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scouts making their own gear
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Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
scouts making their own gear on 02/07/2012 15:48:59 MST Print View

I am curious what all the experienced scout leaders out there think about the idea of scouts making their own gear - particularly packs. I have been making my own packs since I was 13, so I know these kids are capable of doing it. I also know that finding lightweight youth-sized packs is not easy. so the question is, if there were a pattern and instructions available (free of charge) for a simple, lightweight but fairly rugged internal frame pack, do you think your scouts would be interested in making their own?

William Carpenter
(alancar) - F
buy v. build on 03/08/2012 15:47:30 MST Print View

there is a lot to be said of making your own gear but for $40 our troop has been buying these packs and renting them to the new kids for $15 and with the time crunch at meetings ect its a pretty hard deal to beat

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: buy v. build on 03/08/2012 15:58:49 MST Print View

Five pounds (empty weight) seems like a lot these days.


Paul Johnson
(johncooper) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: buy v. build on 03/08/2012 16:16:22 MST Print View

One of the boys in our troop recently made a cuben fiber pack and I am currently working on my first pack (cuben with carbon stays). With that said, I think it will be hard to muster interest. I did ask my son, avid scout and backpacker, and he said he would love to have a lightweight cuben pack. He may even learn to sew to have one. FYI, if you do go down this path: the following is a great starting point

I like what William's troop is doing in buying packs for the troop that scouts can use. This serves several purposes. For new scouts they can try their first couple of backpacks with a lower equipment hurdle. It also provides a lightweight solution for the troop on longer backpacks. I'd rather see something like a Golite JAM at the recent $69 price and made of durable dyneema, yet only 2lbs versus 5lbs per above.

BSA preaches 20-25% of body weight for loaded packs, but I see this constantly violated. This really bothers me, since we don't see kid's suffering from being cold or dirty. Rather, we see them struggle with the weight and not enjoy backpacking. Even worse we can look around at adult scouts and see a myriad of knee, hip and back problems. All of these can be caused by overloading. Having the troop take control of a few big items, pack and tent specifically, can go a long way in solving the "go heavy" problem.

Edited by johncooper on 03/08/2012 17:06:07 MST.

Joshua Gray
(coastalhiker) - MLife
Re: Re: buy v. build on 03/08/2012 22:48:01 MST Print View

Yeah, as a kid (12) I always though it was "unmanly" to sew, etc...until I went and toured the fire jumpers facility in Montana. Probably the manliest guys I ever met, who apparently construct/modify all their own gear. After that I was sold.

I think convincing the kids is 95% the battle, but if they carried a 10# pack vs 35# for a weekend hike, I think everyone would change their mind.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Packs and tarps on 03/08/2012 22:58:53 MST Print View

Couple ideas.
Sewing the main body of a pack isn't so bad. Its all the other stuff that makes it tedious. If you could find some ready made straps and possibly hipbelts that would make it more accessible.

Tarps would be easier to start with but do NOT give scouts silnylon to sew, just not worth it.

Actually if you want a source of easy cheap tarps there have been some threads about polycro tarps recently. If you reinforce the corners they're pretty strong.

Paul Johnson
(johncooper) - F

Locale: SoCal
MYOG Pack for Scouts on 03/15/2012 22:28:35 MDT Print View


I am struggling through my first pack. It is just taking a fair amount of time to sort our all the design details. If you do go the MYOG route with scouts, I would take Cameron's suggestions as well as have a clear design for the scouts.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: MYOG Pack for Scouts on 03/16/2012 12:54:11 MDT Print View

Actually my interest was in providing a pattern and instructions to scout groups (for free). I'm not involved in scouting myself, but I applaud those who take kids out into the wilds, and having read many posts here about the difficulty of finding lightweight kid-sized packs, I began to wonder about alternatives. I have made packs for my sons which worked out well, and the design is very simple) since simplicity is one of the keys to keeping it light). So my idea is that with a pattern and step-by step directions, it might be a good way to go for some folks.