Lightweight Scouting Dissertation
Jan 9, 2012 at 9:18 am #1283894
Thanks to all for their help on this, whether directly or through your posts that I read.
Please distribute as you see fit.
I'd also like to expand and improve upon this over time, removing the limitations I imposed, so contact me if you have anything to add, change, suggest, etc. Hopefully, it will be a benefit to Scouts everywhere.Jan 9, 2012 at 10:15 am #1822154
Looks very good. I liked your idea of mentioning trips by Jordan and Skurka and pointing out they were in scouts. Has it been approved yet or are you waiting to find out?Jan 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm #1822239
It will be approved. They might ask for corrections or more footnotes perhaps. I had sent my first draft a while back and they were fine with that other than no footnotes at the time. It's much better now (like the idea from Phil Barton to add Jordan/Skurka, for example).Jan 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm #1822271John MyersBPL Member
@dallasLocale: North Texas
Looks like a lot of work went into that. Nicely done.
If you edit it further, it would be nice to include more pictures. Seems like the Scouts always respond well to photos, especially if they are of gear in nice settings. :)
If you are ok with it, I would like to make it available to our troop as we prepare for a Philmont trek this summer.
JohnJan 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm #1822276
As I said, distribute as you see fit. I'd rather see it be of benefit to people. I'd also hope we could expand it.
The pics were a last minute addition. Would be nice have better ones, but that was the best I could find and I wanted to keep it clean. Several of MikeC's would be ideal, but I didn't like borrowing a few pics without express permission as it was.Jan 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm #1822328
I'm not a professional photographer but if you want pictues I have lot if you'd like some.Jan 9, 2012 at 6:53 pm #1822383
If anyone has pictures (especially with Scouts in them) that would go well in a particular place, I'd be happy to add them. Just tell me where they should be.
One of my main challenges was MY troop doesn't backpack yet. It's been quite frustrating, but we'll get there eventually.Jan 11, 2012 at 8:25 am #1823151
It has been accepted, but they said it was fine if there were things I wanted to add so any last minute critiques are welcome!Jan 22, 2012 at 12:08 am #1827984Kai LarsonBPL Member
Good summary. I don't agree with your conclusions regarding goretex footwear, however.
I happily wear goretex shoes. Particularly in snowy conditions, I like being able to keep my feet dry. I hate hiking with wet, cold squishy shoes/socks.Jan 22, 2012 at 9:24 am #1828083
You'll note winter was one exception to perhaps wearing boots, but winter wasn't within the parameters. I'd still caution on Goretex type footwear depending on the type and level of the snow but they can work just fine as you know. I haven't hiked much in mine yet, but I do know my feet can sweat quite a bit in them.Jan 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm #1828180Kai LarsonBPL Member
My scout outings are typically in the mountain West. We hike in the Rockies, and can get snow in July. Where you're from, I guess that isn't an issue.
I have hiked many hundreds of miles in Goretex footwear. I guess I just don't understand your caution (other than price.)Jan 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm #1828185
Michael I looked over it again and I really like the way its come together. Very good work. Its something I would give to someone who was new to UL backpacking whether they were scouters or not. Make a few common sense modifications and it works for anyone.
I like that you included Andy Skurka's new book in the bibliography. I can't wait to read it but I'm guessing it will be a good resource.Jan 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm #1828203
It's not just me that cautions against Goretex footwear. Unless you're not going to be walking through creeks the majority of people here don't wear them either. Aside from price and inability to dry they are also heavier than a similar shoe without it.
My trips have been in the mountains, but no snow I've had to hike through yet. I'd still wear normal trail runners just like most PCT thru-hikers do. Might change what type and thickness of socks depending on how extensive it was.Jan 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm #1828208
As some others here have discovered, it could be useful as a newbie gear primer. As I pointed out they could save more weight and money by going to items not covered because of BSA rules (alchy stoves) or patrol method (solo tents & cook kits). Maybe I should add a chapter for non-BSA, too?
I hope his book his good. I was disappointed by his sample chapter but it sounds like he's really changed and added quite a bit since then.Jan 22, 2012 at 3:55 pm #1828209
I think the book will be good. From what I've seen of Andy Skurka's gear lists I don't think there will be anything shockingly new, just good common sense UL stuff. It appears to be well illustrated so that will make it an easier read for non-gear geeks. I also think it makes UL more credible to a skeptic. Gotta admit Andy has an impressive hiking resume
As far as your article goes I think you could easily modify it and turn it into a basic backpacking guide. I wonder if you could get it published somewhere?Jan 22, 2012 at 5:49 pm #1828273
I have no interest in publishing. I'd rather just keep it in PDF format though I do wish it were more of a community effort (like open source software).Jan 25, 2012 at 7:14 pm #1829747David BMember
Well done! Bravo!
A few comments:
Hand sanitizer and soap: Personally, I think hand sanitizer is a waste of space. I put a little Boraxo powdered soap in a small spice container. One ounce lasts a really long time; it weighs less than bar soap and never turns gooey.
Dehydrated food: It might be worth mentioning that dehydrated EVERYTHING is available online.
Patrol tarp: 8×10 or 10×12 silnylon. Not a must-have, but a really-nice-to-have. Especially in the rain.
Packing: Your drawing showing how to pack your pack is great!
Kitchen: Consider adding paper towels to the list. Scouts like them, and might use TP if not PT is available. Gross.
