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Posts posted by mrkstvns

  1. If I were feeling especially masochistic, I'd put up my hand in the next committee meeting and offer to make the T-shirts happen....sounds like fun!

    What I might do is...

    • Ask the scouts if they wanted to design it themselves, then have a contest to pick the best design
    • Let the scouts vote on colors
    • Check the BSA branding guide to be sure I was using logos, wording, colors, etc. in a manner that didn't run afoul of official rules (the guide is here:  https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/310-0231.pdf
    • Compare apples to apples. Shop the job around to see if I could get a good shirt at a good price ---- be aware that "$5 shirts" might mean: a) lightweight material and flimsy construction, b) pre-canned design only, c) limited shirt and/or ink colors, d) 1-side printing (do you want printing on both sides?  on sleeves?), e) extremely large quantities, f) very long lead times
    • Like 1

  2. 6 hours ago, JasonG172 said:

    My opinion only.  3 liters minimum (I have an Osprey Bladder in my pack, and I always have an extra nalgene bottle full as well.


    That seems like more water than I'd want to carry.  I use a rule of thumb of 1 liter per 5 miles (which equates to 1 liter per 2 hours).  For a 10-mile hike, 2 liters would be what I'd carry, unless I knew there were potable sources en route, in which case I might go lower.  A hike should be more like a walk than a backpacking trek: the more you carry, the less casual and fun it is.  (3 liters is 6.6 pounds of weight that you're adding)

  3. 15 minutes ago, 69RoadRunner said:

    OK, I'm not duplicating tents.  It's either/or. I don't know what NT uses, but mine is likely much lighter.  Even if you add the chair and Kindle, I'll bet I would be lighter than the NT tent alone.

    We need something to eat with, so how would the bowls be overpriced techno-trash when they're dirt cheap and we already have them?  Same for the gloves?

    NT specifically suggests a Crazy Creek chair.  What I'm asking about is lighter.

    NT also suggests a book and my question is about something much lighter and as I said, it would require no charging as the battery lasts 6 weeks.


    Are you getting to NT by flying?  

    If you are, then carrying ANY tent is "duplication" because NT has tents available that you can use. Yours might be lighter, but it's unnecessary added weight when you check in for your flight. I would be most worried about weight in order to avoid charges for excess baggage.

    NT might suggest a chair....but is ANY chair really that necessary?  I've canoed BWCA area before and, believe it or not, lived to tell the tail even though I didn't pack a chair.

    There is not one single piece of electronic paraphernalia that I consider necessary for a canoe trek. All of it creates headaches.  You can justify it in your own mind as much as you want, but the fact remains that any electronic is subject to problems like dead batteries, getting wet, screen breakage, etc.,, etc., etc. IMHO, "getting away from it all" definitely includes getting away from everything tech.

    BTW:  NT is not Philmont.  Weight matters less on canoe treks than backpacking. Obsession over weight isn't really warranted. Yes, it matters a little bit. A heavier canoe might be a bit harder to paddle, and yes, you will likely have a couple portages to deal with, but the weight doesn't have to be all on your back all the time, and it can be distributed across multiple Duluth packs (which often get tossed --- another reason not to pack fragile stuff like a Kindle).  

  4. 14 minutes ago, 69RoadRunner said:

    ... I was thinking of taking my Locus Gear Hapi Grande and inner to save some weight and bulk....


    I hate to be critical, but I can't help but laugh at the irony of this statement given the rest of your post.  You claim to want to "save some weight and bulk" and then follow it up with a wash list of practically every unnecessary piece of overpriced outdoor techno-trash that an imaginitive huckster could dream up to sell you.  

    To really make a NT trip enjoyable, I'd suggest 2 things:

    • Simplify.  Most of your "extras" are nowhere close to be necessary.  Do you really need a Kindle on a backwoods trip?  Aside from inviting problems caused by lack of charging, WiFi, etc., why on earth would you risk losing an overpriced piece of fragile technology when a used paperback will serve you just as well (plus you won't cry if a paperback goes overboard). Ditto with the fancy-schmancy Helinox chair. When I camp in the backwoods, I sit on a log. 
    • Don't duplicate.  If NT already has tents you could use, why on earth would you bother lugging a personal tent all the way there?  One of the best places to be thrifty is in the weight of your luggage if you're flying to Northern Tier. I already paid too much for my personal tent....why should I add to the financial pain by lugging it with me to a place that already has tents available?  

