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Packing list for scouts?
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Kirk Harrington
(Stormstaff) - F
Packing list for scouts? on 11/17/2012 04:13:46 MST Print View

We have our first upcoming backpacking trip in April 2013 in southern Illinois. It’s roughly an 11 mile loop with a couple of primitive campsites at the half way mark.

This will be a new experience for most of the scouts and leaders alike.

With that in mind and trying to stay “Thrifty”, I’m looking for suggested packing lists. Specific gear possibly. Just help in general. The only thing I know for sure is that we have a free with canister type stoves, a couple that will be hammocking (myself being one) and the rest are talking about doing tarp shelters as we don’t have a bunch of backpacking tents.

I’m sorry to be so vague but if you need any info to try and help, feel free to ask away.

Yours in Scouting,
Kirk Harrington

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Packing list for scouts? on 11/17/2012 06:34:55 MST Print View

April gives you plenty of time to prepare.

Get material for tarps and make your own. Usually 10x10 is a good size for two or three scouts. Of course, all the guys will need some instruction on sewing. But straight stitching is easy. Small needles, fine poly thread, with reinforcing patches and loops for staking it down/proping it up. Alternativly, you could use a blue tarp, but these are quite heavy. Lay out space might be difficult, but accuracy is not real essential. Most of what you need in knowledge can be picked up and printed from on-line resouces.

A 0F synthetic bag is usually found for less than $50. DO NOT overly compress these. So, a larger pack for the scouts is likely needed.

Food: For one night, this is not too important. At least 1 larger 3L pot per three or four scouts. 1 cup for each scout, and, a small 3 cup K-mart grease pot works well as personal cook kits. Aluminum is just as light as Ti (or lighter) and far less expensive. Try Bassmasters, they had some cheap "tin" cups. Teen agers eat a LOT of food, as I am thinking of it. Figure enough! (Snacks, water, too)

Pads are a little more important. A CCF pad, at least a 1/2" variety, should work for spring. Cut and fold them with Duct Tape so they fit in the pack. For spring conditions, a second pad would come in handy. For a frameless pack, they can be cut & taped in a rectangle, siffening the pack suspension. A 25 cent table spoon works pretty well, picked up at the local second hand shop.

Ground cloth: this can be some simple plastic sheeting. Cit this about 3" larger than the pad. Tyvec, or PU coated silnylon is better, but more expensive.

Everyone needs a stuff sack. Loaded with extra clothes (after changing into night cloths) it makes a good pillow as well as a good organizer for food. Again, a MYOG project.

A good sized pack from Wally world will probably be the cheapest. Figure ~4500ci. Extra cloths, pads inside, generally overloading with with "goodies", etc all require space.

Rain panchos: A garbage bag works for one trip. Show them how to cut holes for the head and arms. Coming out, show them how to tie it off and use it for trash if it isn't raining. Have them bring two...

Whatever you teach the scouts about weight will probably not be important. You need to set up a demonstration. A 15 pound pack for one night, or a 35 pound pack for one night. Compare functionality, why it works, what NOT to do, also. They will likely still carry ~25 pounds, but will know better, anyway. Some will take away everything you say, so do not scrimp on clothing. Younger scouts may need more than older scouts. Explain why.

Water, washing, toilet: Bring enough, but show them how to conserve wash water (wet bandana, brushing teeth, etc.) Show them what a good kitty hole looks like. Explain why all that is important.

First Aid...well, you need a good kit...'nuff said.

Lots more...

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Packing list for scouts? on 11/17/2012 07:52:52 MST Print View

Here is some nice work by our own Michael Ray. This should have you covered.

gear on 11/17/2012 10:33:35 MST Print View

Pretty short trip, but you have to start somewhere, so congrats for taking that step.

You can get by with almost anything for one night, and two 5-6 mile days.

If you have a local hiking club, and by local that may even mean at the state or region level, they probably have lots of older donated gear that they would be enthusiastic to lend to you.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Suggestions on 11/17/2012 19:51:40 MST Print View

I'm guessing you want to emphasize cheapness at this point since backpacking probably isn't going to be the main activity for yours scouts.

I've done a lot of short trips with kids where the kids carried the following in a book bag.

