fine. The Jamboree has a fully stocked trading post that has tons of scout items for sale, plus food such as hamburgers, personal pan pizzas, and cokes. Everything is more expensive at the Jamboree than it would be at home. The personal pan pizza cost $7.00, and a bottle coke was $2.00. So remember things cost more at the Jamboree. Also if the troop your son is traveling with takes a side tour before or after Jamboree, they will need money for souvenirs.


Q. What is there for the scouts to do a Jamboree?


A. Where do I begin, well, the best way to put it is I spent 10 days at the Jamboree, and still did not get to see and do everything. The Jamboree is divided into sub-camps in which 30-35 troops are camped. Each sub-camp has located near it what is called “Action Alley”. Action alley consist of different activities in which a scout may participate, including a BMX bike track, repelling tower, shooting range, archery range, mountain boarding, trap shoot, and confidence course. Also included in the action alley is the pioneering area and buckskin games. In the pioneering area, scouts are allowed to make a wooden mallet (kabonger) using simple tools and pioneering skills. This was a hand’s on area where scouts learn to use the block and tackle system in making a pioneering project. In the buckskin games, the scouts are able to participate in competitive activities that men of  the early 19th century enjoyed, such at tomahawk throwing, whip cracking, knife throwing, branding, and even a bronco bucking event. The military has several activity courses for the scouts to go through, and they also have numerous pieces of equipment set up on display for people to view. There are two displays set up where the people hosting the display are dressed in period costume and give details on scouting activities during these times. One is the “Brown Sea Island” this is a recreation of the first scout camp held by Baden Powell. The young men that take part in this recreation, talk with a British accent, and tell about the details at the camp, such as games that were played, how many scouts were present, and the lessons that Baden Powell was trying to teach to his young scouts. The other time period event is a recreation of “America’s first scout camp”. I found this display to be quite interesting. Once again the people running this display are dressed in clothing that would be appropriate for that time period. They proceed to tell about the details of the first camp, like how many scouts were present, what they were allowed to bring, games they played, and the type of shelter in which they camped. Some of the other activities that the scouts can see while at the Jamboree include, merit badge midway, where they can start every merit badge available, exhibit booths for scouting and religious organizations, scuba diving, fishing, and daily stage shows where they can listen to music and see other various forms of entertainment.


Q. What are the toilets and laundry facilities like at Jamboree?


A. The latrine facilities at our sub-camp were made using wood framed walls covered with black plastic, sitting on top of a concrete slab. The toilets were flushable, and there were individual stalls for showering. All of the latrines for both the adults and scouts were located in one building, with a solid wall to divide the adult end from the scout end. There were separate entrances for adults and scouts. The same was true for the toilets. I only have a few complaints about the personal hygiene facilities, one is that the toilet stalls were small and only had a shower curtain in front of them for privacy, and the other is that in our sub-camp, the showers only ran cold water. I did not have a hot or even warm shower the entire time I was at Jamboree. From what I found out, I think that some people did have showers with hot water; ours was just not one of them. The laundry facilities at Jamboree consisted of rows of deep sinks in which you could stop up the drain and put in soap and water (once again cold water) to wash out your clothes. Our troop took 5 gallon buckets with toilet plungers along to use to wash clothes. I personally used a combination of both the bucket and the sink.


Q. Do all troops use canvas wall tents during the Jamboree?


A. No, I saw both canvas wall tents and nylon dome tents used during the Jamboree. Our troop decided to take the wall tents. I see advantages and disadvantages both ways. The biggest advantage to wall tents that I can see the ability to open both ends and both sides to allow air to flow through. The biggest disadvantages that I see with wall tents, is the amount of time required to set up and take down, and the fact that there is no flooring, which can lead to items getting wet.

     The biggest advantages to dome tents is the time required to set the up, and the ability to move them quickly should the need arise. The biggest disadvantage in my opinion is that during high temperatures they hold in a lot of heat, even with the windows down, and they are easily whipped around in heavy wind. The choice to which type of tent to use, depends on which one the troops like the best.


 Below I have listed several things that I thought may be of some interest to those that attend a future Jamboree.



The Jamboree is a once in a lifetime experience for many people, go there to see and enjoy everything it has to offer.