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Why a trailer?

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Don't have the spin off function, so a new topic.

 

How much does a Troop Trailer Weigh?    Back in the day,  we used back packs.  The older Scouts that went to Phlmont and Katahdin came back with back pack hiking lore.  Us younger Scouts emulated them, packed light and complete.  Tarp Tents, 'squiter  netting for the sleeping bag,  split up the Patrol gear.  Jeff takes the big pot, I have the frying pan, Tom has the wash-up soap and some other stuff, Charley has the utensils and food, everyone had their own plate, fork, spoon and knife.  We managed and if we were going to a Camporee and could use a dining fly and other "luxuries", a station wagon  or van was available from some family.   We cooked over fire wood, not gas stoves, of course, never charcoal except at the Camporee or Salamagundi. 

 

Trailers?   It occurs to me that , in agreement with the corollary to Murphy's Law, that the "Stuff Collected Will Expand To Fill The Space (or trailer) Available".    ie,  if you have a trailer to pull, you will have the stuff to pull in it. 

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I agree. The only time I see a trailer as necessary is if the troop/patrol does not have a building to store gear. I view the trailer as a storage unit, not for transport. Otherwise little planning takes place for gear needs, and the troop devolves into solely plop camping.

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Agreed,It seems that most troops rarely venture more than 50 yards from their trailer, which means no more than 50 yards from the road.where is the promised adventure in that?

 

I have gone " drop and plop" camping with some troops, and the scouts just sat under their big 50 lb. dining canopies just sat there!

 

I got up and went for a hike out of sheet boredom. I went perhaps a mile and back. I saw deer,Turkey ,heard redtailed hawks, woodpeckers,jays, smelled a skunk,and so on. What did the scouts see back at camp? Nothing.

 

Any wonder that the scouts say it gets boring after the first year or so?

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Two sides to this.

 

My guess is when you were younger you also had station wagons that could hold 5 back packs and 5 people. We have much smaller cars now.

 

Most of our campouts are below freezing so scouts are bringing more gear just to stay warm.

 

That all said, I agree with you. There is that whole thing in the first class cooking requirement about take only the utensils you need. I can not seem to get any parent to see how that is anything but a nightmare. I did not have a chuck box as a scout. We had a bag of stuff that we distributed at the meeting before the campout and each scout brought his share and we didn't bring stuff we didn't need. That would eliminate a big chunk of gear we currently bring.

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This weekend: 13 scouts, 3 venturers, 4 drivers, and my dog.

No trailers. 2 minivans, 1 pickup, 1 explorer.

 

With the trailer, we might have taken one less vehicle.

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The theory is that is you have a trailer, you only do drop and plop camping.   The second premise is the only real camping is backpacking.   I say false to both.

 

We use a trailer to haul gear that doesn't into the micro sedans of today.  Moms don't want dirt in the trunk of their Lexus so are unwilling to shuttle little jimmy to the camp out.  Troop has 6 or 7  twelve inch cast iron dutch ovens.  Couple bags of charcoal, few charcoal chimneys and couple of shovels to move around the coals.  Load that in the trailer and each patrol has an oven and supplies to cook for the weekend.  Troop has a cooking competition every camp out.   Most of the ASMs have full size pickups/SUVs and pull the trailer.   

 

Every campout has a planned activity.  Canoeing, rock climbing, hiking, or specific mini adventure (National White Water Center, etc.)

 

Troop sends a full crew to a high adventure base every year.  Rotates thru Philmont, Northern Tier, Seabase and Bechtel.  Depending on the trip that year, campouts include hiking, backpacking, or canoeing to get the crew ready and begin to train the younger scouts in those skills.  Drop and plop provides a base camp to sleep and eat while giving more time to do the planned activity.   Camp outs are not so much about camping but the activity. Pitching a tent, cooking, fire building etc is presumed to be simple and all troop members should be able to participate in those skills with confidence within 6 months of joining.  After that time, lets get on to the adventurous stuff. 

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Trailers?   It occurs to me that , in agreement with the corollary to Murphy's Law, that the "Stuff Collected Will Expand To Fill The Space (or trailer) Available".    ie,  if you have a trailer to pull, you will have the stuff to pull in it. 

 

So so true.  I've seen that with our trailer.  Gear expands to fit the size available.  I'd say over the last ten years, our trailer has over twice the weight of gear it had before.  What's been added ...

