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

Locale: Montana
What a Beginner Needs for Backpacking on 02/21/2012 16:39:53 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

What a Beginner Needs for Backpacking

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Great on 02/21/2012 19:01:30 MST Print View

Great write up Tad! Thanks for putting it together. I like the idea of having some articles that are more accessible for someone who's not a gear geak.

Warren Wilkinson
(icensnow) - M

Locale: New England, USA
Sierra Designs Origami 3 on 02/22/2012 10:37:39 MST Print View

Thanks for this overview geared (pun intended ;-) to adults new to backpacking, and adults introducing kids to the activity. It shows how one can start enjoying the outdoors without spending a fortune. The rest of the site takes care of the fortune part :-).

I noticed the venting at the peak of the Sierra Designs Origami 3 tarp. Current versions of the tarp don't seem to have this.

Thomas Glennon
(Eagletrek007) - MLife
Nice Primer to Backpacking with Scouts on 02/22/2012 12:00:09 MST Print View


Thanks for the second installment. Had to laugh at the "bungee belt". Just went through "the wet jeans won't stay up" experience this past wet weekend. Still trying to convince some of my folks that nylon pants are the way to go.

Re: Stoves From my personal experience I've found remote cannister stoves to be a better choice for scouts based on safety (no overheating the cannister), better heat management/fuel management (better fitting wind screen), and stability (less of a chance to spill that boiling water).

Trek On!

Sean Barnette

Locale: Mid West
Fantastic! on 02/22/2012 12:07:55 MST Print View

What a fantastic article!! I recently taught the backpacking portion at IOLS, and I largely used your article as a basis for my lesson plan. I do have one question however...I have heard that you are not allowed to bring a tarp to Philmont. You must bring a tent! This seems a bit ludicrous to me, and I am wondering how we might be able to convince Philmont to change that particular policy. Thank you for your service to Boy Scouts, and thank you for a very educational and well written article!

John L Collins
(WVCubDad) - MLife

Locale: Not too far off the Tuscarora Trail
Very nice article on 02/22/2012 13:37:11 MST Print View

This is great stuff!

We are having a winter campout (okay, more of a rain event in the Eastern Panhandle of WV than snow) this weekend and we did a gear shakedown this past Sunday during our Troop meeting. Lots of cotton clothing, we made suggestions on what to take instead, heavy tents (will have to work/fund raise into lighter ones) and a bunch of heavy metal messkits. As with much of Scouting, it's a process to get the pounds off, although I must say my son's pack was 19.8 pounds with water but no food (since they hadn't finished the menu or shopped yet!) I'm ashamed to say mine was significantly heavier and I've been going through it and slashing left and right. I should be down by his weight in time to head out tomorrow evening.


Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
"What a Beginner Needs for Backpacking" on 02/22/2012 22:08:15 MST Print View

Luke, yes its good to have a primer every once in a while, we all started at different times, glad to see its helpful.

Warren, I think the vent is still there on the SD Origami, it might be hard to tell from there website, but they list a vent in the spec's.

Thomas, about jeans- show them the picture of the bungee and maybe they will get the hint.
I like the upright canisters because they are a little more "fool" proof- less things for the "adults" to figure out, kids have now problem. We do use the Coleman Xtreme and Xpert stoves for winter camping; much safer than a white gas stove.

Sean,I would review the Philmont Threads to get a read on the tarp/tent Philmont thing. I've heard they are making some changes but I don't know what the "rule" is.

John, hope you enjoy the February rain. Keep working on getting your own weight down. I've seen parents try and lighten their child's weigh by increasing their own. Don't redistribute, work on lightening everyone's load.

Sandra Powell
(trailrunner87511) - MLife
Newbie question on 02/23/2012 07:55:10 MST Print View

Can you describe a freezer bag cozie and how to make one? I assume it is to keep food warm longer? Thanks!

Thomas Glennon
(Eagletrek007) - MLife
RE: Newbie Question on 02/23/2012 09:28:23 MST Print View

Cozie pouches can be made from various items such as closed cell foam, craft foam or reflective bubble wrap by Reflectix. They can be sewn, taped, or glued together depending on the material you use. Reflectix bubble wrap is sold in various size rolls at your "big box" stores. A quick trip to Youtube will provide videos on how to make them. I made some as give-aways for my Wood Badge patrol.

Zombie Bobwhites Forever!!!!

Edited by Eagletrek007 on 02/23/2012 09:43:01 MST.

(cuzzettj) - MLife

Locale: NorCal - South Bay
RE: "What a Beginner Needs for Backpacking" on 02/23/2012 16:20:11 MST Print View

Just an additional suggestion that I have been using for a while to get away from the bulky fleece. Buy wool garments on Ebay! I usually pay between $8 and $20 for merino wool sweaters. Yes, some are V-necks or have that awesome argile pattern on them. However it has been a great way to set the kids up with good/light sweaters that work in the layering system. Just be careful of the 50% wool/50% polyesteer ones. They tend to be lighter but are 3 season at best.


Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Newbie question- Cozie on 02/23/2012 16:47:50 MST Print View

Sandra, thank you for asking the question, that's how we all learned this stuff- either by asking or reading the answers to the questions others asked.

Here are some threads on Cozies

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: What a Beginner Needs for Backpacking on 08/06/2012 18:46:34 MDT Print View

I am teaching a course on this next month and thought it might be good to bring it back up here.

Edited by bestbuilder on 07/14/2014 18:09:54 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
PACK?? on 09/13/2012 16:48:07 MDT Print View

Did I miss your mention of packs in a senior moment or will you address this in a later article?

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: PACK?? on 09/14/2012 14:13:40 MDT Print View

Eric, it is discussed in Part 1 of this article (this was Part 2):
What a Beginner Needs for Backpacking Part 1

Thanks for reading

Edited by bestbuilder on 09/14/2012 14:15:15 MDT.

George Ramsdell

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Great Article on 11/06/2013 10:17:34 MST Print View

Very informative article, I am Scoutmaster south of you in Snohomish WA!

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Great Article on 11/07/2013 15:11:47 MST Print View

Thanks George. Feel free to share the link to this and the first article (referenced above) with the parents in your troop or whomever.

William Giles
(wgiles51) - M

Locale: Central Illinois
Socks on 07/14/2014 16:43:25 MDT Print View

My everyday sock choice is Acrylic. Acrylic socks have most of the benefits of wool, and are more common and less expensive. Since this article often refers to twelve year old boys, I think that Acrylic socks would be a good choice. For many years, I wore steel toe boots at work five or more days a week. I had wool socks, but they were usually hot and scratchy (before Merino wool). I long ago came to the conclusion that cotton socks were worthless and also blister factories. I finally started wearing Acrylic socks and found that my feet stayed warm, the socks dried out fairly quickly and they were comfortable. I haven't had a blister on my feet in years and suspect that these socks might have something to do with that. The fabric in the heels gets thin after a few months and I retire them. When I buy socks (or most clothing, for that matter), I always look at the label to see what materials are in them. Most of the socks that I see are cotton or cotton synthetic blends. I can usually find Acrylic steel toe boot socks in the big discount stores. A bit of foot powder might also be in order.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Socks on 07/15/2014 16:12:23 MDT Print View

William, thanks for reading the articles.

Good suggestion on the inexpensive socks for younger set. They might be more apt to wear them also (wool doesn't look as cool).

For me, I prefer wool. I have been wearing wool socks for so long (everyday, year round)I don't feel hot wearing them anytime of year. But then again, everyone tells me I'm a little different not just with my socks.