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Starting backpacking in a troop of young scouts

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This could almost be a thread of its own, but the phenomenon you describe amazes me too.


Now personally my hierarchy is

1) a flushy, 2) kybo, 3) cat hole (although high summer in a crowded camp can make me want to switch 2 and 3). But a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.


Yet I have several scouts who have been camping for years who will hold it in all weekedn or more. I simply don't understand how fastidiousness can be worth that kind of discomfort.

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I think its easier to start backpacking with a group pf uyounger scouts that older one. The younger ones who have not experience "car camping at its finest" do not know you need the kitchen sink and accompanying accoutrements to really get away from it all will learn how to open and light a sterno can and use a sterno stove. They can graduate to more sophisticated stoves later. They don't have to carry their equipment far at first, have them walk in a few miles, set up camp and then spend the day hiking a loop back to camp. If they cook and sleep in buddies you lose a lot of trouble with who is cooking, who is cleaning, they know as buddies they cook and clean up and then move on.


Start the expectation every trip is backpacking style even if it isnt and where are you located? I need a unit to join

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I forgot to mention, we're doing a perimeter trail of a scout camp. It's a basic trail and total of ten miles over two days with two really cool water crossings.


Re: Catholes, we've done some cathole training and will do more. Our SPL (my son) has learned to love the orange shovel.


He sent out an e-mail to the scouts yesterday reminding them to bring some toilet paper because "mine of for me."


Seriously, due to logistics, our campsite is a regular campsite so we'll have all the comforts of hom, but we're going to try to be as minimalist as possible. The older boys are doing a no stove trip, just because.


I'm debating leaving the tents at camp and still haven't decided on that course of action yet. I want it to be fun but also real.


Cool part is that we're going to be hiking right through the middle of a district wide Cub Scout Camporee. It will be a good opportunity for them to see the fun of scouts.

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Sometimes the lightweight gear can be expensive. But there are alternatives available around the house.


I know some units provide gear like tents, stoves, and patrol cook kits. Most states have some type of surplus resource for non-profits, so I'd lookt here for some stuff.


get them out and moving!

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"I forgot to mention, we're doing a perimeter trail of a scout camp. It's a basic trail and total of ten miles over two days with two really cool water crossings. "


Could you do a figure-eight hike? Set up the base camp, hike out to the perimeter, hike half of it, return to base at night. Next day hike the other half. That way Scouts will only need to carry canten/water bottle, rain gear, personal first-aid kit, signal whistle, all-purpose paper, trowel, hand cleaner, a sack lunch and maybe a snack.



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Backpacking without a backpack??? :)


The day hike idea is good for hiking, but the boys need to learn to pack minimally to travel from one site to the next. Taking a water bottle and a snack isn't backpacking for me. Nice idea for an initial outing of base camp for newbies. They take down their tents and flies in the morning, leave in camp but take as much gear as they are currently physically able, and when they return in the afternoon, reset up camp. The weight training would be necessary to eventually do it with full pack of minimal gear.



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I'm with OGE on this one: Start 'em young.


In large Webelos III Eagle Mills, the very best thing about backpacking is that real Backwoods Adventure filters out all the indoor adults and indoor boys.


1) Expense: Why buy two of everything? Some High Adventure Troops use the same lightweight equipment for BOTH backpacking AND "plop" camping:




2) Weight: We park the water (and some equipment for the very small Scouts) at the destination, in areas where none is available. Older Scouts carry more than their share of the load. Our simple "Ten Things" Equipment List ("Pack It, Wear It, Share It, Leave It Home") works well for fair weather in the deep south:




3) Distance: We started with less than 1/2 mile, just to wean them from the Troop trailer. Now we divide into two Patrols with a common destination: The mature Scouts pick their own route and hike about eight miles per day (the Baden-Powell Patrol Hike standard) without any adult supervision. This ad hoc Patrol is self-selected (by invitation only): Mostly older Scouts with a couple cool small Scouts (the older boys carry most of their weight).


The less mature Scouts hike in the general vicinity of the adults, on a shorter route: Sometimes two miles per day for Camping Merit Badge, sometimes just a mile. We all meet up in the afternoon, where the Patrols camp at least 300 feet apart.


Here are some YouTube videos of us (note the open use of electronics on the trail):




4) Purpose: William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt said "A Hike is a Walk with a Purpose." The same is true for backpacking. Make sure the trip is an adventure with an interesting destination. We started with "Backwoods Fishing Trips." See Theme Hikes:




5) Poop School: When new Scouts backpack we conduct a comprehensive seminar based on funny stories about how to poop in the woods: How to squat, keep your balance, how to avoid peeing or pooping on your pants, plus tips on the "Sport of Pooping" with practical advice on bombardier accuracy. A report to your Patrol upon your successful application of Poop Theory makes you a Poop School Graduate. A Graduate who then teaches Poop School earns his PhD (yes, Piled Higher and Deeper is still funny to eleven-year-olds).


I'm looking for Poop School patches if anyone knows of some pre-existing badges with a possible double meaning....


Yours at 300 feet,




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"Boots boots boots......Before you leave always check their foot wear and send the boy home in converse or keds.... No traction or protection. "

There's a lot of choices in footwear between Keds and boots. Trail runners are fine for backpacking and I recommended them to my Philmont crew.

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Philmont isn't like real backpacking.....


Never had to step over a log there or deal with seriously eroded trails.......Trails are nearly as smooth as city park trails.....


Not dogging it.....But is a heck of a lot different than any backpacking trail system I have ever walked.


Eagle if your troop is an outdoor troop, you need different types of footwear......


Foot wear is like golf clubs.


I have rubber knee high boots for council winter events, mud, I have Leather GTX winter boots, I have a mid weight GTX boot for weekends with rain in the forecast and a pair of mesh boots for mid summer no rain weekends......I have trail runners that I use in the city parks.....



So I hope the boys who bought trail runners have walked a bunch of miles in them with a full packs, .... They do not provide enough support for me with a full pack.

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Some Philmont trails are all rock and will eat up jogging or "approach" footwear and the feet inside such. Other trails are like a city park. Your itinerary can include 18 trail miles with 3500 vertical foot climb and no water after Noon or at the night's campsite. Seems fairly real.

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