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hops_scout

Military Type Equipment

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hops,

 

I can't speak for what the military issues, but the BDU's that the general public can buy come in a variety of fabrics. Some are quicker drying than others.

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KoreaScouter has an important point. Military gear is made for adult use over extended periods of time, and thus may be over engineered and much heavier, compared to commercially available gear. Often it is not the best gear for youth, even if a bargain is available.

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Sorry if I misunderstood; perhaps we should define our terms. You said BDUs; that stands for Battle Dress Uniform, which is the mil-spec military clothing. What I guess you meant was disruptive pattern clothing, which can be made of any material (including quick-drying), have any number of technical features, and is made and sold by a variety of companies.

 

As long as I'm splitting hairs, the BDUs come in two basic fabric weights, although you may find more in catalogs & surplus stores. The "temperate" are the heavy ones, all cotton, reinforced everything, and they wear like iron. The "hot weather" are thinner, have a little nylon in them including ripstop threads running through them, and also have reinforced seats, knees, and elbows. At the first hint of rain, we throw on rain suits or gore-tex unless we want to be wet all day, regardless of which ones we're wearing (maybe Army Rangers don't, but those guys skew the curve anyway).

 

I don't wear any disruptive pattern clothing when Scouting, and neither do our Scouts/Scouters. We have reasons in addition to the very good ones Mike Walton offers...

 

KS

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If you go to www.propper.com, you'll see BDU trousers sewn to Military Specification MIL-T-44047E. They come in 6 different materials and a variety of solid colors and patterns. Cotton, poly/cotton, ripstop, etc.

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KS,

I can understand why you would not wear camo clothing for scouts at your location, but I dont see why it is a problem here in the states to wear BDU clothing.

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There is divergent opinion on this, and there have been many threads in this forum that have debated the issue. See Mike Walton's discussion, in a link from usscouts.org's web site. The BSA Insignia Guide, on the first page, quotes our Congressional Charter, that stipulates we won't wear uniforms that imitate military uniforms. The "barracks lawyers" will come out of the woodwork, saying that commercial camo isn't imitating a military uniform (of course it is), or if you wear military OD green, it's not camo and should be okay. I'll be the first to admit I wear official pants at troop meetings, District meetings, BORs, COHs, ceremonies, and so on. At campouts, hikes, and other outdoor events, I wear other green pants that are more comfortable, more durable, more useful, and less expensive, so I guess I'm okay with the second argument.

 

Yes, my issue here with Scouts appearing to be combatants is greater than it would be there. However, I would submit that it's also an issue for you, albeit less of one. You don't want Scouts appearing to be hunters, contras, white supremacists, separatists, tax protesters, or any of the disparate paramilitary and fringe groups who also wear camo clothing in some combination, and run around in the wilderness...no matter where you live.

 

The debate over camo is a symptom. The illnesses we need to cure is that the official BSA green pants are not suitable for extreme outdoor activities, and that BSA does not require uniform wear. Until those two are cured, we'll accomplish little discussing it; although the debate is engaging!

 

KS

 

 

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The subject of military equipment...not BDUs...I am insisting that the parents in our troop go to the local Army/Navy and check out military surplus pistol belts, canteens, covers and harnesses, mosquito nets, etc. for our Scouts for summer camp. The equipment is far superior to the junk they typically buy at the Scout Store or Wally World and will not self destruct after one day of "boy testing". Since women have been around the military for quite a while you can get sizes that fit an 11-15 year old boy. I insist in the summer, since I am responsible for them, that boys ALWAYS carry water when we are on an outing and wear a bush hat (wide brim, well ventilated) to protect from sun/heat related injuries. I found in my albeit limited 26 years in the Army that only military equipment lasts in the range of affordability.

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Dan;

 

You're right, some of the best bargains on outdoor gear are at the surplus stores; certainly better than the catalogs. Some of it makes sense for Scouting, and some doesn't. The mosquito nets are great; and the GI closed-cell foam sleeping pads are the first thing most of our Scouts use while camping. On the other hand, I think a water bottle in a backpack holster is a better solution than a military canteen, and a hydration system such as the Camelbak "Scout" is better yet, and not much more expensive than a canteen, holder, belt, etc., from a surplus store.

 

I also agree with you that lots of the gear from the BSA catalog is overpriced and under-engineered. One exception though is the Silva starter compass; easy to teach, easy to use, especially compared with the military lensatic, and a bargain at under $10. There are other examples, too; bottom line, I shop around and try to get the best price on the best solution for what I need.

 

All but a couple Scouts in our troop are from military families, and their dads have a houseful of TA-50. Some Scouts use some of that gear when camping, but most have figured out that there are lighter or more suitable alternatives and "graduate" from it very quickly.

 

I think one thing all leaders need to keep an eye on is that Scouts who collect and are interested in this gear don't cross a line from Scouting over to playing soldier.

