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  • below freezing/ polar camping patch

    Okay, I do know it has been discussed before a few times, but my searches turn up nothing.

    So, Polar camping patches...Are the a national thing or council thing? I mean, as far as scout shops go?

    I looked for them on the scouting.corg scoutshop, but no luck.

    Any help would be appreciated! Thanks, Mark

  • #2
    It is a local thing.....

    No national standards.


    We are north and count spending 36 hours in weather below 32 without entering a heated structure.

    It is not an activity for cubs

    here is an example

    http://troop476arvada.com/resources/Polar%20Bear%20Guidelines.pdf

    http://troop82elmhurst.org/Content/forms/polar_bear_campout_award.pdf

    http://www.scoutingvermont.org/News/11-12PolarBearCamp

    http://www.tpcbsa.org/Download/Forms/PolarBearCampingAwardApplication.pdf(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

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    • #3
      It wasn't a planned thing.

      We went den camping this weekend with our 2nd year Webelos. At dinner time, trhe temps hovered at around 33 degrees. Woke up this morning and it was 26 degrees.

      Slept in tents, no structure..only heat source was our campfire.

      Biggest complaint we had was the scouts would have preffered mild sausage with their eggs and toast than the kinda/sorta hot flavor we actually ended up eating.

      Daytime temps were in high 40's, but the clear skies and bright, bright sun made it really nice out.

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      • #4
        Check the "bargain" patch bin at your Scout store! (Ours has one)..I've seen "generic" Polar Bear/Winter Freeze patches in them before (no district info,date, etc.) Worth a shot!

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        • #5
          You know...that's a great idea!

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          • #6
            I'm sure there are some generic patches out there.

            Usually, it's a local thing. As a scout in the old Western Alaska Council, we could earn a 100 below patch (designed and stocked by the council), where you accumulate 1 point for every degree below 32F each night you camped. Once you got 100, you get the patch.

            The old timers could trump this, as old timers often do. A year or so previous to me moving to AK, the points only accumulated for camping overnight below 0F, which makes it alot tougher to get. Many of the older scouts spoke of watching the weather reports to see if below zero temps were forecasted for that night...if so, they rallied for a short-notice patrol-leader led campout in the woods about three miles away...even on school nights!

            My diversion aside, kudos for taking the scouts camping. They will never forget it, including the spicy sausage breakfast!

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            • #7
              A bunch of us had daughters in the Girl Scout Troop as well as sons in the Boy Scouts.

              Here's the problem - we took the girls winter camping a few years ago, and it got down to -9F. The coldest it's gotten with the boys is 2F. So now the boys are looking for any opportunity to beat the girls with a -10F.

              It wasn't this year... it only got down to 5F for our January camping trip, and 17F in February. Always next year!

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              • #8
                You guys are lucky if your scouts have gear that good......

                Our boys still have sponge bob bags that are not fit if the weather gets below 50...


                heck I don't have a bag that is good to zero degrees let a lone sub zero.

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                • #9
                  Basement, it's not all that expensive...in our troop in AK, each scout was issued two of the old chicken feather GI mummy bags. None of these bags were in great shape and had seen better days...but if you stuff one inside the other, the two bags will keep you warm even in the coldest of weather. Plus you could keep your canteen and next day's socks zipped in between the two, nice and warm in the morning.

                  Most scouts had basic snow boots, some decent mittens, and wool GI surplus pants. Everything else was stuff they'd wear in town to go sledding or school (stocking cap, thermals, shirts). Only a couple of the kids had fancy/high end/expensive gear. Every one else made do, and we all camped once a month, regardless of the weather.

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                  • #10
                    My bag is rated to 20 degrees and my son's is rated to 25 degrees. Bouth them both at Wal-Mart for $40.00 for mine, $35.00 for his. I think mine is slightly thicketr because it is also kingsize. I don't need the width so m uch as the length.

                    Cool thing is, the insides are cotton/ something blend and not the slick fabric so many are made of today. Roll up thicker, alot heavier, but warm. Both are Coleman bags.

                    One of the other parents brought his Bear age son along too ( he is our Tiger DL, but has a Webelos II son and a Bear son).

                    Anyways, his Bear son's sleeping bag was a Bob the Builder sleping bag. I have felt pepertowels that were thicker. He said his son got cold, but he ended up snuggling in tighter and shared the blanket...which brings upm another point:

                    A bunch of opur parents just bring 3 or 4 blankets when camping. No sleeping bags, no pads, no matresses..and then complain about how they don't care for camping.

                    Really? I can't imagine why!

                    WE do stress and explain again and again about bags, pads, sleeping bags/ types of fill and weight.....but you know how it is.

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                    • #11
                      GREAT SCOTT WHY DIDN"T I THINK OF THIS BEFORE!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

                      Base,

                      Look into your state's government surplus sales. Non-profits, like your CO, and educational groups, which the BSA is one, can fill out the paperwork and get deals on all kinds of government surplus. Backpacks for as low as $30, boots as low as $15, etc.

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                      • #12
                        Excellent suggestion, Eagle92...govt surplus gear can still provide many years of service. Plus, if it's "GI proof" it's "scout proof."

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                        • #13
                          Now scoutfish you understand that those temps are survival temperatures, not comfort temps......


                          I know about the hot water bottle trick.


                          These are urban kids that don't have a proper winter coat, hat and glove let alone wool pants.

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                          • #14
                            We just hand out a below 0F certificate if we have a tenting weekend that falls in that range! We don't go looking for the coldest day of the year to go out in, but sometimes it happens.

                            We are VERY meticulous about gear in those conditions. My preference: synthetic bag + Korean war wool blanket (handed down from my father-in-law).

                            Boys are trained to check for frostbite, hypothermia, etc ... In general I've found the smaller the body, the harder it is to recover - even from early stages. (Glad I never had to deal with advanced cases.) So, no, not for cubs if you can help it!

                            BD's right about them not being comfort temps. On the other hand, my son found a tick on him after we came back from walking the dog yesterday. You pick your poison, I guess.

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                            • #15
                              Ticks in february......it is gonna be an ugly summer.

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