Boy Scout Uniforms: Accesories and Equipment

Figure 1.--This Scout wears a back pack, canteen, and knive. I believe that he was English--photographed about 1915-20. For a full view, click on the image. Notice the white cord which I believe holds a whistle.

Scouts over the years have used a wide range of accesories and equipment. As Scout associations became more instituionalized, they would market official accedssory iyems--just as they did official uniform items. It is interesting to compare the accessories worn over the years.

Back Pack


Flat circular canteens were common with early Scouts. After World War II, American Scouts began wearing more jug like army canteens.

Kerchief Slie

See "woggle".


In the more innocent days of the early 20th century, one of a Scouts most treasured posessions was his Scout knife. Knives in an earlier time were more important for boys who had fewer toys and opportunities for diversion. There were games that were playe with knives. This has changed in our modern less innocent world. Boys are no longer as interested in them. Parents and especially moms are much less willing to allow boys to play with them. Still the knive is an important accessory for serious camping.


Whistles were popular with English Scouts, presumably so they wouldn't get loss in the London fog. They were also popular with the Hitler Youth.


Certainly the most belloved Scot accessory of all time is the "woggle", as it is affectionally called by British Scouters. American Scouts won't recognize the term. But the woggle is a term that virtually any Englisman will instantly recognize. A woggle is the little round item use to hold your kerchief around your neck. In America it is referred to as a kerchief slide. The term "woggle" is ingrained in British Scoting that Brits can hardly understand that others, even other Scouters will not understand the term. One European Scouter writes, "Woggle belongs to the sociolect of British Boy Scouts and I doubt if you'll find it in a dictionary. Just think of the bewildering effect your words must have on those who do not belong to that select incrowd." This is one reason that HBC attempts to write in internet English. We have, however, made an exception for "woggle" as it such an important part of British Scout uniform lore. There were official woggles, but really committed Cubs an Scouts oftem made their own--especially if they attemded Scout camp. Scouts were not the only youth group that wore kerchiefs. The Hitler Youth and Yong Pioneers as well as many other groups had kerchiefs. Even little Elian Gonzalez nows wears a blue kerchief to school. (He has to be older to earn a red scarf.) I do not know if these groups had woggles., especially ones like the Scouts which were incouraged to make their own individual woggles.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: September 20, 2000
Last updated: September 20, 2000