I'm a Bear Cub Scout den leader. I'm also our pack camping coordinator this year- and feel bad for only doing two campouts this season. Our next trip is planned for April and I wanted to get the boys jazzed up for camping. (Okay, really I needed a subject for Wednesday's meeting)
I was thinking of how just a little older than my 8 year old son I was quietly acquiring gear from the local surplus store so I could go in the wilderness by myself... We lived in the city at the time and I was 13 before backpacking- but that didn't stop me from dreaming.
For the meeting I decided to set Jason up with a solo gear set. Got home from work with 45 minutes to go before the meeting. Put son on the scale at 70 pounds. Using 20% of body weight that gives 14 pounds.
Grab a nearby pack (Vaude Rock Ultralight) and start jamming gear in. Not always our lightest but what was at hand. Ground cloth; REI 1.5" mat; REI Sub-Kilo 15 (women's) sleeping bag; REI kid's trekking poles; BD Megalight with pole connector; Jetboil Sol Al; Kleen Canteen steel water bottle; Map of Whitney; knife; compass; lighter; first aid/repair kit in ziploc; Sunscreen; headlamp; WAG Bag; head net; Marmot rain jacket; ULA rain skirt; spare socks, shirt, underwear; fleece pullover, insulated vest, balaclava, thin gloves. Then grabbed a bag of appropriate backpack food, hot cocoa, etc.
Weighed the pack as loaded and it hit 11 lbs. I'm sure something was missing but it was in the ballpark. Got son dressed in appropriate hiking gear (nylon zipoffs, merino t-shirt, hat, boots). Fastest I've ever packed for a pretend trip! I realize the setup wasn't UL, (4 person shelter and steel water bottle included!)
At the meeting we talked about how a kid can really "pull his own weight" including carrying his own gear- and a 4 person shelter to boot! His fellow scouts were very impressed as Jason pulled item after item from his pack, setting up a mock campsite. One of the other scouts was checking off from the BSA ten-essentials list and only noted a couple of omissions.
As he was doing this I told a summary of the weather-related fatality in the following YOSAR report:
I discussed how good judgement and Jason's foul weather gear, appropriate footwear, hiking poles, shelter, food, and cooking equipment could prevent such a tragedy if a smart scout were faced with a similar storm.
One of the ten essentials missing from Jasons' kit was spare batteries. I responded with a line from the YOSAR analysis: "Losing the headlamp: The best way to carry spare batteries is inside a spare LED headlamp."