Scout Equipment

Personal Gear

The Troop does requires Scouts to have the BSA “field uniform” shirt (Class A), common sense dictates the purchase of a few items which the Scout will use often or items you may already own; use the items that work best for you. Please remember that we do not advocate any particular products or retailer and only make suggestions based on our personal experience. That said 'there are plenty of resources on the internet which suggest "essential items" for camping. If you look in the Scout Handbook at the section which covers packing your bag there is a list of 'essentials', BSA recommends items not brands. It's important to note that not all products serve equally well and doing some research, talking to experienced campers or people you trust and reading reviews can prevent repeated purchases.

Top on my list as SM are comfortable shoes and a quality sleeping bag.


HEALTH & SAFETY

BSA Health Forms A & B should be completed as soon as possible and are necessary to camp with the Troop (including Adults). It is important for Adult Leaders (CPR & Wilderness First Aid Trained) to understand medical concerns including limitations, medicines and allergies; and essential in an emergency situation.

Adults camping with the Troop or participating in events need to complete BSA Youth Protection Training providing the certificate to the Troop.


CLOTHING LAYERS

As you will spend a great deal of time on your feet, I believe that good fitting shoes appropriate for the outdoors are a necessary item. Waterproof or not is a tough question. Waterproof shoes are a little heavier and don't 'breath' as well but your feet stay dry in a downpour (but not forever), I would say it's not necessary.

Having rain gear is a prudent decision because it is important to stay dry in the camping environment; this includes a jacket (and pants) but "breathable" fabric is a wise consideration especially in warm climates. A rain jacket can also serve as a layer over a fleece jacket to provide warmth and wind blocking when a heavy coat is not called for.

Clothing for scouting is best in layers and using synthetics or wool.Synthetic or wool (socks, underwear, shirts, base layers, mid layers) breath and wick moisture away from your feet/body and will maintain your body heat even when wet where cotton will draw heat from you. "Base layers" of synthetic undergarments are appropriate for both heat and cold (i.e. long johns, long sleeve tops, UA underwear, T-shirts, Scout pants). The Troop does have a synthetic T-shirt which we generally keep in stock and serves as our "class-B" or “activity” shirt which is worn from June to September.

Most Scouts also have a fleece jacket (mid-layer) which will trap your body warmth but still breath. Fleece gloves and a watch cap are valuable in cool weather. A hat with a wide brim is suggested, sunscreen and chap stick is important for prolonged outdoor exposure and a whistle or other signaling device is important for emergency situations.


SLEEPING

The other really important purchase is a sleeping system (Pad, Bag, Sleep Sack). There are a multitude of sleeping bags available but basically fall into two categories: down or synthetic. Down is light-weight and very compactable but does not perform well when wet where Synthetic will keep you warm. I've never had a sleeping bag wet and have recently switched from Synthetic to Down. I keep both, using the down for cold weather and the synthetic when its warm. This is a major purchase and shouldn't be undertaken lightly, all (60°, 40°, 20°, 0°) bags are not the same (cost, material, style, brand, quality, rating) and a good bag will last you decades if properly maintained. Keep in mind that the rating on sleeping bags is more suggestion than tested and proven fact.

In addition to the bag a sleeping pad is recommended to keep your bag and body off the ground (providing a layer of insulation or R-value). Most scouts carry a closed cell foam pad (egg-carton), some have a self-inflating and a few carry fully inflating pads. Each has their pros and cons and like the research done earlier for rain gear a few minutes on the internet can save you a lot in the long run.

A nice item to get is a sleep sack. There are many available types: silk, synthetic, fleece and cotton each serving a niche. I always use a sack to keep my body sweat and dirt out of the sleeping bag (which isn't easy to clean) and to provide a few degrees of extra warmth when the temperature plummets. I also use it in the summer as an alternative to the sleeping bag which I still bring and sleep on top (providing another layer of cushion).

Scouts should bring one complete set of clothes for sleeping. Activity during the day will result in sweat which will permeate clothing and result in heat leeching from the body at night when you are sedentary.


STUFF

Necessary stuff to includes: a mess kit (plate or bowl, utensil/spork) and net bag to hang it in (to dry after cleaning - produce bags at the local grocery are sufficently sized and a bargain at 3 for $5), a head lamp (flashlight) which allows the Scout two free hands, a water bottle (Required) or two (label with a sticker or permanent marker) and a personal first aid kit.(as simple as bandaids and some gause in a zip-lock bag).

Additional items (not required) are a pocket knife (once you earn the totin' chip), an inexpensive base-plate compass, some carabineers, a piece of paracord (many applications). Once we talk about fire-building you can (not required) add some tools to your kit (striker, petroleum soaked cotton balls, paraffin).

I recommend keeping some baggies and zip- lock bags in your kit for emergencies. A set of work gloves are valuable when we do service projects where prolonged tool use may chafe hands and we're trying to start a pioneering program where gloves are necessary to pull enough tension on ropes. A watch is valuable to wear at summer camp so know when you need to be at events or meals but not required.


TRANSPORTATION

What do you carry all this stuff in? Many of the Scouts have backpacks but some do not (duffel). We are mostly a car camping Troop (which is defined as driving up to your camp site or relatively near and hiking only a short distance to the site) but we're trying to get lighter so less gear and smaller bags are preferrable. We are trying to rekindle our hiking skills your scout may want to get a backpack in the future but for the interim it's not a necessity.

We have a trailer for all the big gear and personal things are usually in the Scout's bag. If you choose to invest in a backpack please seek advice (as mentioned above) and go to a reputable dealer. One recommendation for Scouts is to always pack your bag the same way putting every item in the same pouch or zipped compartment so that you can get what you need if you can't see (in the middle of the night). There are two ways to keep gear dry, either a pack cover or waterproof bags placed in the pack.

Phones are a special consideration. The world changes and technology is a part of Scouting that we cannot ignore. Scouts may have cellphones on trips in vehicles while in transport but will leave all electronic devices in the vehicle for the duration of the event. Scouting is done in the outdoors, Adult Leaders will have communications for safety. Scouts will call home approximately 15-30 minutes before arrival at the VFW (return on Sunday) but note that there may be time required to clean gear once we arrive.


SUMMER CAMP

Resident camp (7 days) has its own requirements: a towel and flip-flops for showering, a toiletries bag with soap, tooth brush and paste (a Scout is Clean) and other essential personal items.


GEAR VENDORS

Alps Mountaineering - Camping and Mountaineering Gear

Amazon - Pretty much anything

Backcountry - Lot of Gear, moderate to expensive, Good Quality

Cabelas - Outdoor Gear Store

Campmor - Decent gear at a good price

Cheaper than Dirt - Low cost off-name brands and last years gear

Costco - Local - Rain Jackets, Base Layers, Socks, Boots, Sweaters (Mid Layers)

EMS - Eastern Mt. Sports

LL Bean - Expensive but Quality, Service and Guarantee

MooseJaw - Discount Camping Gear

REI - Recreational Equipmnet Inc - Expensive but Quality, Service and Guarantee

REI Garage - REI Discount Site

Scout Stuff - Official BSA Scout Store