The Neckerchief and Scouting

A neckerchief goes by a few names: necko, necker, kerchief and sometimes, even a scarf. This piece of neckwear is most commonly associated with Scouts, cowboys, and sometimes sailors. This piece of cloth is a triangle or rectangle, and it is folded into a triangle. The longer edge of the cloth is rolled into a point, which leaves a small portion unrolled.  The neckerchief is placed around the neck and is usually fastened with a clasp or woggle. In some cases the neckerchief is also tied.

Neckerchiefs are synonymous with Boy Scouts and their uniforms. This dates back to the late 1800s. Some might think that the neckwear is only for fashion, but it is actually supposed to serve a specific purpose. The size and shape of the neckerchief, when unrolled, is a great option that can be used as a bandage for first aid. While out in the wilderness, this item can be beneficial because of its purpose, lightweight, and where it is carried.

The Scouting neckerchief can be traced back to Robert Baden-Powell and his involvement in the second Matabele War in 1869. During this time he met Frederick Russell Burnham. Burnham was a scout, but he was working with the British army.  Burnham was wearing a neckerchief at the time, and this is where Baden-Powell got the idea.  In 1908, Baden-Powell published the book "Scouting for Boys," and with this book he is credited with beginning the Scout movement in the States. In the book he designated the scarf as an integral part of the Scout Uniform. He also wrote that each troop should have its own neckerchief. This means different colors and designs that would easily allow troops to recognize other troops. These neckerchiefs were always tied, but this changed in the early 1920s when the woggle and slide became available.  Although neckerchiefs are commonly associated with American Boy Scouts troops, they can be found in many different countries. A few countries include: Hungary, Australia and Canada.

Companies who make custom made patches can also make custom neckerchiefs. They have pre-designed logos, shapes, and colors, but that is not all they can do. They can work with troops on an individual basis to create customized neckerchiefs that help to keep the troops looking sharp and unique. Reach out to a local custom patch company to find out about all of your options. Shopping with a company that makes custom made patches can also make your troop patches, which can proudly be worn on your shirts.



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