May 3, 2008 at 8:19 pm #1228750
@ryanLocale: Northern Rockies
The increasing interest in lightweight backpacking for Scouts and Scouters has prompted the creation of this new forum. Enjoy, and please keep the discussions rated G for our younger members.Jun 8, 2008 at 9:30 pm #1437295
Thanks. Well needed.Jun 27, 2008 at 4:52 am #1440403
Hey guys, Our troop is going to Philmont in July. Can anyone post a picture or tell how they join 2 trekking poles for use with a tarp instead of bringing the heavy philmont poles? Doug Prosser directed me toward Mountain Laurel Design website where they show two poles connected for a shelter. He also mentioned black diamond making some sort of connector but I couldn't find anything on that. ThanksJun 27, 2008 at 5:20 am #1440405
Roger BBPL Member
@rogerbLocale: DenmarkJun 27, 2008 at 9:26 am #1440438
@mad777Locale: South Florida
I have a Hex 3 pyramid shelter that requires a tall pole.
I simply connected the hand straps together with a 1 oz carabiner, then wrapped two pieces of 2" wide velcro around the two poles, one above and one below the carabiner.
I keep the "pointy" ends covered with the plastic caps that come with trekking poles.
Works great, weights an ounce, and the carabiner can be used for other things during the day.
The carabiner I use is a CAMP USA nano 23 wire gate, 0.81 oz. $7.95 at REI.Jun 29, 2008 at 8:14 pm #1440752
Great! Thanks for the helpful information.Jul 2, 2008 at 9:19 pm #1441293
Douglas ProsserBPL Member
@daprosserLocale: Camarillo, California (SCAL)
Yes I was talking about the Black Diamond connector. It worked well. What will be interesting this trek is I'm using Mountain Laural Designs Sinntex MID with BPL Trek Poles that are not adjustible.Jul 3, 2008 at 8:00 pm #1441427
It seems the Black Diamond connector is not available. They do have them at Oware, thanks for the tip Roger. I had them throw a couple in with their Philmont silnylon tarp which I ordered for our trek.Jul 3, 2008 at 10:23 pm #1441444
@sdwhiteyLocale: Smoky Mountains
Check out the pictures from this review of the golite hex 3:Jul 3, 2008 at 11:43 pm #1441451
Douglas ProsserBPL Member
@daprosserLocale: Camarillo, California (SCAL)
One of the pictures for the MLD Spinntex MID shows how to tie the poles together.Jul 9, 2008 at 4:36 pm #1442232
@kirtcatheyLocale: US Citizen in Japan
This is cool! I thought I was the only person trying to shed a bunch of gear around here!Jul 16, 2008 at 8:56 pm #1443270
Some poles screw together without the need for a connector. I have some Leki Lawisond poles that work that way.Aug 5, 2008 at 1:40 pm #1445801
I apologize up front if this is not the place for this post. I am a Scouter and have been trying desperately to convince our Troop to go on weekend Backpacking trips. To no avail. I have pitched the lighten your load concept when the argument was "These boys would'nt last a weekend with Heavy Packs on there backs". I was hoping maybe there was a Scouter or two that was able to throw out an idea that may work to get the boys really interested.
Thanks for your time.
P.S. We live 30 miles east of Dallas, Texas and have some Ideas about where. We're really in the early stages.Aug 5, 2008 at 2:18 pm #1445808
@vickrhinesLocale: Central Texas
Remember, in Scouting, you lead by example. Go packing yourself, and contrive to let the kids know what you are doing without pushing it. Have you been to Wood Badge? There is a lot of wisdom there. For example, you should have a lot of time during meetings and campouts to sit around messing with some intriguing bit of backpacking gear while the senior patrol leader and the patrol leaders run the show. Maybe putting lighter drawstring in a stuff sack, fitting a new windscreen on a stove, something that will serve as a lure to get a kid or two to ask a question. Be ready with an appropriate answer such as, "I'm getting my pack weight under ten pounds for my next backpacking trip. Replacing this (whatever) will save a little weight and every bit helps."
Also, remember that the whole troop might not want to backpack. That is what patrols are for – consider them to be interest groups. You don't have to take the whole troop on a backpacking trip, only the ones who are interested. Your sole purpose and roles are to bring them back alive and to be the proximate adult, not to run the show. You might extend an open invitation to any patrol what wants to go on your next trek. Remember, also, you work through the patrol leaders. They do the leading and the scoutmaster is just there – as out of the way as possible. The structure is generations-old and it works.