    My advice is to leave home EVERYTHING that you mentioned and use the kit provided by NT staff (though if you really have delicate hands, a simple pair of cotton gloves from the Dollar Tree might not be too wasteful).

  5. On 10/25/2019 at 1:07 PM, le Voyageur said:

    " Do you know of another summer camp where patrol cooking lives?  Please tell me about it!"

    Blue Ridge Scout Reservation's Mountain Man camp....  

    Maine High Adventure Base....

    Thanks, le Voyageur!  I'm always grateful for any info about GOOD camps that let scouts cook their own meals.

    I'm not sure I'd recommend these for folks emphasizing patrol method though.

    Both seem to be high adventure programs, and the vast bulk of these have scouts cook meals on treks. Maine High Adventure's says their program has scouts cooking on fires or on stoves. IMHO, it would better meet their promise of "adventure" if the stoves were left back in a storage unit someplace...

    The Blue Ridge program seems to be an afterthought program (and their council web site is terrible --- it just doesn't promote anything that really makes their council stand out --- that BRSR is a BIG facility at over 17,000 acres ---- yet their "Camping" tab doesn't even link to it....nor to their Mountain Man program.  Lame web site!   


  6. On 10/29/2019 at 10:40 AM, MikeS72 said:

    ** Prerequisite for Dragon Slaying?? 🤣😋 

    How else would a Dragon Slayer get to the dragon if he didn't have a Dragon Boat to get him there?

    Seriously though, I had to go Google "Dragon Boat" to figure out what the heck this was.  Found out it's essentially a large canoe with lots of paddlers...


    A look at the requirements for the Dragon Boating activity badge say that you can also use a "bell boat" to meet requirements.  A bell boat is a bit different in that it's like 2 canoes strapped together to form a twin-hull vessel (like a catamaran without sails).



    BSA may not have a Dragon Boating badge like British scouts do, but it sure does look like it would be a heckuva lotta FUN!

  7. Just taking the troop to a place like Tanzania is far more "high adventure" than most scouts ever experience, but one troop from Connecticut has not only done it once, but twice, and they also climbed to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro --- 19,341 feet.  Now that's what I call a troop with an appetite for "high adventure"!!!



  8. 16 hours ago, Buggie said:

    If you get down to it, it's comparable with the skills for cleaning fish. Honestly though, most folks are more likely to clean fish than prepare animals (chicken/rabbit). 

    A lot of people still catch fish and eat them. Scouts who learn to clean and eat what they catch fulfill requirement 10 for Fishing MB (and possibly requirement 7c of Fish and Wildlife Management MB if they take the time to study the contents of the fish's stomach to learn what they eat in the wild.  


    16 hours ago, Buggie said:

    I would never show scouts this with a live chicken today. Even with permission/agreement of parents/family/troop/scouts/CO etc, no way I'd touch that landmine. However I am all for buying a whole chicken and working with the scouts how to cut it up, demonstrate on my own bird and let them work on theirs. That's a skill most folks don't know about, sadly. I had to learn as an adult and I still need more practice at it because it is cheaper and easier to buy it pre-cut and even de-boned. 

    Yeah, I know what you mean.  I heard a news report recently about protests against an Orthodox Jewish community that was planning a Kaporos ceremony as part of their Rosh Hashanah celebration. Evidently, the idea is that they transfer sins to live chickens, then kill the chickens. The meat is donated to the poor.  

  9. 1 minute ago, Jackdaws said:

    I am in a overseas Scouts Facebook group and I see pictures of Scouts skinning and cooking rabbits. Personally I think that is really cool.  Sadly I don't think it would fly here in the USA.   PETA would have a fit.  :laugh:

    A long time ago, that was also a required skill here in the USA.  I think it was one of the requirements for First Class....skin and cook the rabbit or pluck and cook a chicken.

    • Like 1

  10. Have you ever looked at the differences between the Scouts program that serves youth in the UK?  There's quite a few similarities, but there's also some differences.  The Brits don't call them "merit badges" for starters, they're "activity badges", and there aren't quite as many of them as there are in BSA.

