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Everything posted by kenk

  1. I need some recommendations. I'm a Cub Scout den leader that is giving recommendations to boys who will soon start camping as Webelos. I am in northern Illinois, and am focusing on polyester filled sleeping bags (hollofil, qualofil...). Are any of these fills that much better than others? I read somewhere that Polarguard is more "durable" than the others, but don't recall ever having fill be the thing that fell apart on a sleeping bag - it is usually the stitching or zippers. What temperature rating do you recommend for a scout's first sleeping bag purchase? I worry that if it is too low, they won't be able to use the bag on moderately chilly summer nights. Also, while I understand the warmth advantage of a mummy-shaped sleeping bag, I myself have just never been comfortable sleeping in them. I also prefer non-nylon lining material as there is nothing worse laying on nylon on a warm summer night. My tendency is to tell the boys to eventually have two sleeping bags: start out with a summer bag that is rectangular with flannel lining and rated to 30 or 40 degrees, and then, when needed plan to get a cold-weather bag that is mummy-shaped with a non-absorbant lining, and a 0 or less degree rating. Oh, and do your boys usually get a stuff sack, or do they just use the ties/straps that come with the bags. Do you recommend compression stuff sacks - they cost 2-3 times that of regular stuff sacks.
  2. kenk

    Sleeping Pad

    I've used Therm-a-Rests for years - the 2" thick version, but I recently finally got around to buying a repair kit and stuff sack for it. So far I've been lucky and not had a leak, but figured my luck might be running out. My hope is that the stuff sack will provide a little more protection and reduce the chance of an abuse-caused leak.
  3. kenk

    Hand Washing

    I once read an article about the tremendous number/variety of germs that can be found on a communal bar of soap. You have to understand that soap doesn't kill germs, it just help wash them off. So many of those germs end up in the lather on the bar of soap - and the nylon so many scouts use to hold the bar certainly does wonders for harboring these germs. The odds are that with good handwashing and rinsing, most of those germs will be washed off anyway, but use of bar soap can allow a person to come into contact with "new" germs, if hands are not washed well enough - poor washing with bar soap might be worse than no washing at all. Use of a liquid soap dispensor is much much more sanitary than use of bar soap. Here is an interesting related web site: http://tinyurl.com/2u82f
  4. I've read of several different materials being used for ground cloths: plastic sheeting, blue woven tarps, canvas(?), coated nylon($), and even Tyvek house wrap. What are your recommendations. It seems that the plastic sheet would be too prone to puncture to adequately protect the tent floor. I read that Tyvek works well, but that it doesn't fold well and doesn't last long. What are the negatives with the blue woven tarps, if any? When I was a kid, we used plastic tarps in floorless Voyegeur tents - they were there to keep us clean and dry, not to protect the floor. Today I tend to want the ground cloth to protect the floor from puctures and dirt. Thanks, Ken K.
  5. kenk


    Around here we'd get eaten alive by mosquitos if we slept under a tarp with no netting. I'll never forget an overnight I went during leadership training when I was a kid. We slept under tarps and were deluged by mosquitos. I tried to hide inside my sleeping bag, but it was just too hot to do so. Do you not have mosquitos in your area, or do you just slather yourself with DEET?
  6. kenk

    Building a Cub Mobile

    I agree with the comment about the boys trying to stop the carts with their feet rather than the brake. We built our Cubmobile based upon the plans given above, but used 4x4s and solid axles w/ cotter pins. I used a table saw to put long grooves in the center of the axle 4x4s and then ran the solid rod inside that goove. The plywood brace in the back and a foot guard in the front a lag screwed to the bottom of the axle 4x4s and hold the axle rods in place. I also added a wide plywood footguard behind and underneath the front axle 4x4 to prevent the boys from putting their feet on the ground. The back edge of it is supported from the center 4x4 by a lag bolt that rides in a groove in the foot guard - the foot guard kind of hanges from that bolt and pivots along the groove when steering (if you can imagine it). I also added an adjustable plywood seat - about 4 positons along the main 4x4, mostly because the height of my Tiger Cubs varied immensely. The whole thing is built to take a lot of punishment because we have seen lots of minor crashes - mostly when one boy runs into the other (they run two at a time) or when a boy runs the cart up onto a curb. Don't know if the seatbelt is really necessary, but it is required by our district. Ken K.
  7. kenk


    I just purchased a Eureka Assault Outfitter 4-man (personal tent), which looks like it might be Eureka's bid at a "next generation" Timberline. It is based upon the tent that Eureka supplies to the U.S. Marine Corps. It is about the same cost, footprint, height, and materials as the Timberline Outfitter 4, but is a 3 aluminum pole, 4-season dome tent. It does weigh a little more. You can read about it at Eureka's site: http://www.eurekacamping.com/assaout.asp I'll give you my thoughts on the tent after I've used it on a few campouts. I do wonder if this tent will be too sophisticated for scouts to use - time will tell.