Recommended Pack Volume for Scouts
Mar 25, 2016 at 8:15 am #3391772
Any thoughts on pack volume for Scouts? I know what I would need, but I’m not sure what a Scout would need. I don’t think any of their troop gear is ultralight, or even light. I think they split up 4-man Eureka tents and cook gear (pots, MSR gas stoves, filters, etc) among the packers.Mar 25, 2016 at 8:20 am #3391773
Any pack recommendations would be appreciated as well. Ideally, the pack would be lightweight and affordable.Mar 25, 2016 at 8:35 am #3391778Ken ThompsonBPL Member
@hereLocale: Right there
Some suggestions in thereMar 25, 2016 at 8:41 am #3391779
Thanks. I forgot about that!Mar 25, 2016 at 10:29 am #3391805Jake JBPL Member
Depends on the scout. Generally a 16-17 year old boy is going to be able to carry more than a 11-12 year old boy. My son bridged over last year and when we went out looking for a pack for him we were looking for something in the 40-50L range as I figured that should give him some wiggle room for carrying bulky non light weight scout stuff. We went out and tried on all of the packs for kids in that range:
- Deuter Fox 40 – 2lbs 14oz
- Osprey Ace 50 – 2lbs 15oz
- Gregory Wanderer 50 – 3lbs 4oz
- North Face Terra 55 – 4lbs 1oz
- REI Passage 65 – 4lbs 4oz
The Fox was too small, and the Passage was too big. Of the three left I let him pick the one that fit him best while loaded down with about 20lbs. The Osprey ended up fitting him best so that’s what we got. Fortunately we were able to find it on sale locally at Sport Chalet and using a coupon and a rewards certificate I was able to get the total down to less than $100. Took the sting out of buying a pack that he’s going to outgrow in a few years..Mar 25, 2016 at 10:42 am #3391807
Thanks. I have been looking at the Osprey Exos 38L and 48L as they are 20% off at REI right now + dividend. I’m leaning towards the 48L to give a little space cushion. I’ll add the Deuter Fox and Ace 50 to the list.
The biggest issue right now is that my boy is almost 13 and on the verge of a growth spurt. To top it off, he is ultra skinny. It will be a year or so until he can go with the Scouts, but I would like start taking him out on trips.Mar 25, 2016 at 10:45 am #3391808matthew kModerator
My son has had an Osprey Ace 48 since he crossed over. He’s now a 5′-8″ 13 year old and is close to growing out of the pack. The pack is not the lightest but it’s served him well, including a 220 mile JMT thru-hike last summer with a BV500 bear can.
I’m guessing his next pack will be a ULA Circuit in anticipation of Philmont and all the shared crew gear. He’s looking forward to dropping some weight out of the pack itself.Mar 25, 2016 at 10:48 am #3391809matthew kModerator
I should clarify that he has a quilt rather than a bag and either uses his SMD Skyscape Trekker Scout or shares a 2P tent with another scout depending on the trip. He packs pretty minimally and His dad reads BPL. The 48 liter pack might be limiting for some of the other scouts who have more conventional gear.Mar 25, 2016 at 11:18 am #3391817Bob ShuffBPL Member
My son has a Six Moon Designs Fusion 65 from when they had the old white and orange ones on clearance. They still have Fusion 50 packs for $100 – I almost got him this one instead but it wasn’t much lighter. He could probably fit everything he needs in the 50. It’s a great deal and the torso is adjustable.
True that most scouts don’t have lightweight gear, but they don’t need much of a pad and they should be sharing tents and cookgear. The sleeping bag, pad and mess kit along with their 10 essentials shouldn’t take up too much space, especially for the short trips that will make up most of their scouting experience in backpacking. When it’s time to do Philmont or an extended high adventure trip you can assess whether to move up to down quilts and ultralight shelters, or just borrow or rent a bigger pack.
Great link. Thanks -BobMar 25, 2016 at 12:08 pm #3391825Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
@ Brad the original poster
Does your council allow down bags? Our local council “recommends” against the use of down bags for younger, less experienced Scouts. That recommendation plus the lower cost of syn bags leads many Scouts to get something like the North Face Cat’s Meow. After all a Scout is thrifty. With 20 or 30 degree synthetic bag, and 1/4 of a Eureka 4 man tent, you hasve probably filled up already 1/2 of a 55 to 65 liter pack. Some of the Osprey bags do allow a bit adjustment of the torso length. Many of the Scouts also need to be taught habits that are 2nd nature to experienced users: how to pack the packs with as few stuff sacks as possible, pack a bit and then push down from the top, etc. etc. etc.Mar 25, 2016 at 12:17 pm #3391827
Thanks for the suggestion on the SMD Fusion 50 that looks like a great option and deal. The hipbelt is a little large, but I could probably figure out something to get by for the next year or so. He’ll be using some of my hand-me down gear, so base weight (at least while with me) should be pretty low (11-15 lbs) to minimize the impact of a loose hip belt.
