Tent - If you don�t have one, check with your patrol.
You can probably share. The tent is then split among those using it so
everyone carries some of it. Avoid the "giant" ones. Remember that you
have to carry it.
Backpack with a hip belt � Some of the troop leaders
have small packs that they loan to new Scouts. Ask. REI rents packs.
Some Scouts may have packs that they will loan. If you do purchase a
pack, get one that FITS YOU NOW. If it fits now, it will probably have
the ability to be adjusted as you grow but it must fit you now. Several
of the adult leaders can adjust packs that you have borrowed. And, of
course, outfitters such as Galyons and REI have staff that can adjust
packs. (Make sure that you get straps with which to attach bags, tents
and so forth to the pack. Bungy cords don�t do a good job at this.)
Must Have � Should Own
- Sleeping bag � Don�t bring a "sleepover" bag.
These are insulated with cotton batting which, if wet, will just
make you colder. They are very big to pack and don�t insulate well
anyway. If you are in doubt about your bag:
- If it has the tag attached, check the contents
for cotton. If it has cotton, in most cases it is not suitable.
- If it has anything printed on the cover such as
Snoopy or Pokemon it is probably not suitable.
While down-insulated bags are lighter in weight
than equal comfort ratings of synthetic-insulated bags, the
synthetics are preferable because (in addition to being less
expensive) when down gets wet it looses its ability to insulate.
Wetness does not affect a synthetic's ability to insulate. A bag
used in Georgia will sometime or another get wet.
Sleeping bags are rated as to the lowest
temperature at which a user can be comfortable. While this is a
subjective measure, it is as good a guide as we have. For the type
of camping that we do, a rating of 15 or 20 degrees is a good
compromise. A lower temperature rating adds weight and would be
uncomfortable on merely cool nights.
- Footwear � Don�t buy hiking boots just for this
trek. Good running shoes are better than cheap boots. If you do buy
boots, make sure that they fit now and don�t need too much breaking
in. We don�t do much off-trail hiking (and none on this trek) so we
are more interested in ankle and arch support in boots than in
"ruggedness" per se.
- Two pair of synthetic or wool socks. (One each
for Saturday and Sunday) If all you have is cotton athletic socks,
bear in mind that cotton does not wick away moisture. This leads to
damp feet, which promote blisters. A really good system adds
polypropylene liners for added wicking ability as well as for
friction reduction. Pack in Zip-lock bags.
- Clean underwear for Saturday and Sunday in
- "T" shirts for Saturday and Sunday in Zip-lock
- Hiking shorts
- Long pants � Jeans are not good for this because
they are heavy even when dry, promote hypothermia when wet, and are
usually too tight to permit comfortable hiking.
- Long-sleeved shirt � preferably wool or
- Light jacket � Be able to "layer".
- Hat � A wide-brimmed one is better than a
baseball cap but a baseball cap is better than nothing.
- Knit cap for sleeping
- Lightweight, non-breakable cup (Anything from
around the house will do.)
- Lightweight, non-breakable bowl for eating (About
the size of a cereal bowl.)
- Spoon � You won�t need a fork and you have your
pocketknife if you need a knife.
- Water bottles � two one-quart bottles. For this
trek, used soda bottles are fine.
- SMALL flashlight � no bigger than the kind that
use 2 AA batteries.
- Small pocket knife. (If you don�t have your Toten
Chip, we�ll work on it in camp.)
- Whistle on a lanyard attached to your pack
- Toothbrush and toothpaste (If you don�t have a
tiny tube of toothpaste, squeeze a little in a plastic sandwich
- Your personal first aid kit.
Patrol-Supplied (You need to arrange for this when you
- Cooking pot with tongs
- Cooking Utensils needed for your menus
- Trash bags � If we bring it in, we pack it out.
- Dishwashing soap
- Scouring pad
- Toilet paper and trowel
- Lister bags for carrying water.
If you have one of these, please let me know.
- Backpacking stoves. If
you have one of these, please let me know.
- Water Filters
Nice to Have
- Sleeping pad. (I almost put this inn the "Must
Have � Should Own" category. If you do any camping at all, you
should get one.) These provide comfort by adding padding between the
bottom of your bag and that tree root that you pitched your tent on.
They also provide insulation by separating you from the cold ground.
(The "temperature rating" of sleeping bags assumes that you will
have a pad.)
- These come in several varieties �
- Open cell � These are the "Thermarest"-type. They
are self-inflating. They come in three thicknesses and several
lengths. They are the most expensive type and begin in the $40.00
range. Their advantage is mostly in compressibility.
- Closed cell � These are not inflatable. They vary
from the "egg crates" that roll up to the "waffles" that fold up
like an accordion. They are much less expensive than the open cell
types and are just as comfortable and insulate as well. You should
be able to get one in the $15.00 or less range.
- Air mattress � By this I mean the type that is
made of plastic and has four or so chambers for air that are blown
up to a thickness of 3 or 4 inches. These are made for floating
around a swimming pool. DON�T BRING one. They are very heavy, don�t
insulate well and invariably spring leaks.
- Rain Jacket � I put this in this category because
a "really good" rain suit is very expensive � in the range of $250
because they are Gortex-lined, have extensive zippers that not only
seal the pockets and front but also provide venting for temperature
control. They are also reinforced and so forth for extreme
durability. A merely "good" rain jacket has the zippers and strength
of the "really good" but not the Gortex. These are in the $100 to
$150 range. This means that most of us have to settle for something
- An inexpensive rain suit that is rubberized to be
waterproof. These are fine for waiting for the school bus but make
you really hot and clammy on the trail because they don�t let the
sweat out that you generate as you walk. They are also heavy.
Probably not a good choice.
- A poncho is a rectangular piece of cloth with a
hole in the middle for your head to which a hood has been sewn. Some
have snaps down the side. These range from the kind that are made of
the stuff that dry cleaners use to cover the clothes when you pick
them up (obviously worthless on the trail) to those that are made
especially for backpacking. (The "tail" is longer than the front so
it can fit over the pack). These are made of various materials
ranging from windproof, waterproof lightweight nylon to fairly heavy
rubberized fabric. A good, lightweight poncho will probably cost
$15.00 or so. Perhaps a good choice.
- A heavy-duty trash bag. This sounds crazy but for
a two day trek in the "dry" season, this may be a good way to "Be
Prepared" at a minimal cost. Cut holes for arms and head and you are
in business. This doesn�t breath very well either but it is
lightweight and doesn�t cost much. In a world of compromises, this
is one that I�d probably make.
- Rain Pants � Much of what is said above applies
here. I own good rain pants and will not be taking them on this
- Mittens or gloves � The cheap, brown ones that
are used in the garden are fine. They are used on this trek for a
- Camera � This is an opportunity to take photos
that not only show where you have been but also to take photos of
your buddies that you will treasure in years to come.
- Long underwear for sleeping � Depending on the
- Small camp pillow. Some use a small towel and
their clean clothes instead.
- 50 feet or so of 1/8 inch nylon line
- Lightweight shoes for camp to provide a break
from hiking boots
Leave it at Home
- Game boys, etc
- CD players
- Lanterns with 9V batteries (You laugh but an
Eagle Scout who shall remain nameless brought one of these on his
very first backpacking trip.)
- Full-sized pillow