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Lisabob

backpacker gear guide

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"As far as boots go scouts might consider a high quality trail running shoe with a stiff sole"

 

Two problems with a trail running shoe. No ankle support and if the trail is the right type of trail, little rocks get kicked up and wind up in the shoe.

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I've backpacked hundreds of miles in trailrunning shoes without the ankle support problems you mention. The only negative is that I only get about 500 miles from a pair. A good heel cup and proper fit create a stable platform. Trail running requires a shoe that keeps the foot stable over a wide range of conditions. I would not recommend them for heavy backpacking of say 40 or more lbs. If your scouts are carrying that kind of load than go with the heavy boots but they won't enjoy themselves as much as if the were carrying a 20 lb. pack and going greater distances with more comfort. I remember as kids we would get that floating feeling when we dropped those 50 -60 pound packs! I'm too old for that now! Since the subject was how to outfit a scout for a reasonable amount of money I'll stand by my recomendation. I also suggest that if you're outfitting a scout read the article I mentioned.

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Maybe that should be another thread. How much weight should a scout carry amd how to get to that limit or less without spending a lot of money?

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In regards to the recommendation..."As far as boots go scouts might consider a high quality trail running shoe with a stiff sole."...I uesd those when I worked on staff at Philmont and they worked great.

I actually used them when I did the Ranger Marathon there (furthest Northern Camp to furthest souther in one day...14:12) and thought that (for me) they were better than a heavy pair of boots. So I wouldn't rule them out.

 

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There are a lot of new ideas out there in reference to lightweight backpacking that would benifit Scouting but many are stuck with in the old days. I doubt that I would have taken up backpacking again if it meant carrying a 50 lb pack again. I'm working with my troop to get them to go lighter. Freezerbag cooking and making their own backpacking meals from grocery store items, alcohol soda can stoves, are just a few ways. Home made gear can be part of the solution too but mainly it's just buying the right gear.

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