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The 45-Year-Old Boy Scout
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
The 45-Year-Old Boy Scout on 05/11/2010 14:56:00 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

The 45-Year-Old Boy Scout

Douglas Prosser
(daprosser) - MLife

Locale: Camarillo, California (SCAL)
I've been there too on 05/11/2010 23:32:54 MDT Print View

I have been at the same place with the heavy gear when my boys started Scouting. Boy if I only knew then what I know now I would have a lot less gear in my garage.

Good article. It brings back those memories. After carrying those light loads now go and carry someone's 50 pound pack for a while then you will really remember why you went light.

Charles Vandenbelt
(chuckwagon) - F

Locale: Nashville
The 45 year old Scout... on 05/12/2010 01:44:27 MDT Print View

Great read. Thanks for sharing. It should be mandatory reading for all hiking scouts ! Regards.

Charles Hill
(chuckster) - F

Locale: Georgia
The 45-Year-Old Boy Scout on 05/12/2010 07:47:43 MDT Print View

Great article! Like you, my son and I went through cub and boy scouts together too. We did a little backpacking with the scouts but mostly car camping. All the troop's gear was waaay to heavy for backpacking. My son, now 20, has been backpacking with me since he could carry his own pack (around 6 yrs old). He doesn't get to go with me much these days, he's away at college, but when we do go I'll be able to keep up with him with my lighter gear!

Enjoyed your article, very smart, good advice, thanks!

Edited by chuckster on 05/12/2010 14:23:01 MDT.

(ssejhill) - F

Locale: Western NY
45 year old boy scout on 05/12/2010 08:36:18 MDT Print View


Thanks for the story. It's great that you are sharing your found wisdom with the next generation. I aspire to be able to do the same with my girls and their friends.

Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
both an audiophile and a BPL-er on 05/12/2010 08:39:44 MDT Print View

"(Hiking)'s not a cheap hobby, but it's less expensive than being a two-channel stereo audiophile, and better for you."

Just imagine being both an audiophile AND a BPL-er, like me... Luckily both (!) my turntables have already been bought many years ago. Now I'm looking for a Marantz tube amplifier and my collection of backpacks has been stagnant at a dozen for more than two years already and I need new hiking shoes and I need lighter trekking poles and I need a new bicycle and and and.....

The problems of a gear head.


Bradford Childs
(Ford22) - F
Ultralight epiphany during scouts on 05/12/2010 10:27:55 MDT Print View

Great story! I converted to ultralight backpacking during scouts too.

We went on a 6 day trip in the Weminuche Wilderness of Colorado. I remember weighing my pack at just shy of 50lbs. I also remember that I weighed 110lbs! Almost 50% of my body weight! On the second hiking day of the trip, I had to carry the group trash. The added load forced me to stop every hundred feet to rest for the whole hike.

I was convinced that backpacking could be better. When I returned I hit the internet and found the then handful of ultralight backpacking sites. Today, I am gearing up for a Colorado Trail thru hike this July with a base around 8lbs. It is hard to imagine how I thought that a 50lb pack was backpacking.

I think that scouts are the perfect canidates for ultralight backpacking. They are less likely think that camping under tarps, using cat food can stoves, and sleeping on 10 dollar foam pads is trashy.

If you have sons in scouts or a troup near you get out there and give a presentation about how ultralight backpacking can change the way you experience the backcountry!

(cuzzettj) - MLife

Locale: NorCal - South Bay
RE: "The 45-Year-Old Boy Scout" on 05/12/2010 10:44:46 MDT Print View

I love this article. I wonder when we ar going to start having Scouting related articles that cover "How to Pack" and "What to Pack". "How" drives me crazy.

But Mom's Yoga mat (Logo Included) covered in cotton that is 3 inches thick may be comfortable. But the anguish in her son's eyes as he struggles up the hill, items falling off of his pack, oversized items in the arms, devistates me. I didn't know do a good turn daily would add to my load. But it often does. Especially since I knew this boy when he was a Tiger Scout (read 6 years old here). Do a good turn daily, right?

Thank goodness this is how we teach the new boys. Park the cars at the bottom of the hill and let them head "up" to camp for their gear. No more than a 1/4 mile. Lesson learned? I think so. At least it gives them a starting point.

Glenn Holliday
(GlennBP) - F
The 45-Year-Old Boy Scout on 05/12/2010 20:41:13 MDT Print View

Thanks Frank. Your insights are encouraging. It may encourage you (and other Scouters) that when I took my Council's backcountry training, the first thing they did was weigh our packs. Scout backpacking is becoming more weight-wise.

