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What a Scout Needs for Backpacking
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
What a Scout Needs for Backpacking on 02/14/2012 13:32:00 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

What a Scout Needs for Backpacking

* The title of this article has been changed to reflect that this advice is useful to all beginner and/or young backpackers - not simply Scouts.

Edited by addiebedford on 02/16/2012 17:41:46 MST.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: What a Scout Needs for Backpacking on 02/14/2012 15:11:56 MST Print View

Very nice, Tad. Very similar to what I had in my recent paper, too.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Cool on 02/14/2012 15:15:36 MST Print View

Tad great article. I'm a big fan of anyone helping boys scouts or kids in general pack better. Thanks for putting it together.
Your story at the beginnin about the "Checklist" packer is a classic. I've never quit seen anything like that although I've some funny ones.
On one trip we camped next to a scout troop and got to talking with some of the dads the next morning. Along comes a boy wearing an organge steel combat helmet. What he was doing with that I have absulutely no idea.

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: What a Scout Needs for Backpacking on 02/14/2012 16:11:10 MST Print View

Good write up!

“I have never had a Scout show up for an outing with everything except a backpack.”

It happened to me once. “You forgot what!?”. The boy brought all his stuff in a garbage-disposal bag. I was an adult assisting on the trip. There was just a miscommunication. The boy thought the scoutmaster was bringing an extra backpack.

Anyway, we had 7 backpacks and 8 people. So we stuffed his stuff amongst the others. People didn’t notice the extra 2 lbs they were carrying. And everyone took turns NOT carrying a backpack. It ended up pretty fun. And everyone kept saying “Bob forgot his pack”.

-Barry
The mountains were made for Teva’s

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: What a Scout Needs for Backpacking on 02/14/2012 18:31:30 MST Print View

Please also read What a Beginner Needs for Backpacking: Part 2


Michael, I had to smile while reading your paper when you first posted it. I had written these articles last summer, for publication then, but because of print schedules it came out now.
I wanted to say something than, even send you a copy, but the schedule for this write-up wasn't out yet so I had to keep quiet.

Luke, hopefully some day we will be able to see what some of these kids are thinking- Getting into their heads- Combat helmet! Reminds me of the kid from a troop I was visiting after a long hike, brought 2 Costco size, #10 cans of chili out of his pack. This was for an overnighter and he was only feeding himself. It had to be 10 pounds of chili!

Barry, I doubt anyone in the troop forgot a pack after that trip.

Edited by bestbuilder on 03/22/2013 10:45:32 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Packs on 02/14/2012 19:31:57 MST Print View

He brough #10 cans of chili?!? Well maybe some of the Scout leaders around here should pool all their crazy stories into one crazy article.

I'm curious you mention 1.8 pound packs, which ones were they? I've heard of a few kids using Gossamer Gear packs but I wasn't sure if they would be small enough to fit a kid.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Packs on 02/14/2012 20:49:27 MST Print View

Luke, some of the scouts use a Womens Golite Jam (small or medium size). My daughters Womens medium Jam weighs 1 lb 12oz (Approx 1.8 lbs). It holds everything they need for 3 season backpacking.

Edited by bestbuilder on 02/14/2012 20:50:05 MST.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Re Packs on 02/14/2012 21:03:53 MST Print View

Oh thanks Tad. Since you said most scouts do best with a frame in their pack I guess I was assuming you'd found a source of really light internal frame packs that I'd missed.
By the way Golite has a killer sale going on with packs in case any of your guys needs one.

Sebastian Boenner
(racoon-on-tour)

Locale: beautiful Rhineland (Germany)
be prepared... on 02/15/2012 01:03:24 MST Print View

Great article. Don't know why so many people misunderstand BP's slogan " be prepared" as "be equipped". It was never meaned that way. It was addressing someones state of mind (being attentive, skilled, etc.) and not his gear closet.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: What a Scout Needs for Backpacking on 02/15/2012 08:08:31 MST Print View

> Michael, I had to smile while reading your paper when you first posted it. I had written these articles last summer, for publication then, but because of print schedules it came out now.
I wanted to say something than, even send you a copy, but the schedule for this write-up wasn't out yet so I had to keep quiet.

Oh, the irony. :)

Since you're in the PNW, I'll have to read it more carefully about ways to improve mine for your weather as I want to expand mine to all conditions. My first read didn't note many differences at all.

Kier Selinsky
(Kieran) - F

Locale: Seattle, WA
Thanks! on 02/15/2012 10:12:35 MST Print View

Great write-up, and very timely. My son is moving into Webelos 2, so this will be great info to share with the other parents.

