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Posts posted by bakerjw

  1. I stuff my sleeping bags. They came stuffed when I bought them.


    When I use my pack with a zippered compartment at the bottom I have a plastic trash bag in there and stuff my sleeping bag in there without the stuff sack. In another pack with just one large volume I stuff my sleeping bag into a compression stuff sack.


    I have some cheap coleman sleeping bags that don't stuff well so I fold then lengthwise, roll them and put them in the stuff sack.

  2. I used to stuff my tent because of the argument that folding and rolling caused damage at the fold lines. Also, when the tent was folded and rolled it was a tight squeeze to get it into the tent bag. Almost 20 years stuffing it didn't appear to damage my Moss Olympic tent.


    I recently bought an REI Quarter Dome T3 Plus with a compression bag. It came nicely folded and rolled and I noticed that it fit easily into the bag then the straps cinched it all up tight.


    I think it was Backpacker that interviewed the head of each of the major tent manufacturers and every one of them concurred with folding and rolling. They mentioned what some here have said about the new tents having venting features that can be damaged if stuffed and that stuffing creates numerous micro-creases that can damage the waterproofing. Regarding the argument that repeatedly folding will cause a crease and weaken the fabric, the reply was that it would be nearly impossible to always fold the tent on exactly the same line every time whereas there is a good likelihood that some of the micro-creases that occur when it is stuffed will form in the same place frequently that could weaken that small area and allow it to leak.


    Frankly, I agree with some others here that say it probably doesn't really matter so just do whatever works better for you.


    So now when I break camp using the Quarterdome tent I leave the foot print under the tent, lay the fly on top of the tent, fold it in thirds (the width of the folded poles), lay the poles and stake bags on the end of the tent and roll it up. That slides into the tent bag and then I cinch up the compression straps. When I get home I hang the tent and when it's dry I loosely stuff it into a large cloth laundry bag like I do my sleeping bag.


    On the rare occasions that I use my Moss Olympic I put the stakes in their bag and put them in the tent bag first, then put in the poles and finally just stuff the tent and then the fly into the tent bag. Again, when I get home I hang it to dry and loosely stuff it into a cloth laundry bag.

  3. Our troop's gear situation sounds similar to yours. We have grown considerably in the last 3 years to the point that either we go toward compact, lightweight backpacking or buy another gear trailer. Our troop provides tents, stoves and cookware, but are encouraging scouts to buy their own backpacking tents as they are able. The troop has a number of 2-3 man tents, but they are a bit heavier than we like. We recently bought a dozen primus canister stoves from REI for about $22 each. These and some old Coleman single-burner backpacking stoves we have and some personally owned backpacking stoves worked out on a recent backapcking campout. We think that 1 stove for every 4 scouts is about right, with a couple of backups just in case. Right now they are mainly only using the stove for boiling water, but hopefully as we get more experience the menus will improve too.


    By the way, you can call REI's Group Sales and setup a troop account. Then you get 12% off and of course pay no sales tax since scout troops are non-profit, tax exempt.


    These primus canister stoves aren't the lightest, but they were inexpensive, are simple to operate and are easy to carry. Plus, they are backed up by REI's return policy if they don't hold up reasonably well. The fuel canisters are costly, so as the older (or more responsible) scouts show more interest in backpacking then we plan on buying stoves like MSR Whisperlites and work toward having those be our stove of choice. We're going to start issuing tents to patrols and hold them responsible for care and repair. If that appears to work out then we may buy lighter weight (less durable) backpacking tents.


    It's still in the experimental stage in our troop.

  4. If there isn't an REI near you or another good outfitter store then at least go to their website and readup on how to size a pack. Torso length and waist size are important numbers to know. A short person may have a long torso and if the torso range on the pack doesn't fit them then it can make for a miserable 2 mile hike. Waist size is important because in the lower price range many of the packs don't have removeable waist belts so you are stuck with what they have.


    As far as pack size for weekend backpacking, a 3000-4500 cubic inch volume (50-74 liters) is probably the range you'd want in an internal frame pack. My son has been using a Northface Terra 55 pack for over 2 years and always has extra space in it. He is getting close to the limit of the torso range for this pack, growing from about 5' to 5-8", so will probably need another one by Fall. I use an Alps Mountaineering Denali 4500 cubic inch internal frame pack most of the time. It's just about right for winter campouts and has more than enough room in it for the non-winter months. It's torso range is 16"-22", probably too long for the 5 foot tall scout. I am 6'-4" and am at the upper limit.


    Young scouts could probably do o.k. with an external frame pack in the 2000-3500 cubic inch volume. The sleeping bag can be put in a waterproof bag (plastic garbage bag or waterproof stuff sack) and strapped on the bottom of the frame along with the portion of the tent the scout is carrying.


