Lightweight Scouting Dissertation
Sep 12, 2012 at 8:01 am #1911548
Not to get my own topic off track much, but my advice on getting your wife involved would be to make it a date (no kids). Make it easy and comfortable for her. If she has fun with you she'll be more willing to do it again. I also have a video of taking my wife on her first bp trip in ~30 years for our 17th anniversary – the one titled Shades State Park. She had fun but didn't want to get her feet wet. LOL. I carried her across one creek. Of course, maybe your wife doesn't even like car camping in which case I sympathize. :) Same thing would apply to your daughter, too.Sep 12, 2012 at 8:40 am #1911559Phillip AsbyBPL Member
@pgasbyLocale: North Carolina
I won't derail this thread but thank you for the tips on the wife – I think she is a lost cause but my daughter very much wants to go car camping at least!
I do have a specific question regarding the layering system you discuss.
I generally take a base layer – in colder weather it would be long sleeve versus short sleeve in the warmer months of some sort of synthetic shirt. Generally something I already have as gym/workout gear in wicking fabric. I'll add an insulating layer to that – for both of us this is generally a fleece of some sort. Then we both carry a top shell layer that is usually going to double as a rain shell. What is the difference between the wind layer and the rain layer I guess is my basic question?
For example, my top layer depending on temps is either a lighter RAB event jacket or heavier 3ply Gore Tex shell. My son has a 2ply rain jacket as his top layer.
What would one use as a wind layer different than that?Sep 12, 2012 at 9:11 am #1911569
> I think she is a lost cause but my daughter very much wants to go car camping at least!
That's good. Your wife will let you go out more so she can get a break. You get more quality time with your kids. Win-win. :)
As for the outer layers, the main reason people go with separate wind and rain layers is flexibility. A wind layer will never repel rain like a rain layer. A rain layer will never breathe like a wind layer. The DriDucks is the closest compromise that I'm aware of. It's waterproof and breathes the best but is still something like 5x worse than a windshirt in that regard. It's also fragile if you're going through brush and thorns a lot. I've been using mine 3 years now and it's torn up good on one wrist in particular, but I haven't had to wear it much either.
A windshirt will only add 3-4 oz, but they normally cost over $50 even on sale so my opinion for Scouts/newbies is $20 DriDucks can suffice for both layers under the conditions of my paper. Many claim the windshirt is their most important layer, and I will not argue that at all. The DriDucks work great for blocking wind (as would your's). The issue is if you can notch down your speed so you don't sweat too much. I rarely zip mine while hiking unless it's a downpour in cool temps.Sep 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm #1913010Phillip AsbyBPL Member
@pgasbyLocale: North Carolina
We went on our first campout with my son's future troop – we got there late due to other commitments so not a ton of interaction but the bigger scouts were welcoming.
I checked out their backpacking gear list and was surprised by the backpack recommendation – they are promoting an internal frame backpack capacity of at least 79L … I can see that for the 16-18 year olds but I doubt there is even a model that will fit my 10 year old and he certainly can't carry that much weight if the darn thing is full. They also require boots at least 6 inches … I just got a pair of trail runners to replace my old hiking boots and I'm sold on them as an alternative…
I'm going to have to do some exploring with the leaders – I'm not suggesting they have to go ultralight but an 80L pack seems to be encouraging a bit more than is necessary given that the troop has 2 person tents they share and troop wide cooking setups so he's got to carry his pad, bag, clothes and some shared gear…Sep 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm #1913024
Sounds like the typical old-school troop. You and your son can be the groundbreakers. :) You will need to be able to accommodate any group gear, but you can suggest lighter alternatives.
The 70L GolIte Jam would be my MAX capacity. I've carried my Pinnacle (what the 70L Jam replaced) on a plane with 7 days of food. I also loaded it just for fun with 47 lbs, but it was NOT meant for that unless you add to the suspension. I only had to "hike" a 1/4 mile with it. My normal max weight is low 30s (base is ~11).
Our troop gear list for summer camp is pretty extensive. I decided to compromise between that and how my son and I backpack, and he was able to fit everything in his 70L Jam (including a few luxury items).Sep 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm #1913027Steven Scates MDBPL Member
I would argue not only does it encourage too much gear, but if the pack is not full it may not load well onto the hips and result in too much shoulder bias.
Some scouts and leaders take pride in the extra gear and weight. It seems to be a sign of strength.
I try to keep the packs of my kids a light as I can. I also used Ryan's Ultralight Boot Camp material to help keep them in line.
With respect to convincing wives to go, my enticement is I cook the best meal I can the first night, usually a four course French meal. That seems to help.
