May 11, 2010 at 1:56 pm #1258817
Companion forum thread to:May 11, 2010 at 10:32 pm #1608993
@daprosserLocale: Camarillo, California (SCAL)
I have been at the same place with the heavy gear when my boys started Scouting. Boy if I only knew then what I know now I would have a lot less gear in my garage.
Good article. It brings back those memories. After carrying those light loads now go and carry someone's 50 pound pack for a while then you will really remember why you went light.May 12, 2010 at 12:44 am #1609011
Great read. Thanks for sharing. It should be mandatory reading for all hiking scouts ! Regards.May 12, 2010 at 6:47 am #1609045
Great article! Like you, my son and I went through cub and boy scouts together too. We did a little backpacking with the scouts but mostly car camping. All the troop's gear was waaay to heavy for backpacking. My son, now 20, has been backpacking with me since he could carry his own pack (around 6 yrs old). He doesn't get to go with me much these days, he's away at college, but when we do go I'll be able to keep up with him with my lighter gear!
Enjoyed your article, very smart, good advice, thanks!May 12, 2010 at 7:36 am #1609059
@ssejhillLocale: Western NY
Thanks for the story. It's great that you are sharing your found wisdom with the next generation. I aspire to be able to do the same with my girls and their friends.May 12, 2010 at 7:39 am #1609061
@einsteinxLocale: The Netherlands
"(Hiking)….it's not a cheap hobby, but it's less expensive than being a two-channel stereo audiophile, and better for you."
Just imagine being both an audiophile AND a BPL-er, like me… Luckily both (!) my turntables have already been bought many years ago. Now I'm looking for a Marantz tube amplifier and my collection of backpacks has been stagnant at a dozen for more than two years already and I need new hiking shoes and I need lighter trekking poles and I need a new bicycle and and and…..
The problems of a gear head.
EinsMay 12, 2010 at 9:27 am #1609096
Great story! I converted to ultralight backpacking during scouts too.
We went on a 6 day trip in the Weminuche Wilderness of Colorado. I remember weighing my pack at just shy of 50lbs. I also remember that I weighed 110lbs! Almost 50% of my body weight! On the second hiking day of the trip, I had to carry the group trash. The added load forced me to stop every hundred feet to rest for the whole hike.
I was convinced that backpacking could be better. When I returned I hit the internet and found the then handful of ultralight backpacking sites. Today, I am gearing up for a Colorado Trail thru hike this July with a base around 8lbs. It is hard to imagine how I thought that a 50lb pack was backpacking.
I think that scouts are the perfect canidates for ultralight backpacking. They are less likely think that camping under tarps, using cat food can stoves, and sleeping on 10 dollar foam pads is trashy.
If you have sons in scouts or a troup near you get out there and give a presentation about how ultralight backpacking can change the way you experience the backcountry!May 12, 2010 at 9:44 am #1609103
@cuzzettjLocale: NorCal - South Bay
I love this article. I wonder when we ar going to start having Scouting related articles that cover "How to Pack" and "What to Pack". "How" drives me crazy.
But Mom's Yoga mat (Logo Included) covered in cotton that is 3 inches thick may be comfortable. But the anguish in her son's eyes as he struggles up the hill, items falling off of his pack, oversized items in the arms, devistates me. I didn't know do a good turn daily would add to my load. But it often does. Especially since I knew this boy when he was a Tiger Scout (read 6 years old here). Do a good turn daily, right?
Thank goodness this is how we teach the new boys. Park the cars at the bottom of the hill and let them head "up" to camp for their gear. No more than a 1/4 mile. Lesson learned? I think so. At least it gives them a starting point.May 12, 2010 at 7:41 pm #1609285
Thanks Frank. Your insights are encouraging. It may encourage you (and other Scouters) that when I took my Council's backcountry training, the first thing they did was weigh our packs. Scout backpacking is becoming more weight-wise.
I'm helping to teach a group of younger Scouts who have yet to try their first backpacking trek (planned for next month). I still have a long way to go myself. This community is helpful.May 13, 2010 at 5:20 am #1609374
@dancerLocale: Southeast USA
Frank.. I tried out several things before I found out what gear works best for me. As an ex girlscout and explorer scout I would love to donate my extra gear to your cause. If you are interested please send a PM with your shipping address and I will send it to you.May 13, 2010 at 12:23 pm #1609498
PM sent. There have been others on BPL as well who have donated to our troop.
Thanks to all of you!May 14, 2010 at 7:06 am #1609725
@james-cowderyLocale: Central Florida
I too am a scouter. My first trip was with over 50 lbs and included a kitchen sink! I just got off an 80 mile AT section with my brother, also a scouter. It was his first extended backpacking trip and we averaged just over 12 miles per day.