I'm helping to teach a group of younger Scouts who have yet to try their first backpacking trek (planned for next month). I still have a long way to go myself. This community is helpful.

Sunny Waller
(dancer) - M

Locale: Southeast USA
Free Gear to good home on 05/13/2010 06:20:40 MDT Print View

Frank.. I tried out several things before I found out what gear works best for me. As an ex girlscout and explorer scout I would love to donate my extra gear to your cause. If you are interested please send a PM with your shipping address and I will send it to you.

Frank Steele
(knarfster) - F

Locale: Arizona
Thanks! on 05/13/2010 13:23:31 MDT Print View

Thanks Sunny,

PM sent. There have been others on BPL as well who have donated to our troop.

Thanks to all of you!

Jim Cowdery
(james.cowdery) - MLife

Locale: Central Florida
Scouts on 05/14/2010 08:06:16 MDT Print View

I too am a scouter. My first trip was with over 50 lbs and included a kitchen sink! I just got off an 80 mile AT section with my brother, also a scouter. It was his first extended backpacking trip and we averaged just over 12 miles per day.

I started at 18 lbs including my "elephants" and he was at 21 with more "elephants." It would have been a much different experience if he had packed with his normal "scouting" attitude which includes almost every piece of gear you can imagine.

Thanks BPL for the help in changing my attitude!

ABO HAMDAN alfowzan
(alfowzan) - F
Thanks on 05/19/2010 15:40:49 MDT Print View


Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"The 45-Year-Old Boy Scout" on 05/23/2010 17:29:55 MDT Print View

Great article, I can definetly relate. I wish all the bset to your troop in it's new LW endevours!

Andy Mullaly
(apmullaly) - F
Stoves on 05/29/2010 23:35:16 MDT Print View

Great story. I'm the new ASM for a brand new patrol and it gives me hope for what we can accomplish ourselves. The only thing I want to point out is that the BSA doesn't allow the boys to use alchohol stoves. Other than that keep up the great work!

Walter Underwood
(wunder) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
BSA and alcohol stoves on 06/09/2010 17:29:51 MDT Print View

The BSA forbids homemade alcohol stoves.

Alcohol as a fuel is "not recommended", but it is not forbidden.

So, commercial alcohol stoves are within the range of allowed stoves.

I agree, a liquid fuel stove requires more care than something like an MSR Pocket Rocket. I would have the younger Scouts use a stove like that.

I like my SuperCat stove, and think it is a great example of "A Scout is Thrifty".

I'm ASM for the Venture Patrol (13 and up), Troop 14, Palo Alto.

Edited by wunder on 06/09/2010 17:30:49 MDT.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: BSA and alcohol stoves on 06/09/2010 19:21:48 MDT Print View

Walter, this is from the BSA website GSS-
"Prohibited Chemical-Fueled Equipment—Equipment that is handcrafted, homemade, modified, or installed beyond the manufacturer’s stated design limitations or use. Examples include alcohol-burning “can” stoves, smudge pots, improperly installed heaters, and propane burners with their regulators removed."

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: BSA and alcohol stoves on 06/09/2010 20:03:15 MDT Print View

> Prohibited Chemical-Fueled Equipment—Equipment that is handcrafted, homemade,
> modified, or installed beyond the manufacturer’s stated design limitations or use.
> Examples include alcohol-burning “can” stoves,

So it's OK to give a Boy Scout an XGK running on white gas with the MSR recommendation for 'fireball' priming, but it is not OK to let him use a small alky tea-light stove?

Totally Ridiculous.


Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: BSA and alcohol stoves on 06/09/2010 20:25:08 MDT Print View

I agree Roger- but I think it is a lawyer thing.

I think they need to rethink this issue. The might be letting liability get in the way of their core values.

Bob Gough
(Raven333) - F

Locale: New York
Re: Re: BSA and alcohol stoves on 06/25/2010 06:31:37 MDT Print View

Actually in the Greater New York Counsel all liquid fuel stove are out of bounds. I was recently doing a cooking demo where I had a number of stoves to show the pros/cons of each

MSR Dragon Fly
MSR WhisperLite

MSR Windpro
MSR Reactor

Brasslite Turbo IID
White Box Alcohol Stove


and was told I couldn't use most of them in camp. I was a little disappointed