Scouting - Fact or Fiction?
Camping - Backpacking - Outings

Statement Tents must be ten feet apart in case one of them catches on fire. Fact or Fiction Maybe Comments This was taught at a Wood Badge course.  There is no mention of this in the Guide to Safe Scouting (GTSS).  In some areas we camp in, try and find room for this one!  If there is room, it may be a good practice, but is not required.  However, state and local fire codes may impose a limit.  For example, Arlington County, Virginia, requires tents to be separated by 15  feet.

Statement All tents used by Scouting units must have “No Flames In Tent” labels on them. Fact or Fiction Maybe Comments If the tent is “personally owned,” and only used by the individual owner this label should be there, but it is not required.  Tents owned or used by Councils and individual units frequently fall under state and local laws that require tents to have a "No Flames In Tent" label.  Check with your local Council to determine what requirements exist for your area.

Statement No knives over 6 inches. No blade of any knife may be over six inches long No buck knives. No sheath knives. Fact or Fiction Fiction Comments The Guide to Safe Scouting states that knives are part of the program, but that long sheath knives should be avoided. (But even then, there is no statement that they're "banned").

Statement Liquid fuels are not allowed per BSA policy or any of the many variants on this (anything which implies that the BSA treats propane stoves any differently than white gas stoves). Fact or Fiction Fiction Comments While this is not true, there are some safety guidelines that should be followed. Please visit and read those guidelines.

Statement An 11 year old can't backpack; the minimum age for backpacking is 14. Fact or Fiction Fiction Comments Although for some high adventure treks (such as Philmont) a youth must be 14, generally even the youngest Boy Scouts can go backpacking.

Statement You must use your own council's summer camp. Fact or Fiction Fiction Comments Sorry, we haven't found a Council yet that has this restriction.

Statement Women can't go backpacking with a troop. Fact or Fiction Fiction Comments The BSA makes no restrictions in this area. However, the chartered organization may make this restriction.

Statement So, how many adults do you need on an outing? Comments That is an interesting question. The Guide to Safe Scouting says two on all trips or outings. But there is an exception: for patrol activities. So where does that leave camping? Can that be a patrol activity within the exception? Apparently it is a local Council policy decision, so it depends. However, the answer is never one adult.

Statement Tour permits are needed for all outings. Fact or Fiction Maybe Comments Actually, that is a local council decision. However, a good rule of thumb is for anything away from your regular meeting place.

Statement You need a national tour permit when you cross state lines. Fact or Fiction Maybe Comments Again, actually a local Council decision. In many Council's, however, state lines bear no relation to the national tour permit. You need to be 500 miles from home (but not at a local council camp) or across international borders. Similarly,  national tour permits are only needed for international trips is not accurate; the over 500 mile limitation applies to all councils.

Statement If you don't fill out a tour permit, your outing won't be covered by BSA insurance. Fact or Fiction Not fact - but: whether or not a tour permit is required for insurance may vary depending on your Council Comments There is no universal BSA insurance. That makes the statement misleading.  However, there is insurance at the Council level.  The distinction is that insurance is local and not national.

Insurance is provided on a Council-by-Council basis.  Units can opt out of the Council-offered insurance.   In most Councils, the Council's insurance will cover a unit even without a tour permit.  To be sure, you need to check with your local Council to find out what is and what is not covered.

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