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Troop Trailers - Luxury or necessity

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  • #31
    My pack has a small trailer. It is 3 1/2 wide by 5 1/2 feet long ( not including tongue). It needs to be 6 wide by 12 long.

    It's a pack, we carry alot of stuff, alot of food, tables, plates, cups, utensils, etc....All the food that everybody is gonna eat.

    My troop has a small trailer. It is 4 wide by 6 long ( not including tongue). It carrys all the patrol boxes, plus the adult patrol ( for lack of a better name) boxes too.

    Each patrol has a set of cooking pots, frying pans, and a Coleman style propane camp stove .

    THis trialer is used for camporees, summer camps or extended camping involving service projects.

    When we go to the scout show, we haul display tables and such in it. When we go to camporees and have a pioneering project, it gets carried in it ( if it fits).

    But just for our average monthly campout, boys carry what they need on their back packs. Even if car camping, they bring their own stuff only.

    Never been to Jambo, but I suppose that if my troop was going to Betchel for a entire week, they would probably take the trailer because nobody is packing for just 2 or 3 days, we are talking an entire week of sleepwear, uniforms, activity specific clothing, etc.....

    Is a trailer a necesity?

    Only if it's necessary! Is it necessary? Depens on what you are doing, where you are going, and how long you will be there.


    • #32

      Sorry, Eagle732, but the regular use of three or four canoe trailers likely disqualifies your Troop from Webelos III status.


      • #33
        This seems to be more of a discussion about what the "proper" program is, rather than whether the trailer is "necessary".

        since I am one of the rebels here, that believes the trailer is necessary, let me explain what my troop does.

        The patrols camp as a patrol, cook as a patrol, decide what they are doing at a campout as a patrol. Each patrol (7 of them) has a patrol box (the typical wooden box with removeable legs). in the box, there is a stove, pots and pans, cooking utensils, dry spice, rags, sponge, soap, lighter. Each patrol is responsible for their own box and its contents. Each patrol is responsible to make sure they have the appropriate gear, and make sure it is clean. If it is not clean, they are not allowed to use it until it is clean for safety/health reasons. QM, SPL, etc. do inspect/look at the gear during the campouts.

        Each patrol then has a secondary patrol box (plastic tote). In this box, the patrols tents are kept. each patrol has assigned tents, and the patrols are responsible for them, and need to deal with them if they are not cleaned, broken, etc. Also in the box, are tarps for the patrol, washing supplies, dish buckets, etc.

        The scouts themselves bring their own mess kits, and sleeping gear, clothes, lighting, etc in a duffle.

        The patrols, at most campouts, have their own campsite (as long as the campsites are in close proximity to each other) and it is their site. They can and do interact with other patrols, but, they pick a site, and are responsible for that site.

        The troop has a canopy, which can be used as a central gathering point, if the scouts want it. We also have some ez ups, screened rooms, etc. Again, we bring them if the scouts want it. These are generally used for longer campouts, or where shade would be minimal, i.e. the beach.

        We also have tables, and picnic tables they can bring if they want to. We supply the propane, wood, charcoal. dutch ovens, larger burners and pots if they want to do things like crawfish, etc.

        We don't pull all of our gear out of storage, and place it in the trailer for every campout.

        But, we do not limit ourselves to a specific activity. We are not a backpacking troop. But, we do backpack, and when we do, we do not bring the patrol boxes, and other heavy gear. When we are at the beach, or tubing on the river, or using a park's resources, or rock climbing, etc, we do bring the heavy gear.

        Frankly, I don't see how one way is "better" than another. I prefer a rounded approach, where the scouts experience a wide range of activities that they choose, in a range of environments. I believe the goal of scouting is to place the boys into situations where they must make a decision, deal with its outcome, and adapt in the future. By learning leadership, and decision making skills, and interpersonal relationship skills at a campout, the knowledge that they gain can be transferred to their life outside of campiong. I am not teaching them how to camp so when they grow old, they can hike the AT without problem. I am teaching them to deal with difficulty, allow them to gain confidence, which can then be relied upon in non-scouting situations. To say that using cooking as a lesson source is much better when using backpacking stoves as opposed to camp stoves, is, in my mind, missing the underlying goal of the program. It is using what is available, and necessary, and dealing with the issues that each direction gives you.

        So, for what we do as a troop, yes, the trailer is a necessity. For those who want to be minimalistic, all the time, we would not be the troop for you. Likewise, for the scout who does not want to backpack all of the time, you are probably not a good fit for him.


        • #34
          I like what Shortridge had to say. The disease is car camping. We took our troop of 11 kids (most are Tenderfoot) on an intro to backpacking trip last weekend. We stayed at the local scout camp and backpacked a 10 mile perimeter trail over two days. We parked the van (and my personal open trailer full of backpacks) at the camp parking lot and hiked in to our site. The camp was full of scouts who were there for some council wide function.

          The campsites had cars parked all over the place. Sunday morning, as we were headed out for a day on the trail we had to share the camp with a flow of cars going to get all the stuff and the scouts.

          We got a few funny looks as we were hiking to our site carrying all of our gear. Sadly, in two days, we saw absolutely zero other scouts using a great system of trails. Apparently the camp is pretty neighborly because there were a few locals on Sunday morning out for a walk.

          One camp we've been to has a great sign at the end of the parking lot. "The adventure begins here. Please leave your car and hike into camp."


          • #35
            I liked one Troop had a very small trailer, about the size of a jetski one that they lashed stuff too. And it had 4 patrol boxes and 4 dining flys.


            • #36
              I'd trade in all our trailers for an old Ford Model A like Lem used!


              • #37
                If the argument is about back packing versus car camping, then one is arguing about a false premise.

