Boy Scout Uniforms

Boy Scout Uniform

Boy Scout Uniform

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The BSA Centennial Uniform
new boy scout uniform
Design for the latest boy scout uniform came out in August, 2008. The colors are pretty much the same so new uniform pieces can be transitioned as old ones are outgrown. A big difference is red shoulder loops and unit numbers are now forest green. The uniform is promoted as more versatile and wearable in the field instead of just for meetings.
I do think the new boy scout baseball-style cap is a big improvement - I bought one myself and it looks great! The switchbacks pants are staying around but with a few changes. There are two styles, heavier and lighter.

I bought zip-offs in August, 2006 when they first came out. The price was a bit steep for me, but I figured I would wear them often. I've certainly gotten my money's worth out of them!

Update 03/2014: The zip-off pants have finally been put to use as "paint pants". I've worn them over 7 years on over 65 weekend campouts, backpacking over 400 miles on 8 scout treks, 6 weeks of summer camp, and uncountable troop and district meetings. I also wore them all 1.7 million steps of my 800-mile, 43 day hike of the Arizona Trail in 2012, .5 million steps of my 13-day, 250-mile Superior Hiking Trail trek in 2012, and 2.25 million steps of my 1,100-mile, 56-day Ice Age Trail hike in 2013. The IAT was their last use as uniform pants.
I now have a new pair of zip-offs for uniform wear. Unfortunately (in my view), they no longer have a zipper in the lower leg portions so I transferred the zippers from my old pair to these.

My BSA baseball cap changed color from my sweating, and possibly the sun. Starting out green, it turned a mottled tan/green - I actually think it looks better but it finally wore out after almost 6 years. I've got a brand new one for my next hike.

Placement of insignia on the uniform is important.
The Uniform Inspection Sheet has insignia placement guides.
There is also a Male & Female Leader Uniform Inspection Sheet.

If you wonder where a patch goes, it is probably a 'temporary' patch. See Scouting FAQ page for help - they can be displayed on a blanket, vest, wall display, shoebox, or the back of the merit badge sash.

See the BSA Insignia Guide for more information on uniforms, patches, and such.

The Scouting program in America has always included uniforms for its members and volunteers to identify members and show they are part of the Boy Scouts of America. Scouts and leaders should wear their uniforms to all patrol meetings, troop meetings, and scout outings.

The tan and green Boy Scout uniform is a well-known symbol of American scouting. All scouts in the program wear the same uniform with the major differences being the badges each scout has earned and the troop specific neckerchief.

Most scout troops also have an activity uniform which is often a t-shirt customized just for the troop. Activity uniforms are worn for work projects, sporting activities, and other events in which the dress uniform might get damaged. The official dress uniform is commonly referred to as the 'Class A' uniform and the activity uniform as 'Class B' even though these are not correct BSA terms.

The best place to buy customized scouting t-shirts is the web site. is an official licensee of the Boy Scouts of America and is actually run by a few Eagle Scouts.

boy scout uniform

Each scout belongs to a patrol within the troop. To foster patrol identity, each patrol chooses a Patrol Patch and creates a patrol flag, name, and yell.

merit badge sash Sashes and Such
The BSA Insignia Guide discusses all the uniforming, patch placement, and other insignia use.
Merit badge placement on the sash is up to the scout. The badges can be displayed in rows of two or three, starting three inches down from the top of the sash.
There is no required ordering of badges. The scout can put all silver-bordered Eagle-required badges first, followed by green-bordered elective badges. Or, he can display them alphabetically, or by favorites, or by color, or in the order earned (which is most common).
When the front of the sash is full, additional merit badges can be displayed on the back or on a second or third sash.

The merit badge sash is worn draped over the right shoulder and left hip.
Only ONE sash is worn at a time.
A second sash is NOT worn over the shoulder, nor tucked into the belt.
The same is true for Order of the Arrow sashes. The scout wears either a merit badge sash OR OA sash, but not more than one sash at a time.

These two sashes show merit badges in rows of three. They belong to my two Eagle sons. One has all his Eagle-required badges on top, the other just has them as earned.

Boy Scout Uniform Costs
shirtneckerchiefslide shoulder loopscap belt zip-off
$25-$45$5-$10 $6$4 $15$0$35-$45$8$12
(BSA zip-off pants give you long and short pant uniforms, plus a belt)

Uniform Patches
World Scout Crest Emblem$1.50
Council Strip$1.50 - $6.00
Troop Number$4.50
Patrol Emblem$2.50

Total Uniform Cost
about $120 to $160

Useful Items
scout book cover

Scout Handbook Cover - $7
requirements book

Scout Requirements Book - $6
sewing kit

Sewing Kit - $5

Uniform details, price changes, and other scouting gear is found at ScoutStuff.Org - and you can now purchase online.

Retrieve a list of Scout shops and distributors in your area at this Scout Store Locator

Boy Scout Uniform Savings

These uniforms are a significant cost for many scouting families. Some possible ways to reduce costs are:

 Feb 19, 2012 - Julie Schmidt
Just trying to locate where anywhere says, when female leaders are supposed to wear uniforms.
Feb 20, 2012 - Scouter Paul
Julie - the official uniform should be worn to all troop meetings, formal events, and "all suitable occasions".  You won't find a list of all instances where a uniform should be worn because such a list would be impossible to make.  
It doesn't matter if the person is male or female.

