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Lightweight Down Time Backpacking Ideas


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Home Forums Scouting Backpacking Light with Scouts Lightweight Down Time Backpacking Ideas

Viewing 18 posts - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)
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  • #3552416
    Brad P
    BPL Member

    @brawndo

    Our troop has mostly done car camping but is now prepping for Philmont next year.

    A standard deck of cards is one obvious option, but what else do your troops like to do during backpacking down time? We’ll have planned prep stuff, but it’s always good to let the scouts just have some time to hang out playing some sort of game.

    Phase 10 is a good card based game, too.

    #3552473
    Bob Shuff
    BPL Member

    @slbear

    Locale: SoCal

    Hi Brad,

    I’ve tried to make an agenda for our troop backpacks I led.  I was talking to a former Scoutmaster about an overnight beginner’s backpack where the hike in was short, and I thought the scouts might be bored.  His reply was something along the line of if the campsite has streams, trees, hills or just rocks, the scouts will have no problem filling their down time between camp setup and planned meal times.

    Cards are a popular past-time for our troop.  We hardly ever get to have a campfire, so cards are especially common after dark.  I find the scouts often more active when weather permits in the daytime.  They’ll find a place to sit or a stream or draw to explore.  I like to make sure the buddy system is followed and no scout is exploring on their own.  Otherwise, I no longer try to fill in the time, but instead remind my son to bring cards when he’s packing.

    #3552479
    Brad P
    BPL Member

    @brawndo

    My experience is similar. They do manage to find things to do, particularly when the sun is still up and they can do the things you mentioned.

    Our scouts like to play card games. I’m becoming scoutmaster (gulp!) and while it’s boy led, we can certainly come up with ideas that they can run with and enjoy. I figure a variety of games and activities that they can do on their own will make it a more enjoyable experience.

    I don’t like events that are so crammed with activities that there’s no chance to just relax and have fun.

    I want the scouts who participate to be able to earn the backpacking merit badge during this scout year, so there will be time allotted for covering those requirements.

    #3552494
    Jay L
    BPL Member

    @jjlash

    Our guys have several other types of card games that they enjoy. Two that come to mind are called “blink” and “gubs”.  Blink is kind of like “war” but with specialty cards.  No idea what gubs is but they took it on the backpacking trip this summer.

     

    #3552831
    Karen
    BPL Member

    @granolagirlak

    Animal sound imitation competitions (moose in rut, loons or owls or…), knot tying, general gymnastics like headstands, handstands, human pyramids, fire starting competitions, and probably forbidden but mumblypeg was scary and fun when I was a – Girl Scout; we all had knives. Storytelling in the round (one starts and the next continues). Singing – does anyone sing any more? Boredom is the best inspiration for activity just as hunger makes the best sauce. I sound like I’m 94 instead of 54! Oldies but goodies.

    #3552858
    Brad P
    BPL Member

    @brawndo

    Good ideas.  I’ve been Googling reviews of card games.  It’s not real easy being sure one really is a good one.  I’ve been thinking more about night time down time rather than day time down time.

    #3553772
    Jeffrey Peters
    BPL Member

    @petey091

    Our guys bring cards, a checker set made from felt, a set of backpacking bocce balls and five dice so they can play yatzee.  On our backpacking trips they really don’t have much down time. Getting camp set up and bear bags hung then dinner and cleaning up they just don’t have much time, in most cases it’s a stretch making it to backpackers midnight( 9 pm).

    #3553801
    Brad P
    BPL Member

    @brawndo

    I was at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, or as I call it, the Maryland Bustier Festival, and there was a vendor selling and demoing puzzle games. Some they claim to have origins in the Renaissance period. For $1 you could try a game. My son spent 1.5 hours on one of the puzzles before solving it. One of the employees said it took her 3 hours.

    Anyway, I asked about lightweight games and he said they sell a card game I’d heard about called Fluxx. From online searching, it’s very popular. The nice thing is, the rules change as the game goes along, so it can stay interesting with multiple plays.

    Just to mix things up, I might have one of our Philmont shakedown hikes in a PATC cabin and I think they’ll have fun playing this and other games at night. The cabins are too small for a full troop activity.  They’ll still hike with all of their gear.

    #3553803
    matthew k
    Moderator

    @matthewkphx

    I can’t think of a time where I’ve seen Scouts bored on a backpacking trip or campout. They always find stuff to do: some bring cards, other hang out and talk by the creek or climb the hill nearby. They tend to carry too much food and eat it all.

    #3553806
    Brad P
    BPL Member

    @brawndo

    I’m not as concerned about boredom as trying to introduce some new ideas to go along with some of the traditional things they like to do. You’re right, I’ve never seen them unable to find something to do. I hope that the program activities are something they really look forward to and remember for a long time to come.

    With this game I found, I think it will be cool to hand them the cards and say here’s a new game, it starts with just one rule.  Now you guys figure out the rest.