 

Hops_Scout: The last thing you want to do is wear an LBE, even the newer LBV, under a backpack. I've done it many times, and it's unpleasant. It's necessary though, in my line of work, when you realize the purpose of an LBE is to allow you to carry minimum essential combat gear (ammo, grenades, first aid kit, radio, etc.) in case you have to jettison your backpack under fire. On a Scout backpacker, that's a situation you shouldn't encounter -- if you do, I'd draft a strongly worded letter to whomever planned your backpacker! Seriously, though, everything you need should fit in or on your backpack, and then the backpack on your body, without a lot of other harnesses and junk underneath it. Just one more thing: is any of the "modified" SF gear you're carrying not on the list of Scout Outdoor Essentials or Personal Overnight Gear? Is your PL, SPL, and Scoutmaster aware you're bringing it?

 

KS

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There are a few things in which are not included in the scout lists. None of which should not be taken. I dont include things such as ammo...

 

There isnt much, but I do like it because it is modified to my needs. It is more of what I think of as my outdoor kit. Not just a scouting pack.

Also, the things in a LBE or similar thing would be good to have necessary things such as first aid kit, pocket knife, snack, etc.

It could be a survival type kit(This message has been edited by hops_scout)

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Seldom if ever do I disagree with KoreaScouter, but I have to offer a big HUH? to a statement he shared.

"The illnesses we need to cure is that the official BSA green pants are not suitable for extreme outdoor activities,"

 

I have a pretty extensive arsenal of clothing in my closet besides my scout uniform and none of them by themselves are suitable for all extremes. If the uniform pants were suitable for hot dry weather what would the scouts in Minnesnowta wear? If the were great for arctic extremes what would the Florida scouts wear?

 

The field uniform was made for dress occassions. The handbook even says so. It was never intended to be an outdoor activity uniform let alone one good for a specific extreme. Which uniform would you wear for water skiing AND snow boarding? You are expected to dress according to the activity. When that activity is a COH, flag ceremony, moderate activity meeting, BOR, or other formal occassion that is when you wear the Field Uniform.

 

"and that BSA does not require uniform wear"

How could they? Who would police it and what would the punishment be? If you violate Youth protection you risk financial loss from law suits. If you violate Youth Protection you could be expelled from the program. If you violate the Advancement policies the scout would continue to advance. But what would you want done to punish a youth or adult not in a uniform?

 

Whether mandated or not the only way to control uniform wear is by the integrity of the adult volunteers. Mandating uniforms will not creatye integrity. Either the person accepts the responsibility to set a good example and follow the methods of the program or they don't.

 

It comes down to hoping that the Charter Organizations choose quality leaders.

 

Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Bob;

 

I guess I could have left off the "extreme" and it wouldn't have aroused your hackles quite so much. The only real design/engineering change to the pants in recent years has been to add a useless cargo pocket. They fare poorly when compared with commercial offerings by Columbia, North Face, etc...compare the features, but the cost is about the same.

 

I don't have my handbook in front of me, but to paraphrase, it does say the BSA pants are suitable for most outdoor activities -- but decreeing it so does not make it so.

 

I don't intend this to be a uniform slam, 'cuz I'm a head-to-toe type guy. Look in the current catalog, and you'll see BSA offers t-shirts and other outerwear (above the waist only) in a variety of weights and fabrics...so I know that they know that there are options for various climatic conditions.

 

Regarding compulsory uniform wear, I'm not advocating it, I'm merely suggesting that the reason the debate continues is because uniform wear is not compulsory. How to enforce it? We compare Scouting to intramural sports all the time in this forum. How does a football coach enforce a "hard cup" policy? No cup, no play. Again, I'm not advocating a "no pants, no camp" policy, but simply pointing out that enforcement is easy if you:

 

1). Have a policy, and

2). Have the collective intestinal fortitude to stick to it.

 

Again, so there's no misunderstanding, I'm not advocating a "boot camp" atmosphere in which we chase a Scout home if he isn't wearing a service star for the correct number of years. My point is simply that we have to accept the partial uniforming of our Scouts and leaders absent a national uniform policy.

 

I have to partially disagree with your statement that "...mandated or not, the only way to control uniform wear is by the integrity of the adult volunteers...". Not mandated, there is no way to control uniform wear -- you can only model it (no pun intended).

 

Other than that, I think we're in violent agreement here. I wear the full uniform when appropriate, encourage all others to do so, and hope they do. Some do early on, some do later on, and some never do, for reasons only they know.

 

 

KS

 

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I still don't understand what you feel would be an enforcible, workable, balanced punishment for a boy or adult that was not in a complete and correct uniform. You can't fire them, you can't fine them, you can't sue them, and you can't kill them. So what are you going to do specifically on a national basis. And if the SM is the enforcer in the troop then who gets to put the whoopin on the SM?

 

Keep in mind there is no current policy or method that allows or assigns the authority to punish a scout to anyone other than the parent or guardian (except for removing a scouts membership).

 

Bob White

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