Feb 21, 2012 - Scout mom, old-fashioned?
This is a great page to show the uniforn, but I can't help but wonder why a (role) model would be pictured with hands in pockets.  I try to teach my sons that it shows poor manners to stand thus.  It has to do with how one carries oneself, for instance if one is going to a job interview.  I googled it and found it in Wikipedia's Dutch customs and ettiquette.  Imagine that!  I was raised in a Dutch household, so perhaps that is why this choice of photo struck me as odd on the boy scout website.  Perhaps it was cold wherever  the photo was taken.  Am I the only parent who reminds my sons to "take your hands out of your pockets"?  When servicemen and women have their full length photographs taken in uniform for their records, they must stand at attention in their uniform, no hands in pockets.  I would love to see a young man in uniform here, proudly showing how to properly wear his attire, standing up straight and tall with hands at his sides.  I believe that in speech and debate classes, students are taught about body language, standing straight, and exuding confidence, all great qualities for Boy Scouts to learn.  If you're going to dress properly in your uniform, then you should stand properly in it too.
May 31, 2012 - Michele Anderson
My son earned the Religious knot in Cub Scouts.  Will this remain on his uniform above the left pocket?  I can't find any information on it any where. The troop leader isn't positive.  If you have an idea please let me know.  Otherwise I am leaving it on. Thank you.

May 31, 2012 - Scouter Paul
Michele - Yes, a religious emblem earned as a Cub Scout can be worn on a Boy Scout uniform.  See the Religious Emblem award in the Awards area for more info.
Jul 12, 2012 - advancement lady
I need to know the difference between the "hook on pocket" patches and the temporary patches that are sewn onto the right pocket. I know World Conservation and NYLT can be worn on the right pocket ~ what about the National Outdoor patch. Where does that go?
Jul 12, 2012 - Scouter Paul
Adv Lady - medals and square knot emblems are displayed above the left shirt pocket.  Pretty much all patches associated with awards and recognition (including Natl Outdoor Badges) are 'temporary' patches which means the scout can display 1 at a time centered on his right pocket.  It doesn't matter if the patch is sewn on or hung from a plastic holder.  Temporary patches may also be displayed on a red vest, campfire robe, blanket, special neckerchief, wall plaque, trophy hide, or on the back of the merit badge sash.
Jul 14, 2012 - Elizabeth Keegan
When is it appropriate to wear the merit badge sash, and should the kerchief be worn at the same time?  If other badges are  put on the other side of the sash, when is that side ever displayed?
Jul 14, 2012 - Scouter Paul
Elizabeth - the sash can be worn whenever the uniform is worn.  But, it is typically worn to more formal events such as courts of honor or ceremonies.
The neckerchief is always worn as part of the uniform, if the troop has decided that a neckerchief is to be worn - that is one part of the uniform that each individual troop gets to decide on.  Wearing a neckerchief or sash do not relate to each other at all.
If patches are sewn onto the back of the sash, that is the part that is visible on the scout's back - not the inside of the sash.
Aug 08, 2012 - Josie Becker
Am beginning to put mb's on son's sash.  Where do the mb patches go???  Is there a specific point to begin placing them & how many go in each row?  Also do you place them in random order or by color or theme or date earned???  
Aug 08, 2012 - Scouter Paul
Josie - Merit badges are sewn on the sash in rows of 3 or 2, in any order, usually starting at the top front.  When the front half is full, additional merit badges can be sewn on the back half of the sash.
If the scout wears a longsleeved uniform shirt, he can display up to 6 merit badges in 3 rows of 2 badges, just above the right cuff.
Aug 11, 2012 - colleen
I am a new committee member and dont know where to put my committee member badge on my Class A uniform.  Right or left sleeve.  Please advise.
Aug 11, 2012 - Scouter Paul
Colleen - If you read this page, you'll see there's a link to Male and Female Leader Uniform Inspection sheet.  Just click that and get all the info you need.
Aug 29, 2012 - Jamie
I need to sew merit badges on my sons sash
I am not sure of the order to put them in. I've been told
to sew them 3 across and the silver close to the heart but
would feel better if I saw a picture.
Aug 30, 2012 - Scouter Paul
Jamie - there's a picture on this page showing how badges can be sewn on.  There is no required order - it's up to the scout.
Oct 07, 2012 - Curt
You stated with the Centennial Uniform the Troop Numbers went green.  The picture below that statement, shows a Scouter with the Red numbers on his uniform.  I have heard we are going back to the Red Numbers.  If I am going to buy my son a new Scouting Uniform, what color numbers would you recommend?
Oct 07, 2012 - Scouter Paul
Curt - If he is in Cub Scouts or Venturing, get the white on red numerals.  If he is in Boy Scouts, get the green on khaki numerals.
Oct 11, 2012 - Jennifer
Thank you so much for this wonderful page!  I have a question, though - my son's troop has a patch that gives our town/state, the TROOP 344 underneath that, and then 90 years underneath that.  It's all one patch.  Can you tell me where you think this should go?  I think I remember seeing it on the front left pocket of one of the other scouts' uniforms, but am not sure now.  Thank you! :)
Oct 11, 2012 - Scouter Paul
Jennifer - That sounds like a custom unit numeral patch and should go on the left sleeve where unit numerals normally go.  But, maybe your son could ask his Sr. Patrol Leader or Scoutmaster to find out for sure.
Oct 13, 2012 - Michelle Kitchens
My son completed NYLT this summer.  He made a big deal about completing the requirements to get the pin.  He received the pin with no information for where to place it on his uniform, or if he can even wear it on his uniform.  Our troop is new and he is the first to get the pin.
Oct 14, 2012 - Scouter Paul
Michelle - Congratulations to your son.  NYLT offers a patch which is a temporary patch.  As such, it can be worn centered on the right pocket.  One temporary patch at a time is supposed to be worn there.
As far as I know, the NYLT pin is something specific to your council and the pin is pinned to the NYLT patch.  See
Nov 07, 2012 - heather
My son has just made first class. I see some boys wear their New Scout and Tenderfoot badges on the back side of their merit badge sash.  Is this correct? Or is there other suggestions of what to do with these rank badges?
Nov 07, 2012 - Scouter Paul
Heather - Old rank badges do NOT go on the merit badge sash.  This is specifically stated in the BSA Guide to Awards and Insignia.
They can be shown off on a patch vest, hide, or blanket.  Or, just kept in a box.
Nov 20, 2012 - Georgiana Van Syckle
I bought my son the light weight zip off pants that include a belt on the inside of the waist.  Now the Jambo scoutmaster says that if there are belt loops, you have to wear an additional belt on top.  This doesn't seem logical to me.  Please comment.
Nov 20, 2012 - Scouter Paul
Georgiana - Doesn't seem logical to me either, but, if your council has defined and published what their jamboree uniform requires, that's what the scouts need to wear.  For example, says a khaki or leather belt and that is what the 2010 Staff definition stated, too.
If there is a published definition of your council's jamboree uniform, I'd ask to see it.
Dec 27, 2012 - Meg
My son's troop is confused regarding sash wearing.  They were recently photographed with half the boys wearing their sash on the left shoulder and the other half on the right shoulder.  Which is correct?
Dec 30, 2012 - Scouter Paul
Meg - the merit badge sash goes over the RIGHT shoulder.  This allows the rank patch on the left pocket to be visible.
Jan 24, 2013 - Karen Carroll
Through years of Cub Scouting leadership and having two older sons in Boy Scouts, I always understood that the World Brotherhood patch was not a required patch. The shirts in the past came with it sewed on, I believe, but no longer. I told my Cub Scouts they did not have to purchase the patch, but my Boy Scout son was chastised at a Board of Review because he did not have the patch. Is it a mandatory part of the uniform?
Jan 25, 2013 - Scouter Paul
Karen - Not that patch, nor any other patch, is 'mandatory'.  The uniform itself is not mandatory.
But, why would someone NOT wear it?  It is the only patch that goes in that position and it shows the wearer to be a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement.  It's kind of like choosing to not wear your council patch or unit numerals.
Jan 26, 2013 - Heather Wilbur
This is my sons first year in scouts he is a tiger cub he is hearing impaired and earned his badge for sign language he signed the pledge alliance before a basketball game (proud mom) can you tell me the correct placement of this badge?
Jan 26, 2013 - Scouter Paul
Heather - If it is a tan Interpreter Strip, then it is displayed centered above the "Boy Scouts of America" strip on his uniform.  If it is just a sign language generic emblem, then it is a temporary patch and displayed centered on the right pocket.
Jan 31, 2013 - Sean
I am new to an area and involved in Scouting.  We have a lot of new boys in the troop who are underprivileged.  We are going to be having fundraisers to "earn" the uniform, however I would like to save money where I can.  Is there a place I can get used uniforms at a good price that you would recommend?  I really need 10 complete uniforms and would like to get Class B shirts as well for other activities.  Ideas, thoughts, suggestions?
Jan 31, 2013 - Scouter Paul
Sean - I've gotten BSA pants of for very good prices.  The shirts seem to be too worn out, though you might have better luck.  GoodWill or other used clothes stores sometimes have uniform parts.
Many districts or councils have uniform exchanges - you should ask yours. is a great source for activity shirts for reasonable prices.  You can design your own or use a stock design.

