The Troop is planning on doing a Backpacking Weekend. We are going to Camp Tuscazoar, October 18 – 20th.
Troop 933 has not been a hiking/backpacking Troop. We hike while on a campout, sure, but it has not been the focus of one for a long time. We are making strides to correct this.
Our first steps are being taken at the Troop Meetings in September. Sept 9th we talked about Backpacks and gear. Mr. Luckring demonstrated a light pack for a short hike. Mr. Maier demonstrated a heavier pack for a longer hike. They went over the types of gear each would recommend for the two different sort of hikes. Back packs, food, water, light weight clothes, etc.; it was a pretty broad discussion.
There were lots of good questions from the Scouts. Both Mr. Luckring and Mr. Maier speak from years of experience and actually being out hiking. They have accumulated their gear, and in some cases have spent a bit on it. We are not expecting our Scouts to go out and spend a lot of money and be experts in a month.
At the end of the presentation, I made a point to talk to the Scouts about that. For our purposes, whatever they have can be made to work, especially for our October camp out. I told them NOT to let the fact that they might not have a lightweight back pack or sleeping bag stop them from wanting to come on this camp out. Don’t have a some of the gear like a back pack or a backpacking stove? That’s fine. We are planning an easier hiking weekend to get us started.
(And I told them, here is the thing. You come on this camp out, do some hiking. See what you have and do not have. Then this Christmas, maybe instead of a video game or the newest tech, ask for a back pack, ask for a lightweight sleeping bag. Or even their birthday. Or, heaven forbid, save up some allowance and buy it yourself! A Scout is Thrifty after all. A real good idea is to maybe not buy brand new. Check out 2nd hand sporting goods stores or online markets.)
A next step in our learning process is to have the Scouts Pack their back pack for the October camp out ahead of time and bring it to a meeting to be looked over by adults and weighed. They will give the Scouts advice on what they need and do not need. We also weighed each Scout last week to determine how much weight it is recommended that they carry. This is figured as a % of total body weight. This number will be used to help in the pack reviews.
So, I am sure you are all asking, this is all well and good, but what sort of hiking are our Scouts doing in October? Good question. The plan is to arrive at camp like we always do, setup tents, have cracker barrel, go to bed. Then on Saturday we will have breakfast and then head off on a hike around the camp. We will stop for a trail lunch and continue on to our camp for Saturday evening. There we will have dinner back at our base campsite. We will get up Sunday AM, tear down camp, and head for home.
How far are we expecting to hike? That is to be determined. It will depend on trails and camp sites we use. I would guess no more than 5 miles max.
How much gear are the Scouts going to carry? Right now, the plan is as much as they are comfortable with carrying.
We will not carry tents or cooking gear. Scouts will need to carry a back pack of some sort, day packs for the hike are fine.
As far as food for the weekend, we are looking at having each Scout bring their own. We also went over inexpensive options for this. We talked more about it at the meeting on the 16th, see the separate email on the food we sampled
So this is all a first step, what is next? What comes next are longer hiking trips. Trips around the state where we use mini camp stoves and GPS and go longer and longer distances. Then eventually, we would look to go to Philmont as a Troop. But beginners steps first.
Finally, the Scouts wanted to work on Wilderness Survival MB on this camp out. The requirements were attached to an email send out on 09/17. It is recommended that they read the MB Book. They can check out the MB book from our Library if we have some copies or purchase one at the Scout shop. Reading the MB book will help them complete the requirements. I will let everyone know what requirements we will cover and if they need to have any done before the camp out (probably # 5, Personal Survival Kit).
Sorry for how long this was. Next post for a Food Discussion.
ANY questions or concerns please see myself, Mr. Luckring, or Mr. Maier.
Scoutmaster Troop 1933