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Lightweight Patrol Gear Ideas

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Rather than hijack the troop gear thread I figured I'd start a new thread discussing ideas for lightweight patrol gear.


To start, I'm wondering what the lightweight patrol would need/use for:


Group water container - the collapsible containers seem to spring leaks way too fast, but the rigid blue ones are way too big - even the 2.5 gallon ones.


Stove - Would you avoid Coleman fuel stoves? Are there tough and low cost options? Would you give each patrol two backpacking stoves?


Cook Kit - What is low cost, reasonably light, and packs small, though big enough to feed 6-8 boys? Are the fry pans big enough?


Lantern - Would you bother with lanterns? I personally prefer each Scout just bring headlamps.


Saw - Your preferences for a compact sturdy saw? Are the folding the blade into the handle ones good enough, or would the patrol need something bigger?


Dining Fly - What do they use at Philmont? What would you use for poles - assuming there aren't always enough trees to go pole-less.


Sorry, but I have more questions than answers.


Ken K.



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From my experience

1. smaller cook groups replace larger patrol cooking. Smaller pots, stoves - lighter weight, takes less space. A patrol then could consist of two or more cook groups.

2. water is heavy, pack at around 2 liters at a time/scout and filter water sources along way.

3. lightweight, cheap tarps for tents to start. paracord, hiking pole

4. No lantern, use LED headlamps.


If you want to backpack - equipment weight, size, and fit become more critical. Lightweight quickly goes south when a scout wears a pack too big, gets a 10lb sleeping bag and a 12 pound tent for Christmas, or as mentioned adults want their Cabela's style of camping. And you may end up car camping anyway as not everyone like backpacking.


My $0.01 to start



(This message has been edited by RememberSchiff)

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We are going to try some of the Crew equipment we used at Northern Tier in 2010, and see how it goes for a patrol. This consists of two Coleman Exponent stoves with a folding-leg grill/grate. We also used a smaller tarp, around 8x10 or 10x10. We have lanterns, and use them for car-camping; they come in handy for lighting around the campfire for the entertainment program.

We'll continue to work on going smaller and lighter, as well.

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In reference to stove, I went with the MSR Whisperlite International stove. I talked to folks, got peoples opinions, and read reviews. While I haven't cooked on it yet, I played with it this past weekend. Super lite weight, looks easy to maintain, and easy to use.


Now Some folks prefer the Simmerlite since it does have some controls to adjust the flame, but I'm on a budget. Plus like the multifuel capability.

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Group water container - don't need it, just refill everyone's water bottles... ( nothing extra to carry )


Stove - We have Coleman Powermax stoves - 2 per patrol - butane/propane fuel bottle mixture, got these rather than other canister type stoves because they sit closer to the ground and are more stable


Cook Kit - nada - REI has a 4 qt aluminum pot for about $12 bucks w or w/o teflon... they usually burn thru one of these a year or two but so what, its only $12 bucks. We adjust to one pot meals ( 2 if you bring both stoves )


Lantern - naaa... headlamps


Saw - what for? LNT principles mandate small fires ( if any at all ), should be able to build a large enough fire with twigs no bigger than an inch or so...


Dining fly - well, this is California and its actually against the law to rain out here in the summer. ;-) We don't need 'em.


Hope this helps.





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If you're using an MSR Whisperlite consider carrying one of the wire mesh heat spreaders that are used to protect glassware in labs:




The 4" version with the ceramic center works great. I store it in a quart freezer Ziploc bag inside a fry pan - to protect the ceramic and the fry pan surface. I've used it to successfully simmer spaghetti sauce with NO burning!! Amazing.


Unfortunately the shipping will cost more than the item ... so you can buy a few for your friends.



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From someone who's backpacked most of the Appalachian Trail:

Group Water Container: Don't need, everyone carries 2- 1 liter Gatoraid bottles for water and shares for meals. Lightweight and free. Try to camp near a water source, treat water with Aquamira.

Stove: Lots of options and everyone will have a different opinion. I like the MSR Wisperlight. I don't advise using a canister stove, you end up with a bunch of half empty canisters. Homemade alcohol stoves (my personal favorite) are too dangerous in my opinion for Scouts.

Cook Kit: One pot with foil lid big enough to boil enough water for a patrol to reconstitute their dehydrated meals. Leave the frying pan home, it's too heavy. Eat one pot meals, freezer bag meals (Google Freezerbag cooking for more info) or dehydrated meal. try cooking meat and bread on a stick like we did "back in the day". For personal eating gear a margarine tub and plastic spoon for each Scout, lightweight and free.

Lantern: Leave it home, each Scout should have a headlamp.

