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Joe MacDoaks

What Troop equipment does your Troop take on a campout

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For a weekend camp out what troop equipment do you take. My sons troop takes a fully loaded scout trailer. In the trailer they have 20 fire buckets, a large muti burner gas stove they never use, all of the troop tents, cots for each boy, two large dining flies, two large chuck boxes, several large pots for various uses, three plastic totes full of enamel plates bowl cups coffee pots food prep items, three more totes full of other stuff, and a large collection of cast iron, dutch ovens frying pans and a large griddle. They also take several other items they never use.

 

I think that they spend two much time setting up camp and taking camp down. They also spend a lot of time looking around in the trailer in boxes they don't use. I would like to see the boys do more cooking on their own and be more responsible for bringing their own stuff.

 

What does your troop bring for troop equipment?

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it would depend on the trip. We backpack so the equipment we normally use is light and minimal. Per patrol Light tents, a tarp , a backpacking stove, one or two medium and small pots, stripped down vittle kit, water purification, bear bag and rope, first aid kit, collapsable jerry jug. Are boys always cook for themselves with the exception of our holiday party where they are treated to a banquet. Everything has to be carried by foot.

 

we try to get from wake up to on the trail within a half hour including eating.

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Joe,

Like Dug, our troop takes way too much stuff, stuff the boys don't know how to use or care for.

 

Dug, I wanna join your troop.

 

In my youth, we carried everything by hand, not foot, sorry, couldn't resist.

 

Back in the day, we earned skill awards, so, if one scout needed to hike, we all did. Invariably, someone needed to hike, we hiked alot.

 

 

I'm working with the PLC to plan better, so hopefully, we'll do more backpacking.

 

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We have a big troop trailer too, loaded with folding tables, camp chairs, patrol boxes, tents, tarps, quonset hut materials, 2-burner cook stoves, dutch ovens and more.

 

We bring the trailer when we're going on a District or Council events since we also haul along the materials to make gateways, and in our area anyway I've noticed it's kind of a bragging item to show off what your troop has when other troops are around.

 

In the past our Troop never went anywhere without the trailer whether we needed everything in it or not. These past couple of years we've started lightening our load. Other than the District and Council events, I don't think we pulled the trailer for anything else last year. The guys planned for backpacking trips or at least lightened the load to bring only what is absolutely necessary and could fit in the small open trailer my husband has. Sure does making camp set up and break down A LOT easier and quicker.

 

 

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We used to be a car-camping troop. No trailer, but at least 2 if not 3 pickup loads.

 

When I became SM, I pushed the backpacking idea. The PLC took to it so now we treat every trip as a backpacking trip, even if we drive right up to the campsite. We purchased the lightweight gear, have done a multitude of skillbases on equipment and clothing selection and now camp setup and take down is much quicker, leaving us more time for hiking, activities, and free time.

 

Just this weekend, we were car camping at a local lake and another troop came in with probably 4+ truckloads of equipment, and they only stayed a single night. Box after box, backpacks so full you think they were staying for a week or two. We just watched them hump it up the hill ( because you couldn't park right next to the site ) with amazement.

 

fyi - We also push the Leave No Trace principles...

 

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Yah, I think most of da troops up our way are like Joe's, eh? Heavy trailer campin'. Does seem to be a lot of work, but it has advantages in storage. I think the real advantage is in makin' it a pleasant camping environment for the adults. Troops with "heavy" gear tend to get a lot of dads (and even some moms) out on trips. They in turn add to the heavy gear with the latest gizmo or inflatable hot tub :). Visitin' as a Commish, it's pretty nice. On the downside, it sometimes encourages a bit of beer-drinkin' and smokin' on the side by the adults.

 

Recently we've seen a few troops "go light" like Dug and CA. Maybe this is comin' out of LNT training, or information out there on lightweight camping like on kudu's site (http://www.inquiry.net/outdoor/equipment/lightweight_camping.htm). But I think it's mostly an influx of younger adult leaders who have grown up in a LNT/backpacking/wilderness adventure world.

 

I think the lightweight troops really do patrol method better on average, just because there's nothing that provides a temptation to troop method (like a "troop" trailer or a big "troop" encampment). The kids can carry gear and set up fast and on their own, without adults needin' to manage to keep kids focused on harder, longer setup or teardown tasks. Just the way it seems.

 

I know that the lightweight troops like Dug's do more adventurous and varied activities. If you've got gear that works for every adventure from mountain' climbin' to sea kayakin', those things are much more approachable. Those troops naturally attract kids and adults who want to do those things, so it's sort of self-fulfilling. Sometimes, their outings are a bit tough for young first year boys (or dads!) who discover they aren't (yet) into that.