I’m not sure if the council prohibits down, but the scoutmaster frowns on it. I made an extra quilt using primaloft that should be good for ~30 degrees. I’m not sure how he’ll deal with a quilt yet. He’s been using a cheap Wally world 20 degree synthetic bag for now. I do need to look for lighter weight / packable insulation that will go deeper into winter though. I’ll be taking him out solo at some point to hopefully better teach him the ropes. Thanks for the suggestion on teaching how to pack.Mar 25, 2016 at 1:28 pm #3391834Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
@Brad. I am putting together a workshop for my troop on use of lightweight gear where I will show how to pack mostly gear you could get at REI into a 33 liter Osprey Talon.
The crew I took to Philmont was not really ultralight and most but not all folks took the big 3 (pack, shelter, sleeping system) that were purchased at REI not cottage industry stores. We had two SMD Lunar Solo shelters and one Henry Shires TT. But we did work on reducing clutter, common use and shared use gear and the packs ranged from 45 to 65 liters. Our sister crew had a number of 70 liter monster packs. Sounds like your Troop could learn to downslze the common gear like 4 person tents.Mar 25, 2016 at 2:21 pm #3391839
Just ordered the SMD Fusion 50 2014. I contacted Six Moon Designs & they were able to swap out the belt for an extra-small! I like the adjustable torso and the size should be able to handle most situations. Additionally, it looks like the stay design should support heavier weight should that happen. Also, versus the Osprey, the belts can be swapped out later if needed (or if Dad needs to borrow). The pack should ship today or Monday!
Thanks for the tip @Bob Shuff!Jun 25, 2016 at 8:40 am #3410691Brian ReymanBPL Member
@breymanLocale: Rocky Mountains
Older thread but thought I’d post another good pack option for scouts.
ULA Circuit – kids adjustable. Huge range from 12-18″ torso adjustment. 2.5 pounds, 65liters and bomber construction. Might be a bit much volume for youth so it shouldn’t be packed to the brim, but it’s a great choice that is made in the US, lighter than most youth alternatives and can last for the entire span of teenage years (except for those that grow to 5’11″+ really quickly).Jan 14, 2017 at 8:09 am #3445058Tommy MBPL Member
I didn’t realize that ULA makes a youth harness for the Circuit. Thanks for calling attention to it. I am active with my 12 year old very active Scout. His brother is a Webelo coming up behind him in Scouts next year. My oldest son looks to be growing huge, like most of the men in the family and I expect his torso will be too big for the Circuit in less than two years. Fortunately, his younger brother will get many more years out of one as a hand me down. I am delighted to have joined BPL and this forum.Feb 13, 2017 at 2:38 pm #3450398Brian CrainSpectator
@brcrainLocale: So Cal
The Gregory Wanderer mentioned above is a great pack. Not an ultralight pack, but a great scout pack. The terra 55 doesn’t have an adjustable throat/top and can’t eat up the volume of 5 days worth of trail food plus crew gear a Scout will need to carry if ever attending Philmont – good for weekenders but terrible for Philmont.Feb 27, 2017 at 3:08 pm #3453206Daniel LeeBPL Member
Walmart sells a 40L for only $30 (Ozark Trail Hiking Backpack Eagle, 40L) Before you laugh me off the forum or scoff at the notion, my rationale was that I needed to be able to affordably get my youngest and newest Scouts on the trail. This (and similar packs) will last at least through a few trips before needing replacement and it’s reasonable size accommodates my smallest boys. I know there are troops that jump right into multi-night, multi-mile trips but most of our trips are just a couple of nights and maybe 20 miles. I think my approach also allows parents to decide if it’s something their Scout really wants to keep doing without a major initial investment. Thoughts? (BTW… I wouldn’t recommend this pack for Philmont or anything other than short weekend trips.)Feb 28, 2017 at 8:11 am #3453366ed dzierzakBPL Member
The only question is: will it carry what the scout needs for 2 nights out. It may be worth getting one and then checking the expected loadout. Some sleeping bags can be rather bulky.
I think that there’s not much difference between a 2-nighter and a longer trip. There is still a critical minimum of gear needed. The major difference is in consumables.Feb 28, 2017 at 8:24 am #3453368Daniel LeeBPL Member
Thanks, Ed… You’re exactly right and this has been a challenge. Some of the Scouts do have large bulky bags that have had to be strapped on the outside but at least their out on the trail.
My basic approach has been for the Scouts to keep pack weight below 25% of their body weight… another challenge but when we help the Scouts identify what they really don’t need, multi-use items and sharing crew gear, we can usually manage.Nov 30, 2018 at 12:45 am #3566508Kevin SweereBPL Member
Having backpacked with many brand-new (12 yr old) and older (14-16 yr old) Scouts, here’s my tips.
Nov 30, 2018 at 12:46 am #3566509Kevin SweereBPL Member
- Never let a Scout carry more than 25% body weight TOTAL. (That’s clothes worn, food, water, bag, tent, crew gear etc.) For a 70 lbs Scout, that’s only 17.5 lbs.
- Borrow a very small, 30-40L pack for young Scouts. Go extremely minimum.
- If Scout sticks with backpacking, buy an adjustable torso internal frame pack, 40-50L.
- If Scout sticks with backpacking, 50L is more than enough with decent gear, even for month-long trips as an adult.
If you can’t borrow one, going cheap is a great idea.
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