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Most Scout leaders give the Scouts a pack list or checklist to be used for an outing. I had developed a checklist that I thought covered everything needed, but was stripped down enough that the boys were not carrying more that they should, given their own weight and build. I still use this checklist today. Well, checklists are only so good.

When I was a new Scoutmaster, we had planned a November overnight outing to a rustic cabin at Camp Parsons, a Boy Scout camp on Hood Canal in Washington State. It was to be a diversion from our customary backpacking outings. The group was small and the cabin was less than a quarter mile walk from the cars, so we didn't worry about a pack check. This was the first outing for one of the boys, and while the three bags he pulled out of the vehicle when we arrived caught my attention, the other boys helped him carry them to the cabin, so I wasn't too worried.

When it came time to unpack and lay out the sleeping bags, I found out what was in his three duffels. His dear mother had used "the checklist" to help him get ready, and though everyone had used the same list, he had far more than the others. His footwear alone included regular sneakers (on his feet), rubber boots (for the beach?), new hiking boots, and moon boots worthy of Napoleon Dynamite. When he pulled out a new cheap plastic tent for emergency shelter, despite the fact that we were staying in a cabin, it was hard not to laugh. A sitcom couldn't have written a script any better than the entertainment this poor boy provided for us two adults that night. It was not his fault - his mother was just following the "checklist."


  • Introduction
  • The Lightweight Lesson
  • Careful with Weight Limits
  • The Checklist
  • Items to Show Up In
  • Essential Hiking Gear3
  • Backpack
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pads
  • Other Stuff
    • Kitchen
    • Personal

# WORDS: 4860
# PHOTOS: 10

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