 

Ups and downs to both approaches, eh?

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" . . . cots for each boy . . . ."? For a weekend campout?! Whatever happened to a groundcloth and sleeping bag? I sense a troop that camps by the Troop Method. The only concession to the Troop Method that our troop uses is a large gas burner to heat water for the three-pot method of washing dishes and larger pots to accomodate everybody on the campout. We also have the highly-coveted position of "Gnome" who sits by the pot with the soapy water and inspects every pot, pan, plate, cup, and fork/spoon to insure that they are cleaned and wiped clean before being put in the soapy water. It helps keep the soapy water as clean as possible and usable for both Saturday breakfast and Saturday supper (Friday supper is brought from home; Saturday lunch and Sunday breakfast are not to require cooking.). That frees up a lot of time for advancement and skills classes. Except for campouts on private property where ground fires are allowed by the owners, we do use propane gas stoves, one per patrol. A patrol chuck box, one for each patrol, a dutch oven per patrol, and a propane gas lantern (Eveybody goes through a safe skills session for the stoves and lanterns!), and that is about all troop gear that is brought on a campout. Now we have a big storage room filled with program- and advancement-related equipment, but those are brought on an as-needed basis. Knowing which boys need what requirements worked on and what other equipment needs to be brought gives the PL'sand TG's a reason to be on top of what is going on in their patrols.

 

The only other concession are a couple of big(!) dining flys, one for the "Rocking Chair Aviators" and the other just to be . . . uh. . . prepared (Yeah! That's it!).

 

Tents? We like to sleep out under the stars regardless of whatever anybody says. Our groundcloths are 10'x 8' plastic tarps with the sleeping bag laid out along one of the 8' edges. If it rains, the rest of the tarp gets pulled over the sleeping bag and the scout/scouter in it. The moms have a 4-person tent where they change.

 

Finally, we try to keep it down to two large ice chests for the entire troop. And the personal gear goes on top of the troop gear in the troop's trailer that is rarely more that 1/4th full.

 

-g.b.

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Sounds like some troops have gone past car camping and are now probing the possiblilites of siege camping. I fear my troop is firmly in the car camping mode, sould like to see a pared down patrol box and other signs unnessarry stuff is left behind.

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you are exactly right, Beavah, our minimalistic style came about 15 years ago when my scout master was 23 and wanted us to do a lot of high adventure and philmont because that was the part of his scouting youth that he enjoyed the most. Ive just kept it going and we have never looked back.

 

A backpacking troop does attrack a specific type of youth (And adult) membership and may turn off others. The great thing about being minimalistic is that you can do so no matter what the trip is, be it a hike down the AT or its a camporee. We dont do council trips that often but on the few that we have attended our scouts were shocked at the ammount of equipment in which other troops of equal size would bring. They were military operations setting up command centers, benches, grills, house tents, flood lights. It was awe inspiring but at the same time our boys took greater pride in how they got by with so little. Their idea is that if yu cant fit it in yur backpack and hike comfortably for however long a distance, its not worth having.

 

I will also agree that minimalism helps push the patrol method. In our troop our adults never deal with the patrol when it comes to set up/break down or food prep at all. Thats the SPL and his senior patrols duty. i have often witnessed two things when seeing massive troop trips like the 3 trailers and generators, and that is that either the adult leaders do a lot more for the boys then they should like cooking/kp and set up/breaqk down or they are simply bringing all the comforts of home for the Dad's sake. The way i see it, as an adult i set up my tent, break out my Crazy Creak chair and start in on a book. Alert me when its time to eat.

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Gosh,

 

We might be one of those troops Dug loves to hate...but what we carry on campouts really depends on the activity...

We have a good size troop trailer that is well organizied and inside we carry lash together flag pole and flags, one adult kitchen (was the old troop kitchen), six (soon to be seven) patrol boxes a large fire equip. box, about thirty timberline tents, ground cloths, the high adventure box, eight lanterns and 'trees', 10/12 D.O.s, seven four foot folding plastic tables and a couple of spare two burner propane stoves (for more elaborate meals),nine dining flys and grey water gerry cans for the patrols.

