Backwoods Engineering

Backwoods Engineering

Backwoods Engineering

Backwoods Engineering

Backwoods Engineering
Mt. Allamuchy Scout Reservation, Stanhope, NJ

Backwoods Engineering is an awesome year-round program where individual Scouts and Units can practice pioneering skills and learn engineering principles. They have a great time while building large and exciting pioneering projects. Some of what we build includes towers, large bridges, cranes, paddlewheel rafts, aerial runways, trebuchets, and lots more.

Year Round by Appointment
Troops and crews that want to do a serious pioneering project on a campout can sign up for Weekend Backwoods Engineering. Your unit works with us to select a project that you want to build, and we provide all of the materials that you’ll need and trained staff members to assist your Scouts in constructing the project.

WEEKEND Backwoods Engineering

Q: How do I sign my troop up for Weekend Backwoods Engineering?
A: Please contact Carl Zipper 973-309-3350 or [email protected] to schedule a mutually convenient date.

Q: What can our troop build?
A: Anything your Scouts want, so long as the group is an appropriate size to do the necessary work. Look at the photos on our website and the links on the Resources tab for inspiration. If you want to build something not shown in a photograph or plan on our website please give us at least two weeks lead time to work out the design.

Q: Do we need to bring anything with us?
A: In addition to what you would normally bring to an outdoor activity, each Scout should bring work gloves and wear sturdy footwear. We will break for about 1 hour for lunch, so you may want to plan a trail lunch.

Q: Is there an age or rank requirement to participate in Weekend Backwoods Engineering?
A: No.

Q: Does the program fee include overnight camping?
A: No. If you also want to camp overnight, you will need to reserve a campsite or cabin. 

Mount Allamuchy Scout Reservation
The Backwoods Engineering camp, part of Specialty Camps, is a weeklong camp for individual Scouts that is held at Mount Allamuchy every August. Participants spend the week building pioneering projects, learning about engineering principles and careers, and engaging in other fun summer camp activities. We gladly welcome all boys and girls entering grades 6-12.

Backwoods Engineering Camp

Q: I am attending the Backwoods Engineering Camp. What gear should I bring? A: You should bring the same gear you would bring to a normal week of summer camp. Additionally, you need to bring work gloves and a sturdy pair of footwear to use as safety gear during some of our activities. You can get more information from your Scoutmaster and/or our Participants’ Guide.

Q: What are the living/campsite arrangements for the Backwoods Engineering Camp? A: Scouts participating in the BEC stay together in a campsite with wall tents and army cots. They are organized as a provisional troop and elect their own Patrol Leaders and Senior Patrol Leader for the week. Adult staff members acts as their Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster and live in the campsite with them throughout the week. The daily program is run by adult engineers and mentors with assistance from youth staff.

Q: What do we eat at the Backwoods Engineering Camp? A: Scouts eat in the dining hall just like a regular week of Summer Camp.

Q: Do I have to take the swim test when I arrive at camp on Sunday? A: Yes. We build rafts as one of our projects, and you need to pass the swim test in order to sail them on the lake. There will also be opportunities for free swim.

Q: Even if I already took the Swim Test when I went to camp earlier this summer? A: Definitely yes if you attended a different camp. If you attended camp at MASR plan to take the test too, but if you kept your buddy tag you may be able to skip it at the Aquatics Director’s discretion.

Q: What other things will we do at camp besides Backwoods Engineering? A: We try to schedule at least one optional fun activity per day. In the past this has included: open swim, open shoot, tomahawk throwing, trivia contest, and others. Additionally, we build several enormous campfires throughout the week.

Q: Can I earn any merit badges during the Backwoods Engineering Camp? A: All Scouts attending the BEC have the opportunity to earn Pioneering Merit Badge. We complete most of the requirements as a group, but you will have to do some of the required splicing during your free time. Make sure to bring a Blue Card signed on the front by your Scoutmaster. No other merit badges are offered during the week, and you will not have time to work on completing any partial merit badges that you worked on earlier in the summer.

Q: I am thinking about engineering as a career. Can you give me any advice? A: Some of our staff members are mechanical and chemical engineers who would be happy to share their experience with you. Additionally, we will have a visit from the American Society of Civil Engineers one evening to talk to you about engineering careers and education.

Q: My son is attending the Backwoods Engineering Camp. When can I come and see the projects that he has built? A: When you pick up your sons from camp on Saturday we will take you on a tour showing off the Scouts’ work. Bring a camera so that you can take pictures. The tour starts at 9AM sharp, so please don’t be late.

Q: Are there restrictions on who can participate in the Backwoods Engineering Camp? A: The Backwoods Engineering Camp is open to boys and girls. There is no rank requirement for attendees.

Learn the nuts and bolts.
Check out our Resources page if you’re interested in learning about the nuts and bolts of the projects shown on these pages. Here you’ll find step by step by step directions to build some of the more complicated projects shown on this site, basic plan drawings for other projects, and links to other websites and books relevant to Backwoods Engineering. Check back from time to time as this section will always be a work in progress.


Mount Allamuchy Scout Reservation
750 Waterloo Road
Stanhope, NJ 07874
(973) 347-2240 (in season)

Reservation Director
Dave Lage • (973)271-0793

Camp Somers Program Director

James Hitchings • 973-765-9322 x419

Camping Services
Richard Hawkins • (973) 765-9322 x225

Carl Zipper • 973-309-3350