Feb 09, 2013 - Jeanne
I am getting ready to sew my son's merit badges on his sash, this is probably a silly question but is the pointed end of the sash on the bottom, that is what I'm assuming. Thanks for your time
Feb 09, 2013 - Scouter Paul
Jeanne - Yes, the pointed end should be down by his left hip and the sash drapes over his right shoulder.
Feb 10, 2013 - Matt Pieper
Sean if you happen to have a Ragstock store near you they have uniforms from time to time. Our pack has found rather inexpensive uniforms there. We purchased Cub Scout Uniforms for $12 there.
Feb 11, 2013 - Dana Henry
I would appreciate advice on the correct wearing of the "God and Church" award my son received.  What a great service this is!
Mar 03, 2013 - Jon
My son just crossed over from Webelos to a Troop and the number of digits in the unit number went from 4 to 3, so when I installed the new unit number I'm left with a dark sticky residue on each side of the new numbers from the patch magic adhesive. Any clues how to remove it? Short of buying new shirts, should we just not worry about it? One might say it is tacky in more ways than one. Thanks ;>)
Mar 03, 2013 - Scouter Paul
Jon - Going right to the source is usually the best way to find an answer.  On the Badge Magic website, they have a FAQ page that says to use Goo Gone or Goof Off.

Mar 04, 2013 - Belinda
My son just bridged and earned the arrow of light and the super achiever. I know where the arrow of light patch goes, but are any of the other awards, pins or previous cub scout patches transferrred to the new uniform? He has his belt loops displayed, I am  just not sure if some of these transfer please advise.
Mar 04, 2013 - Scouter Paul
Belinda - It's a brand new day in Boy Scout land!  The Arrow of Light and Religious Emblem are the two common Cub Scout patches that can go on the Boy Scout uniform.  The Merit, Heroism, and Honor Medal knots can also be earned by youth and worn from then forward.  Pins, belt loops, activity badges, and all that were for Cubs and he starts fresh in Boy Scouts.
Mar 07, 2013 - Rick
Exactly what are the minimum requirements for a boy scout uniform? I thought they were neckercheif, shirt, belt, and socks. I was told yesterday that a hat is a required part of the uniform when performing flag ceremonies outdoors, which our scouts will be doing at a college baseball game for their scout recognition day,  as well as the sash, if the scout has one. I knew about the sash, but the hat?
Mar 07, 2013 - Scouter Paul
Rick - A uniform is not required to be in Boy Scouts.
The complete Boy Scout uniform is: headgear, neckerchief, shirt, pants, belt, socks.
Headgear is determined by troop.  Neckerchief is determined by troop.
A sash is not part of the uniform.  It is worn on special occasions.
See uniform inspection sheet for details.

It would make sense for the scout to wear headgear for an outdoor ceremony.  I would not recommend wearing the merit badge sash, and definitely not the OA sash unless they are representing the OA.

