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Scouter Rick


 
Boy Scout Troop 750
(Henrietta, New York)
 
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One Event a Month...


We strive to go camping every month, giving our youth the opportunity to develop teamwork and leadership skills, learn scouting essentials, and grow as a person.

Permission slips for a trip are almost always due a few days before the trip. Usually the due date given on a permission slip aligns with the food shopping night for the trip. This allows us to purchase the correct amount of food for the trip. Scouts shop for food for camping trips as a troop. Shopping will happen early in the week before the camping trip, often on Monday or Tuesday night. We meet at Subway at Walmart in Henrietta at 7pm. Scouts who are attending a trip are expected to be present when we are shopping for the trip. Adults do not shop for the scouts. Occasional exceptions happen, speak to the Scoutmaster in advance if this is necessary.

Trips nearly always begin at 6pm on Friday evenings, and we do our best to return to the Scoutmaster's house between 10am and noon on Sunday mornings. We reach out to families via phone calls, text, Facebook, and Remind from the road once we have a good feeling for our return time. 

Troop gear is currently stored in the Scoutmaster's garage. It is for this reason that trips start and end at the Scoutmaster's house. All the Scouts who are participating in a weekend camping trip are expected to be present from packing on Friday through unpacking on Sunday. As with shopping, exceptions happen, please speak to the Scoutmaster in advance.

The Troop provides tents, stoves and other equipment for camping trips. This equipment is expected to be treated as if the Scout or Scouter owned it. If any damage to Troop equipment is done in a negligent manner, the Scout or Scouter is expected to replace such equipment or pay for repair.

After nearly every outing, each tent used on the trip must be dried and cleaned. The tents will go home with one of the Scouts that used it. In return for having had the use of the tent, the Scout is expected to set it up or or hang it, dry it out, sweep it out, note any repairs to be made, and, in general, care for it. It should then be packed and returned at the next Troop meeting.

Basic Personal Camping Equipment


The following is the standard list of gear that boys should bring to camp whenever the troop goes camping:

Sleeping Gear 
  • sleeping bag
  • sleeping pad
  • ground cloth
  • pillow
Mess Kit 
  • spoon, fork, knife
  • plate
  • bowl
  • cup
  • water bottle
Cleanup Kit 
  • deodorant
  • soap
  • toothbrush & toothpaste
  • towel & washcloth
  • comb 
Personal Items
  • medications
  • Boy Scout Handbook
  • compass
  • flashlight
  • watch
  • camera
  • pen/pencil
  • notebook
  • swimsuit
  • tissues
  • toilet paper
  • bug spray
  • chair
  • playing cards 
Clothes
  • Class-A uniform (we always travel in our Class A's)
  • Class-B Shirt
  • socks
  • underwear
  • undershirts
  • long pants
  • shorts
  • short/long sleeve shirts 
  • sweatshirt
  • jacket/coat
  • sleepwear
  • hiking boots
  • sneakers
  • poncho
  • warm hat/wool cap
  • gloves 
  • optional - hand warmers

You should strongly consider packing everything inside a giant trash bag, and packing clothing in zip-top bags, either sorted by day or clothing type.

Permission Slips


Permission slips are important.  They:
  • must be signed and turned in by the date noted on the slip.  This is essential for food planning.
  • grant Adult Leaders permission to have the Scouts in their care.
  • grant (or deny!) Adult Leaders permission to administer over-the-counter medicine to Scouts in their care.
  • help in planning travel arrangements for trips.
  • authorize the deduction of event fees from your Scout Account.
Permission slips are available at weekly meetings in paper format.  They can be emailed electronically by request.

Clothing Tips


Cotton is bad.  Cotton does not wick moisture, it does not keep you warm when it gets wet and unfortunately it does not dry out very quickly. Minimize the amount of cotton you bring on a Scout outing (camping, hiking, etc). Yes, this includes sweatshirts, T shirts, socks, briefs, Jeans, etc. Hoodies are not rain coats!

Go light. Keep the weight of gear in mind. Many trips can be called "car camping" but we sometimes do go on backpacking trips. It’s best to start getting low weight gear now instead of heavy gear now and buying another set later. Light gear tends to be more expensive so prioritize purchases on the important stuff first. 

Where did my ___ go? Things do get lost. Knives, headlamps, compasses - anything small and expensive will be the first to go. We suggest not going overboard and buying expensive versions of anything that’s likely to get left, broken or misplaced.  Put your name on everything.

Essential Gear


Pocket Knife: Wait. Even though they may have a knife from Webelos, Scouts need to get their Totin’ Chit before they can use a pocket knife on outings.  Once trained, a basic, inexpensive folding pocket knife is best. 

Matches and Fire starter:  Wait. Scouts need to earn their Firem'n Chit before they can use fire on outings.  No lighters.  

Compass: Buy.  A standard base plate compass, like the Silva Starter 1-2-3, or similar.  

First Aid Kit:  Do not buy one.  We will make personal first aid kits during a meeting.

Sun Protection: SPF 30 or higher.

Rain Gear:  Buy.  Gore Tex and other breathable waterproof fabrics are ideal, but expensive, especially when they will be growing out of a number of jackets between the ages of 11 to 17.  A simpler solution is a poncho.

Water Bottle:  Buy.  Simple and cheap.  Even if you get a backpack with a Camelbak water system in it, have a water bottle as well.  At least 1 quart or larger, plastic or metal. 

Flashlight:  Buy a headlamp. You can get a decent, high quality LED headlamp for about $15. Headlamps fall into the category of things that are likely to be lost or broken.  Don’t spend too much here.

