New Scout Gear Explanation
- For the New Scout Campout, you might be able to borrow some of the equipment from family members or other Scouts. Some of the equipment can come from your closet (but avoid cotton clothing). Troop 1140 has some backpacks which you can borrow.
- Sleeping bag and raingear are probably the first priority for this Campout.
- This is not a competition for the Best Equipped Scout. Just keep your son warm and dry.
- Be more careful with the big choices (backpack, sleeping bag).
- Buy the gear on sale when you can. Some brands tend to be less expensive (Eureka and Alps Mountaineering are examples).
- Choose equipment that is durable – Scouts are not known for treating equipment gently.
- Choose equipment that is appropriate for your son’s size and strength, and keep in mind that they are growing.
- Our troop has a rule that cotton is not allowed. You may use a cotton / synthetic blend as long as it is less than 50% cotton.
- Many of these suggestions are aimed at protecting against clothing (or sleeping bag) getting wet. Wet clothing can’t keep your Scout warm, which can be dangerous in cold weather.
- Be aware of the weight of the backpacking equipment you are choosing -- but for this age, price, and skill level, the lightweight choices may be limited.
- Look around at what others are using, to get ideas. You may choose to replace some items as your Scout gains more experience with what works for them.
- The Troop provides a tent, stove, and cookgear. You don’t need to worry about these.
- The Troop has a “pack check” before each campout, to make sure each Scout has the equipment needed for that event.
- Perhaps the main difference between “backpacking” and “car camping” is that all of your Scout’s gear should fit in (or on) his pack.
Guideline: bag with a “20 degree” rating is recommended – we have camped outdoors in tents when the temperature was 23 degrees (it was much warmer in the tent). Note that the sleeping bag temperature rating is a guideline, not a guarantee – and each person is different.
- Your old “Sesame Street” cotton sleepover bag won’t keep your Scout warm and dry.
- Synthetic fill dries more quickly if it gets wet, may be less expensive, and is more durable. Most new scouts have synthetic bags. The North Face “Cat’s Meow” is a good example, but less expensive alternatives are available.
- Down is lighter for the same warmth, and is more compressible to take up less space in the pack. It is generally used by experienced backpackers, who value light weight and small size because it results in a lighter load in the backpack. Down is also more durable.
- A tapered or “mummy” shape has less fabric and is lighter in weight, but may be too confining for some sleepers.
- A drawstring closure at the head of the bag helps trap heat on cold nights.
- Note that it may be difficult or impossible to clean a sleeping bag. See the manufacturer’s instructions.
- The sleeping bag should be stored uncompressed until you stuff it for camping.
- Campmor (an online store) may have good deals on down sleeping bags.
- For a hike, our troop lines the stuff sack with a plastic bag, to protect the sleeping bag against getting wet.
Provides cushioning and warmth when sleeping in a tent against the ground. Generally strapped to the backpack when hiking.
- Thin blue foam pad is lowest cost, light weight, rolls into a small space.
- Thick foam pad (RidgeRest or Z-Lite) is most popular with Scouts. Provides more cushioning and warmth, and is durable. Can be bulky to pack.
- Inflatable foam pad (Therm-A-Rest) provides best comfort with low weight and size, but can be expensive.
Guideline: raingear tops and bottoms are required. Scout events are rarely canceled for rain. We had a campout on a weekend that set a 3-day record for rainfall.
- Poncho can be used temporarily. Hunting stores may have good prices for raingear. Choose products that are durable, lightweight, and reasonably priced.
- Some materials are more “breathable” than others. A totally non-breathable material will keep the rain out, but it will also trap perspiration and become clammy and cold.
- Rain pants are very valuable. A poncho won’t protect your legs. It is essential to stay dry, especially when the weather is cold.
Guideline: Pack should be comfortable for the boy’s size. A variety of packbag sizes are available; we would suggest choosing one that is between roughly 2900 and 4000 cubic inches. Smaller and larger sizes are available but may not be practical.
- A larger backpack will be easier to pack, which can be very useful in winter when many clothes are carried. A smaller pack – if all the gear fits in – can mean a lighter load. Often scouts end up with some gear strapped to the outside of the pack.
- Internal frame is lighter, and gives the hiker better balance. Used by many experienced backpackers.
- External frame is less expensive, more adjustable, and has more external attachment points for gear. Most new scouts have external frame packs. The Kelty Trekker is a typical example.
- Adult-sized backpacks may be too large for a younger Scout; in particular the waistbelt may not adjust tight enough. Kelty makes a mid-size pack called the Yukon 2900. It is an external frame pack with sufficient capacity to be usable, it fits boys with torsos from 13 to 19 inches, and the frame height is adjustable. It is available from Hudson Trail Outfitters, Campmor, and other stores. See HYPERLINK "http://www.kelty.com/p-44-yukon-2900.aspx" http://www.kelty.com/p-44-yukon-2900.aspx
Guideline: protects the pack from rain when hiking. The Troop pitches a tarp to protect everyone’s packs when in camp.
- Pack covers are available at stores.
- A sturdy garbage bag can be used temporarily, but these can be a hassle. We would encourage you to get a pack cover within a few months.
Provide support for feet and ankles. Don’t spend too much on boots, as younger Scouts are likely to outgrow them.
Boots provide some protection against water from rain or stream crossings.
Heavier boots provide better protection, but add more weight to carry if the hike is longer.
Our Troop also brings athletic shoes for use around the campsite.
Think of 3 layers. Dressing in layers provides flexibility as weather and activities change.
The goal is to provide warmth and to stay dry. Fabrics which are quick-drying are preferred.
- AVOID COTTON CLOTHING! Cotton does not dry quickly and may be useless or even dangerous when wet.
- Avoid cotton blue jeans and sweatshirts.
- A cotton-synthetic blend may be considered.
- Wick layer.- This layer goes next to the body.
- Upper garments made by UnderArmour and Patagonia (Capilene) are popular with Scouts.
- You may want to have a short sleeve undershirt for summer, and a long sleeve shirt for cold weather. Bottom wick garments can provide additional warmth on cold days.
- Thermal layer. Fleece is popular with Scouts.
- It is convenient to have both a fleece jacket and fleece vest.
- Shell layer. Provides protection from rain and wind.
- Raingear falls in this category.
- In cold weather, many Scouts use a winter jacket, perhaps a synthetic shell with a removable fleece liner.
- ants. Blue jeans are cotton, and to be avoided.
- Choose a synthetic or blend. Scout uniform pants can be used but will get dirty.
- Many Scouts are using zip-off pants to provide the option for both long pants and shorts.
- Hat. A hat is very important as much body heat is lost from the head and neck. Choose fleece or wool.
- New materials are available which are very wind- and water-resistant. There are “balaclava” styles which are lightweight and warm.
- Your Scout may also want another hat for protection against rain or sun (or for style!).
- Gloves. It is useful to have inner and outer gloves to work as a layered set.
- The inner layer will provide warmth, and the outer layer will provide protection from rain and wind. Mittens provide better protection in really cold weather.
Many Scouts are choosing LED headlamps. They are small, lightweight, and very convenient as you can work hands free.
Our troop uses wide mouth Nalgene water bottles. They are durable, easy to use and clean, and they have measurements on the side for cooking. Two, one-liter bottles are required – one for drinking water, and one to supply water for patrol cooking. Choose an unusual color and put your Scout’s name on the bottle (or mark it) so they can identify which is theirs.
Updated June 2016