Edited by Kieran on 02/15/2012 22:39:41 MST.

Thomas Glennon
(Eagletrek007) - MLife
No Cotton on 02/15/2012 12:03:09 MST Print View

Tad,

Many thanks for the superb article. As an "attention to detail kinda guy" I couldn't help but notice from the photos that the "no cotton" advice is not strictly adhered to. From the white athletic socks to the blue jeans it looks like some scouts still haven't broken the "synthectic code" yet. I've have the same issues with scouts in my troop.

Looking forward to your next submission.

Trek On!!!

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: What a Scout Needs for Backpacking on 02/15/2012 12:24:09 MST Print View

Thomas, my dad use to say, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink". Our troop has a varied income level so I constantly admonish, but I did't demand anything.
My first priority is that they show up. It's kind of like what my wife says, "I have to work with what the good Lord gave me" (meaning ME).
Also, its hard to tell now-a-days the difference between regular cotton socks and "CoolMax" while they are wearing them so I stopped asking. I just use the qtrly Court of Honor to remind everyone of a different lightweight principle.


Michael, the original draft had things more specific to the PNW. We "adjusted" the article to appeal to a broader audience. Though some minor "PNW attitude" still crept in.
I started out writing what I thought would be a couple pages to hand out, but as you well know, it wasn't that easy. I could have ended up writing a book, but decided to leave that to Andrew Skurka and Mike C.


Thanks everyone for taking the time to read the article

Edited by bestbuilder on 02/15/2012 12:33:21 MST.

Kevin Scruggs
(kevinscruggs) - F

Locale: Southeast (NC)
Scout Packs on 02/15/2012 18:20:52 MST Print View

All: I found in my years as Scoutmaster that womens packs seem to fit many of the shorter boys better. My son carried a GoLite womens pack and many of the boys carried Osprey women packs. They just seem to fit the short torso better. Great article Tad. I have about 100 stories. I should write a book. Its been an adventure for sure.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Every Noob could use this info on 02/16/2012 17:22:20 MST Print View

Every Noob could use this info, not just scouts

I was thinking- maybe I missed a lot of potential readers with the title of the article.

I wish I would have had this information when I started out. That's why I wrote this thing in the first place. It was for people like me (about 20 years ago.

I think I've made enough bad purchases for everyone.

Any Thoughts?

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Every Noob needs this info on 02/16/2012 17:49:05 MST Print View

Probably a good idea Tad.
I love all the "gear geak" articles here but a few times I've thought maybe we could us a few "Complete Idiot's Guides." I don't mean to be insulting I'm just refering the the series of "The Complete Idiots Guide to..." There are plenty of people who come here looking for help to start UL backpacking. Maybe a few really basica articles like "how to pick a pack" "How to Build a Fire" etc. would be good.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Every Noob could use this info on 02/16/2012 18:06:12 MST Print View

I agree, Tad. That was one reason I left Scouting out of my dissertation title. It was geared to older Scouters or those new to BPing (in a Scouting context). I've pointed a few newbies to it here and other forums.

Once it gets expanded I was thinking one of my chapters will be something like non-Scout improvements that cover alcohol stoves and things a solo person may do different from a group.

Maybe we can join forces somehow?

Luis Ramos
(Luisramos) - F

Locale: Maryland
Re: Re: What a Scout Needs for Backpacking on 02/16/2012 21:22:15 MST Print View

Great paper Michael, I'm printing it for my Cub Scout Den to review.

Jared Dilg
(Village) - MLife

Locale: Texas
Re: What a Scout Needs for Backpacking on 02/16/2012 22:43:28 MST Print View

Great article Tad! I'm looking forward to the other half.

I'm reminded of my first backpacking trip as a Boy Scout. My 40lb Large ALICE rucksack included such essentials as the Boy Scout Manual and a deluxe knife sharpening kit, including two stones and a bottle of oil.

Your advice would have come in handy back then!

Ron Alcatraz
(RON8O) - F
great article Tad, thanks! on 02/17/2012 08:03:37 MST Print View

great article Tad, thanks!

I'm so new to backpacking, camping, etc that I've never actually been out on a trip. sad, huh? I've just lurked here on BPL for a while now and continued to have my desire for this type of activity grow.

Being 43 and never having been on an actual backpacking/camping trip is quite depressing and embarrassing. Of course neither of these things is going to get me on the trails, so I continue to dig deeper on what it takes to do this sort of thing. For me, your article is one of the more inspiring that I've read on BPL, so thanks for that.

I'm off to search for a group that goes camping/backpacking locally, maybe I can tag along and learn from them instead of going about it on my own.