Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Scout Gear

Here are some items that I have purchased for use on Scout outings that I would recommend to others:

Sleeping Bag -- The Suisse Sport Ultra Compactable Sleeping Bag has been great.  Rated as a +30 degree bag, it can be comfortably used in spring, summer, and fall.  (For winter camping, consider a bag rated for +15 degrees, or use a +30 degree bag and add a fleece liner to the inside.)  This bag is light weight, and because it packs down to about the size of a football, it doesn't take up a lot of room in your pack.  For under $40, it's a great bag that I would recommend to anyone.

Tent -- Since scouts usually sleep 2 in a tent, not everyone has to bring their own.  But if you are in the market for one, take a look at the Eureka Tetragon series.  If it's just for use on scout trips, the Tetragon 7 is about the perfect size.  Advertised as a 3 person tent, it's perfect for 2 scouts + their gear.  With a floor area measuring 7'x7', it can comfortably sleep 3 if they don't need to keep a lot of personal gear inside.  The tent is VERY easy to set up.  Assemble the 2 shock corded poles, place the ends of each pole on the pins at the corners of the tent, and fasten the webbed supports of the tent to the poles using the built in plastic clips.  A pair of boys should have no trouble putting this tent together properly.  One adult can put it up in about 5 minutes.  

If you're looking for a larger tent, something large enough for the whole family, this tent comes in a wide variety of sizes, so there's probably a Tetragon that will suit your needs. 

Water Bottle -- It's important that a scout always have enough water available.  I highly reccommend each scout bring a 1 liter water bottle.  If they also have a hydration pack that's fine, but bring a water bottle too.  Any water bottle is better than none, but if you're going to buy one for the scout, get a Nalgene.  It's a very popular brand, high capacity, and because it's so common among scouts, there are a variety of accessories made to fit this brand perfectly.  They come in a wide variety of colors, and can be found in most sporting goods stores.  

Sierra Cup -- If a scout can only bring 1 'dish', it should be a sierra cup.  (Regular or Jumbo size)You can eat from a sierra cup, drink from it, mix in it, you could even use it to boil water in a pinch.  Best of all, unlike the aluminum 'mess kits' that you find in the camping department at wal-mart, these stainless steel cups are virtually indestructable.  Trust me, your kid's gear will take a beating.  This is one item that they won't easily destroy.

Nylon Cord -- Everyone knows, scouts use knots.  From the first meetings, scouts begin learning how to tie simple knots and when to use them.  Rope can be very useful on campouts, you never know when you might need it.  For a strong, inexpensive 'rope' that any scout can carry in his pack without adding a lot of bulk or weight, get some Nylon Cord (aka 'paracord' or '550 cord').  Available in a variety of colors and lengths, I'd suggest every scout carry 25'-50' in their pack at all times. 

Flashlight -- A good light is indispensable when you're setting up camp in the dark or getting up at 2am to find the latrine.  Generally, I prefer a headlamp.  Energizer makes some good, inexpensive, headlamps that can be adjusted to point up or down so you don't blind people you're looking at.  If you want a handheld flashlight instead, Dorcy makes a nice one that is lightweight, floats, has a built in carabineer for clipping it on your pack or belt, and is relatively inexpensive.  

More to come later.  It's bedtime for tonight.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


I am taking some time this weekend to scan in a bunch more old(er) family photos. So far, I've got about 80 scanned in, but of course I've barely scraped the surface of this box. I've also skipped over a lot of photos, such as landscape photos and pictures taken of vacation landmarks that didn't include anyone we knew. (I figure, if I want to look at the Epcot sphere that badly, I can find an image online. No need to scan this particular photo of it.)

Anyway, they're all on my picasa web site, uploading as I scan. And, if I find a particularly emb--- I mean, INTERESTING photo, I might even upload and tag it on facebook. (Hi Brad!)

Anyway, just wanted to give everyone (or, anyone who still happens to check this site now and then) a heads up that more photos area going online.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy 2010!

This is just a short post to wish everyone a happy new year. May twenty-ten bring you all the best.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Is it the end of the year already?

Wow. Another year gone by. This one has been eventful, but overall a pretty good year. Based on my last blog post (in APRIL!), everyone knows I have a new son, now 8 months old. I think I also covered the fact that we bought a house. Shortly after the baby was born, I was laid off from Genesis, and spent about 3 months on unemployment and taking care of the kids. Since then, I've been working at Community Health Care, in the Davenport office. I stay busier, and have a lot more variety in my work than I did with Genesis, so overall I'm really enjoying my new job.

Once I started working again, Allison quit to stay home with the boys. She is also babysitting a 4 month old boy now, for one of her former coworkers. At least, she is when we can keep everyone in our household healthy enough to have the baby over.

We spent Christmas eve with the Mom, Brad, & Joda, visiting Grandpa Dunn's and Dad's houses along the way. Unfortunately, we were all miserably sick (especially me) on Christmas day, so we didn't make it to Allison's side of the family.

Connie just came up last night, and the boys opened presents from her. William has got so many toys now that I don't know how he'll have time to play with them all. Ryan got several great presents, including a project kit called Snap Circuits. It's basically a bunch of electronic components (transistors, resistors, diodes, etc) molded into hard plastic with snaps on each end. Using the metal snaps to connect various compoents, you can build all kinds of electronic projects. He played with it all evening last night, and loved it. He built a touch lamp, a radio transmitter, a motion detector, and a handful of other projects from the book last night. It's definitely a hit.

We also got a new TV this Christmas. Dad came up one weekend and helped me mount it on the wall and run wiring to a nearby closet to install the Tivo etc in. Mounting it on the wall was MUCH easier than I expected, and it looks great. We used some money we got for christmas to buy a Blu-Ray player, and it's installed in the closet too. Just yesterday I got in the remote control booster system I ordered, and tore some of the molding off to run wires to the closet yet again. At least now I can use the remote control while in front of the TV. For the last few days, every time we wanted to use the Blu-Ray player, we had to have one person in front of the TV telling the other person in Wililam's bedroom which buttons to push on the remote. FUN!

Tonight, it's New Year's Eve, and we're going to Michelle's for the evening. As I understand it, Tony has some entertainment planned for the evening. Then, another long weekend. It's going to be rough having to work a full week next week. Well, I think that about covers the last 8 months or so. :) Any questions?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Picasa web albums issues

Apparently EyeFi is having issues uploading images to Picasa Web Albums this afternoon. I've got several more pictures on the camera with Ryan, Grandmas, and Grandpa holding the baby. Those are floating around in cyberspace right now, but as soon as the problems get resolved, they should show up as part of the slideshow in my previous post. Or, click the title of the previous post and it should take you to the web album to view the pics in an 'album' format instead of slideshow.