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Holiday Camping gear Gifts

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MY son is getting a telespoping walking stick bought at Wal Mart for under $10.00. New pair of scout pants and a new scout polo type shirt. Having been in scouts for 8 years now we have gotten most of the basics needed. We are always getting something here and there just to keep updated. This scouting activity really is tons of fun but can get quite expensive if you aren't careful.

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Let's see if this will let me post today (it refused my password yesterday). And typing this now, the system is real jerky. You'd think I was on dial-up rather then DSL. (shrug) We'll see...


At the top of my wish list this year:

I don't need nothin'. I don't want nothin'. I don't have room for nothin'.


Seriously. I have all the scouting related gear I need. Except a lantern case. I don't expect to get one again this year, though this has been on my list for the past five years.


You see six years back my mother gave me a propane coleman lantern for Christmas. She didn't realize that you could buy one with or without a case. She thought they all came with a case. Guess which one she bought. They changed the style of the lantern either that year or the following year and I got the older style.


Any idea how hard it is to find the right case? Even LL Bean (a 40 minute drive down the highway) doesn't carry'em. They did give me the contact info for Coleman and the order number for the case. So that's been on my list the past five years.


Alas, mother doesn't like to buy over the net/phone. But I also know if I go out and buy it, then I'll receive one. (chuckle)


In the meantime, I've made a "MacGyverized" case out of a cardboard box, duct tape and foam, which serves the purpose for now. ;)

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I just found at our local Hancock Fabric store a fleece material with the Timeless Values logo on it. So my son, husband and special scout friends will receive a extra blanket to through in there camping bag for the winter. The 2 materials either sewed or tyed together will take about 30 min. each and cost about 12.50 each. I found it online even though it might cost a little more because of shipping http://www.hancockfabrics.com/shopping/search/searchresultsmain.jsp?freeText=boy%20scout%20material&history

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Already bought and already using my son's and my new switchback pants. When my son asked dad can I wear these out at the scout shop I bought a pair for myself. that is high praise for scout uniform from a twelve year old. His were worn to a regular meeting and today on a fifteen mile bike ride he is working on cycling mb with another local troop. and mine have been worn to a scout meeting and to roundtable where coincidentally some one was making a presentation on uniforming. Gladly testified to the value of my new switchbacks scout pants.

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I don't have much on my Christmas list this year - it's just too much of a hassle to figure out exactly what I want, and then tell other people what it is I finally decided on. All by the beginning/middle of December. What pressure!


Anyway, I'll go slightly off topic and give a short list of things to get the Scout/Scouter in your life (aka things that make life a little easier/safer in the woods):


1. "Sierra" Cup - Metal cup, usually about 12-16 oz's. I prefer the ones with the handles that fold flat against the cup when not in use. Most will have measuring gradients on the side, and you can place the cup directly on a burner for your own cup of cocoa or hot cider. Ideally, this will take up no room in your pack, b/c item # 2 will slide right inside it. Expected Cost: $4-6


2. Nalgene Bottle - After a one liter soda bottle, the next best kind of canteen. Indestructible, and for the most part, odor free from one beverage/food refill to the next. Mine fits right inside my sierra cup, which saves a ton of space. Expected Cost: $5-8 (whether you go with Nalgene brand or Target/Walmart spin-off). I like to carry both a "hard" bottle and a soft one for my hikes. (see #3)


3. Camelback/Platypus "Hydration" system - yes, that's right - no longer canteens - it's a "system". Which just means you get to suck on a hose to get your water. Just make sure you buy a bladder that comes with a hose. The benefit is you have constant access to your water, and as you drink, the bladder collapses, freeing up space in your pack. Pairing this up with a nalgene eliminates the danger of "all your eggs in one basket". If your bladder breaks or leaks (unlikely, I've had 2 for over 3 years with no problems, but these are Scouts we're talking about), the nalgene will still be safe. Expected Cost: $15-20 for 2 ltr w/hose, $6-10 for bladder only, depending on size.


4. Compass - Even a cheaper one can be a life-saver. Silva Polaris or other similar "starter" type compasses work just the same for a scout as a $50 compass will - they all point North! I've found that one's with a baseplate are easiest to use when following a bearing. Expected Cost: $8-12


5. Whistle - you may even have a few laying around house. I have a small one on a key ring with a tiny LED light, and keep them hooked to my belt with a plastic clip (similar to a dog leash clip, but plastic). Probably weighs less than 1 oz combined, but it's already 1/2 a survival kit.


6. Hiking Poles - There's several posts on this forum praising their benefits. It's a real knee saver for us Scouters who discovered our knee caps may not have all the cartilage they're supposed to! Make sure they're collapsible - otherwise they'll be difficult to pack in the car and/or check onto an airplane. Prices vary on this one - though I'd be wary of poles for $10. Expected Cost: At least $35.


7. Headlamp - Nothing like cooking in the dark asking a friend to constantly "hold this so I can see what I'm doing" to see the merits of this one. I just read that today's LEDs are already 3x brighter than the ones available in 2002, so the need for a krypton/halogen bulb for "long distance" viewing is probably moot. Much easier getting ready for bed with one when you have two hands to search through your pack. Expected Costs: $10-20. ( I wouldn't spend more than $20 unless your scout is good about not losing things - plus you likely won't need the higher end lights anyway.) Some headlamps can be found on sale/clearance for cheaper.


8. Lexan Utensils / "Vittles" Kit - For the lightweight backpacker, the heavy-duty plastic spoon is a must. For the traditionalist, they still make the metal knife-fork-spoon kits that clip together, but I've rarely found a need for a fork (vs just a spoon), and if cutting is necessary, I use a pocket knife. Don't forget to mark the utensils with a name!


9. Last but not least - Rain gear - Waterproof/Breathable jackets are available for less than $50 now (check out Red Ledge or Sierra Designs @ campmor.com). A poncho is always good, but I've yet to find one that didn't rip. Plus a jacket doubles as a good windbreaker that can be worn over fleece if/when temperatures drop. Breathability is not always necessary, especially for younger scouts. As this affects price, it's something to consider. Remember, though - water repellant/resistant is not the same as waterproof.


10. Since I made it to 9, might as well include an even 10 - how about a foam pad? For Webelos just used to summer camping, this item may have been overlooked. If not needed for comfort, it will be needed for warmth on the fall/winter trips. No need for a thermarest at this point. The "Z-Rest" is good and folds up very easily, but costs slightly more. Any camping store should sell a basic closed-cell foam pad, the next step up is usually a Ridge-rest, then the Z-rests, then the combination "air/foam" thermarest mattresses. Expected Costs: $8-35.


Phew. Good thing I didn't try to include links in this post - I'd be here all evening! Hope this helps - Happy Shopping!





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