 

Each assigned patrol kitchen "set up" has a complete cook set, stove, propane hose, griddle and three plastic wash stations (and some "staples")and a few guest plates and cup...all self contained in their kitchen. There is no hunting around. When we hit a car camp location the QM (a scout) isses patrol gear to the Patrol QM and each patrol sets up a separate and distinct camp(as do the adults). Set up usually takes less than 45 minutes and bug out takes 45 minutes to an hour. We then police the area and leave....

 

When the patrols do independent (single patrol-three per year) camping they arrange with the QM to "check out" what they need and check it back in when the activity is over.

 

The high adventure box has fuel bottles, backpacking stoves, water filters and light weight nylon flys. This equipment is what the boys use on their back packing and most canoe trips...though, we do generally add to the "load" if portaging is not on the trip plan...say a couple of D.O.s for deep fried fish and cobbler.

 

It seems to work pretty well, but then the troop has been working hard on this stuff for many, many years...

 

anarchist(This message has been edited by anarchist)

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Our Troop had a similar situation with the Troop trailer. A lot of stuff the boys never used, searching thru boxes and totes for items that never could seem to be found, and some extra "luxury" items. After several outings of unloading the entire trailer, just to find a few things,the SM, ASM's and the PLC decided to have the trailer completely unloaded, and each piece of equipment evaluated for it's purpose in the Troop and on outings. It was amazing how much stuff the boys in the Troop didn't want to haul around. The chuck boxes are now better organized,our Troop tents and canopy are stored where they can be retrieved quickly if the weather is not the most desirable, and everything now has it's place. Since our Troop is relatively small, we do not have a QM position. It is up to the SPL to assign a boy as QM for any given outing, and each boy now knows what the contents of the trailer are, and how it is organized.

As for the equipment that we no longer store in the troop trailer, the troop committee decided to allow the troop to sell it to interested parents/friends of the troop.Some of the larger pieces of equipment, that we normally take to Summer Camp, or a council/district event are stored among the SM and ASM's, with the SM having a record of who has what. The equipment always is the property of the Troop, and everyone involved acknowledes this.

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Our troop has made a "unique" award called the Minimalist Award. We are working toward a non-trailer style camping unit with the trailer only going on large trips and scout camp where we are self sufficient.

 

We encourage ground cloth/sleeping bag camping (although one boy came to the last one last fall with just a bedroll type thing), and we tend to use easy meals like you'd use to hike the Appalachian Trail or something. We also are encouraging our patrols to research and find things to make their lives simpler.

 

We put the patrols together for dishwashing with one patrol heating the wash water, one the rinse water, and one the final rinse water with their camp stoves approximately.

 

So far, we have cut out extra large backpacks, large tents, and all that stuff. We still have some hold outs, but with the addition to the new fun award, it's getting smaller and smaller.

 

The boys get a kick out learning to pare down from each other. NOt sure what we'll do when they all get it down to a real minimal event. I guess we'll switch to a fun cooking award or somthing like that.

 

 

 

 

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GB,

 

LNT or no, wash water should not be retained after its heating.

 

Not every germ and/or bacterium is killed merely by boiling. Botulism, as one extreme example, requires an internal temp of 240F before its killed off.

 

Germs and bacteria can grow above freezing. That's why food inspectors in commercial businesses are so pedantic about lukewarm food temps and condemnation of product.

 

Are you using a disinfectant (extra chlorination) in your wash water to keep it between sessions?

 

When I was in the Army, had my battery cooks done something like this, they'd be up for non-judicial punishment.

 

Keep your Scouts healthy; minimize risk, strain and drain the grey water after breakfast and again after supper.

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We've been trying to push our troop away from the car camping mentality since joining. Everything a scout needs for a week should be able to fit in a backpack. Even when we "car camp", our scouts still pack their backback as if they were hiking. Now we do have a small troop trailer that usually is filled with backpacks to make more room for scouts in the cars.

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I'm afraid we are one of those troops that takes everything but the kitchen sink. Our boys learn how to use and respect all of the equipment that each patrol is assigned. We've had alot of our equipment for year, for example, we are still using Eureka Timberline tents that were put into service in 1981. We do have activities that will require the boys to take only what's needed, but for the most part, our monthly campouts are not about packing light.

 

Most of our new Scouts have absolutely no camping gear, so they like the fact that all they need to concern themselves with is a halfway decent pair of boots, sleeping bag and good underwear. As they've been in the troop awhile, they tent to start getting wise as to how to pack and begin to prepare themselves for our high-adventure backpacking trips.

 

We have a high adventure program every year that does put emphasis on light weight backpacking. It's a completely different skill set. The individual Scout has to have his own equipment (with some exceptions), and it is more expensive.

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