1. Sleeping Bag
2. Jacket
3. Waterbottle
4. Poncho

That was ALL! I carried a big plastic tarp we could all sleep under and the food. Now my pack was huge but most of the kids were improvising with book bags (and they were as young as 8 years old).

Here is my variation on this system for scouts

Packs - If you have some time to shop around you can pick up a lot of very cheap external frame packs at thrift shops or flea markets. I like external frame packs for kids because you can lash bulky sleeping bags to them easily (scouts probably won't have super nice compact-able sleeping bags).
Some kids with small sleeping bags can get away with a book bag type pack. You could sew on a few loops to tie on a sleeping pad to the outside if necessary.

Sleeping Pads - Get cheap blue pads from Wal Mart or a military surplus (bulk might be even cheaper).

Tarps - If you are not too worried about the weather you could get away with some plastic tarps. I'd put cordage on them before the trip and have the bigger scouts carry them. You could also try surplus military poncho tarps with two scouts snapping a pair of ponchos together (more on that later).

Shoes - Make sure they don't all rush out and buy $100 boots they don't need! They should be fine in whatever athletic shoes they have as long as they fit right (a potential problem for growing adolescents so explain they need to check this).

Water Bottles - Gatorade bottles are cheaper then Nalgenes and work just fine.

Food - Stuff that kids can cook over a fire works well because its entertaining and minimizes the dishes you have to mess with. You could do some kind of sausage for dinner and bannuck bread for breakfast. Two hot meals and no stoves or dishes needed!

Clothing - Normal play/athletic clothes will work for an overnighter. Try to get them to use as little cotton as possible. For example wind pants or athletic shorts should be encouraged instead of jeans or BDUs. Wool socks are nice but for an overnight they should be fine with normal cotton socks. I've have them bring two extra pairs just to be safe.

Rain Gear - Frog Togs might work. Emergency ponchos are super cheap and light but won't last long. If it looks like rain and your rain gear is cheap the boys should have a change of dry clothes. You will get pretty damp if you hike all day in a poncho. I'd suggest adults have 3 or 4 emergency ponchos with them. They are light and a good insurance if a scout forgets his rain gear. Ponchos made of heavier plastic cost about $10 and are going to be more rugged and cover more of your body then emergency ponchos.
Military poncho tarps would be even more rugged and experienced scouts could use them as rain gear and shelter.

Kirk Harrington
(Stormstaff) - F
We're all noobs, hehe on 11/17/2012 21:13:00 MST Print View

Yes it's a short trip but it's a start. We'll possibly have scouts ranging from 11 yrs old and up.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Short is good on 11/17/2012 21:45:17 MST Print View

Short is good, 11 miles will be plenty for a bunch of first timers. There will be a learning curve of figuring out how to adjust packs etc.

Edit - You don't need high end UL gear to have resonably light packs for an overnighter. Just make sure the boys don't load up on a lot of extra stuff they don't need. Watch for mom's packing way too many clothes and watch for boys wanting to bring a lot of knives, hatchets, camp saws etc.

Edited by Cameron on 11/17/2012 21:49:16 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Packing list for scouts? on 11/18/2012 02:29:33 MST Print View

Kirk Harrington
(Stormstaff) - F
Cool of you all on 11/20/2012 17:31:12 MST Print View

Thank you for all the help and encouragement. It helps a lot.

Dan Lee
(scoutbuff) - MLife

Locale: Colorado
A COUPLE MORE IDEAS... on 11/21/2012 10:18:31 MST Print View

As a SM, here are some "thrifty" ideas for consideration... Theme is cheap and light, especially if you have some new young boys trying to keep pack weight under 25% of their body weight...
1. Frog Toggs rainsuit (mentioned before). Very light and inexpensive (~$20 for suit). For a short trip like yours, they'll certainly do and much better than ponchos.
2. Pack waterproofing. Do not spend $30+ on a pack cover. (If someone wants my $45 silnylon Sea to Summit, it's never been used!) Much better to teach the boys how to use an inexpensive pack liner. Trash compactor bags work very well, lightweight and are cheap! Gossamer Gear also sells a pack liner that is outstanding but also a bit more expensive. "Must stay dry" stuff goes inside, water bottles, cook gear, eating utensils, etc. outside. Want to keep other small stuff dry and handy in side pockets, use LokSaks or heavy duty ziplocs.
3. Water bottles. Seems like every scout wants to carry Nalgenes or aluminum bottles. Much lighter and cheaper to use Aquafina, etc. "disposable" bottles. If parents want to spend money, I recommend the collapsible Platypus bottles for space and weight savings.
4. Hiking clothes. I encourage you to have the boys use whatever nylon track pants they have or can get rather than denim jeans. Much lighter and effective against wet/cold when you add some synthetic long underwear.
5. Bowls/utensils. Discourage the traditional mess kit and encourage using plastic margarine dishes or semi-disposable Ziploc storage bowls (~$0.50/ea) and heavy plastic spoons ($0.50/ea) at Wally world.

