Four and more years ago in the troop, backpacking was a regular part of our program. However, with older scouts aging out, a gap in middle scouts, and mostly younger scouts coming in, we developed a disconnect from our interest in backpacking. The younger scouts (along with their parents/leaders) were developing a dislike for our style of backpacking. It was during this time that I bought my weekend backpack weight down from 45+ lbs down to a baseweight of under 14 for this weekend.
I have been working toward getting the whole (especially the younger scouts) down to a more manageable weight, and with distances our less interested scouts find more reasonable. Our plan is for our "advanced" group to do a figure 8 loop: 1 mile Friday evening, 12 miles Saturday, and 5 miles out on Sunday morning. Our "intermediate" group will set up a park-by camp Friday night, hike 6 miles Saturday, and 3 miles to complete the loop on Sunday.
I have read all that everyone has written (dissertations and other reports). Our biggest challenge has been to find affordable gear for the scouts in the right weight/bulk range. Finding small/light enough sleeping bags has been the worst. We do not live in an area where there are well used backpacking trails, so there are few local outfitters, and those that are here still live in the 70s and 80s, promoting 5-7 lb backpacks, full grained leather boots, and large, heavy tents.
Here is our personal backpack list we are providing to scouts/parents. It is based on our weather/needs:
Personal Gear Desired Weight
□ Backpack and cover
□ Trash Compactor bag (to line inside of pack)
□ Sleeping bag (rated to 30° or lower)
□ Sleeping pad (foam pad)
□ Tent (may be provided by troop)
□ Compass, whistle and matches in waterproof container
□ Small Personal First aid kit
□ Headlamp with fresh batteries
□ 2 quarts of water capacity. Nalgenes are effective but heavy
Recommended to use washed Gatoraid/Power Aid 1 liter bottle
□ Eating bowl. Recommend 16 oz butter or sour cream dish
□ Drinking cup (simple plastic cup)
□ Light weight spoon/spork (not disposable)
□ Small knife or multi tool
□ Toiletries (toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, toilet paper, etc)
Clothing (avoid all cotton clothing)
□ Long nylon sport pants (no blue jeans!): worn, not packed
□ Nylon shirt, short and/or long sleeve as weather requires: worn, not packed
□ Hiking Socks (wool, nylon or acrylic, not cotton). 2 pair
□ Gloves and hat (as weather requires)
□ Long underwear (tops and bottoms 100% polypropylene)
□ Lightweight nylon, windbreaker type jacket
□ Single change of clothes for sleeping (lightweight, nylon)
□ Hiking boots/ hiking shoes
□ Poncho or rainsuit
Patrol Equipment (will be provided and shared)
Water purification or filter
Please feel free to critique this list. The original form has a list of suggested weights for "Personal Gear," but it won't format well on the post.