    #3553829
    Matt Dirksen
    BPL Member

    @namelessway

    Locale: Mid Atlantic

    “Anyway, I asked about lightweight games and he said they sell a card game I’d heard about called Fluxx”

    Hey Brad,

    Andrew Looney, the creator of Fluxx, is an Eagle Scout from my son’s troop (back in the late 70’s, if I recall). Looney Labs is based in College Park, MD, and has a treasure trove of games to explore. While not out just yet, I understand they are in discussions with BSA about creating a Scouting Fluxx game.

    While our troop has played a lot of Fluxx over the years, they also like Seven Dragons.  Looney Labs has TONS of games to choose from.

    Here’s their website: https://www.looneylabs.com/about-us 

    YIS,

    Matt

    #3553888
    Brad P
    BPL Member

    @brawndo

    Hey Brad,

    Andrew Looney, the creator of Fluxx, is an Eagle Scout from my son’s troop (back in the late 70’s, if I recall). Looney Labs is based in College Park, MD, and has a treasure trove of games to explore. While not out just yet, I understand they are in discussions with BSA about creating a Scouting Fluxx game.

    That’s very cool!

     

    #3553893
    Bob Shuff
    BPL Member

    @slbear

    Locale: SoCal

    I agree with Matthew and Brad that scouts have no problem entertaining themselves.  I have noticed, however, that it increasingly involves the cellphone – even when there is no service.  I assume the scouts have downloaded pics or are showing a cached social media feed.  I would have thought they would run out of things to show by 5 days in on a Sierra hike, but I had to remind them to put the phone away when a group was gathered around someone’s digital device on our last evening on the trail.

    In their defense, they were gathered around one device, not texting separately from their tents.  As of today, they acknowledged the wilderness is not the place to be on their phones, but this is a passing phase in my view.  In that case, planned/organized events may be more important.

    Ahhh for the days where making a pointy stick and throwing rocks at other rocks was THE mark to a good campout.

    #3553914
    Matt Dirksen
    BPL Member

    @namelessway

    Locale: Mid Atlantic

    “As of today, they acknowledged the wilderness is not the place to be on their phones, but this is a passing phase in my view.  In that case, planned/organized events may be more important.”

    So true. Our troop has a simple policy about phone/device use: they can only be used in the car while in transit, and stay in the car once we’ve left the cars behind.

    If a scout wants to learn to take pics, they can bring a camera.

    #3553917
    David Thomas
    BPL Member

    @davidinkenai

    Locale: North Woods. Far North.

    I’ve coached middle schoolers in competitive math for 7 years now.  2.5 hours each Thursday we do snacks, math, snacks, games, snacks, and math.  The most popular small card game is “Spot It.”

    about $10 on Amazon or at Walmart.  You don’t need a table to play it and 2-8 people can play.

    “Set” is another one I recommend highly, but it is a little more mind-bending to complete a “set” and you need a modest flat place to play:

    Boggle is popular among the kids who love to read, although you need something to write the words you find on:

    I prefer “Big Boggle”, the 5×5 version.

    #3553922
    Brad P
    BPL Member

    @brawndo

    So true. Our troop has a simple policy about phone/device use: they can only be used in the car while in transit, and stay in the car once we’ve left the cars behind.

    If a scout wants to learn to take pics, they can bring a camera.

    We have the same policy. Well, it wasn’t always enforced well, but it will be. One exception is a diabetic scout whose phone is Bluetooth connected to his insulin pump.


    @davidinkenai
    Great ideas!! Thanks!

    #3560011
    John Smith
    BPL Member

    @jcar3305

    Locale: East of Cascades

    I have taken board games like Monopoly, trouble, sorry etc… It just requires a little planning to keep it light. Draw the board in the dirt. Cut the money into 1/4 size. Switch out dice. Use different pieces that you find near namp, or they use stuff from their kit.

    Try games like two, for or even 6 person mancala with pebbles.

    Bring parasail kites or black tube balloons to use on sunny windless days.

    Card games are good as well .. get smaller size cards.

    I have started bringing story dice on trips. Makes for some interesting stories at night.

    Before some trips I assign constellations to each boy so they can tell that story if the night is clear.

    Frisbees make good plates too.

    Backgammon works well drawn in the dirt.

    Checkers is a gimme but chess does not draw much interest.

    I never ban electronics (except on single overnights) but have simple rules regarding them. If I see or hear them, they are forfeit for the rest of the trip, and the kid gets to carry something in it’s place from my pack, and they are not allowed to recharge them on the trail.

    To be honest, no one in the last 12 years I have been leading scouts has abused my electronics policy. I figure they spend the week learning to ration their charge, or learning to carry dead weight after day 1.

    #3560199
    Brad P
    BPL Member

    @brawndo

    Great ideas, John!

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