  • A large shelter ... pipes, roof, walls, etc.
  • Large propane stove
  • Two new propane lanterns
  • Propane stoves.  Still have most of our white gas stoves for cold weather camping.
  • Large propane cylinders.  
  • Small propane cylinders.  
  • Portable table
  • Multiple bins to store extra unmatched cooking gear.  Time to throw.  
  • Old tent poles ... just in cases
  • Extra dutch oven

Ya know when I start thinking about it ... one of the biggest causes of growth in our trailer is ... propane.  White gas packed tighter.  A gallon was enough to run a full week of everything.  Now, we need small and large cylinders.  New stoves ... and the stoves don't work in the cold and the stoves control cooking temperature poorly.  ... Where's the white gas when needed.... 

Edited by fred johnson
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this is something I have been thinking of these last few days

Our troop trailer was damaged by a falling tree during the recent tropical storm

So we're figuring out how best to move forward.  I haven't voiced it to the troop yet, just because i know it would be an unpopular belief, but I wonder if a smaller trailer wouldn't be better.  

 

Ours was a rather large enclosed dual axle trailer.  I figure that when loaded, it was probably too heavy for my half ton silverado.  There just isn't any sense in that, IMHO.

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Our trailer is our storage unit and we bring it camping with us, we also use it to store food overnight while camping. Prior to having a trailer,  it all stayed at a leaders house. Troop camping would be with 30+ scouts. Not all scouts had tents. Each patrol has their own cooking gear box. The troop has the tents, the stoves, the dutch ovens, etc. Fresh water jugs, wash basins for washing dishes, etc...Prior to the trailer it was always a couple adults having to make sure gear was loaded into someone pickup, car, whatever...Who has a car big enough to fit backpacks or coolers of food, etc. .With the the trailer all the gear is in there, it just made logistics better.  There's always been a leader in our troop with a pickup truck to tow the trailer. It works great, meet at the school, all scouts throw their personal gear/backpacks into the trailer and away we go. When the troop does smaller backpacking trips, that's a different story. It usually a smaller group of not brand new scouts, they pack light and they pack in and pack out. Not all "camping" has to be backpacking or light weight camping for it to be camping. There are two types of campers in my opinion. One type is campers who hike an the other is hikers who camp. Each trip requires it's own gear. Neither is right or wrong. We have a big campout where we run an iron chef competition. 4 or 5 patrols so each patrol gets a camp stove, a couple a dutch ovens, a folding table, a water jug, a lantern, etc...Who the heck wants to be loading that gear. Or trying to prepare food off a broken picnic table at some campsite, etc...For our troop the trailer works great.

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The convenience of bringing all that the troop has often compromises teaching scouts to plan and bring only what they need.

 

"Well we can't forget anything if we bring everything we got" ... Rarely have that luxury in the real world.

 

To use a trailer for an outing:

      - start with an empty, inspected  trailer.

      - have scouts (patrols) create an equipment list, food list, WATER

      - have scouts (or Quartermaster) inspect equipment

      - have scouts load trailer from list. Learning to load a trailer is a disappearing skill

      - check trailer lights

      - SPL asks QM if trailer ready to go

      - SM asks SPL if troop ready to go.

 

My $0.02,

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As a scout, I was in several troops.   One was very gear-heavy.    Five patrols, all equipped with a ton of stuff.  Heavy tents.  Old metal munition boxes that served as chuck boxes.  Etc.

 

Camp outs weren't much fun.  Hours spending loading trucks, unloading stuff at campsites, setting stuff up, taking stuff down, reloading said stuff, unloading it yet again, sitting on the side of the scout hut (an old WWII barracks) re-scrubbing stuff (with soap and cold water from the spigot) and refolding and repacking stuff, hauling it upstairs (second floor of the barracks was the quartermaster's realm).

 

We spent more time dealing with gear than anything else.  At least it seemed that way.

 

Once I was introduced to backpacking, I knew "this is the way to go." 

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This weekend: 13 scouts, 3 venturers, 4 drivers, and my dog.

No trailers. 2 minivans, 1 pickup, 1 explorer.

 

With the trailer, we might have taken one less vehicle.

Just a follow-up. Because we had a fourth vehicle, driven by parents who had no specific plans except to hang out at a B&B in the area, I had volunteers who could drive my venturers to their trail head, then take my van back to the extraction point -- no scouts having to wait while we shuttled vehicles. Moreover, there was a sick kid emergency, and they both being nurses and close to the kids' parents, were able to help me handle it without disrupting the venturers' plans.

 

Plus, the mom offered to chaperon crew activities should I need a female adult. Sometimes involving more parents on the weekend does help the program.

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