    I like the Alps Mountaineering program called Scoutdirect.com for Scouts. They have some decent entry level internal frame packs and external frame packs in the $80 or less range. The Denali 4500 I have cost me $85 and has worked fine for weekend backpacking campouts with the scouts. For that price I won't feel too bad if it gets beat up in the troop trailer, but so far it's holding up well.


    The Kelty Coyote is a common scout pack. The 4750 cubic inch model is an older line and can usually be found for $70-$80. They have a Coyote 4500 ST (short torso) model that is selling right now for $64 directly from the Kely website. Much less than most of the retailers are selling it for.


    At that price, the Kelty 4500 ST looks like a very good deal.

  5. I haven't used these tents so can only comment based on the pictures and description. The BSA X Country tent looks like a slightly smaller, but heavier version of the North Face Bullfrog 23 that used to sell for about $180-$240. Does it have a vestibule? I don't like that it has long pole sleeves instead of clips. It can be a hassle to slide poles through the long sleeves when it is windy and rainy. The BSA Pine Bluff maybe a good, cheap starter tent, but would be heavy for backpacking. Have you looked at Alps Mountaineering and their Scoutdirect.com discount program for Scouts? For about $20 more than the BSA X Country they have the Zephyr 3 that weighs less than 5.5 pounds with the same floor area, 2 doors and 2 good vestibules and oly a short length of pole sleeves to deal with. It has more mesh and more ventilation, but since the fly can be cinched close to the ground it isn't drafty.

  6. Beagle Scout,

    I read the Bear arrow point requirements statement also and that added even more uncertainty to whether or not extra Wolf achievements could apply to arrow points.


    I don't want this to seem argumentative because, frankly, I don't like the legalistic view I sometimes see when people argue about the requirements for cub scout awards. I would rather give the boy the award than argue about some nuance or ambiguity in a requirement. I have never seen anyone mention their Cub Scout awards on a job application or resume, but I have seen the excitement in a boy's eyes when he receives a simple arrow point.


    So for the sake of discussion - You wrote, "The implication is that the Wolf achievements do not work like this." It appears you are making this implication based on the part of the statement, "In this rank the Cub Scout can go back and do requirements from the ACHIEVEMENTS section of the book and use them as requirements for arrow points".


    The statement also says (in bold face and underlined), "Unused parts of achievements that were used for the Bear badge may NOT be counted toward Arrow Points." Assuming the statement, "There is a big difference in the achievements for arrow points for Bear", is meant to impose requirements on the Wolf rank then one could also imply, "Unused parts of achievements that were used for the WOLF badge MAY BE counted toward Arrow Points."


    It is unfortunate the writers of the Wolf arrow point requirements weren't as specific as the writers for the Bear requirements. However, it is also unfortunate the writers of the Bear requirements made it seem overly complicated!


    I think we have to be careful imposing requirements on the Wolf rank from something written about the Bear requirements. Wolf scouts and parents (and Den Leaders) most likely would not review the Bear requirements to determine what they can and cannot do to earn Wolf arrow points.


    Like I said before, please don't take this as being argumentative, but merely as interesting discussion around the Bug Juice container (or the coffee pot depending on your beverage preferences).


    Take care,





  7. Since my Council Program Director gave the o.k. to use extra Wolf achievements as electives toward arrow points then that's the direction I'm going to go with. I have already given arrow points based on this. It's so close to the end of the scout year for our pack that it wouldn't be fair to pull them back at this point anyway.


    It's interesting that none of these replies identified anything from a BSA-approved/authorized source (website or document) that stated that either there are no other Wolf electives other than the 23 in the back section of the Wolf book or that extra achievements can NOT be counted as electives toward earning arrow points. Whereas at least two BSA-related sources of info (another Pack website and the Wolftrax spreadsheet) do state extra achievements apply as electives toward arrow points.


    One might say that having a section in the Wolf book titled "Electives" would be clear. However, even the wording in the book referring to "more than one hundred choices shown in the book" doesn't state only the 23 elective areas are applicable nor give the actual count of electives within these 23 areas.


    At least the Bear requirements state specifically how to use and not use extra achievements, even though it can be confusing.


    Thanks for the info and any other info you may have on this.



  8. I have a question whether extra Wolf achievements (those beyond the minimum needed for the achievement) can be applied toward electives to earn arrow points. The current Wolf Book doesn't explicitly state that they can or cannot. I spoke with my Council Program Director who stated that the extra achievements could be counted as electives toward earning arrow points for the Wolf rank. My Cubmaster doesn't think they can be used as electives.


    My dilemma is that I have been using the CubTrax spreadsheet which counts extra achievements as electives and have awarded arrow points based on that count. It would impact up to 2 arrow points for some boys if they were not allowed to use the extra achievements as electives.


    Has anyone seen this in writing or been told this by an "Official" BSA source?




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