What Gear do I need?

Chapters 8 and 9 of the Scout Handbook describe Hiking and Camping and include checklists and information for Gear and Equipment. If a Scout needs gear for outings, ask some of the other Scouts or the Troop if they have extra gear to loan out (we frequently do).

Personal Gear for Camping (Recommended)

Backpack: The preferred, hands free method for carrying gear. Good backpacks have many pockets for organizing, and straps for attaching a sleeping bag, pad and tent. Limited capacity will teach the Scout to prioritize his packing and minimize bulk and weight. There is a wide range of products and prices available on the market, so take time to shop for both comfort and price. If cost is prohibitive, duffel bags or similar gear are acceptable for campouts that do not include overnight hikes.

Sleeping Bag: Bags are constructed from a wide variety of materials to satisfy a variety of weather, packing, weight and price requirements. Sleeping bags which can be packed into a stuff sack are more convenient than rolled bags with ties. You should avoid cotton bags and select one made with synthetic insulated materials. Look for a full-length zipper, batting in the lining which insulates the zipper, and the amount of quilting used to prevent the insulation from bunching or sagging. A bag insulated for a comfort range down to 20 degrees is highly recommended. For winter camping, 20-degree bags may be nested into a second bag for additional comfort, avoiding the higher cost associated with bags rated for below 0 degrees. Remember, a Scout is prepared…and thrifty!

Ground Pad: Scouts will find sleeping on the ground more comfortable and warmer when a “closed cell” pad is used under the sleeping bag. These pads are made from a heavy rubber like foam 3/8” to 1/2” thick, and approximately 24” wide by 72” long. They roll up compactly, are easily carried on the backpack, and are more comfortable, warmer and less of a nuisance than an air mattress. An alternative is a self-inflating pad, which is a foam pad inside a waterproof covering. These are about 1/2” to 3/4” thick when inflated, and the same length and width as most closed cell pads.

Rain Suit/Poncho: Scouts must be fully prepared to carry on with our outdoor program, regardless of weather conditions. Good rain gear is essential for both comfort and safety. Avoid the thin, emergency type ponchos typically sold in store checkout lines.

Mess Kit: It’s not necessary to purchase a traditional mess kit. Pieces may be lost or broken, leaving the set incomplete. In substitution, Scouts may use plastic plates, bowls and mugs. These are lightweight and can be easily marked for identification. Mismatched silverware is also a useful substitute.

Plastic or aluminum water bottle or canteen: Each Scout must carry 1.5 to 2 quarts of water on hikes and backpacking outings. One or more water bottles that fit into a pocket of the backpack or in a hip pack are acceptable. Water is an essential item and required for all BSA and Troop activities.

Knives: Once a Scout has earned his “Totin’ Chip” card, he may carry a folding pocket knife of a size approved by BSA. Troop 430 prohibits carrying sheath knives of any kind at all Scouting activities. The card must be carried with the knife as evidence of the Scout’s training in knife safety.

Compass: Every Scout must have a compass for practicing the orienteering skills needed to pass Second Class and First Class rank advancements. His compass should be with him on all campouts as a camping essential.

Whistle: Scouts must carry a whistle. These are used for communication only, and can save a life in the event of an emergency. This is another essential item, to be carried at all times.