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.

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