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Outfitting a troop for backpacking without bankrupting everyone

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  • #76
    Me and my boys use a lot of Military surplus gear. The European gear is pretty good. I have gotten some very sturdy backpacks for $20-40.

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    • #77
      Me and my boys use a lot of Military surplus gear. The European gear is pretty good. I have gotten some very sturdy backpacks for $20-40.

      Comment


      • #78
        Hey, how about an update on this thread?

        So our first backpacking trip is in the books. As it turned out, we ended up with adults who came along for leadership needs who either had gear or thought the gear was cool enough so they bought it on their own. Over the summer we did a number of shakedown hikes where we tried out different stoves and recipes. Had a few "pocket rocket" stoves that worked just fine for our purposes. I had invested in a Katadyn base camp filter (different thread on that one) which worked well until it plugged up so we went to a backup that another dad brought along. Several of the boys had filter bottles as well which I am particularly fond of. Eschewed the dining fly and some of the older boys just slept under a tarp.

        Our group ended up being pretty small--6 boys and three adults. The age range in boys was quite wide and I worried that might be a problem. However the shakedown hikes had identified where the problems might be so we were prepared.

        On the actual trip it became readily apparent that the oldest boys had quite a bit more horsepower so we let that group go ahead up to the planned campsite for the day to set up and just explore, while the adults stayed back with the younger scouts and took it slow. That was a very good decision.

        Preparation paid off and we could probably go the beg-and-borrow model for gear for the next trip as well while the troop decides if it has the resources and the program appetite to supplement our current plop-camping supplies with lightweight gear.

        Admittedly I did a lot more of the planning than I normally would but the goal was to get this off the ground and try to move the boys in this direction by exposing them to the possibility and a successful outing. Hopefully in the future the boys experienced in this trip can take on much more of the logistics with a "remember when?" approach.

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        • qwazse
          qwazse commented
          Editing a comment
          Hurrah!
          Actually, those are about the right numbers for an enjoyable trip. More than that, and you have to start thinking about multiple contingents with different hike plans. That's really not as terrifying as it seems. It happened quite naturally even in your small group.
          There's always a good bit of planning with these things. So, yes, adults need to share the load. You also need to share your thought process with the boys and vice versa. Hopefully a couple of gung-ho boys will add this to their list of "do-it-again"s and partner with you in the next round of planning.

        • AZMike
          AZMike commented
          Editing a comment
          We've found that the Platypus gravity filter works quite well for small groups. It's lightweight, doesn't require you to spend endless time pumping (just set it up and let gravity give you 3 liters of crystal clear water), easily backwashed. Most of the time we have a steripen available to give extra coverage against viruses. (Virii?)

        • qwazse
          qwazse commented
          Editing a comment
          It is a collective noun, like fish - fishes. Either your are talking about many of one strain (a "virus"), or a variety of strains, thus "viruses" as you correctly used in your statement.

      • #79
        Thanks to this thread, our newly revived Troop is going down the "Lightweight Patrol" path. I found this thread when searching for Patrol equipment recommendations. The Scouts are fully onboard as they don't like hauling the plastic tubs. Link to "Lightweight Patrol" gear list - http://inquiry.net/outdoor/skills/co...ightweight.htm

        Back story - we're reviving an old Troop that was being left to die. Currently 5 Scouts - 3 from another Troop and 2 crossed-over this past spring. The 3 experienced Scouts have both backpacked and "plop" camped (huge patrol boxes, trailers, the works). Right now we're using my equipment. Just had our first fundraiser and have bought some Troop equipment - 1st aid kit, water carrier, backpacking stove, 8" fry pan, 4 qt pot & 2 qt pot.

        I also just found an Outback Oven on eBay which I purchased for myself. I wanted to try it out before recommending it to the Patrol.

        Our first backpacking camp out is in a few weeks. We'll try the new gear out and report back.

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        • #80
          Update #2 on this thread.

          Another year later, and another backpacking trip in. 5 days this time. Again another small group (6 scouts) but interest is there.

          Most encouragingly is the impact on the way the troop camps. The boys chose to do a walk-in (one mile) weekend camp last spring instead of plop camping because they wanted to try out all the "cool backpacking stuff." Even the troop trailer hans't been hauled out of the shed for a weekend camp for over a year. Everyone agrees it's "just so much easier" having each patrol take a tote out with their gear, and not setting up the giant dining fly. Not to mention that no one likes hauling the trailer anyway.

          At our last committee meeting we decided to sell the massive two-burner camp stove with the 20lb propane tanks because "nobody has used that in 2 years."

          There's still a lot of progress yet to be made but the boys have taken to the model, in large part because they realize that the most fun happens when you're away from the parking lot, as evidenced by the stories that get told at troop meetings by the boys who were off hiking in the wilderness for a week.

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          • #81
            It's really nice to be able to pack up and be on the road in less than an hour if necessary. My committee keeps asking when should we be buying a trailer? So far the ASM and I have decided to hold off as long as possible.

            For our plop camping the fire ring and picnic table are nice, but they come with the site. So far we haven't even set up a dining fly on an outing. It can be done.

            Stosh

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            • #82
              Yeah, I totally agree with you Brewmeister and Blake. It's much easier to just take what you need and get on the road. Honestly, you don't need to spend a lot of money to have the essentials for a fun campout. The dining fly is a pain in the behind to carry/set up and, as you stated, no one really wants to lug that trailer around. Minimal is good in my book.

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              • #83
                Yeap!!! I am trying to get some interest in a backpack day hike with my Troop! My troop isnt as outdoorsy as I would like for them to be and I want to help with some getting their hiking merit badge. I want to start out with a 12 mike hike at Pettit Jean at the Rockefeller Boy Scout Trail.

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                • #84
                  Ok I used to do a lot of back country camping in high school and this is how we did it. We would take groups of about 16 to 20 carry one or two backpacking stoves and fuel and they split us up in to too groups tent mates with two man tents one kid would carry the tent the other one would carry the poles. We would boil the water for purification. it worked out really well. Everybody wanted to be my tent mate because I carried the tent the poles a stove fuel and food if I got lost I wanted them to have to find me.
                  as far as back packs go this one has been recommended to me http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

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                  • #85
                    Backpacks really need to be sized to the body. The pack that fits a 15 year old probably will not fit the smaller new scouts. I have not looked since last year but most of the "scout" recommended backpacks are still to big for my supper skinny 65lb 12 year old.

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                    • #86
                      KDD - my son had a similar issue - super skinny. The Alps Mountaineering Red Rock fit him from 12 yo to 14 yo. It comes with a super small waist belt and adjustable frame. When he out grew it, it was due to length. The belt still fit great. And if you go thru Hiker Direct (formerly Scout Direct) it's pretty reasonably priced. He just sold it to a new cross-over.

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                      • #87
                        First backpacking trip with the gear was a success. The QM's job was a little bit more difficult as he has to track who has what but he came up with a system. The Grubmaster had a hiccup on Sunday morning's breakfast. He didn't consult the equipment list he generated at the previous meeting and therefore didn't pack a spatula. Again, he overcame the obstacle and he was able to cook pancakes.

                        The Backpacker Oven worked well. I was able to bake chocolate chip cookies during this backpacking trip without a huge weight burden.

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