It sounds like an infomercial you’d see on QVC: “It’s a pantry, a spice rack, a utensils drawer and a portable kitchen. Yes, the Boy Scout patrol box does it all, and it can be yours for three easy payments … ”
But patrol boxes aren’t a gimmick. Patrol-based cooking is an important part of troop campouts, and many troops use patrol boxes to help keep cooking supplies and ingredients organized.
You don’t want Dragon patrol supplies fraternizing with items belonging to the Alligator or Rattlesnake patrols, do you?
Patrol boxes serve two purposes, as far as I see:
- They teach responsibility. By assigning each patrol its own set of cooking supplies, you’re essentially giving them ownership and (hopefully) teaching them to take good care of what’s theirs. That’s better than everyone using (and abusing) community supplies where there’s no accountability.
- They promote healthy competition. Many troops allow and encourage their patrols to paint and decorate their patrol boxes. Which patrol box looks the best? Which is the best organized? Bragging rights are on the line.
So we’re agreed that patrol boxes are a great idea. But what makes a great patrol box? That’s what Scoutmaster Bob M. asked last week, explaining that Troop 255’s patrol boxes are getting worn out.
“Our troop built the basic patrol boxes a number of years ago” he writes, “and they are showing their age. I was curious to find out if you’ve done an article or had any information on any lightweight options to the basic box design.”
I’ll share one resource, and then I’d love to hear from readers.
Troop 42’s smart idea
“These are not your everyday patrol boxes,” the intro promises. And that’s no exaggeration.
Troop 42 out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has created aluminum patrol boxes that are more durable than wooden ones and come in at half the weight.
Find the complete plans, including what goes inside, at this link. And remember that whenever building patrol boxes requires power tools, that should be an adult project.
Your turn: Share your patrol box tips
What do your troop’s patrol boxes look like? How heavy are they? What’s inside? What’s the rule on decorating the exterior? Leave some thoughts below.
Patrol box photo from St. Louis Case and Cabinet.