Living in Dallas creates a problem for adventure-minded leaders. Kids grow up on the Grand Prairie with not a hill or forest in sight. It tends to stunt their imaginations. Dallas troops regularly travel to SE Oklahoma, western Arkansas (Ouachita), southern Missouri (Ozarks), Philmont Scouting Ranch, the Pecos Wilderness of New Mexico (highly recommended), and the Wimminuche Wilderness of south central Colorado (also a great area for scouts). Local Scouters are a great source of information and advice.
Those out-of-state destinations are a long way from home. Scout leaders in the Dallas area may have developed some nearby opportunities that could work for training trips, but to really give the kids the bug, you will have to go somewhere inspiring. That's unfortunate, but just the way it is. I grew up near there, so I speak from experience.
An alternative is river tripping. The Brazos and other rivers in the Dallas area provide good opportunities for treks of several days. (Be aware of the safety concerns with river trips.) It isn't backpacking, but you have to work with what you've got.Aug 5, 2008 at 2:42 pm #1445812
Ben 2 WorldBPL Member
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
Maybe "contrive" in stages: start with a day hike, and if the kids love it, then do a cabin outing the next time around. On this cabin trip, do a demo of a backpack that's ready for a weekender — and let the kids see for themselves that a weekender is really not much more of a burden then a cabin trip?Aug 5, 2008 at 2:45 pm #1445813
Jim ColtenBPL Member
It only took me eight years to accomplish that so maybe my advice ain't so useful … but I recruited another backpacking scouter to help me bootstrap the idea.
First trip we had 2 adults and 4 scouts. In the intervening eight years we've had up to two crews of 8-10 go on an annual 3 day SHT trip and have had Philmont contingents two years … 3 crews of 10 in 2007! Failed to win the Philmont lottery for 2009, hoping for 2010.
Given the number of TX crews I saw at Philmont (many many many from Houston, Austin or Dallas/Ft. Worth), you might want to connect with the folks who organize those "Council Contingents" for ideas on promoting.
Ditto the other suggestion of leading by example regarding how little is needed … I pack UL for all weekend events. Also consider trying to convince some folks to go "backpack car camping" … where they pack as for backpacking (light, not heavy or ultralight) with some backup gear that stays in the car only to be used is a real emergency and include a day hike with the gear used as part of the weekend's program.Aug 5, 2008 at 3:06 pm #1445818
John RoanBPL Member
If your boys already like "car camping", try a very short backpacking trip. Do it yourself prior to bringing the boys along so there are no big surprises for them. Start with a reasonably short/flat 1-2 mile hike to a nice base camp. From there, you can do day hikes with minimal gear, and have an easy bail-out plan back to the cars if needed. The idea is to learn allot from the first few trips…and ease into it so all have a good time.
Have them go through their backpacks when they return from each trip and make two piles…one for items they used, and a second for items they didnt. Some safety items that were not used, such as warm clothing, etc., may still be needed. But, this will help them sort out the luxury items and teach them how much different the experience can be with less weight.
Eventually, start going a bit further once you have some experience under your belts. The key is to start slow and make sure it is more "fun" than "grueling". This is especially true for the younger boys who haven't developed their muscle and lung capacity yet.
As your troop of backpackers grows, you may need to have invitation only trips for the boys that are ready for more, while continuing these introductory trips to keep the younger boys interested.
JohnAug 5, 2008 at 3:53 pm #1445828
Tad EnglundBPL Member
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
Micheal, sounds like you have a few to many "hovercraft" parents overly concern with a lack of knowledge.
When I started, my problem was the boys didn't mind going, they were just packing way to much and not having fun.
I planned an evening (regular troop meeting time) and invited all scouts and their parents and sent out a special invitation to any prospective 10/11 year old how might attend our troop to what I called "what a scout needs, to be a scout".
I set the room up with:
1. A number of tents and tarps, heavy to ultralight
(to see the differences)
2. Different sleeping bags, heavy to UL
3. 6 different backpacks, 50 lbs to 10 lbs (to try on)
4. Clothing layed out, heavy, medium and ultralight
5. Hiking essentials- heavy to UL
After a brief description of the scout handbook and uniform (our troop isn't big on the uniform) and other items, I proceeded to review all the gear and explain the use and need for each. I used the current scouts for models and help with the displays. They really got into the act and a number of times said “can I try this out?” Of course the answer was – Yes on our next outing!
I explained what I had done with some of the equipment and where it had been. The boys loved the stories (keep them short)
I agree with the other posters, you need to get the boys involved in the planning. I would just go ahead and let them plan an outing. They have to do it as part of the First Class requirements (plan an outing). Then GO ON THE OUTING! I wouldn’t worry about the other adults- you just need one of them to go with you (2 deep leadership).
