(1) Sleeping Bag
Sleeping bags should be mummy style for warmth. Look for extra features like multi-chambered, draft collar, two-way zipper, draw cord with lock. Try out several bags for fit. You should not be able to get two or three persons in the bag with you. A bag that is too big will not be warm, even if it is rated to -40 degrees. For Arkansas and most of the camping that scouts do, some type of synthetic insulation is recommended. Goose Down is great but it is much harder to care for, especially if it gets wet. All bags should be stored in a large cotton or mesh bag, or hung in a closet. Keeping them compressed will reduce the life span of the bag. A bag that fits well and is rated for 5 to 15 degrees will work year round. Add a sheet for the summer. Types of fill are: Thinsulate Lite Loft / Polarguard HV / Hollofill II / Polarguard 3D
$100 - $350 Sierra Design, North Face, REI, Slumberjack, Marmot, Moonstone
(2) Duffel Bag
A duffel bag is a great way to keep up with all his camping stuff. When there are 20 scouts trying to get their gear into the trailer, loose items seem to get misplaced. Please try to confine all your gear into one bag or pack. Types: one with a long zipper and maybe a couple of pockets for small items.
$15.00 – $100.00 Outdoor Products, Outdoor Research, Eagle Creek, US Army – any store or catalog, Bennett's
(3) Rain Suit (Jacket and Pants, Outer layer)
An uninsulated rain suit will provide a versatile addition to outdoor clothing. Until your scout has stopped changing sizes every four to six months, I would stay with a coated nylon type of suit. These are much less expensive and will serve the same function as a $300 Gortex suit. Pants should be easy on/off with boots. The jacket should have an attached hood and vents. A poncho is an ok alternative, especially for summer, but they do little in providing warmth. The biggest difference in a Gortex and coated nylon suit is the Gortex suit will give you a greater range of temperature in which you will be comfortable hiking. Even with Gortex, you will sweat.
$35 - $65 Columbia, REI, Campmor, Sportif, Campmor
(4) Long Underwear (insulation, 1st layer)
Long underwear comes in hundreds of types, styles and brands. I have found that most work well if you follow one simple guideline. NO COTTON. Cotton will get wet from sweat or water and does not dry fast. Synthetic or synthetic-blends will provide the best bang for the buck. Turtlenecks will add warmth. Remember that most of the time you will be moving, not sitting in a duck blind. Too much clothing is just as bad as not enough. In the winter, perspiration can be a big problem. Some types of underwear to look for are: Polypropylene, Capilene, M.T.S., Lycra, Wool, and Silk
$20 - $100 REI, Early Winters, Patagonia, Wickers, Duofold
(5) Eating Gear
Keep things simple and cheap, so it won't matter if you loose or misplace any of these items. All you need is a plate, bowl, spoon, fork, and a cup. An insulated cup is nice for hot drinks. Patrols usually do KP as a group and your personal gear will get mixed up with all the other stuff, so put your name on everything.
$10 - $25 any store or home
(6) Hiking Boots
Boots have always been a problem with scouts. They tend to outgrow them before they get a lot of use.
There are several rules to follow when looking for hiking boots: Always try them on and walk around some. Do not wait, as boots take several weeks to break in properly. Wear two pairs of socks when fitting boots. No amount of lacing will solve fit problems. Go to an outdoor store or shoe shop. Boots will usually run about ½ - 1 size larger than his street shoes. His toes should not touch the end of the boot. For the most part, lightweight leather or cordura-leather boots will be just fine for all scout outings. I prefer an all leather boot for the stability, however I'll carry up to 60 lbs. If you take care of the boot, they can be passed on to a brother or cousin.
$50 - $200 Merrell, Vasque, Asolo, One Sport, Hi-tech, Tecnica, Montrail
We recommend that your scout wear two pairs of socks with hiking boots. The first pair (liner) is to wick moisture away from the feet and provide a surface for the boot to rub on other than the feet. The second pair is for padding, warmth and absorbing the moisture from his feet. He'll need at least two pairs of each.
$5 - $10 (Liner - wool, silk, nylon, poly-pro, blend) no cotton
$10 - $30 (Outer - wool, pile, blend)
All scouts need a good knife. The big question is what type and size. Sheath knifes or non-folding knifes are not allowed on BSA outings. He won't be killing a deer or skinning a bear. Therefore, a Swiss-army multi-purpose knife is great. There is no need to buy a 20 or 30 blade super tinker knife. My favorite is the Victorinox Climber Swiss Army knife. The scout shop also sells good knives with the BSA logo on them. Also remember, things do get lost.
$15 - $45 Victorinox, Buck, BSA, Gerber
A small "AAA" or "AA" cell light is fine. Your scout should not be landing planes or spotlighting deer as a scout activity. The light should be bright, rugged and not easily turned on in your pack. Don’t spend a lot - it will probably get lost before the bulb burns out.