Mar 12, 2013 - JB
On a related hat question:  Is the only official hat to be worn with the uniform the ones sold by the BSA? The troop I lead would like to wear boonie hats in the summer for the added sun protection (as would their moms).
Mar 13, 2013 - Scouter Paul
JB - The troop decides what headgear to be worn as part of the uniform.  The same is true for the neckerchief.  It doesn't need to be sold by the BSA.
Apr 05, 2013 - New Eagle
so i have just recently passed my board of review for the rank of eagle scout and am preparing for my court of honor. i am over the age of 18 now and therefore i am no longer a member of a patrol. my question is regarding the patrol patch. are there specific regulations as to what can and cant be worn for one's patrol patch? i was kind of interested in replacing mine with a custom patrol patch with a family symbol on it or something like that. i have several cousins who are also eagle scouts and we thought it might be cool. thanks in advance!
Apr 05, 2013 - :Eaglewolfdad
New Eagle
Well done on your achievement! Now that you are moving into the adult leadership ranks, the patrol patch is not part of the adult uniform and should not be worn
Apr 23, 2013 - Tracy Doane
I have a question regarding the class a uniform.  Does my son have to have the green pants or can he wear jeans and still have it considered class a?  
Apr 23, 2013 - Scouter Paul
Tracy - You can see the complete uniform items above, and in the Uniform Inspection Sheet.  BSA pants ARE an integral part of the uniform.
There is no 'Class A' or 'Class B' uniform defined in the BSA.  
May 03, 2013 - eaglemom
Some older boys in our troop tend to be very lax on wearing a correct/full uniform to meetings and outings.  Would it make sense to have a "minimum" standard for all to follow, such as the BSA shirt, blue/dark jeans (with no holes) and a BSA belt? Non BSA hats are a particular issue. Boys will rarely remove these hats when confronted.  How can we improve?
May 06, 2013 - Steve
Different troops have different standards. The Scoutmaster or Troop Committee has the job of deciding on reasonable standards.
No other organization will allow youth to wear half a uniform (think of a baseball or soccer team - do they wear jeans??). My troop requires full uniform - not even white socks are allowed. A well-uniformed troop stands out at summer camp and camporees.
May 06, 2013 - Scouter Paul
eaglemom - No, I don't think it makes sense to do that.  A uniform is not required to be in Boy Scouts.  The standard is "the uniform" as defined in the Uniform Inspection Sheet.  Scouts should strive to wear the complete uniform.
When the adult volunteers wear the uniform, that helps.
If a scout does not want to wear the uniform, I wouldn't let that worry me at all.  But, I would most certainly recognize those scouts that ARE wearing the most complete uniform.  I might give them some small reward for promoting that method of scouting which seems to be lax in this particular troop.

Regarding the hats - it is common courtesy to remove hats indoors.  I would expect that of anyone, not just a scout.  Outdoors, I wouldn't be concerned unless the hat represented something inappropriate, such as a beer brand.
May 07, 2013 - David
We have a Scout that went through NYLT.  During NYLT he was given epaulettes that were red/white/blue.  Is there an official red/white/blue epaulette?  If so, are there rules for when certain uniform epaulettes should be worn?  Thanks.
May 07, 2013 - Scouter Paul
David - The 'epaulette' is the piece of fabric sewn to the shirt.  The colored part that slides on it is a 'shoulder loop' or 'tab'.
In the current BSA Guide to Awards and Insignia, on page 14, it lists the official shoulder loop colors - blue, forest green, blaze (orange), green, silver, gold.
It also states: "Custom loops are not authorized for wear with the BSA uniform."

Those red-white-blue shoulder loops ppear to be a keepsake but not to be worn on the uniform.  But, the BSA has created temporary shoulder loops in the past, for national and world jamborees, for example.  They were to only be worn for 6 months just before, during, and after participation in the jamboree.  So, maybe NYLT has permission to do the same thing, but I've not heard that.
May 18, 2013 - Donald McAndrew

Reguarding Leader Knots..Can you use your Tenure for one Knot to be used for another Knot? Say you are a Scout Leader as a Cub Master for 3 yrs. and earn the Cub Master Knot can you user the same 3 yrs. towards Cub Master Key Award or Den Leader Award?  Do you earn one Award and then start your Tenure over to start on another Knot?

May 27, 2013 - Jennie Nisbet
When does a scout stop wearing the merit badge sash? As soon as he turns 18? After his Eagle COH? Also, to clarify something I read above... If a scout is wearing the OA sash, is it OK to wear the MB sash off the belt?
Jun 07, 2013 - Scouter Paul
Jennie - No sash should be hung off the belt.  That is a common 'NoNo' that continues to be perpetuated for some reason.  Either the OA sash OR the merit badge sash is worn, not both.  The OA sash is worn when representing the OA.
The merit badge sash is part of the Youth uniform so it should not be worn by adults - that is someone over 18 and not registered in a Venturing Crew.  But, I don't think a scout would catch any grief for wearing it to his Eagle COH if that is held after is 18th birthday.
Jun 12, 2013 - Jim E.
My son has olive green shorts the same color and style as "official" Scout shorts.  Are these permissible to still be considered within regulations?
Jun 12, 2013 - Scouter Paul
@Jim - No, they are not BSA pants so they are not part of the uniform.
Jun 14, 2013 - Leesa Gabel
My son completed NYLT and received a NYLT-Trained patch. It's similar in size to the Trained patch. Can the NYLT-Trained patch be placed in the same spot as the Trained -- which I assume to be under his patrol responsibility patch?
Jun 14, 2013 - Scouter Paul
@Leesa - Scouts are to wear the "Trained" patch specifically for their current position of responsibility and only after they've completed their troop's leadership training for that position.  That's what the insignia guide says.
I believe an NYLT-Trained patch is not for a specific youth position of responsibility, so should not be worn there.  It is possible that your son's scoutmaster had him complete NYLT specifically for training for a particular troop position and plans to count NYLT as your son's position training also.  Your son should ask the scoutmaster.
Your son could certainly contact the NYLT staff and find out what they have to say about it, too.
Jun 15, 2013 - Michael Ginther
It's been about ten years since I earned my Eagle Scout and recently I was at an In 'n Out and saw a troop which disgracefully represented the Boy Scouts of America.  The entire unit from the leader to the Boy Scouts were inappropriately dressed.  The Female leader had her uniform blouse untucked and completely unbuttoned, which was the same for each troop member.  One Boy Scout wore his neckerchief around his neck instead of properly around the uniform collar.  Not one Boy Scout or leader wore the Olive Green BSA pants or shorts.  

