Givin my new circumstance, on starting a new Troop that plans on doing backpack camping versus car camping, what do you do for water on your weekend campout. I was going through stuff in my mind that the current Troop does, and the only hangup I see is proper amounts of water if in a place where there is no water spout or stream, etc.., available. Currently we fill up 2/30 gal drums that we fill wash station buckets and drinking water buckets with. There is never a shortage of water, and it is convenient. What do you guys do for water on a weekend campout when you are not near a ready source of water like when we car camping.
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- Dec 1999
This has been discussed several times in other threads. The most recent time (and I'm surprised that it's not still open) is:
You should be able to get plenty of good ideas reading through all the responses. Good luck on your program. I hope it works really well.
- Dec 2004
If you are going backpacking, then you change your water usage patterns. Every soul carries at least 2 liters of water. Cooking and cleaning radicaly change to account the for the amount of water available.
For instance, a one pot meal instead of lots of dirty dishes. Line the single pot with a plastic turkey roasting bag first. When all is eaten, the bag is closed tight and packed out. All the mess is inside the bag and the pot is still clean. Personal eating gear is litterally licked clean first. Then a splash of drink is put into the plate/bowl. Use your finger to deglaze the leftover film into the liquid. Drink the liquid. Put in another splash of clean water, rub the bowl, drink the liquid. Good to go.
Of course everyone only has a single plastic bowl and plastic spoon for personal eating gear. Some people cheat and a plastic bag over their personal gear and then add the dirty bag to the turkey roasting bag to packed out. We consider that cheating and poor LNT. It generates unneeded trash. Lick the bowl.
We commonly have tortillas with meals. Line the bowl with the tortilla. Ladle in one pot meal. Eat the "filling". Pick up tortilla and eat it. Tortilla acts as liner for personal eating gear. No personal gear clean up.
Back when reliable filters were expensive and my troop was poor, we placed caches (gallon containers) of water strategically along the trail the day before our departure. It took some of the mystique out of it, but we didn't have to worry about contamination on ridge-top pasture land.
If you are just starting out, and gear purchases are getting in your way. Re-purposed half-gallon plastic juice containers (especially the ones with little handles) make for fine canteens.
Troop meetings should involve a lot of shake-downs. The first one, SPL and you bring your gear and unpack it in front of the boys. Next meeting the boys bring their gear. That weekend you hike. Practice water usage at the meetings. Evaluate after the hike.
- Mar 2008
sounds like you made up your mind already on the new troop. So why solicit advice????
Sounds like a recipe for divorce, seen more than a few marriages end because of scouting....
Water......We use filters on backpacking trips and plop camping we haul a number of 5 gallon walmart jugs.....
- Sep 2004
When backpacking, we schedule our overnight site near a water source. Otherwise, everyone is going to have to carry more than two liters/quarts of water, and each gallon of water weight 8 lbs. We have never left "a caches of water." I think that would take the fun out of a backpacking trip, if some of us had to haul in water, before the actually trip.
When backpacking, we divided up by patrols, and go different routes. Each patrol filters their own water, usually after dinner. We boil water from the lake or river, for cooking dinner and breakfast. Unlike resqman, we wash our dishes. Each patrol, carry a dish pan (the type you wash dishes in). We put the soft food in it in the backpack, for protection from being squash. We pre-wash, then wash in the container with soap and hot water, and rinse with the boil water, left over from the meal.
You could sleep away from a source of water, but I would think you would have to stop, and eat dinner by water. After eating, and filling your water bottle/canteens, you could continue on and camp wherever.
This advice I am seeking here is legit either way. Whether I do one or the other, the boys want to do more backpacking. Because of that we need to know how others do water so we can figure out what works best for our situation. If we start a new Troop, then we will have to do it this way off the bat. If we remain in the current Troop, we wouldn't have to right off, but could experiment. That is why this question is seperate.
- Oct 2007
How you plan your water depends on where you are camping... Here in the desert, water can't be taken for granted even when we're on a Scout reservation....
If we know there's a reliable potable source when base/car camping, the blue water cubes from Walmart go a long way. I have a 6 gallon Jerry can we use to run water from the spigot to the cubes if we are within walking distance. If not, we load up on the way in, and top off as needed. Because water is heavy, we don't carry it in the cubes all the way from home unless it is within a 30 minute drive of the church.
This actually saved us at summer camp -- we loaded up on water on arrival, well before the camp flu started making the rounds, and the boys were topping their water bottles from our supply as opposed to the faucets in the program areas (which were likely spreading the bug).
Backpacking, 2L per person per day, and assume there's nothing on the trail at all. That usually limits us to one or two overnights in the backcountry. I use smaller containers vs. one or two large bottles, just in case one breaks.
The idea of staging water along the trail isn't a bad one, if you're in an area where a cache is accessible by road. But that's not always practical in the backcountry.
Always have purification options with you. You never know when the potable water won't be available.
I might add that your boys should plan their breaks where they can filter water and top their tanks. The temptation to push on through to a campsite can leave you high and dry. (That said, our boys never seem to complain about taking a walk back to the nearest stream once they've set up camp.) As their map reading skills improve, their ability to identify locations of brooks will help them make more efficient hike plans.
- Feb 2011
I think the potable water supply issue is one of the first things to look at. We usually require at least a gallon for backpacking and may bring more as a backup. For water trips aside from individual Nalgenes and CamelBaks we also bring 1+ gallons per person. The rivers we go on frequently has enough fertilizers or other issues that make it hard to use.
We find the 1 gallon milk jug size to work pretty good. At least they can be used as ballast!
- Apr 2012