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The Big Four for Boy Scouts
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Paul Johnson
(johncooper) - F

Locale: SoCal
The Big Four for Boy Scouts on 04/03/2012 01:13:34 MDT Print View

I am leading a four day backpack for our troop this summer and want to make gear suggestions. I'm familiar with gear on the market and the many resources generally listing gear, but I want to provide specific gear recommendations. Here are some details on our trips.

We are based out of Socal and camp year round. The colder months are car camping or short backpacks with nightime lows around freezing. Spring and early fall trips are two to three day trips in the local mountains with lows in the forties. June to Sept we backpack in the Sierras with three to ten day trips.

Pad: I recommend twenty inch blue ccf cut to length
Bag: I like the Kelty Cosmic down 20 for the price, warmth and relatively low weight
Tent/tarp and pack: I'm looking for suggestions.

I also welcome input on pads and bags.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: The Big Four for Boy Scouts on 04/03/2012 06:18:00 MDT Print View

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: The Big Four for Boy Scouts on 04/03/2012 08:14:20 MDT Print View

Well, with a group this is a bit out there. You can double up on a lot of things and save a lot of weight per person. But, a lot of scouts, especially 12-14 years old, never seem to learn that they have to carry every bit of gear the entire trip. Axes, large hunting knives, video games, etc often make up more than my base weight.

Anyway, tarps are fairly easy. Roughly 7'6" x9' set up in a variety of configurations. These are a skill item. A larger tarp, around 10x10 will basically cover two scouts no matter what weather. These can be purchased from Oware or the like. Or, you can have a sew session. Learning to make a flat seam sewing a few loops (bar tack, "Z" stitch) is not complicated. Have some extra needles and bobbins handy. A few usable sewing machines is all that is really needed...most troups can come up with a couple. DIY.

Nests or bivies are more complicated, but not out of line. Perhaps a simple draped bug nest with staking loops 6" from the edges will work. Again, lots of designs from simple tarp tents with perimiter netting to full nests with bath-tub floors and doors. Draped netting works OK, but you will not be dealing with clouds of black-fies or mosquitos either. An easy DIY project for minimal funds. Or, these could be purchased from Go-Lite or Integral Designs.

Check the directions for hiking staffs. You may need to join the group to see the directions, though.

CCF pads are good for scouts. For a bit more money I would recommend the NightLite pads from Gossamer Gear. Generally warmer, a bit more comfortable and lighter.

I cannot fault your choice of bags. A fairly good, low quality down starter bag that is quite inexpensive. But, I believe they quit producing this one. You may have to check around to get something different in down.

Check Gossmaer Gear for light, inexpensive packs. I believe the G4 is around $120-130. With a little modification to the CCF pads (cut and duct tape) they will fit into the pad holders, adding to the frame. Good volume if you cannot find a down bag, too. Generally speaking, of course, you *might* be able to get a small discount with a troup.

All will need a cup, of course. Every two scouts will need some sort of stove, usually a cnaister or WG. A 1.5L pot, as wide as you can get is good for two people at a time.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: The Big Four for Boy Scouts on 04/03/2012 09:53:05 MDT Print View

John here are two articles that you should read here on BPL (yes, I wrote them):

What a Scout need for backpacking Part 1

What a Scout need for backpacking Part 2

Edited by bestbuilder on 04/03/2012 09:53:36 MDT.

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
Gear for Scouts on 04/04/2012 07:32:08 MDT Print View

This is a link to a page on our troop website about what gear parents should get for young scouts. I wrote it recently.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: The Big Four for Boy Scouts on 04/07/2012 23:27:12 MDT Print View

Also see the recent videos posted

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
expect the unexpected on 04/10/2012 09:38:55 MDT Print View

We recently finished a 6 day hike with younger scouts, 3 eleven year olds, 2 twelve year olds, and one 13 y.o. We also had 5 adults, one on her first backpack, one fairly new to backpacking, one with some backpacking experience from years ago, and two with strong backpacking skills. (I put myself in the latter group). The boys proved themselves tough hikers, with no whining, no complaining, and adequate strength to go all day.

We had a pack check, and weighed packs, and looked at boots. We missed one kid, however, regarding his boots. I asked him "are they hiking boots, and do they fit?" Oh yes they are hiking boots and they fit perfectly. The kid, an Indian youth, showed up with hi top insulated winter boots for a 6 mile per day hike in desert sand. They were 1.5 sizes too large. We left those at the car. He did the hike in his street shoes, which were leather shoes with velcro strap closure. We also carried a pair of light trail shoes in case the leather shoes gave way, and they did look very sloppy.

We had one parent, the guy with some backpacking experience, show up with 3 lawn chairs. One for himself, one for the gal on her first backpack, one for his son. His pack weighed appoximately 65 pounds. With no food, mine weighed about 16. He also had a $500 Randall sheath knife on his belt. The gal didn't have any problems, as she was a runner and very sturdy. The kid only carried the lawn chair the first day, then Dad was carrying two lawn chairs. He had a bit of a learning experience, as every bit of gear he had was the heavyweight version, and he had a hard time keeping up with fleet 11 year olds. For example he had a Coleman peak one gas stove (the old pot bellied tank kind), a liter of fuel, a pot set big enough for 8, the kind of oatmeal you cook, Lipton noodle dinners which you boil for 20 minutes, a ski coat, and I don't know what else was in his pack. I ended up carrying a lawn chair for the last half of the trip, and it was nice to have a seat in camp.

Everybody had a good time. Everybody including me learned something. Pics of the trip at

Edited by rshaver on 04/10/2012 09:40:51 MDT.