Good luck, SteveSep 18, 2012 at 6:27 am #1913263Erik BasilBPL Member
With the younger/smaller Scouts, it's essential not only to fit them with a pack that actually matches their body size but that, when fully loaded, doesn't exceed your standards for percentage of body weight (perhaps 20%).
Sticking to this raises some issues, sure:
–increased need for ultra-lighting of personal gear
–larger Scouts might get gripy about allocation of gear to carry
–"one pack for life" is obviously not gonna work
I bring a set of scales to our preparation meetings and the Scouts take turns weighing individual items on the gram scale and larger items/full packs on the hanging scale. They compare and do math, based on their numbers from the bathroom floor scale and I make sure to have at least one large pack ready for parents to try on with 20% of their own body weight in it.
Then we talk about realities, being part of a Scout Team and the fact that if the group going can't carry all the gear without overloading the lighter Scouts, it can't go. This leads naturally back into how we can lighten our gear, such as the packs, the mess kits, the sleeping bags and the stuffed animals…Sep 18, 2012 at 8:56 am #1913293Tad EnglundBPL Member
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
Phillip, there are two articles here on BPL that everyone has access to on this and other Scouting issues (for backpacking). You can use them along with Michael's dissertation
Feel free to share these with your troop or anyone that might benefit.
TadSep 28, 2012 at 1:33 pm #1916450James TisdaleSpectator
Only one thing I'd add . . . is about hammocks.
I've got the majority of my guys hanging at the moment. Once it starts to get cold, cold many will be forced down to the ground but they've been going strong all spring through summer and now into fall dry and content up in the trees.Oct 18, 2012 at 2:27 pm #1922583Kirk HarringtonMember
What would be the easiest way to convert those link into a digital copy so I could email it out to leaders and parents without having to link it?
Thanks to all for the work you've done.
We're getting ready for our first backpacking trip (11 miles with an overnighter) in April and I'm sure most if not all this information will be very helpful.Oct 18, 2012 at 3:01 pm #1922597Tad EnglundBPL Member
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
Kirk, you could copy and paste the whole thing or give out the link.
Even easier- PM (Personal Message) me with your email and I'll send you a PDF copy of the articles
BTW, you don't have you PM set up or I would have PM'd you alreadyJan 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm #1941909
I'm bumping this simply because it doesn't seem to appear in the forum index anymore since the last post had been deleted during the spamfest we had a couple months back. Now it should have a proper "last post" to show.Oct 13, 2013 at 6:48 pm #2033834George RamsdellBPL Member
@ghramsdellLocale: Pacific Northwest
As a new scouter this was a great resource for me and my son and got us on our way to lightweight backpacking.Oct 13, 2013 at 6:54 pm #2033837
I'm glad it was helpful. There are some articles here with similar content you should look at as well if you haven't already.Jan 18, 2017 at 8:16 pm #3445953
Late this summer my youngest will move into the Troop a year early since he seems to be getting bored with Cub Scouts. As such it got me thinking that perhaps I should come out with a New and Improved Second Edition of my dissertation. ;) I know there some gear options that are new (or no longer available). I’m sure the collective mind knows of more that I don’t so if you don’t mind, please share here what you would add, keeping in mind that a Scout is thrifty.
I had also thought of expanding the content some to at least provide hints/tips for those areas of the country that didn’t fit into my original parameters, specifically the desert SW and PNW. Frankly, I don’t have any personal experience in the latter and just a bit in the former (though that was during a record heat wave) so I’d appreciate thoughts on what I should cover regarding gear for those areas. I don’t have any intention of adding a winter section though.
Thanks in advance for any assistance in making this a better resource. I note it got hit over 2600 times in 2016.Jan 20, 2017 at 2:59 am #3446173EJVCBPL Member
@ejvcLocale: Near the Klarälven river
Hi, read your dissertation. In the desert I think sunglasses and lip salve are essential (at least for me). Also true in winter in places like Colorado and New Mexico. You mention Chapstick but that brand has not worked for me, I use something with more oil.
I would like the 2nd edition to consider girl Scouts as well — what type of sock and underwear alternatives? What about menstrual protection? What about breast support? Some girls, especially those who will have very large busts, also are early developers. Modesty while peeing on the trail is an issue – what do you think about hiking skirts? I appreciate that these are not questions with which you have personal experience, but getting information from experienced women Scouters would help young girls have the confidence to venture out. I’d also like it if the language throughout was more inclusive. I am the mother of a 9 year old scout in Sweden where scouting has been mixed-genders for at least a generation; on the internet, at least, you are reaching an international population…
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