Of Patches and Vests…

Brag VestIf you and your son are new to cub scouts, you may have noticed that there some scouts that have many different kinds of patches on a red or tan vest.  So here’s what’s going on.

Scouts are awarded patches for many, but not all of, our activities.  For example, all the scouts that attend the Brookfield Zoo overnight in October will receive a patch.  Popcorn vendor Trail’s End also gives patches to all scouts that sell at least one popcorn item.  Scouts that participated in our summer activities received segments that are grouped together to make a circular pattern.

These patches and segments can be sewn or adhered to an optional brag vest.  These vests are not part of the official BSA uniform, but they look pretty neat, especially when they are filled up with a large variety of patches.  Scouts in Pack 24 that wear a brag vest have one of these two varieties:

  • Red Fleece:  These vests are available at the La Grange scout shop and also online at scouting.org.  They’re not a bad deal at $14.99, but the fleece isn’t the most durable materials for active young boys like our scouts.  Since there aren’t any pockets or designs, your scout will have maximum surface area for his patch collection.
  • Tan with Pockets:  Some scouts opt for the “fishing, camping and travel multi-use vest from Uncle Milty.”  This one is made from a more durable cotton / polyester blend and has 17 pockets and a front zipper.  Clearly, all those pockets can store a lot of treasures and useful supplies, however, they cut down on the surface area available for patches.  The added features also result in an increased cost, these are currently available on Amazon for just over $36.

Other patch & vest tips.  Some patches have an adhesive backing which can be easily ironed onto a vest or uniform.  Some patches don’t, but you can use a material called “Patch Magic” which lets you easily iron on patches, or re-attach patches that come loose.  Sewing on patches is always an option, but if you are unskilled (or don’t like to do sew) then many dry  cleaners have a seamstress that will do this for a small fee.  For example, Ruby Cleaners on Des Plaines charges $1 per patch.

Hope this helps!

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