13th-edition ‘Boy Scout Handbook’: Inside the guy’s guide to adventure

Boy Scouts don’t read a Handbook cover to cover.

They flip to specific pages for reference, dog-ear their favorites and record their progress toward Scouting ranks in the back pages.

The new, 13th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook was designed with navigation in mind. It’s the most user-friendly Handbook the BSA has ever released.

And it’s available now at Scout Shops and online. The Handbook is $14.99 for the perfect-bound version or digital download and $19.99 for the coil-bound version.

Here’s a look at what’s inside.

Find it fast


Each section — first aid, fitness, nature and more — has its own color, making it easy for Scouts to find the information they need in a flash.

“We considered how youth will use the book,” says Garfield Murden, senior member experience specialist with the BSA’s Design and Development Center.

Once Scouts find the page they need, they’re greeted with a fresh design.

The 12th edition, released in 2010 to coincide with the BSA’s 100th anniversary, included old-school visual flourishes that celebrated the BSA’s rich history. Each page featured illustrations, photos or text excerpts from the BSA’s early years.

This nostalgic look was great for its time, but the 13th edition strips away the superfluous for a design that’s appropriate for 2016 and beyond.

Chapter-by-chapter improvements

The 13th-edition Handbook features more than a visual revamp. Changes to the content support new Boy Scout requirements for 2016, including those in the areas of camping, cooking, fitness, outdoor ethics, nature, first aid, citizenship, service, duty to God and STEM.

“We looked through the book chapter by chapter to see what could be improved and made more relevant for Scouts,” Murden says.

Content was revised after consulting subject-matter experts and another kind of experts: the Scouts themselves.

“We tried to make it more relevant, exciting and stimulating to Scouts,” Murden says.

What’s inside the Handbook? Here’s a look at the table of contents:



Transitioning to the new Handbook

Buying the 13th edition of the Handbook is not required for Scouts who already own the 12th edition. They may use the 12th-edition Handbook and download the new 2016 requirements, available here.

But with all these forward-thinking changes, every Scout is going to want the latest and greatest.

Find more info on transitioning to the 2016 Boy Scout rank requirements here.

Introducing #HandbookHacks


To celebrate the launch of the new Handbook, the team at Scouting Wire has introduced a new social media campaign called #HandbookHacks.

These #HandbookHacks take a nugget of info from the Handbook and turn it into a bite-size video.

Check out the first #HandbookHacks video, about geocaching, below. And encourage your Scouts to create their own #HandbookHacks videos, even simple ones, and share them using the #HandbookHacks hashtag.


About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.