Gear

Troop 313 makes an effort to camp most months of the year. We’ve compiled some information to make these trips more comfortable, especially for an adult participant. Also, check the “Camp” menu above to locate other camping information.

There are two basic forms of camping in Troop 313. The first is backpacking. This allows minimum equipment (limited by the strength of your back and your endurance). Most participants plan on lightweight items and many adults expect to have little comfort. Investment in ultra-light sleeping bags, tents and sleeping pads will pay off somewhat. Inevitably you will have to make decisions on items such as camp stool, pillows, air mattress and additional clothing, being a realistic addition to your pack.

The second form of camping in Troop 313 is commonly called “Car Camping”, which refers more accurately to being able to drive to the campsite. This allows participants to bring as much equipment (regardless of weight and bulk) as they would like.

The following equipment suggestions are relative to “Car Camping” and based on personal experience, as well as likes and dislikes.

SLEEPING BAG: An extra wide and extra long sleeping bag will create the most amount of room for you to toss, turn, roll, etc. You can further enhance the the comfort by placing a soft material inside. Some bags have a flannel interior with a zip out fleece blanket. Sewing pockets onto the fleece blanket (side away from the skin) that can be used to hold hand warmers. These are spaced, in pairs, evenly from the bottom of the blanket to the top. When hand warmers are placed in these pockets the interior of the sleeping bag stays warm and comfortable all night.

TENT: If you want to stay comfortable in just about any weather condition, you must consider many important characteristics when choosing a tent.

  • Can you stand up in it? Is that important?
  • Is it large enough to hold a cot or air bed without touching the sides?
  • Does the tent deflect the wind well (a dome tent or a tent with diagonal sides will deflect the wind where as a tent with more vertical sides tends to be more susceptible to wind force and ends up with bent poles or torn cloth or both)
  • Will the tent handle rain or snow well? (when camping in heavy or continuous rain, to be more comfortable, your tent should have a full/complete rain fly and you may also want to consider an attached vestibule which will keep wet equipment and footwear outside your tent but easily accessible in a covered area)

An example of a strong tent selection is the “Alaska Guide” tent from Cabela’s. It is oversized but meets all the characteristics listed above with enough interior room for 4 or 5 camp chairs as well as an air bed. It is an 8 man but they also sell 4 and 6 man versions. This tent is strong in wind and rains, is easy to set up and has lots of room.

COT/AIR BED: Cots work well, but can still be quite uncomfortable. You may find that an extra layer between you and the cot may be required (pad) or an over sized cot might provide more comfort.

An air mattress is a nice alternative to the cot. What’s the difference? An air mattress is inflated either with a pump (typically 15″-24″ off the ground) or blown up personally (typically 3”-8” off the ground). The added height can be very helpful. No matter how sturdy the air bed, you will need some form of protection from stones, sticks underneath it. A couple of roll-up mats will meet the criteria.

FOOTWEAR: There isn’t a piece of equipment, if it fails, that can dampen a campout quicker than footwear that hurts. When hiking is involved, appropriate hiking shoes are necessary. If properly broken in, they are not only comfortable, but provide the necessary support and protection. However, after a long day of hiking, a pair tennis shoes or comfortable shoes, is a relief on the feet around the campsite. If weather (rain) prevents wearing tennis shoes, think about sandals (if temperatures allows). Keep in mind that flip flops and open toe sandals are hazardous on campouts and strongly discouraged and not allowed at official Boy Scout camps.

MISCELLANEOUS: There are a couple of items that can add to your experience.

  • Personal coffee mug: For those who “love” coffee, drinking it out of your own mug may be a requirement. We will always have coffee brewing in the morning or hot water for tea. Creamers or flavoring is also usually available.
  • Book: Bringing a favorite book may help you sleep; nothing gets you ready for bed like a few minutes of reading when you first first turn in for the night.
  • Bathroom: Let’s address the “going to the bathroom in the woods” fear. Mr. Mick has gone out of his way to make this part of “car camping” as comfortable as humanly possible. He has taken a Cabela’s shower tent and has placed a handicap commode with bucket lined with a 2ply plastic bag in side; there’s even a shelf for your coffee/tea, but no magazine rack. (unfortunately, there is only one facility. The down and dirty rules of use: Guy’s still look for a secluded spot for #1, all adults use the aforementioned facility for #2 and mom’s have luxury for all) One more comment, BYO TP.

These are just a few suggestions about how to stay comfortable camping (and what the Troop, specifically Mr. Mick, has done to help). Do you have ideas? Drop Mr. Mick a note at scoutmaster @ troop313.net!

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