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Saw your query regarding costs to start out. That's a tough one to answer, depending on where you live, what stores are nearby, what terrain you're delaing with, et cetera. We've given up trying to identify a cost. But, being in Massachusetts, we have the benefit of Eastern Mountain Sports stores, (yeah, we know...EMS...Extra Money Spent), nearby. For a number of years, we've had an arrangement with the store closest to us. Every year, after the new Scouts have settled in, the EMS folks come to a troop meeting and bring samples of what they sell, geared to the new camping family, the young camper, the young and inexperienced backpacker. They also bring upgraded and more expensive items for the more experienced Scouts and leaders. And then, once a year, the troops in town (actually two towns) band together at one meeting, and either the EMS guys or folks from another good camping store nearby will bring in the really good stuff (expensive, of course) just to show what's available. The nice thing about this arrangement is that these are all very experienced folks, both in camping and backpacking, and selling. So they know how to approach their audience, and what to show them. They're very good at it, and don't try to oversell their wares. They attend to the "real" needs of the kids in Scouting in our area. And...they know the costs. Every one of us learns something new each year. If you've got a reputable store that deals with camping and backpacking gear, you might try the same, if they're willing. The stores we deal with do this more as a public service for us, knowing that they will not be selling anything when they come...but they also know that when parents go to buy, they'll remember who came to answer their questions.


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In addition to EMS, another is Camp Coleman - the one in our area gives scouts and scouters a 20% discount on everything in the store including closeout and sale merchandise.


Campmor (http://www.campmor.com) has a website that provides a lot of equipment and clothing at rally good prices. A number of scouts and leaders in our troop buy from there.



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