Again, nicely done. Thanks for doing this.Jan 30, 2012 at 9:31 pm #1832061Daniel SmartBPL Member
I've been a Scoutmaster for several years and took many Scouts backpacking. I totally agree that one scout with too much gear can ruin the whole trip for everyone. It is every hard to have a proper shakedown, but I now think its mandatory. Too bad about Alky stoves. I think the boys would have a great time making them and using them.
I think its good to give this info to new Scout dads, so they understand what good gear is and avoid buying inappropriate stuff too early.
Thanks for your hard work. I will read it in detail and may make some suggestions.
-=Dan=-Mar 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm #1856656
The PDF is great and I hope to convince others in our troop to read it carefully.
I know this post is a bit late, but I just returned from a scout hike this weekend and still see packs far heavier than needed and scouts hunched over for miles carrying them. This weekend, one of the scouts came with a 105 # pack that actually had 2 dumbbells in it.
Part of the issue (IMO) is that scouts are frequently told that carrying this mass is the way to build up strength and endurance. They are encouraged to carry extra weight. Additionally, the Be Prepared rule is used as an excuse to carry unneeded gear. Some overpack in anticipation of being in Spec Ops in the future where these packs are carried.
My suspicion is that this damages knees and joints over time and serves to make the hikes death marches.
I try to keep my kids' pack weight under 20# for now and hope to get it down further in the future. I want them to enjoy the outdoors for life.
Thanks, steveMar 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm #1856732
105 pounds?!?!? I'd guess that's more than most infantryman. How old and big was this pack mule?Mar 20, 2012 at 5:10 pm #1856805
This scout is 16 yo,70 inches tall, maybe 165 lbs or so.
He wants very much to be in special forces and he decided to become strong this way. He made the hike, but I told him that he could fall and injure himself seriously under that weight, esp while we are crossing streams, quickly ending the career he hopes for. It cant be good for his back and knees in the long run. He is not the only one with the same goals and methods in place among the scouts.
He is the extreme in our troop, but the problem of really small, 70 lb scouts with 30 plus lb packs is prevalent and more than once I have ended up with an extra pack to salvage things.
I think an overloaded pack can be a source of status. I hope your book helps stop this thinking and I think it will if I can get parents to read it, esp the scout leaders. Thanks for making it available.
steveSep 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm #1911338Phillip AsbyBPL Member
@pgasbyLocale: North Carolina
Thank you so much for sharing this. As a father of a Webelo about to cross over we are entering a new realm of outdoor opportunities and related skills. This is true for both of us really as I've started camping and hiking myself in support of my son – I did not grow up in an outdoors oriented household so this is new for me as well. I've been working to acquire appropriate gear when possible in preparation for this and the last two car camping trips we've significantly pared down our gear in preparation for having to carry some/all of it on our backs (not just in scouting – I anticipate hiking and camping with him on our own as well).
I think the only bridge I've had a hard time building is the idea of not having a tent … admittedly it could be my southeast location but bugs and critters are widespread and aggressive – having a small spot to gain some relief aids my outlook and spirits.
Anyway – I continue to learn a tremendous amount from this community – thank you for your generosity in sharing.Sep 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm #1911354
I recently finished a scout 55 mile hike in the desolation wilderness where the bugs, ESP mosquitos, were aggressive. I decided to carry a Henry Shires tarp tent at about 1 1/2 lb. It was quick to set up and the Contrail is basically a tarp with bug netting and a floor. It worked very well for me in the Sierras.
SteveSep 11, 2012 at 7:36 pm #1911429
Thanks for the kind words, Phillip. I was pretty much in your shoes 3+ years ago when I also found this site.
I second a tarptent if bugs are a major concern. I use a Lunar Duo anytime I am not solo. I added mesh to my first homemade tarp, and it worked quite well in the Wind River Range. However, it is sized for just me. I used the new non-mesh polycryo version a few weeks ago since bugs haven't been a problem here because of the drought.
If you visit my profile, you'll see my YT page that has a Smokies trip report with my 6 year old that may interest you (I don't discuss gear other than his though).Sep 12, 2012 at 7:20 am #1911534Phillip AsbyBPL Member
@pgasbyLocale: North Carolina
Thanks I'll check out that trip report. I really like that my son is interested in the outdoors – I want him to enjoy some things I did not get to enjoy growing up – and for the record I'm having a great time learning myself!
It is a bit of a process. My first tent I got on clearance at Dick's – knowing he was going to join scouts but anticipating car camping with the cubs mostly. And also hoping to get my wife and daughter involved. It is a Eureka Tetragon 8 which is a fine tent – decent reviews – etc… but at 10 pounds plus it isn't really an option for backpacking. I got a Marmot Limelight 3P which at around 6 pounds is doable. Again I was trying to get something that would potentially be useful for future car camping trips with both my wife and daughter along (separated into two tents – and knowing my wife might not enjoy a true 2P… or the kids for that matter)…
My wife says she has little interest and while my son originally complained that the 4P was too small for 2P – and really balked at the much smaller 3P – he now wants his own 1P tent… go figure. At this point I'd be better off with a true 2P shelter instead of the tetragon as it doesn't get used much anymore. If my daughter comes along they can share the 3P and I'll be by myself in the 2P – with her initially I don't anticipate backpacking – for the moment that will be with my son.
Looking back – were I to do it all over again – the first few campouts I would have rented a few different tents from REI to get a real sense of what we needed and would use – and used that as a fallback if my wife ever wanted to come along and I needed a bigger tent. Then invested in one or two smaller options. I love the Limelight actually – it is a great tent and quite comfortable for two people and gear – but see that we could have survived with a true 2P – or even two one person shelters in the tarptent vein… alas I didn't find this site early enough it seems!
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