Hope this helps!
YiS, Dan

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Packing list for scouts? on 11/21/2012 11:18:32 MST Print View

Kirk, here are two articles I wrote on this very subject here at BPL. Share with whomever you like. You do not have to have a subscription to read these.

What a Scout Need for Backpacking Part 1

What a Scout Needs for Backpacking Part 2

These have been very helpful for the new scouts parents i our troop.

We all thank Ryan Jordon for his generousness for allowing this.

Edited by bestbuilder on 11/21/2012 11:26:01 MST.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Adding post to: "Packing list for scouts?" on 12/04/2012 20:47:42 MST Print View

Ken already linked to the paper I wrote so feel free to ask me any questions.

Your description makes it sound like Forest Glen Preserve. Is that where you're going?

Phillip Asby

Locale: North Carolina
I'm in the same boat on 12/06/2012 09:13:21 MST Print View

I strongly endorse Tad and Michael's pieces as great background/starting points for assembling gear. Our trip is mid february and I'm still gathering and figuring out what to use that we have and what I still need to buy. At this point I think the only essential item we need to buy is a pack for my 10yo newly crossed over Scout. Even then I'm considering renting one for the first trip or sucking it up and getting the REI Passage 65 which other Scouts use with success. The biggest temptation is to go hog wild with gear and I've resisted that as much as I can - he has lots of nylon sports stuff that works well enough. And the handful of things he's gotten new have been like the stuff I mostly use (since I already have it for gym use) - C9 gear from Target or workout stuff from Walmart. I think I might need to find a set of synthetic long johns given the potential temperatures mid february... otherwise he's in pretty good shape.

We are somewhat fortunate - the Troop has REI Half Domes the Scouts share and most Patrol guys have backpacking stoves of some variety - but ours is an overnight so they could easily do a no cooking plan if necessary. So pretty much he's got his pad, sleeping bag, clothes, and shared Patrol/Troop gear.

I'm more worried about myself on some level since the dads who go generally have to tote 100% of our own stuff - partly by choice (I'm happy to carry a small tent so I have one for myself rather than share with another dad - that may stop after a few longer hikes however!) - and partly because it's just how out Troop rolls - Dads are on their own by and large.

Out Troop is somewhere in the middle between really forward thinking light weight and traditional big gear approaches. Venture scouts can use a tarp/hammock, etc... if they want to... but not younger Scouts which is probably appropriate given their skill levels. It does serve as somewhat ironic that the scouts best able to carry more (the 15-16-17 yo) seem to often carry the least... we'll see if loads get balanced by age when we get ready for the first trip. Younger Scouts do often take a shorter or less strenous route when available.

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
gear for scouts and parents new to backpacking on 01/07/2013 21:07:55 MST Print View

Here is the gear info I send to scout parents, gear for adults is the first link,

and gear for the new scouts is the link below:

Edited by rshaver on 01/07/2013 21:18:46 MST.

Kirk Harrington
(Stormstaff) - F
Thanks on 01/08/2013 12:52:13 MST Print View

Sorry I haven't been back to this thread for a long while. Life has been shall we say hectic.

Thank you all for the input. I'll have to look into the gear lists posted.

Yours in Scouting,
Kirk "Go Go Gadget" Harrington

James Tisdale
(Jameyt) - M

Locale: PaNW
Age for hammocks on 01/17/2013 17:31:25 MST Print View

Most of my guys hammock. All of my guys are under 13 (with two exceptions). I wouldn't put arbitrary ages on things like hammocks. It's more about experience.

For March/April is likely to be too chilly for first time hangers.