Saw: Leave it home unless you plan on doing trail maintenance. You shouldn't need wood any bigger than you can break by hand for a campfire.

Dinning Fly: Campmour sells lightweight silnylon ones or just buy a cheap blue tarp and string it up with some 1/8 cord.

Just my opinion, take it for what it's worth.

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You did not mention what your doing, because it does make a difference.


My list assumes your Backpacking


I like Eagles list.....


Gatorade bottles yes yes yes.


Lantern no no no.


Saw no no no. What are you going to do with it? Campfire?????


Cook kit.....Depends a bit on the stove, but I get deals at garage sales and thrift stores. I would not try to cook for the entire group out of one pot.....As suggested


Our boys go to walmart and buy a cheap plastic plate and cup, and a spoon.


I don't like MSR stoves for scouts because of the pumps I worry about carrying the maintenance kit and external hoses.....Your better off with the coleman dual fuel I had a peak one for years solid. I own a jetboil and once it gets below freezing it does not function very well, white gas, kerosene or alcohol is better.




I enjoy stoves for some reason, I own a MSR whisperlite, EGK, Pocket Rocket, Jetboil PCS, Cat can, Soda can, coleman peak one, F1 Ultralight.


I agree with the Tarp suggestion......Too expensive for the fancy silnylon. We use plastic sheeting. Walking sticks and Staves serve as the tarp poles. Keep in mind you have no insect protection......Maybe a problem depending on where you are going.


I have turned into a bit of a gear junkie...Ask away



I would look at the boys backs and sleeping gear before you leave......You might be surprised at what you see or don't see.

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At Philmont a crew of 8-12 uses a single large pot. There is a single dish and everyone uses a large cup to eat and drink. Only a spoon is needed. Unless there is no water available, water bottles only and get the water for the pot from a local source (pond, stream, etc.) and purify (pump is often best though iodine works well when instructions are carefully followed).


Coleman backpacking stoves and MSR stoves work well.


A lightweight tarp makes a good dining fly.


Check on the internet for Coop Wright's Philmont Advisor's Guide for good ideas (costs ~$10 and goes to a troop).

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I own one of the "BIG RAIN FLY (3x4m)"


which I think I paid $40 for but now goes for $50.


I bring use it with my hammock when I camp with the family & also bring it on troop backpacks. We have always lashed it to trees as opposed to using poles.


Big Blue Wal Mart Tarps are fine too. A little cheaper & heavier & take up more space in a backpack.(This message has been edited by knot head)

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For tarps, we like the Kelty Noahs tarp 12. It weighs 2.5 pounds, uses poles and can shelter 3-4 scouts. For car camping we string it high, but for backpacking it can be staked directly to the ground. See this picture:



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  • 8 months later...

Reviving an old thread...


We just purchased 3 Tundra Tarps from Cooke Custom Sewing. This husband and wife team have built up a very good reputation among canoeists in the BWCA. We decided on the 10 x 14 in the 1.9 oz material. They do give a 20% Scout discount.



The tarps have all the features we were looking for. Lots of loops along the edges, the edges are reinforced, and the reinforced center with quad-loops for a hiking pole or other support. For reviews, see:








We have a couple of backpacking trips coming up; I'll give a review after we use them a few times.

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"also bring it on troop backpacks. We have always lashed it to trees as opposed to using poles."

I thought lashing to trees was frowned upon? Reason given is that the rope may abrade the bark.

Lightweight gear? Start with tent, boots, pack, fly & sleeping bag. Complete 2-man tent under 4#, boots under 5 (?) # for the pair, pack less than 2#, fly under a lb., sleeping bag under 3#. I'm probably overweight on some of this; this is for hiking & camping. For car camping -- who cares?


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Buy/borrow grommet set set.


Buy 6 mil black plastic sheeting. Comes in 10' x 100' plus rolls.


Buy heavy duty duct tape. Lots.


Commandeer large, open floor, like church social hall, rec room basement, etc.


Sweep floor very well. Suggest assemblers go barefoot or socked, no shoes allowed.


Cut NEATLY plastic sheet in 10' x 10' size, lay out on floor. If using knife (not required, scissors are good), be sure to put wood board under cutting line to protect floor.


Run duct tape on ONE side of each edge of sheet. Four sides. Run tape down center of sheet for reinforcing. Turn over, do same for other side.


Take grommet set, set grommets in corners, along edges mebbe every 2 feet?


If grommets are set evenly, two tarps can be "sewn" together to broaden the protected expanse.


When tarps are worn, use them for ground cloth under tents.


If you want to set up as the "Explorer" style tent, place a 2' X of tape about 3 feet on the diagonal from one corner, do same on t'other side, place grommet in middle of X.


Pride of ownership comes from constructing it yourself.

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