Mess Kit:  No glass or ceramics - metal or plastic recommended.  Small.  The entire kit should fit in a gallon sized zip-top bag, with the bag still able to be closed, and that's still a little big.  For most outings, a spoon, a fork, a bowl and a cup are all you’ll need.  In fact, a simple plastic bowl that Kool Whip or some other food came in and a plastic spoon and fork will work in a pinch.

Sleeping Bag:  Buy.  If you’re going to spend some money, invest in a decent, lightweight sleeping bag. Avoid a down-stuffed bag for Scouts because we live in a wet climate and down stops working when it gets wet.  Avoid a cotton bag for the same reason.  There are low-weight, low cost bags available.  We suggest a 3 season bag (20-40 degree*).  You may want to consider a -10-0 degree* bag for our winter camping.  You want to balance weight (under 3lbs), size (does it compress well?) and cost.  The bag should compress to under 9” x 16”. Mummy-style bags are generally warmer than rectangular bags but may not be comfortable for some people.  A great resource for choosing a sleeping back is at rei.com: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/sleeping-bag.html.

* degree ratings do not mean "this bag will keep you warm if you sleep in it when dressed for bed at home."  A rating means "this bag will keep you warm at this temperature range if you are dressed for the weather."

Sleeping Bag Liner: Make or Buy.  A liner is nothing more than a flannel blanket with zippers to make it match the size and shape of your sleeping bag.  You can simply bring a blanket along in your sleeping bag for extra warmth, especially in the early spring or late fall to suppliment your bag.  In the summer, you may choose to use only the liner on top of your bag.

Sleeping Pad:  Buy.  You need something between your bag and the ground.  Scouts generally can sleep on anything.  A simple closed-cell sleeping pad will do. The majority of your weight is placed on your torso, so the pad does not necessarily need to be longer then knee length. You can use your pack to insulate your feet from the ground.

Backpack with rain cover:  Wait a bit before buying this.  There are two classes of packs: internal and external frames.  Scouts tend to like to have what the other guys have and the other guys generally gravitate toward internal frames.  It’s largely personal preference.   Your best bet is to go to EMS or another sporting goods store and try one on.  Load some stuff in it and have your Scout walk around a bit.  It’s very important that the pack fit.  This is why you should wait.  A pack sized for a 10-year-old won’t do for a 15-year-old.  We have several packs we can lend in the mean time.  If you get a pack at EMS they can fit it to the Scout.  Three season hikes should not take more than a 50L pack.  The rain cover can be as simple as a large trash bag.  Don't underestimate the value of this cover on a damp or rainy trip!

EMS has a great web site.  Here is information on choosing a pack, fitting a pack, and loading a pack. Well worth the read and watching the videos.

Footwear: All new Scouts can use the sneakers that they wear for everyday use for camping.  Since these boys are constantly growing out of shoes, don’t purchase expensive shoes for hiking.  Their current sneakers will do fine as long as they are not completely filled with holes and have some tread left on the bottoms, and are able to be tied tightly. When you look at new sneakers, consider purchasing running, or even better, trail-running shoes instead of items like "skate" shoes.

Boots:  Boots are important for winter wear, for warmth, for genuine hiking, for deeper-woods trails and for climbs.  Don’t get expensive boots, the most affordable "real boots" that you can get in Walmart or Target will do.

Clothing appropriate for the season and weather: 

Base or Wicking layer: From shirts to boxers/briefs, you want the layer of clothes closest to your skin to move the moisture (from sweat, rain, etc) away from your body (to wick) so that your body can properly stay warm.  Cotton does the opposite.  There are a number of synthetic materials like Coolmax, Capilene, and others that work well for this base level.  You can find clothes made from this at EMS and other sporting goods stores.  The same rule applies for socks.  In addition to these synthetic materials, wool provides the right combination of cushion, wicking and warmth. 

Insulation layer: This is the next layer out. We dress in layers, often piling on 4 or 5 smaller layers instead of 3 big ones. Generally this layer is your fleece layer. Look for fleece jackets of various thicknesses and sizes at thrift stores. 

Outerwear:  Depending on the season, a light nylon windbreaker may be all you need (especially if you have enough insulation layers). Generally this layer serves to protect you from wind and/or rain. Check thrift stores here as well.

Winter Camping


In the winter, we think about these things:

Conduction (touching something cold): Make sure that your sleeping bag is rated for winter camping, at least down to 20 degrees. You want to definitely bring a sleeping pad/mat to place between your sleeping bag and the cold ground. When winter camping some people use two. You do not want that cold seeping into you.

Convection (a cold draft): Your sleeping bag should close tightly at the top, and may even have a “draft tube” to keep cold air from leaking in around the zipper. Some campers bring a fleece blanket to layer inside the bag, which provides extra warmth and reduces the amount of air inside the bag to heat.

Perspiration (sweat): A dry change of clothes before sleeping is an absolute must. Do not sleep in the clothes you wore all day. Even if you cannot feel it, perspiration has made those clothes slightly damp. Also, wear fleece, polyester or wool – these fabrics wick your perspiration away and leave you dry. Cotton long underwear or pajamas will get damp and chill you. You may already own some of the appropriate clothing – fleece pajama bottoms or Under Armor / Starter athletic clothing. Remember wool or fleece socks too!

Radiation: A hat is a must. We lose an amazing amount of heat through our heads. Capping off your head prevents this. Dressing in layers also helps prevent our bodies from losing heat. Wear a wool watch hat to pull down over your face and a neck gator up to your chin.

Respiration: Breathing in frigid air can cool you down too. Tents hold in no more than 5 degrees so if it is 35 outside it will be no more 40 in the tent. Tents also greatly reduce wind chill. A face mask, gator or scarf over the nose mouth can warm up the air you breathe. Snuggling down in your sleeping bag can also create a warmer pocket of air.