What are the official uniform regulations?  I may be biased as I am a 1stLt in the USMC.  What are the current procedures for training the Troop Scout Masters?  This was in Bakersfield California and Troop 7.  If anyone in the BSA is able to push down better guidance to this troop, they are disrespecting both the BSA but also all the Boy Scouts who have come before them.
Jun 15, 2013 - Steve W.

You're not alone.  I'm a Major in the USAF, and I feel the same way.  In fact,I sent a strongly worded letter to a local Cub Scout Pack a while back.  Two Cub Scouts were selling popcorn at a Lowe's.  They were wearing only an untucked shirt with their Bobcat and Wolf badges STAPLED on!  I had enough and let the Pack leadership know how I felt about it.  I can't blame the boys, it's the leadership.  The uniform is what the public sees.

My son will join Tiger Scouts this Fall and I will be his Den Leader.  I intend to lead by example.  I will wear an impeccable uniform, as will my son.  By setting a good example, I will ensure a positive public image of my Den.  Hopefully, it will catch on.  You don't see Little League players in swim trunks nor do you see cops in ratty jeans.

Perhaps you can volunteer your time in a local Pack/Troop.  They could use your expertise!
Jun 16, 2013 - tim
Be careful in your letter writing. I had a boy in my Pack whose parents "were not available" and he stapled all of his ranks and earned patches on his uniform and wore them with great pride. He is now a great Boy Scout and I could not be happier. But, please do set an example. It does work.
Jun 16, 2013 - Steve W.

The boys' Dads were the ones collecting the money. They were right there.
Jun 16, 2013 - L. Brown Harkus
My boys are just joing the B.S.A. & I'm a little surprised/disappointed at the relaxed standards I've seen in our local troop. Uniforms aren't required at meetings. Even on outings, no one has a complete uniform on. And at the last meeting, the leader was going down the requirements for Scout and Tenderfoot and was making up answers! He didn't know the specific parts/meanings of the emblem, what to do for various bites, injuries, etc. Is there not a list somewhere of "correct" things to teach these boys?
Jun 16, 2013 - Scouter Paul
@L. Brown - Generally, YES, the "list" of correct things is the Scout Handbook.  Pretty much all the advancement requirement skills and knowledge through First Class can be learned from the handbook.  Scouts are supposed to use the handbook as a learning resource.
All Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters are also supposed to attend Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills training where all the outdoors skills through First Class are supposed to be presented and learned.

Regarding your uniform comments, owning a uniform is not a requirement of joining or participating in the Boy Scouts of America.  Some specific units require a uniform and some specific events (such as Jamboree) require a uniform.  If a scout owns a uniform, it should be worn correctly and as completely as possible.  
Having caring adult volunteers wear the uniform correctly and help the scouts wear theirs correctly is the best way I know of to establish proper uniform wear in a unit.
Jul 01, 2013 - Mark
My son has 2 positions within his troop; webmaster & assistant PL. Should he wear both patches on his uniform?
Jul 02, 2013 - Scouter Paul
@Mark - He should wear one position of responsibility patch.
Jul 02, 2013 - Carolyn
In reading through your question and answers it lead me to ask a question of my own. When a boy earns his Eagle you say he is no longer allowed to wear his sash. My grandson has earned his Eagle and is about to have his court on honor ceremony. He is still only 16. Does this mean he is no longer allowed to wear his sash. He has earned 77 merit badges and is very proud of this. He will be working towards his palms now.
Jul 02, 2013 - Scouter Paul
@Carolyn - He should be proud of sampling all those skills and interests!
I don't see any place on this page where anyone said an Eagle scout no longer wears his sash.  A scout can wear his sash until he is no longer a youth BSA member.
Oct 10, 2013 - Hugh Chase
Sash--Can a boys name and troop number be imbroydered on the top front of the sash above the Merit Badges?  

It looks nice and professional...  I have see some boys and councils do it and don't see it written anywhere that it can't be done.  I also don't see it written that it can be done.
Oct 10, 2013 - Yukon Jack
@ Hugh. The front of the sash is for merit badges only. The back can be used for free space for what you describe, event patches, etc.
Oct 10, 2013 - Lynn Cannon-Dohna
My son is 6'8" and I haven't seen any tall size clothing.. His current shirt ends at his waist.  Is there anywhere I can buy A Tall uniform shirt?
Thanks, Lynn
Oct 11, 2013 - Scouter Paul
@Lynn - At (the official BSA uniform site) shirt sizes go up to 4XL.  They also have contact information by phone, email, or mail so you could ask them your question directly.
Oct 11, 2013 - Scouter Paul
@Hugh - See for the documentation on merit badge sash use.  The front of the sash is for merit badges only.
Oct 29, 2013 - Justin
I am a Star Scout who is working toward Life and my position in the troop is den chief. After my last pack meeting I went down my Troop meeting. When I got there I started catching up on what we were doing. I was wearing my Black Sabbath concert t-shirt that night. Then one of my scoutmasters pulled me aside and asked me were my Class A was.I said I taken it off earlier and left it with my father at the pack meeting. He then said that if I wanted him to sign off on my leadership requirement I had to wear my class A to all meetings. I was wondering if he could deny me advancement because I don't wear my class A. Please tell me if he can or cannot do that.
Oct 31, 2013 - Scouter Paul
@Justin - The uniform is one of the Methods of Scouting.  If a scout owns a uniform, he is expected to wear it to troop meetings.  A troop can define reasonable expectations for positions of responsibility.

You might want to read sections and of the Guide to Advancement and discuss them with your scoutmaster.