I started at 18 lbs including my "elephants" and he was at 21 with more "elephants." It would have been a much different experience if he had packed with his normal "scouting" attitude which includes almost every piece of gear you can imagine.
Thanks BPL for the help in changing my attitude!May 19, 2010 at 2:40 pm #1611371
ABO HAMDAN alfowzanMember
ThanksMay 23, 2010 at 4:29 pm #1612871
Great article, I can definetly relate. I wish all the bset to your troop in it's new LW endevours!May 29, 2010 at 10:35 pm #1615176
Great story. I'm the new ASM for a brand new patrol and it gives me hope for what we can accomplish ourselves. The only thing I want to point out is that the BSA doesn't allow the boys to use alchohol stoves. Other than that keep up the great work!Jun 9, 2010 at 4:29 pm #1618425
@wunderLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
The BSA forbids homemade alcohol stoves.
Alcohol as a fuel is "not recommended", but it is not forbidden.
So, commercial alcohol stoves are within the range of allowed stoves.
I agree, a liquid fuel stove requires more care than something like an MSR Pocket Rocket. I would have the younger Scouts use a stove like that.
I like my SuperCat stove, and think it is a great example of "A Scout is Thrifty".
I'm ASM for the Venture Patrol (13 and up), Troop 14, Palo Alto.Jun 9, 2010 at 6:21 pm #1618465
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
Walter, this is from the BSA website GSS-
"Prohibited Chemical-Fueled Equipment—Equipment that is handcrafted, homemade, modified, or installed beyond the manufacturer’s stated design limitations or use. Examples include alcohol-burning “can” stoves, smudge pots, improperly installed heaters, and propane burners with their regulators removed."Jun 9, 2010 at 7:03 pm #1618476
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> Prohibited Chemical-Fueled Equipment—Equipment that is handcrafted, homemade,
> modified, or installed beyond the manufacturer’s stated design limitations or use.
> Examples include alcohol-burning “can” stoves,
So it's OK to give a Boy Scout an XGK running on white gas with the MSR recommendation for 'fireball' priming, but it is not OK to let him use a small alky tea-light stove?
CheersJun 9, 2010 at 7:25 pm #1618485
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
I agree Roger- but I think it is a lawyer thing.
I think they need to rethink this issue. The might be letting liability get in the way of their core values.Jun 25, 2010 at 5:31 am #1623258
@raven333Locale: New York
Actually in the Greater New York Counsel all liquid fuel stove are out of bounds. I was recently doing a cooking demo where I had a number of stoves to show the pros/cons of each
MSR Dragon Fly
Brasslite Turbo IID
White Box Alcohol Stove
and was told I couldn't use most of them in camp. I was a little disappointedJun 25, 2010 at 7:53 am #1623289
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
It's a problem with organizations. They are looking for the common good and things drop to the lowest common denominator. In this case that means fire and CO emitting equipment in the hands of children and uninformed adults. People kill themselves all the time using fuel heaters indoors, etc, etc, etc. And then there are insurance companies…
That aside, it looks like Esbit stoves would be a good UL option for the Scouts. For those councils that allow liquid fuels, there are certainly decent manufactured alcohol stoves like the Trangia. The 28-T would make a reasonable Scout cooking kit.
Any option needs some adult supervision with the younger ones. There are some brain/reality disconnects with kids and firebugs can pop up now and then.Jul 7, 2010 at 12:09 pm #1626990
Rodger, the policy is rediculous but they may not even allow a "fireball priming" MSR. When I was an ASM they were forcing us to convert or replace our white gas Colman stoves to propane. Insurance risks were too high. It sounds to me like inattentative leaders not properly training their charges.Jul 26, 2011 at 5:21 pm #1763348
I'll weigh in a bit. A good share of BSA's struggle are the local council and district leaders.
One issue about teaching Scouts low impact/lightweight camping is the structure of the outings themselves. Camporees, for example, are more about creating base camps similar to backyard picnics–tables, heavy stoves, units dependent on trucks,large SUV's, and leaders sleeping in trailers, campers, and even RV's and cabins on the outing sites. At one camporee I attended the Camp Director was so obese he traveled from troop campsite to campsite in a bloody golf cart!
At the district level, I proposed an expedition-type theme camporee. We have a local mountain with several campsites suitable for large groups. Boys and their units would "climb the mountain" (a 3-4 hour walk) with only their backpacking type gear. A "safety vehicle" would be onhand for any med issues. Much of Tenderfoot, 2nd, and 1st Class requirements could be completed as well as much of the Backpacking and Hiking merit badge tests. The State park rangers were key to it as well and agreed they could come up with a mix of service project ideas for a two hour period.
It was rejected because it was too "high adventure" and some of the adults could not keep up with the boys or even walk that far. I made no sense and I retreated from leadership roles beyond my own unit. The issue wasn't the BSA lawyers, it was the some of the Scouter's themselves.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.