BTW, how many boys do you have and what are the ages. It makes a difference in where how long and how far.Aug 5, 2008 at 8:33 pm #1445875
@eaglembLocale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
I grew up in suburban Dallas, and there are a fair amount of things to do. We often went south of Lake Ray Hubbard and camped next to the creek / outlet. There were enough woods and little hills (I'm in AZ now and look out at a couple of 3000' peaks from my backyard) that we had fun.
Check with your local council or roundtable, you should have more than enough resources in (assumed) Circle 10 council to set up a nice but easy introductory hike.
And, you're more than welcome to come out to Scottsdale Arizona and camp in my back yard in sight of the mountains or many of the other real mountains within 2 hours. Admission is a handful of Texas soil…:)
MikeAug 6, 2008 at 8:07 am #1445941
We had a PLC meeting last night and one of the older Scouts was complaining that we do not do enough for the older Scouts. So, I took the opportunity to once again bring up Daytrips, overnights, Etc.. He jumped all over it. Apparently the reason he has not been coming to meetings is because as he said it "You guys always want the older Scouts to teach younger Scouts but not have any input" (our mistake). The bottom line is the SPL has asked me to sorta demo the backpacking options out there. They are thinking Beavers Bend in Oklahoma or Devils Den in the Ozarks. I basically took the information here and let my peers read your responses and they got a little excited, so did the Scouts.
We are going to attempt 4 Backpacking trips this year! One will be a shakedown(Backpack only w/what they think should be packed) and learn to pack with a Dayhike. The next will be a Basecamp with the option for all who want to go with a couple of leaders for an overnight. We have not planned past that.
The demo I mentioned earlier will be including those "Hovering Parents" so we can better explain our goals.
There is an overwhelming amount of information available here, and I knew that, that's why I subscribed! Plus the fact that you guys are so darn helpful. Thank you so much for the feedback.
P.S. I will be taking Wood Badge in October.Aug 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm #1445999
@vickrhinesLocale: Central Texas
Wood Badge: good for you!Aug 7, 2008 at 5:28 pm #1446233
Scott BentzBPL Member
@scottbentzLocale: Southern California
When I was a younger scout the ONLY thing that kept me in was the backpacking. We would go up to the Sierras to hike. It was heaven. Catching and eating trout. Sleeping in a tube tent. Hiking next to a river. Pine trees.
When my kids got involved with scouting I started hiking again. We have been on one week long trip every year since they started and multiple overnighters. We just got back from Philmont. (they might as well call it Texas with all the troops there). For us It's easy. We can get to 7,000 ft. elevation in about 45 min. from my house. Cooler temps. in summer. Nice cold nights in fall.
Don't expect too much. Plan a trip so the scouts can hike away from a road and cars. Set up camp. Make good food. The scouts will have a blast playing in the dirt and on the rocks. Take a hatchet and teach them proper techniques and let them chop up some dead wood. Make a fire! There is always one good pyro. in the group. They will get up early so they can get the fire going. They will stay up late tending the fire. Good food will make a big difference. If you are car camping bacon, sausage, eggs, tortillas, salsa, pancakes, hot chocolate if it's cold are the best.
This is boy stuff (men get to do it too!!!!). This is what they should be doing. I really don't get the parents that are not willing to do it. They don't have to go. Most of our parents are glad to see their kids off with the adults that enjoy sleeping outside under the stars or in a tent. Keep it simple. Keep it light. Enjoy.
ScottSep 25, 2008 at 1:25 pm #1452224
Tube tent?? Man, do you have any idea how long it has been since I thought about those?Nov 6, 2008 at 8:55 am #1457817
We are going on our very first ever Troop Bacpacking Trip this month at Devils Den in Arkansas. It is a 15 mile loop with a designated site for camping at 9.5 miles. If anyone has any helpfull hints about DD I would greatly appreciate it. This is a first step and some of our adults and smaller Scouts will be setting up Base Camp(Their Choice). I am still trying to convince my piers to try lightening up but, I think they will figure this out on their own. Thanks for all the ideas. For those interested I completed Wood Badge Training and have started working my Tickets. Thanks Again!Nov 6, 2008 at 11:50 am #1457855
I think the $5 "Lighten Up" CD was some of the best money I've ever spent. Showed it at the troop meeting the other night, and the boys really paid attention. And judging by all the questions adults had after the meeting, some gears were really turning.
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