Nov 11, 2013 - Elaine
Am I remembering wrong? I read once that a scout could not officially wear his merit badge sash until he was Star. Have you ever heard this?
Nov 11, 2013 - Yukon Jack
@ Elaine. False.
Nov 14, 2013 - Kat Davis
A good way to make sure that your scouts are wearing the proper uniform the proper way is to maintain a clothing closet. e try to "recycle" uniforms as boys get older. This way the uniforms can be passed down to the smaller scouts from the larger older boys and leaders. The one thing to look out for is Badge Magic. I know from personal experience that stuff can damage a uniform. also, this clothing closet can help those scouts and leaders who may not have the money to buy and/or maintain a proper uniform. Our local Goodwill organization keeps an eye out for donated Scout items and then passes them along to our Council, which in turn takes them to roundtable meetings to be passed out among Troops, Packs, and Crews.
Nov 30, 2013 - Bruce
My son made Eagle and is transitioning to a Venture Crew. He was asked to participate in a Silver Award Ceremony and wore his class A Scout uniform as he has not got the venture shirt yet. The crew leader called him out for
1) Not having his Eagle medal on the uniform even though the Eagle patch was sewn on. He was told that both are required at formal ceremonies.
2) His merit badge sash is a left hand one. It is shaped to go over the left shoulder. He was told that this will have to be changed. His 57 MBs are not going to be easy to move.
As an Eagle Scout myself and as an ASM for the last 5 years, I have never heard of the first requirement and cannot find anything in the uniform regulations. On the second account, the sash came from the Scout store and he was never called on it in the two troops he belonged too.   Could you please comment?
Dec 02, 2013 - Scouter Paul
@Bruce - 1. No medals are "required" to be worn.  The patch is fine.
2. There is no "left-handed" sash.  The merit badge sash should always go over the right shoulder.  It sounds like your son's merit badges were sewn on the back of the sash and he has been wearing it incorrectly.  It's too bad no one mentioned it earlier.
Dec 10, 2013 - Brian
Our Troop has historically attended 2 local summer camps.  Each camp offers a "Wrangler" aware to troops that meet certain requirements (camp conservation project, religious duties, etc) during summer camp.  The award is a rectangular patch that says Wrangler.

Some of the old timers in the Troop have multiple Wrangler badges sewed on their uniforms below their right pocket.  Other people in the Troop say that this patch cannot be worn on a Class A.  It is quite a controversy.  

Is this an appropriate patch for the official uniform and if so, where should it go?
Dec 10, 2013 - Yukon Jack
@ Brian. Locally authorized awards may indeed be given and word, so long as the patch is official BSA insignia (sorda like how a council strip is worn, but obviously not a national patch).

However, "multiple Wrangler badges sewed on their uniforms below their right pocket" is a problem.  Problem #1: this local award would fall under the category of 'temporary insignia', which would mean it goes ON the right pocket, not below. Problem #2: only 1 patch goes in the temp insignia location.

So the solution in your unit would be to allow the Wrangler Award patch to be worn, but each scout/scouter may only wear one (scout's choice) and the one must be centered on the right pocket.
Dec 12, 2013 - Jessie
I am a committee member of a pack (advancements and secretary). Should I wear an official "class A" shirt or not?  Since I am not a den leader.  
Dec 12, 2013 - Scouter Paul
@Jessie - Certainly!  All registered BSA volunteers should wear the uniform during Scouting functions - not just the shirt, but pants and socks as well.
Dec 20, 2013 - Kyle
I have been invited to take part in an Eagle Scout Award Ceremony by a new Eagle from my old troop.  I earned my Eagle, but am now 20 years old and not registered with the BSA.  Do I wear my Class A's from my old troop (no sash), or "civilian" dress?
Dec 21, 2013 - Scouter Paul
@Kyle - The BSA uniform is to be worn by currently registered members of the BSA.  You can re-register and wear your uniform, or wear something else.
Jan 18, 2014 - Jane Troop Volunteer
Where does the patch with purple background and a panda on it go.  I think it's the conservation patch.  Anyways-I had it on right pocket like scout manual told me and then I was told it goes below the left pocket so where does it really go?  and where do service hour patches go? I had them below the left pocket and was told they go under right pocket?
Jan 20, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Jane - See Conservation Award where it says the patch is a 'Temporary' patch to be worn centered on the right pocket.

You lost me with "service hour patches" - I've not heard of those.
Jan 25, 2014 - James
My son staffed NYLT and received a "NYLT-HOAC STAFF" strip. I can't find any references for a uniform location. Any ideas?
Jan 26, 2014 - Robin
My son earned his Emblem of Faith as a Webelos, does that patch (silver knot on purple) carry over to his Boy Scout uniform and if so, where is it placed?
Jan 26, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Robin - Yes it does.  It is a 'square knot' and placed above the left pocket as shown in the Uniform Inspection Sheet linked in the page content above.
Feb 09, 2014 - Purpleamyjo65
We have a new scout who has both ears pierced.  What are the rules about scouts wearing jewelry?  Who makes that decision?
Feb 09, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Purple - There are no rules about jewelry.  The scout makes "that decision" about having his ears pierced or not.
Feb 10, 2014 - Tim
Getting back into scouting, this time as a Cub Scout Leader.  Years ago we had red jackets to put our non-uniform patches on.  Is this still the case?  Are there any rules or guidelines?
Feb 10, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Tim - Yes, you can still purchase the red, wool "jac-shirt" on
There is guidance for patch placement on the jac-shirt within the pages of the "Guides to Awards and Insignia".
Mar 18, 2014 - Phil
I have a question about Troop and Pack number placement. I current have dual roles as Assistant Cub Master for my youger sons and Assistant Scout Master for my older son. I currenty have my Pack numbers on my Uniform were do I place my Troop numbers. Do I just sew them under the Pack numbers?
Mar 18, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Phil - No, the unit numerals are part of your identification.  Having numerals for two different units would be like addressing an envelope to two different addresses.
You should have a separate shirt for each unit since you have different unit numerals, position patch, and shoulder loops.
I've seen some people fasten their unit numerals and position patches on with velcro so they can switch them to match the role they are filling at the moment.
Mar 27, 2014 - Jay Arruda
Hi ,
I was wondering does it state anywhere that uniforms must be worn to scout meetings ?