    Nonetheless, the Brits have some badges that are really cool and that, I think, are more adventurous than what the too-timid BSA allows.  For example:

    • Caver
    • Dragon Boating
    • Martial Arts
    • Parascending (I think we would call this "parasailing")


  11. 30 minutes ago, Jackdaws said:

    I think the difficulty for some badges is based on where you live.   For us, the Snow Sports badge it would be rather hard to achieve here in Florida so a pretty good trip is in order to complete it.  Also finding a counselor is hard here for it.

    You would hope that would be the case.

    Some camps that are inhospitable to an activity go ahead and find workarounds. I classify these as "El Lame-O" merit badge programs...

    For example, Camp Hale in Oklahoma lets kids earn a "Winter Sports" merit badge during summer camp.  Never mind that Oklahoma isn't exactly ski country even in the midst of the coldest winter....

    How do they do it?  Well, they put plastic sheets on a hill and pretend its snow.  Here's a photo:


  12. 3 hours ago, DuctTape said:

    my first thought from your title was "bugling". For a trumpet (or any brass instrument) player it might not be challenging. But for someone who play no instrument or a string instrument it can be very challenging.

    My son played trumpet, but he still never earned Bugling MB. After all, how many people have ever heard a bugler call "Swimming" ?   The number, worldwide, is probably not too terribly much higher than 0...

    The only 2 calls I've every heard a Boy Scout sound on a bugle are "Taps" and "Reveille".  

    Of course, your mileage may vary...

  13. Are any merit badges really hard?  Flipping through my handy dandy "Requirements 2019" book, it sure doesn't appear that way to me, but scouts tell me otherwise.

    I asked my son if any of them were hard, and he told me no, but some took a long time because they required logs to be kept over time.  He also told me that a couple of them were challenging just because he couldn't find a local counselor to help him.

    There've been a couple of articles about this subject in "Scouting" magazine. An interview with two scouts who'd earned every merit badge had some agreements and some disparities over which were really the 10 "hardest" merit badges. One scout said his hardest was "Scuba", the other picked "Radio".

    I can kind of see "Scuba" being a hard merit badge because a scout needs to complete an open water certification. 

    I'm surprised that neither scout picked "Bugling", which is perennially at the bottom of lists of most-earned merit badges.  It's kind of hard because it requires learning quite a few esoteric bugling calls that few scouts have ever heard before. 

    So what do y'all think?  

    Which merit badges are the hardest to earn?  Are there really any requirements that are tough for a scout to master?

    Related Link:

  14. The Sam Houston Area Council used to run an annual "Ten Commandments Hike" that would visit various houses of worship along the route.  Sadly, the last "good" hike was done around 2015 and it's since been discontinued...I wonder if this is yet another case of 1 or 2 enthusiastic volunteers making past events a success, but when a motivated successor can't be found, the event dies.  Stepping up matters....and it's often just 1 person who makes the difference.

  15. On 10/23/2019 at 3:21 PM, qwazse said:

    If a clique is robbing liquor stores to buy drugs, it's bad.

    I think I'd call that a "gang".

    Unless the gang was shunning the new kid because his had a pink ski mask....then the gang could be a "clique" because some people just do NOT belong!

    While the word "gang" has negative connotations today, it has historically been used by Baden Powell and Green Bar Bill as a term to describe the patrol method.  For example, Green Bar Bill was once quoted as saying, "Patrols are gangs of boys led by boys." 

    I guess it really pays not to get too hung up on language, especially language used in earlier, perhaps gentler, times.


    • Upvote 2

  16. 15 minutes ago, Thunderbird said:

    For a 10 mile hike, I might be inclined to pack more food than just trail snacks.  Lunch, perhaps, given your estimated finish time of around noon.  Or cash, if you might decide to stop for lunch somewhere after the hike.  Certainly, cash would weigh less.

    Consider using some kind of backup communication device (other than cell phones) in case you all get lost or someone gets injured.


    Yep.  A lunch would be better than packing only trail snacks. Maybe lunch and a smaller amount of trails snacks is the smarter way to go....

    I'm not sure what kind of "communication device" other than a cell phone would be practical and useful. As an adult leader, I'd have my cell phone with me, but certainly every scout doesn't need the tempting distraction of having one so they can play Fortnight as they march down the trail. Hence, it has no place on the packing list. 

    For emergency purposes, I think one or two cell phones (held by adults) is good. It gives you some measure of communication if service exists, otherwise, the tried and true method of sending a buddy pair to call for help works just fine.