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Scout Manual Durability

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  • Scout Manual Durability

    So I'm wondering about how long manuals these days are lasting? I remember as a boy scout I'd haul mine around in my pack or bring it to meetings without much thought to it. By the end of my time, 2-3 years, one of the covers had fallen off and it was pretty ragged. My sons cub scout manuals have been gone through a couple of times. One doing double duty as the Den Leaders reference copy and some of the pages are coming loose in the binding.

    Do the spiral binders last longer than the normal bindings and what is the tradition or common practice for a boy scout if he has to change manuals (new edition or worn out). I would imagine that he might keep his T21 Manual aside for the things that were signed off on it and start with a fresh one if his first one gets worn out.

    Do scouts these days even carry manuals with them on camping trips? Haven't looked but are there any Android/IPhone apps useful for scouting (advancement in particular)?

    My sons manuals were kept in a cub scout book cover, seemed to save the exterior from much abuse but like I said some of the pages are still starting to fall out.

  • #2
    Spiral bound are somewhat easier to read, but I've found the pages tear out easier with rough use.

    The key durability issue is getting the velcro closing book cover from the scout store. Good product and extremely useful. Without it, any scout book gets beat up pretty quick.

    Personally, I like the non-ring bound book because it is slightly smaller, flatter and easier to carry around.

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    • #3
      Back in the 1960s mine held up very well. I still have it. I've been surprised to see how quickly they fall apart these days. At Eagle BORs I sometimes see some real shambles produced to show the initials for advancement. Part of the fault for that is with careless boys but I suspect part is with the materials and workmanship today. When I was CM, I would purchase one of those nice pack cloth handbook covers for each of the boys who crossed over to Boy Scouts. Got kind of expensive but when I moved up to the troop, THOSE boys were the ones with handbooks which were still in good shape at their Eagle BOR.

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      • #4
        Mine was two manuals previous to this one, but I think they are built similar. I actually had two books. My original book was placed into a leather cover my first year at camp. It was taken everywhere and is in still pretty much the same condition. I also have a Hardback edition that has also survived well and I still carry it around some and has survived two moves and much else. I recommend every boy put there book in a cover or get a hardback one.

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        • #5
          Boy scout books that are expected to last 5 or 6 years..... Terrible...two years in they are falling apart, binding has failed.

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          • #6
            Stay away from the spiral handbooks. They are great for Cub Scout leader use, but other than that, they aren't nearly rugged enough. I made the mistake with my youngest of buying the spiral rather than the regular. The regular bound is fragile, but the spiral makes the regular seem rugged. I also concur with the cover. It is helpful for two reasons: 1) easy to customize with Scout name in big letters (which makes it easier to figure out who's book is who's and 2) durability.

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            • #7
              I have found the spiral, though bulky, seems to hold up better IF you get the cover. I have never seen a hardback. I would say a cover is a must.

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              • #8
                If they are falling apart, and I have no reason to doubt that they are, then take them back to the store. Perhaps if enough books come back, the quality will improve, stranger things have happened

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                • #9
                  My sons book lasted because of the Scout Store material cover, and using a zip lock bag on camp outs. He's almost an Eagle and on the same book.

                  Getting them wet or just damp will cause them to go bad fast.

                  (This message has been edited by dg98adams)

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                  • #10


                    Lets face facts, with the onslaught of electronic media and ebooks the day of paper books is rapidly approaching the end. You will never see an improvement with book durability since they are considered obsolete in todays world. Save your paper manuals as they will soon be collector items. As much as I hate electronic books the transition from paper is already well underway, now you will have to let your scouts bring their electronics on outings since that will be their new handbook. What will be their new excuses for not having their handbooks now?
                    Oh the joys of technology.

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                    • #11
                      Duct tape!

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                      • #12
                        BadenP,

                        I was an early ereader adopter but the good old book is still a great technology.

                        Yes ebooks are a great distribution channel but I think the old-school paper book will be around for a long time still. But yes once BSA figures out it can co-brand a BSA ereader and charge the same price for an electronic manual as a paper one we will have the no-electronics argument kicked out from under us.

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                        • #13
                          Paper books will be around for a while. Yes I know publishing is getting more digital, heck I'm about to transfer all my journals to e-formats in my library, but things happen with e-formats. reader issues, power outages, user difficulties accessing what they want, etc.

                          As a trained archivist, I can tell you that it is easier to access WWII and Korean War paper records transferred to microfilm and fiche at NARA than it is Desert Storm's electronic records. That's because the programs to access DS's records are no longer in use.

                          BUT the best example of "lost" electronic records is NASA. There is an entire warehouse full of reels with info from the various space probes from the 1960s and 1970s that are not accessible b/c A) the programs are no longer used and possibly might be "lost" and B) the data storage device, the tapes, are no longer used and the hardware to read them is next to impossible to find in working order.

                          When I was in grad school the 2nd time around, NASA and DOD were working on a joint project to create a "supercomputer" that would not only be able to access the various "lost" e-media, but also capable of expanding as new tech develops. It was a several billion dollar project, and I haven't kept up.

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                          • #14
                            We buy the bound books (smaller) and take them right to a local print shop. For $2, they do a much tighter spiral binding for us (sometimes even free). They seem to last!
                            Query: If the BSA is supposed to be non-profit, why is their bound handbook $5 more than the bound book?

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                            • #15
                              Fuzzy: Great Idea!

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