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Camping without going to the Camping store

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I don't know. I backpack (outside of scouts, since I'm at cub level car camping with the boys right now!) I've traipsed all over the New Mexico and Colorado back country. I'm all for skipping out on the Mountain House food, fancy tents and sleeping bags (at least for 3-season camping), and high tech water bottles.


But some of the new gear shouldn't be shunned. A good water filter is a must, unless you want to pack in your weight in water or chance giardia or worse. I'm also a proponent of a good lightweight backpacking stove. Too many forest fires start because of irresponsible cooking fires or methods. While a good stove doesn't solve stupid, it can help prevent some fires. I've worked some replanting crews after bad fires, and it's painful to think that someone's urge for flame-baked s'mores caused so much destruction. That being said, I use a 15 year old MSR Whisperlite stove and love the thing. Any type of fuel, weighs next to nothing, and I can fix the thing myself with a pocketknife.

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Prohibited chemical-fueled equipmentEquipment that is handcrafted, homemade, modified, or installed beyond the manufacturers stated design limitations or use. Examples include alcohol-burning can stoves, smudge pots, improperly installed heaters, and propane burners with their regulators removed.



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Thank you. Very interesting and extremely ignorant.


Liquid alcohol is discouraged while the much more dangerous naphtha is AOK.


I could see a weak argument against alcohol on the grounds that the flames are invisible, but jelled alcohol is AOK.


Fortunately, my alcohol stoves are all manufactured by companies, including the pop can stove. Really excellent for heating food, although not my choice for cooking pasta.


Typical no thought rule.


Notice we teach consensus to solve conflicts in opinion, but the actual behavior is very directive and top down. "Do as I say . . ."

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Home made stoves...

How'bout what to eat? If we avoid twenty dollar a pound (cheap) freeze dry envelopes, how do we feed ourselves on the trail?


I have Scouts that don't want to mix things, and insist that the plastic bottle ready mix pancake powder (add water and shake) is the way to go... then complain about the fry pan to clean. "Isn't there a throw away pan?" I had one ask me...


If you challenge the Patrol to feed themselves for a budget of $10. a person for a two night, three day hike, (instead of buy the stuff and then divy up the cost), how would your Scouts do?

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There have been a number of scouts injured "playing" with alcohol. One died in 2008.


There was a group of scouts injured when a cat can stove was knocked over while lit.....but I cannot find the supporting link.


The BSA is forced to legislate what many would consider common sense.


Just curious, was your stove made by a legitimate, insured manufacture. Most of the stove guys on the internet are not. I am going to bet the next G2SS will need to include what a manufacture is.

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Scouts have been injured playing on grass.

Scouts have been injured playing in snow.

Scouts have died playing in water.

Scouts have been injured using knives, axes, ropes, and cooking pots.

Scouts have been injured climbing trees.

Scouts have been killed and seriously injured - many times - riding in cars.

Scouts have been injured using fires.

Grass, snow, water, knives, axes, ropes, cooking pots, trees, cars, and fires have not been prohibited by BSA. Instead, we have, more or less, reasonable rules about how such things fit Scouting.


Liquid alcohol is far less dangerous than the "approved" naptha (AKA "Coleman Fuel.")


I don't mind rules. I do mind irrational rules created by folks with little knowledge of the field they seek to control.


If someone makes 1000's of an object for sale, those objects are not "homemade" by the common definition of that word. But of course a new rule can ban their products as well. After all, the Wilderness Survival Merit badge pamphlet warns that dryer lint used as tinder is dangerous because "highly flammable." Imagine that, highly flammable tinder. What next?


(But it's OK to publish dangerously incorrect advice on treating wild water.)

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SSScout, your on to something here. When I first joined scouts my troop didn't have any fancy gadgets. Our tents were floorless, three wall canvas army surplus tents. Our tent stakes railroad spikes, out mallet a bowling pin. We cooked over a real fire with an old grill grate held up by 4 bricks. Our dinning fly was draped across a rope tied between two point, trees or poles we lashed together. We lashed our flag pole, or ran a rope over a tree limb for it. Our cookware was cast offs from home. Raingear was as often as not garbage bags, and we sure were not wearing "performance fabric", and "ultra lite hikers". Water went in milk jugs. Our patrol boxes were long wooden military ammo boxes with rope handles, slung two by two, across our walking sticks, that were not bought in a scout shop.


I had not realized just how different things are now, I'm not sure they are better ...


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@ Old Ox. That's great how thrifty you guys were. But you weren't backpacking with that stuff were you? Sure I could move my bed, my kitchen pots, a generator from the garage, the BBQ, all up to the mountains to "camp". But what if I want to go backpacking? I ain't hauling bowling pins and railroad spikes and no kid will ether.


With so many kids so far removed from the outdoors and from physical activity in general, I think that doing anything to get them into the mountains, hiking, listening, and experiencing nature is a good thing. Remember, most kids live in cities now, a lot of them have never been in a forest, take my friend's troop in LA for example, if it weren't for him those kids would have never gone hiking.


I think the new gear is great because it enables the youth to actually get outside the city and into the forest. And that's what it is about, not our nostalgic memories.

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Backpacking with it, no. We always walked into our camps, as the ranger didnt allow vehicles in camp, and if we werent at camp we were on a farm, or wooded lot of a friend. How far did we carry our gear, not more than a mile or two. We hiked, but didnt backpack in the era.