$5 - $20 Eveready, MityLite, MiniMag
At some point, your scout will have to learn to use a map and compass. Some compasses are very easy to use, others are very difficult. For map work, a flat clear base is a must. We recommend a liquid filled compass with a flat base and a scale on the side. A lanyard will help him keep up with the your compass in the field. Many compasses have declination adjustments. This is also nice. I have used the military lensatic compass. They are very accurate but are more difficult to use. For most of the work you he'll, these types of compasses are not required. Stick with simple. Four very good compasses are Suunto Locator, Suunto Orienteer, Silva Polaris and Silva Explorer III.
$11 - $48 Suunto, Silva, Brunton
(11) Small Day Pack
On any hike for day trip, he will want to carry some items with him, such as food, water, matches and more. He can use his school back pack or something similar for any trip.
(12) Personal First Aid Kit
Each scout will need a personal first aid kit as part of their 1st Class requirements. This should contain only enough stuff for two people. This is not a trauma kit or surgical unit. Most items can be found at home or purchased at the drug store. Several commercial kits are available for about $5.00.
This may sound like a silly item, but if you are lost it can save your life. Any kind will do, just attach it to your pack.
(14) Water Bottle
Water bottles can be as simple as a 1-liter plastic coke bottle or a nice wide mouth lexan bottle. The coke bottles will last for one or two trips; the lexan will last until they are lost. Every scout should have at least two water bottles.
(15) Emergency Space Blanket
A space blanket is a very useful item if he gets wet or cold. This little 4-oz piece of foil and mylar can be used for many things and should be carried at all times. About $4.00 at most places.
Backpack (bag for all bags)
At some point, most scouts will have a chance to go backpacking. This can be a great experience, or the worst trip of their life. The backpack is the single item that can make or break a trip. For younger scouts, the tendency is to carry too much. Ask around. Some scouts may still have their first pack and you can buy it from them. If your scout is really small, an internal frame pack may be the only choice. Please ask one of the leaders before you buy. The Troop has several packs that it loans out for first timers.
Each person's pack should not weigh more than ¼ of their weight. I usually recommend an external pack with a capacity of 3500 cu.in. Simple easy to use and not very expensive is the way to go. When he gets older, then you can buy a whiz-bang, whistle & bells monster pack. Like boots, try on several packs at a good outdoor shop. The sales persons can show you how to make adjustments and get the most out of each pack. Four packs that I recommend for starting out are the Jansport Scout, Eureka Raven, Jansport D5 or Rainier. These packs can be passed on several times.
$70 - $140 REI, Jansport, Eureka, Gregory, Kelty, Lowe Alpine,
$150 - $310 Mountainsmith, ArcTeryx, Daina Design
Sleeping Pad (goes under the bag for insulation and padding)
A closed cell foam pad works very well. It is light and cheap. For extra comfort, a foam/air type pad is real nice. Steer away from open cell pads. They will soak up water and take up more space. Air mattresses usually spring leaks about 2 am on the second night.
$15 - $60 Ridgerest, Therm-a-Rest, Insolite - any store or catalog
Insulation Clothing (mid layer)
Layers are the best system for warmth and regulating body temperature. Wool or synthetic fabrics are a good bet. Cotton jeans or army pants add little warmth and are worthless when wet. A wool sweater and a pair of pile pants are a good start. Look for Polartec, Pile, Windbloc, Synchilla fleece.
$30 - $200 REI, Campmor, Army Surplus, Patagonia, North Face, Sportif, Old Navy, GAP
These are not scout shorts, unless you purchased the newer switchback pants. Shorts that do not need a belt and are made of nylon Supplex or something similar is the best for backpacking. If the shorts have a liner in them, that is even better.
$10- $35 Sportif, Patagonia, North Face, Exofficio, Columbia
Long pants are not always needed but they are really nice when it gets cool. No blue jeans. Look for Supplex nylon. They will dry quickly and are light.
$25 - $50 Sportif, Patagonia, Cloumbia, Exofficio
In the winter, 90% of the heat loss is from your head. Some type of hat or cap made of wool or polartec that can cover your ears is the best. Several of the new polartec hats are also windproof.
$10 - $50 Outdoor Research (OR), Patagonia, Turtle-fur, Columbia
A glove or mitten with a removable liner is the best system. They can be dried easily and are functional. Look for a wool or pile liner with a waterproof shell. In addition, a pair of thin glove liners will help when it is really cold. Reusable heat packs are also nice.
$20 - $100 Outdoor Research, Polartec, Wickers, Dachstien, Patagonia, REI, Campmor
Academy Sports Little Rock, AR 217-3700
Bennett's Military Supplies#9; Little Rock, AR 372-2944
Boy Scout Shop Little Rock, AR 663-7157
Ozark Outdoor Supply Little Rock, AR 664-4832
Pack Rat Fayetteville, AR 501-521-6340
Sports Authority Little Rock, AR 224-7137
Sportsmart Little Rock, AR 227-7678
The Woodsman Ft. Smith, AR 501-452-3559
Cabela’s Sidney, NE 1-800-237-4444
Campmor Saddle River, NJ 1-888-226-7667
Early Winters Portland, OR 1-800-458-4438
Forest Suppliers Jackson, MS 1-800-647-5368
Patagonia Reno, NV 1-800-638-6464
REI Summer, WA 1-800-426-4840
Troop 395 Home