                Car camping is a perfectly legitimate component of a well rounded program, particularly if it is done in conjunction with other types of activities which may be the main focus of a particular outing. For example, our troop in Southern California used to do a weekend of rock climbing in November at Joshua Tree National Monument (now National Park I think). Staying in a motel was not an option, and we did have drive in camp sites available with picnic tables. The boys still cooked by patrols, but we were able to relax a little bit more and carry extra comfort items. Nothing wrong with that.

                That troop did not own any trailers, but this was done with SUVs, pickups and vans.(This message has been edited by eisely)


                • #38
                  We've clearly went off topic. I think the results are in and for many troops they are a necessity.

                  I can understand the practical reasons why many troops use trailers. Do I think troops that use them have bad programs clearly no. The only thing Ive observed from troops that do use them is the tendency to bring more than they really need or use and the time it takes them to set-up and tear down. I know first hand about this; I have a truck with a cover. Whenever we go on a family vacation you can count on it being completely loaded down. My wife makes sure of this. Do we use or need all we take; heck no. We take it simply because we may need it and we have room for it. I refer to this as the over prepared mentality.

                  As I stated in an earlier post, the only time we use a (boat) trailer is when we are doing a water activity. I feel like we have a well rounded program; at least 3 water trips, 2 climbing trips, 1 mountain bike trip and the remainder hiking related. We never deviate, we always travel light. We are a relatively large troop with typically 30+ scouts and adults on winter trips and 80-100 scouts and adults on our most popular trip in the fall. It could be argued that if we used a trailer we could limit the amount of vehicles we take on trips. Weve never had a problem with having enough adults to transport scouts though so if we had one we might still end up taking the same amount of cars.

                  Our troop owns no lanterns, large grills, canopies, patrol boxes, or tents larger than 2 man. If a patrol wants to use a dutch oven then its their responsibility to acquire one and bring it on the trip. Do I think troops that own this equipment have a bad program - no. For our troop, it simply helps reinforce the travel light mentality and forces scouts to be responsible for their own gear.


                  • #39
                    Mountaineer is correct. Trailers (as well as Minivans and Trucks) encourage you to take more than you need. Also the "Be Prepared" equipment lists that in our Troop just seems to grow and grow.


                    • #40

                      dennis99ss wrote:

                      "By learning leadership, and decision making skills, and interpersonal relationship skills at a campout, the knowledge that they gain can be transferred to their life outside of camping. I am not teaching them how to camp so when they grow old, they can hike the AT without problem."

                      That in a nutshell sums up the influence of "leadership" skills on the Boy Scout program.

                      If you have not yet been to Wood Badge you will certainly find there the company of kindred souls who consider it to be Scouting's "mountaintop experience."

                      Without the mountaintop, of course

                      We could not be more opposite: I teach Scouts "how to camp" as if outdoor skills will be important to them for the rest of their lives...

                      ...but of course a Troop trailer does not necessarily rule out what Baden-Powell believed to require real-world leadership skills: Patrols camped 150-300 feet apart, and monthly Patrol Hikes without adult supervision.

                      I did wonder when you wrote:

                      "we do bring the generator, tv and dish if our campout is on football weekends, playoffs, etc....I must disagree, however, that the trailer is a luxury. In our troop, it is far from it, and, frankly, we are good with it."

                      Yours at 300 feet,



                      • #41
                        when texas is playing oklahoma, or LSU is playing Alabama, I think the dish is a necessary piece of equipment for many of our adults and, smiley face people, we really are not troop beverly hills with campouts at the Ritz.


                        • #42
                          Good post mountaineer


                          • #43
                            You know, if you eat filet mignon for every meal, it gets old after a while. If every campout, every month is standing on your feet for 48+ hours, living with minimal gear out of a pack, eating small amounts of freeze dried food out of a foil pouch, it gets old after a while. Maybe not to some, but for most. I know some guys who could spend the rest of their life fishing or golfing every single day. But not most guys. It just isn't the norm. Same goes for car camping every campout, every month if you do the same program over and over. A trailer gives you options that a backpack doesn't. Heck, you can even throw your backpacks in the trailer to transport them to the trailhead.


                            • #44
                              If every campout, every month is standing on your feet for 48+ hours, living with minimal gear out of a pack, eating small amounts of freeze dried food out of a foil pouch

                              I reckon if any campout involves eatin' small amounts of freeze dried food out of a foil pouch, yeh probably just don't know what you're doin'.

                              I think one thing people neglect when considerin' the question is the opportunity cost, eh? Trailers and heavy gear are expensive. They cost a large amount to acquire, and a fair amount to maintain. They also have other costs in time spent - not just in setup/teardown/equipment managing, but also in things like the need to learn different gear and different packing when yeh do opt to do other types of trips. That makes doin' other types of trips harder and less frequent.

                              My experience is that most troops don't have the financial or temporal resources to be able to avoid real impacts on the quality of their outdoor program from investing in the heavy trailer gear. The opportunity costs are just too high, eh? They close out other options.

                              Generally speakin', the youth if left to their own devices will go lighter, so I also think the trailer thing is a cause/result chicken/egg with a tad more adult-run approach.

                              What it pretty much comes down to, though, is the willingness and ability of adult leaders to approach things in a more adventurous manner. If yeh primarily have older adults who fit the topic of da other thread on (not so) Physically Strong, then odds are yeh are more likely to do the trailer thing. If yeh have younger, more adventurous leaders odds are yeh move more toward Mountaineer's troop.



                              • #45
                                Freeze dried food, who could afford the stuff......

                                We get our grub at the local grocery......all of it. There are tons of resources for DIY backpacking meals....

                                Shelf stable bacon, packet chicken and tuna, noodle dishes on and on.... Heck there is a spicey noodle dish in the asian section I have been taking.....