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Resources include the Pioneering merit badge worksheet in PDF format Adobe Acrobat PDF and Word format Microsoft Word DOC document, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.
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Pioneering merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 1911
Renamed from: Pioneer
BSA Advancement ID: 084
Requirements revision: 2017
Latest pamphlet revision: 2017


Pioneering—the knowledge of ropes, knots, and splices along with the ability to build rustic structures by lashing together poles and spars—is among the oldest of Scouting's skills. Practicing rope use and completing projects with lashings also allow Scouts to connect with past generations, ancestors who used many of these skills as they sailed the open seas and lived in America's forests and prairies.

Pioneering merit badge requirements

  1. Do the following:
    1. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you might encounter while participating in pioneering activities and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.
    2. Discuss the prevention of, and first-aid treatment for, injuries and conditions that could occur while working on pioneering projects, including rope splinters, rope burns, cuts, scratches, insect bites and stings, hypothermia, dehydration, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, sunburn, and falls.
  2. Do the following:
    1. Demonstrate the basic and West Country methods of whipping a rope. Fuse the ends of a rope.
    2. Demonstrate how to tie the following knots: clove hitch, butterfly knot, roundturn with two half hitches, rolling hitch, water knot, carrick bend, sheepshank, and sheet bend.
    3. Demonstrate and explain when to use the following lashings: square, diagonal, round, shear, tripod, and floor lashing.
  3. Explain why it is useful to be able to throw a rope, then demonstrate how to coil and throw a 40-foot length of 1/4- or 3/8-inch rope. Explain how to improve your throwing distance by adding weight to the end of your rope.
  4. Explain the differences between synthetic ropes and natural fiber ropes. Discuss which types of rope are suitable for pioneering work and why. Include the following in your discussion: breaking strength, safe working loads, and the care and storage of rope.
  5. Explain the uses for the back splice, eye splice, and short splice. Using 1/4- or 3/8-inch three-stranded rope, demonstrate how to form each splice.
  6. Using a rope-making device or machine, make a rope at least 6 feet long consisting of three strands, each having three yarns. Whip the ends.
  7. Explain the importance of effectively anchoring a pioneering project. Describe to your counselor the 1-1-1 anchoring system and the log-and-stake anchoring methods.
  8. With the approval of your counselor, demonstrate and use a rope tackle. Be sure the rope tackle is secured properly. Explain the advantages and limitations of using a rope tackle. Describe the potential damage that friction can do to a rope.
All pioneering projects constructed for this merit badge must comply with height standards as outlined in the Guide to Safe Scouting.
  1. By yourself, build a trestle using square and diagonal lashings. Explain why trestles are used when constructing pioneering projects.
  2. With the approval of your counselor and using appropriate lashings and pioneering techniques, build and use one full-size pioneering project from either group A or group B. Your project must comply with the requirements of the Guide to Safe Scouting. (Requirement 10 may be done at summer camp, at district or council events, or on a troop camp outing.)

    Group A: Tower OR bridge
    Anchor your project as appropriate and necessary. Explain how your anchoring system works. Group A projects may be worked on in a group and with others.

    Group B: Camp chair OR camp table
    Group B projects must be worked on individually.

The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Scouts BSA Requirements, 2019 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #648914)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Pioneering is available here! (PDF or Word) with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need! Or click here to print just the Pioneering requirements. has PDF and Word versions of workbooks for Scouts BSA ranks and merit badges, Cub Scouting ranks and adventures, and STEM Nova awards.

Pioneering merit badge requires prior counselor approval for requirement(s) #8, 10.
Pioneering merit badge is an option for the National Outdoor Badge for Camping.
  1. The BSA Pioneering Troop Program Feature offers meeting and activity plans to include Pioneering as one of your monthly themes.
  2. Pioneering is a popular summer camp merit badge.
  3. The Pioneering merit badge was one of the original 57 merit badges issued by the Boy Scouts of America in 1911.
  4. Pioneering replaced the 1910 Pioneer "Badge of Merit".

Requirement resources

1. First Aid: Cuts  •  Abrasions  •  Bruises  •  Rope Burns  •  Blisters  •  Splinters  •  Sprains  •  Heat Reactions  •  Cold Reactions  •  Dehydration  •  Insect Bites  •  Stings
2. Knots and lashings
2.a.: Whipping and Fusing rope  •  West Country whipping
2.b.: clove hitch  •  Butterfly knot  •  Roundturn with two half hitches  •  Rolling hitch  •  Water knot  •  Carrick bend  •  Sheepshank  •  Sheet bend
2.c.: Square lashing  •  Diagonal lashing  •  Round lashing  •  Shear lashing  •  Tripod lashing  •  Floor lashing
3.: Coiling and Throwing a Rope (Scout Pioneering)
4.: Rope for Pioneering and Camp Use (Scout Pioneering)  •  Types of rope (Classic Marine)
5.: Back splice  •  Eye splice  •  Short splice
6.: Making Rope (Scout Pioneering)
7.: Anchoring Pioneering Projects (Scout Pioneering)
8.: Rope Tackle for Pioneering Use (Scout Pioneering)  •  Tying a Rope Tackle (Scout Pioneering)
9.: Square lashing  •  Diagonal lashing  •  Using a Diagonal Lashing and Making a Trestle (Scout Pioneering)  •  Making a Trestle (Scout Pioneering)
10.: Pioneering Projects (Scout Pioneering)  •  Favorite Larger Projects (Scout Pioneering)

Related awards

Outdoor-related awards

See also

Scouts BSA portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

Personal tools