Mar 31, 2014 - Paul
What is the guidance around shoes for the boy scout uniform?  Is it okay for scouts to wear other forms such as sneakers, open tied shoes etc. to troop meetings?
Mar 31, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Jay - A uniform is not mandatory to be a scout.

@Paul - The description of shoes is in the Uniform Inspection Sheet linked to above.  I'm not concerned what shoes scouts wear to troop meetings in general.  Sensible shoes outdoors and for particular activities could be a safety requirement.
Apr 04, 2014 - le williams
Lots of Great information here even for us old-timers...haven't seen the answer for this one though - Here goes:  The Amateur Radio Strip is worn on the sleeve below the U.S. Flag - but how far below?  Touching?
Apr 05, 2014 - John Pantera
Appreciate seeing this interest in proper uniforming.  All my youth scouting from Tenderfoot to Eagle was on military bases. Proper uniform was a given and all our mothers were masters at patch placement, sewing and even ironing military creases.  The rules have changed very little in the 60 years I have been in Scouting.  One change I have the most difficulty with is the question of shoes.  I think you will understand that I can not accept any shoe other than leather for uniforms.  Sneakers have improved over the years but, are not best for any Scout purposes from uniform to hiking while they are great for sports and light duties.  There are great hiking shoes that include canvas in their design and should not be confused with sneakers, though.  Firm high tops add safety that cloth can not replace on those long hikes in rugged terrain.  
Apr 16, 2014 - Lola
At my son's BOR, his advancement rank was withheld due to not all earned merit badges were sewn on sash as well as newest patrol patch not sewn on.  I have sat on several BORs and NEVER has a boy been denied rank advancement because of these things.  It's been the custom to ask the scout get these sewn on, but again - NEVER has a rank been withheld, if earned.    Thoughts?
Apr 16, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Lola - silly, silly, silly.  I bet I could find a few things incorrect on the uniforms of those adults sitting on his board of review.
Looking through the requirements for every rank, I see none that mention displaying merit badges nor patrol patches.
It would be interesting to hear what requirement these folks tied the lack of patches to - I bet it was "Scout Spirit".  And, in that case, they themselves have really missed the boat on that requirement.
Apr 16, 2014 - Lola
@SP, I can guarantee you that only the Scoutmaster was in uniform, of any kind.  Should I escalate this to Council or resolve the issue and let it go?  I did express my concerns to the SM and his response was there was a person from District there. Funny though, it's all 'ok' for certain scouts (his son). *sigh*
May 21, 2014 - Jodi
I'm just looking for the opinion of fellow Scouters here.  I am 6'9" and have yet to find official pants that don't hit me mid-ankle.  Even the un-hemmed ones go to a 38" inseam when mine is 42".  The shorts are almost obscene, but I've bought a pair of official pants then cut and hemmed them to an appropriate shorts length.  My shirt is somewhat loose/baggy, but it's the size that was long enough and I plan to have it tailored a bit when I can.  For certain activities, however, shorts are simply not appropriate.  The socks never fit either, but we haven't ever required socks in my unit.  Belt, neckerchief, and hat are all totally fine.  What do you recommend for those who cannot find official clothing?  We also have a large (not obese, just BIG for a 9-year-old.  Dad was in the NFL and stuff) Cub who doesn't fit into the largest blue shirt, but is not yet a Webelo to wear a tan shirt.  Recommendations?  Thanks!
Jun 24, 2014 - Ben Hayes
the NYLT patch is a temporary long may a temporary patch be worn???
Jun 24, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Ben - A temporary patch can be worn for as long as the owner wants to wear it.  It can be exchanged for a different one as often as desired.
Jun 29, 2014 - Kit
I'm trying to get patches in place before my son leaves for summer camp.  The one I cannot seem to find information on is a large, round "Instructor" patch.  Can you please offer guidance?  This site is very informative ~ thank you!
Jun 30, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Kit - That is refefred to as the "badge of office" on the Uniform Inspection Sheet linked to at the top of this page.  It is displayed on the left sleeve.
Jul 04, 2014 - Thomas Gerot
I have a large patch from a Mid-America Council summer camp and it is a centennial patch. It is 3.75 inches tall and 3 inches wide. Does this go on my right pocket? Thank you for this informative site.
Jul 09, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Thomas - Yes, it sounds like a 'temporary' patch to me, and one at a time can be displayed centered on the right pocket.
Jul 13, 2014 - Winola Green
I have uniforms and patches, etc. from my deceased husband, what can I do with them.  Is there some place I could give them away.  Thanks
Jul 16, 2014 - Jim Kangas
On shoes - it is accepted practice in most troops to simply wear sturdy footwear for the current activity. Most camps do not permit open-toed sandals. Many younger Scouters may not remember but the BSA used to have official footwear as well. Essentially they were rubber-soled wingtips and were dark brown in color - actually rather classy looking and I am told fairly comfortable.
Jul 17, 2014 - Jim Kangas
Winola - most councils have a Uniform Exchange or other program where they will accept used uniforms for redistribution to members at a reduced cost. I would contact the local council and ask them about this program. How old are the uniforms? There are collectors out there who collect the older uniforms; if there are in very good shape, there may be a local Scouting museum in your area that may have interest in them.
Aug 10, 2014 - Becky Stevenson
Hope you can help. My Eagle Scout now age 27 is getting married in 2 months. Am completing a shadow box which looks like a Scout shirt and it will set on his groom's table displaying his badges, Eagle Scout medal, etc.  Has anyone ever purchased grosgrain ribbon that matches that tan/beige shirt color?  Need it for trimming the board and covering my mistakes. If yes, what color does it say on it, color #, or store name?  Thanks for any help, Becky
Sep 16, 2014 - Marl
My son currently holds two positions: Den Chief and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader.  Where do these two patches go?
Sep 16, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Marl - Those are each a "badge of office" and ONE of them is displayed on the left sleeve, as described in the Uniform Inspection Sheet.
Nov 13, 2014 - Brenda Ehly
My 17yo son attained the rank of Eagle, but his troop elected to not recharter with BSA. Since he aspires to join the USMC, he opted to join Young Marines, rather than find a new troop. He wants to know if it's appropriate for him to continue to wear his scout uniform when invited to assist other scouts at his school with color guard or flag retirement ceremonies.
Nov 13, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Brenda - The BSA uniform is supposed to only be worn by currently registered members of the BSA.
Nov 14, 2014 - Brenda Ehly
Thank you. This was our best guess, but I promised to look into it.
Dec 01, 2014 - Alan Olinger
Is the new style shirt required to be tucked in to be in proper uniform?The straight bottom camp style shirts look like they are made to be worn out.
Dec 01, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Alan - BSA uniforms are supposed to be worn with the shirt tucked in.
Mar 11, 2015 - Matt
What patches are required? Is the council patch required? I'm happy with the US flag, WOSM, troop numbers, and POR. I took off the knots, OA flap, trained, and JTE patch and the shirt is much more comfortable.
Mar 11, 2015 - Scouter Paul
@Matt - You could just purchase a BSA shirt and wear it 'as is', with only the US Flag and "Boy Scouts of America" above the right pocket.  But, if you're wearing the other patches, the Council shoulder patch is an important part of the Identification set of patches and should be included.
Mar 12, 2015 - Matt
I just wish we could go back to the old days of council strips instead of the large patches. Thanks anyway.
Mar 16, 2015 - SANDRA
My son is currently in OA, when wearing his class A uniform can he have both merit badge sash and OA sash on during a ceremony?
Mar 16, 2015 - Scouter Paul
@Sandra - NO, never.  Neither the merit badge sash nor OA sash should be hung from the belt.  Only one of them at a time is to be worn, and that is draped over the right shoulder.
The scout needs to decide which sash to wear at any particular time and that is based on his role at that particular time.  He can read in his Order of the Arrow handbook when it is proper to wear his OA sash.
"The sash is worn at Order of the Arrow functions and special Scouting activities, when members need to be identified as Arrowmen rendering special services."