Later in my scouting experience, with the same troop, we did backpack, but our gear had changed somewhat. As a two-time Philmont backcountry participant, and hiker with over 500 miles of marked trails under his belt, I can say that what I described is not backpacking gear, lol.


My point was, most troop camping is not high adventure, and making due with minimal gear saves money, teaches scouts how to be resourceful, reinforces basic scoutcraft skills, and provides great leadership growth opportunities.


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SSScout wrote: "I have Scouts that don't want to mix things, and insist that the plastic bottle ready mix pancake powder (add water and shake) is the way to go... then complain about the fry pan to clean. "Isn't there a throw away pan?" I had one ask me... "


(chuckle) Next time challenge them to find a flat rock and cook it on the rock!


Better yet, put them up to the challenge of preparing their entire menu utensiless. My scouts didn't believe it could be done, so I and my brother when utensiless (and foilless) for the weekend:


Breakfast was boiled eggs in paper cups, bacon cooked in paper bags and toast on a stick.


I think lunch was something simple like hot dogs.


Dinner: Tarzan Roast, roast potatoes, roast corn on the cob, roast onions, and stick bread (Bisquick-type mix done thick and wrapped around a stick to toast over the fire).


Tarzan roast--take a beef roast, put it in a ziplock bag with mustard (we like to use the spicy kind) and let it sit in a cooler at least overnight. Get a good hot bed of coals going. Reach into that bag with your barehand (like Tarzan or a caveman), pull out that hunk of meat and toss it in the coals. Using a shovel (or green stick in our case), bury it and let roast for 20 minutes to the pound. Move out of fire, douse with water to ensure no hot coals are left, cut off outer burnt part and enjoy juicy, mustard-flavored middle.


Roast potatoes--coat'em with mud before putting them on the coals.

Roast corn--pull back husk, remove the silk hairs, pull husk back into place and soak well in water. Place on hot coals and rotate often.


Roast onions--we just tossed them in as is--outer layers burned, but inner part was excellent.


Okay, we cheated on dinner--we used our scout knives to cut into the roast.


We opened a few eyes that weekend.


Oh, and the only "dish" we had to clean was our scout knives.

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As a youth I tought Wilderness Survival at summer camp for several years, it's amazing just how little you need, and what nature can provide. I think we have a generation that believes "roughing it" is not having a microwave, and cell phone gps/map app on a camp out.

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I am going to insert a slightly off topic thought here that Eamonn will understand.


On a similar note, we have a company that want to fund a project on our boat. A large scale project. New engines is one project that we will be submitting. Our Skipper asked me and the Officers to come op with other project ideas to submit. I just spent the past hour looking at some navigation systems that would be so awesome to have. The set up I want us to submit is this chartplotter with integrated radar and weather maps. With that system you can overlay your radar and weather info directly onto the charts, or view them separately.


Back to my original thought, it does tie into this thread a little.


You all have been talking about how expensive camping gear is, consider yourselves lucky that you aren't into boats. There are so many options for customizing different things, making this lighter, that stronger.


I knew a guy who swore that this new mainsheet he bought made the boat a 1/4 kt faster (it did, but not for the reason he thought it did). Then you have blocks and sails and travelers and bearings and and and.....


All this stuff that you can spend thousands of dollars a month/week/day/year (depends on the size of the boat and how much you use it) on. Yet, just like with camping, it is still possible to go out and have fun for cheap. The trick is to never walk into West Marine; or get hooked up as crew for some rich guy, all the fun but none of the cost.


Another trick that I am certain also applies to camping is to search craigslist and ebay. All the time people decide to start a hobby, buy a ton of gear, use it once, then it sits in their garage for a few years until they get around to sell it for less than half what it would cost new.

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SSScout; My troops food cost per meal is $3.00. I'm thinking about suggesting that they go to $2.00 for breakfast and lunch, and $3.00 for dinner.


Why? Because at the last two or three camping trips, they have coolers and boxes FULL of unopened, untouched food. Boys don't need or want to eat as well as the Old Goat Patrol, whose food cost is more like $6.00 per meal.


I abhor Mountain House. Good product, no knock on that at all. But for the camping that we do, the dried food isle at Target can supply everything we need and more.


Transfer dried food into freezer zip lock bags, with napkin, salt and pepper, folded napkin or two, and all they need is hot water.


With small cans of tuna, chicken, beef, and foil containers of salmon, tuna (premixed and not), the menu is limitless. And lightweight.


Stovetop stuffing and a 3 OZ. can of chicken in a zip lock makes a meal that will fill the largest man.


You don't have to spend a lot to eat well in the back country.

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May I address an area I find not thrifty?

All the disposable stuff I see mentioned

I'm a big fan of the Lexan fork and spoon, not so much the knife.

I have bought them individully at a buck each and as long as you keep them away from hot frypans they will last untill somebody not paying attention throws them away.

The answer tho that is let each boy modify his set to suit himself!

Fork times to long, file them shorter, need a hole in the handle? Drill it!

Buy soup spoons to mod into personalized sporks, I use mine at home everyday.

A bid benifet to those of us older with hand issues, the handles are far more comfortable feeling than 98% of the tableware out there.


Look at it this way, less stuff thrown away and a craft activity making something they will use, I love win win.




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