Troop 99 Rochester, MN

The Scout Uniform

The BSA Centennial Uniform is here!

The colors are pretty 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 being promoted as more versatile and wearable in the field instead of just for meetings.

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.

The official dress uniform is commonly referred to as the 'Class A' uniform but, officially known as the "Field Uniform". Most scout troops also have an "activity uniform", referred to as 'Class B' 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.

Field Duty Uniform (Commonly known as Class A)

Official short sleeve shirt

Official scout pants or shorts (optional)

Official BSA tweed belt (optional)

Official BSA cap (optional)

Official BSA neckerchief and slide (red and black)

Boy Scout Handbook

Field Activity Uniform (Commonly Class B)

Troop 99 Field Activity T-shirt

Troop 99 Field Activity cap

Boy Scout Handbook

The History of the Boy Scout Scout Uniform

Early Uniform.

The first Scout uniform was an impractical copy of the US Army uniform of 1910, which disregarded the far more practical English uniform designed by Baden-Powell. The early BSA uniform had no neckerchief, and Scouts generally wore knickers with leggings and a button-down coat with metal insignia. Scouts and adults both wore their rank insignia on their hats (adults were allowed to earn merit badges and ranks right along with the Scouts).

1922-1981 Uniforms.

In 1922, the BSA modernized its uniforms to the style we would recognize today. Coats and leggings were dropped, and neckerchiefs were added. Scouts could wear shorts and knee socks in the summer, knickers and knee socks in the winter (trousers replaced knickers in 1944).

Until 1948, all Scouts wore campaign ("Smokey the Bear") hats. At that time, the field (overseas) cap (popularized by World War II soldiers) was added. Red berets and baseball-style caps joined the options in 1972. Also in 1972, the BSA changed almost every uniform insignia, making them multi-color, standardizing the shapes, and adding wording to explain what they signify. Brightly colored patches replaced the old black-on-red patrol medallions and the black-on-khaki merit badges.

Current Uniform.

In 1981, fashion designer Oscar de la Renta designed a more attractive Scout uniform (at no charge). The more stylish new uniform maintained a clear Scout identity in its appearance, but used more rugged material and added colored shoulder loops. The most striking change was the switch to a two-color uniform (something many other countries have long had). A tan shirt and dark khaki-green trousers replaced the old medium khaki-green shirt and trousers (which in turn had replaced a medium khaki-brown). In 1989, along with the other changes largely restoring the pre-1972 program, the BSA changed its rank and office insignia so that they more nearly matched the pre-1972 insignia, keeping the wording but replacing the multi-colored backgrounds with backgrounds matching the tan shirt color.

In 1990, the BSA added an optional "activity" uniform in addition to the standard field uniform (like the leggings of the 1950s, the expensive activity uniform has not caught on, mainly because Scouts must still own a field uniform for more formal occasions).

In the early 1990s, the BSA discontinued its unpopular knee socks, replacing them with shorter khaki socks with a red band at the top. In 1995, responding to complaints (mostly from adults embarrassed about their ugly legs, I suspect), the BSA brought back the knee socks as an option.

Shoulder Loops.

Today's Scouts and Scouters wear colored shoulder loops to indicate the branch of the Scouting family to which they belong. Cub Scout leaders (and Webelos Scouts who choose to wear the Boy Scout uniform) wear blue loops (other Cub Scouts and Tiger Cubs do not wear loops), Boy Scouts and their leaders wear red, Varsity Scouts and their leaders wear orange, Venturer's and their leaders wear green, District and Council Scouters wear silver, and Regional and National Scouters wear gold.

The Most Important Change.

With all these many changes, you know what is easily the most important one in the uniform's 86-year history? It's permanent press! Until the mid 1960s, uniforms were wrinkle-prone cotton or itchy wool. Ironing might last an hour or so (sometimes minutes). Modern, cotton/polyester permanent-press materials are a big improvement.


Scout Emblem

Outdoor Code