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Troop Trailers - Luxury or necessity

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  • #16

    To paraphrase Tampa:

    A Troop Trailer is a mathematical necessity determined by multiplying the number of Patrols by the cubic feet per Patrol Box

    Lose the Patrol Boxes and you lose Cub Scouting's grip on the Boy Scout Program.

    GKlose writes:

    "the next purchase after that was a carport/canopy ("why the whole troop can fit under it!") and a large 3-burner propane stove ("why we can cook for the whole troop on that thing!"). Last thing I heard the same guy ask about was a large dutch oven (again, "we can feed the whole troop out of that thing!"). See the way this was going? It was not exactly reinforcing patrol method."

    The Troop Trailer is the perfect icon for Leadership Development's contribution to Scouting: the "Troop Method."

    Despite lip-service to the contrary, the primary unit of the "modern" Patrol Method is the whole Troop.

    Why was the Patrol Leader and any description of a working Patrol removed from the "Patrol Method" presentation of Scoutmaster Specific Training, and replaced with the "EDGE Method"?

    Because Patrol Leaders and Patrols are "explained" in the Troop Organization and Troop PLC presentations, of course!

    If not Scoutmaster-Specific Training, then where are Den Leaders supposed to learn that "separate Patrol activities" means any "leadership" task more challenging for a Patrol Leader than to cook and clean in the Patrol's "separate" corner of a Troop's central carport canopy?

    Yours at 300 feet,



    • #17

      Here we go with the methods argument. Not sure how we got to there from trailers, but I know the attitudes. Bottom line, the trailer has been more trouble than it is worth. I did not simplify logistics as we are now 100% dependant on the guys with the hitches. It almost came down to the point that people could not imagine even having a campout without a trailer. Although the quartermaster caught on quick, the less gear that went out, the less gear that had to be cleaned.

      Also, can you afford the maintenance on a trailer? How much do the tags cost?

      I dont care which side you are on: Patrol Method or Troop based. What I care is that the scouts learn to do it themselves. That includes planning. Having everything in the trailer defeats that purpose. Having a space limitation forces the boys to be creative and judge if things are really necessary.

      Let qualify my statements: Troop of around 40 boys. Most trips within 2 hour drive. There is a core of about 8 parents who do the heavy lifting and make sure boys get to campouts.

      We have two trailers: one very small, one quite large walk in type.

      NICE WEATHER campouts have 30 boys, maybe 12 to 15 adults. (we would prefer less adults, but are grateful for the problems we have, we would be happier if we could lose a few cub-scouty type helicopter parents, we spend more time dealing with them than the scouts)

      BAD WEATHER, maybe 22 boys, 4 adults that stay, a few others drive boys out and leave. (tend to lose parents who sleep on cots)

      Most the time, we have two or three adults with min-vans, or at least one 4 seat truck. Most the campouts we can do without the trailer, provided we can jam gear into one of those 7 seat minivans.

      My objection is that it appears to me that regardless of the trailer size it gets filled to the brim. It is supposed to make life easier because you have room for everything! But what did we teach the boys? Basically to pack everything.

      Last week I looked down at the cleaning gear..3 special tubsI suddenly remembered when I was a scoutwe first cleaned our big cook pots as best as we could, then used them as wash basins to do the rest of the dishes

      With those 3 special tubs we have literally brought the kitchen sink!

      Dont even get me going on Dutch ovens. Patrol boxes are the worst.

      We can do most campouts with out a trailer, but it takes more thought. However, clean up is much easier with less gear.


      • #18
        Troop trailers are nice to haul patrol boxes, patrol coolers, propane & lamps, etc. Our troop has one. We also have a large dining fly that we set up as sort of a communal/troop meeting place for certain outings. It takes at least 10-12 boys to set up and take down so I always let the SPL decide if they want to deploy it or not. It is nice to have when it rains.

        Having a trailer alleviates patrols (i.e. someones car) to having to carry these items but it places a big burden on the trailer hauler (who we offer to reimburse for gas).

        Having a trailer also makes the patrols somewhat more lazy in their planning and does bring a slight detriment to patrol camping.

        One of the reasons I like backpacking is not trailer is needed!


        • #19
          My troop has four trailers and looking for a fifth.


          • #20
            Hmmm. Never done a Boy Scout outing with patrol boxes.

            On the one hand it sounds kind of neat. On the other hand it sounds like a lot of junk to haul around.

            What are the odds that patrol boxes get stored with dirty plates and such?


            • #21
              SP, the odds are pretty good that the patrol boxes are collections of dirty dishes, canned goods with no labels, and other odds and ends, unless the QM and SPL ride herd on the PLs before and especially after every campout. Which is why I can't stand the darn things, a bias from my days as a scout. Lugging all the stuff around, and then on Sunday afternoon, getting the contents back inspection order before being released to go home.

              As a scout and scouter, I've camped with patrol boxes, and without, and without is the way to go.

              Kinda like the trailer--the bigger the box, the bigger the amount of crap that ends up in it, most of it nice to have or unnecessary. Exception: long term camps. But weekends? No thanks.


              • #22
                Seattle....Generally the patrol boxes are too heavy for a new scout patrol to manage, yes they will accumulate garbage and dirty dishes, they are always missing something.

       it makes sense why you need to register all of those scout trailers in Maine.

                In my state that would be over $500 in just trailer registrations a year, not including insurance for the contents and accident....

                The $700 we would spend on trailers is more than our entire troops annual budget.......

                desert our scouting experience are just way to similar.(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)


                • #23
                  When I was a youth we had patrol chuck boxes, wall tents, foot lockers and cots at summer camp and it all went in trailers. We also were in a place where everyone had pickups and suburbans so the trailers came.

                  Then as I started going to Philmont and did high adventure Exploring, we dumped all that and went pure lightweight backpacking style.

                  In the long run, a lot of my camping has been outside scouting and I can say that the trailer camping skills don't translate like the lightweight skills do. I think a big part of what we are teaching the scouts are skills that can be used outside of scouting.


                  • #24
                    Lose the Patrol Boxes and you lose Cub Scouting's grip on the Boy Scout Program.

                    I knew that somehow this had to be cub scouting's fault. Thanks for clearing that up!


                    • #25
                      Consider yourself lucky you weren't accused of running a Webelos 3 program.
                      Some people think their way is the only way.


                      • #26
                        Actually we just came back from a Webelos camping weekend. We had to bring in all our gear and grub and there was nary a patrol, "den box?" be found.

                        Well, there WAS one lonely trailer that I saw being used by a den. However, it was emblazoned "Troop xxx" on the side. Curse that Boy Scout influence!

                        Although I will say that with a trailer that big, I could really hold a lot of macaroni crafts.


                        • #27

                          "Well, there WAS one lonely trailer..."

                          Maybe Eagle will loan you one of his four...


                          • #28
                            Always willing to help but you won't get much camping gear in one of our a canoe trailers.


                            • #29
                              Thanks for the kind offer, Eagle, but unless they're the same type of trailers Baden Powell used to take the canoes to the Brownsea Island boat launch in 1907, I'm afraid I can't accept. As a den mother I could help you decorate them though.


                              • #30
                                The problem is not so much trailers. They're a symptom. The disease is car camping. If you pull up and plop out, whether using a trailer, pickup truck or multiple minivans, you aren't thinking nimble and light. If you start by picking campsites that you have to walk in to, maybe a mile or two to start, your Scouts will begin selecting their necessities better, both patrol and personal.

                                When there's an adult waiting to haul it all away, then very few decisions actually have it be made - all the stuff is just there.