So, he would typically wear his merit badge sash to troop ceremonies since he is just one of the scouts, not performing a specific OA duty.
Mar 16, 2015 - Ian Stuart
How far down the sash can badges go? Am I allowed to sow them on all the way down the slant?
Mar 17, 2015 - Scouter Paul
@Ian - The entire sash, front and back, top to bottom, can be filled with merit badges in rows of 2 or 3 badges.
Mar 18, 2015 - Wendy Keller
My son recently moved up to Boy Scouts from Cub Scouts, and he has one of the 100 years of scouting circle patches surrounding the world scout crest on his Cub Scout shirt. I was wondering if I am allowed to put that on his new shirt along with the world crest since it is a special patch?  
Mar 18, 2015 - Scouter Paul
@Wendy - Yes, you can do that, but the Messengers of Peace emblem goes in the same position and is current and relevant.  Your son may earn that and need the old centennial ring removed.
Mar 20, 2015 - Angela
My son just crossed over from Webelo to boy scout. Can he leave his den number badge on the brown shirt and do we need to remove it?
Mar 20, 2015 - Scouter Paul
@Angela - He's no longer in a den.  The den number has no meaning in Boy Scouts so it should be removed.
Apr 10, 2015 - Marie
My 16 year old son recently earned his Eagle Scout rank. He has been invited to a council recognition banquet.  I am wondering if the cloth eagle patch or the medal should be placed on the uniform or both when attending this banquet?  Also, does he wear his sash as well?  
Apr 10, 2015 - Scouter Paul
@Marie - The cloth patch gets sewn on, so it would be on the uniform.  It's up to him to wear the Eagle medal or his merit badge sash, or both.  It would be an appropriate opportunity to wear both.
Apr 13, 2015 - R Cover
Is there any particular order in which the knots on an adult leader shirt should be placed?  Are personal achievement awards considered to be of a higher order than other categories or are the knots sewn in the order earned?
In a row of 3, would an Eagle Scout knot be placed toward the center front of the shirt or toward the sleeve side?
Apr 15, 2015 - Scouter Paul
@Cover - No, no, and no.  
It's entirely up to the scouter to display which of the knots s/he has earned and in which order.
Apr 15, 2015 - Mary
I have the red wool jacket from Philmont with the black bull insignia.  Can I attach patches for scout-O-Ramas, jamborees, camps, etc, on that jacket, or should they be sewn on a vest, or someplace else.  I'm an adult, who started in Cubs in the early 1980's, have held almost every position available, like den leading, CM, camp director, etc.  We started new packs and troops in two different schools, that are all running strong.  Over the years, many patches were received from the fun and exciting activities we participated in.
Apr 16, 2015 - Paul
Can a Cub Scout who earned the Outdoor Ethics Awareness award continue to wear the patch when he bridges over to Boy Scouts, or does he have to re-earn it with the new requirements? I mean, it's the very same patch but slightly different, age-appropriate, requirements. The same question can be applied to scouters, since the scouters follow the same requirements as the boys they are leading.
Apr 18, 2015 - Tom
Where can I find tall-sized shirts? The site only lists big sizes.  We have several scouts and adult leaders that are over 6'4" and need shirts with extra body length.  
Apr 21, 2015 - Scouter Joe
@ Mary, you can do either. There are no regulations in regards to those nice red wool jackets. It's up to you what you sew on it.

@Paul, he would need to earn it on that level as well with the Boy Scout requirements. He then could earn it two more times if he liked, plus the Outdoor Action Awards. There are different requirements for every level.

@Tom if you can talk to your local National Scout Shop. They can help you order shirts with extra length. We had to order a uniform for 7'6" NBA Center Shawn Bradley for an event. If we can fit Shawn, we can get you fitted!

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