Troop 443's active outdoor program emphasizes camping and backpacking because this develops ability in all outdoor skills, as well as teamwork and leadership. There is no need to rush out and fully equip your son. Starting with a minimum of gear allows him time to determine the extent of his commitment to Scouting and to learn for himself from his patrol what equipment is most suitable for lightweight, low-impact camping. Please seek the advice of the Scoutmaster about major purchases. The sections on pages 200 - 210 and 224 - 231 of the Scout Handbook (11th ed.) contain guidance on clothing and equipment for a weekend camp. Troop 443 does not allow glass containers, non-folding (sheath) knives, candles, butane lighters, radios/iPods, or electronic games.
Most outdoor stores rent backpacks, sleeping bags, skis, etc. Many stores offer a Scout discount on both rentals and purchases (it never hurts to ask). In addition, Troop 443 has a few tents, backpacks, and winter sleeping bags for use or rent at low rates (and we sell our rental equipment to our Scouts at about half price after a few uses).
Be daring! Make some gear yourself, from a kit or from scratch. All you need is a sewing machine and a willingness to try. Many of our Scouts have sewn their own gaiters, stuff sacks, sleeping bag liners, and rain pants.
Troop 443 requires all Scouts and adults to wear proper helmets while cycling, including to and from troop meetings.
A Scout can use a duffel bag or similar item until he can get a good quality pack and frame. A boy will quickly outgrow or wear out an inadequate pack. Eventually, an active Scout will need a good nylon pack on an aluminum frame of the right size and design, with a padded, wraparound (one-piece) hip belt. Although internal-frame packs are fashionable, they allow limited adjustment to a growing boy; so we recommend ladder-style, external-frame packs.
Troop 443 currently has a few tents to lend Scouts. Use a light weight, two-person, four-season, backpacking tent. Please consult with the Scoutmaster before investing in a personal tent (the key word is four-season).
Because of the nature of snow camping and the increasing restrictions on back-country camping, we do most of our cooking on one- or two-burner propane, butane, white gas, or alcohol stoves. Please consult with the Scoutmaster before purchasing a backpacking stove. The troop owns patrol cook sets. A Scout needs his own plate, cup, and silverware. A small mesh bag is suggested to allow personal gear to air dry.
Sources of Equipment
There are numerous local outdoor stores. Remember that price and quality usually go hand in hand. Talk to the Scoutmaster if you have any questions.
Checklist for a "Typical" Weekend Campout
Use common sense along with this list; the Mid-Atlantic area’s weather can be unpredictable. Always bring one complete change of EVERYTHING, and several pairs of socks. Then add gear for rain/snow, cold, sleeping, and eating. You DON’T need expensive equipment; much can be home-made or improvised. Ask the uniformed leaders for ideas.
NOTE--Troop 443 does not allow candles, butane lighters, non-folding knives, radios/iPods or computer games on campouts.
- pack & frame OR duffel bag
- small bags for ALL gear in pack (home-made nylon, cloth, plastic, etc)
- 4 pairs socks
- moon boots/etc with removable felt liners (in winter)
- hiking boots (in summer)
- 2 underpants
- set of long underwear
- 2 long-sleeved shirts
- 2 pairs of pants (anything but jeans)
- sweatshirt OR wind breaker
- winter coat
- mittens OR gloves
- ski cap
- hat with sun visor
- gaiters (for snow; can be home-made)
- rain jacket OR poncho
- 2-3 plastic trash bags
- sleeping bag (4-season or add a couple of extra blankets)
- sleeping bag liner (polar fleece or flannel; home-made)
- waterproof stuff sack for sleeping bag
- sleeping pad
- flashlight (good AA size or small C size)
- chapstick & sunscreen
- toilet paper (in waterproof bag) & "pooper scooper" plastic hiker's trowel
- soap/comb/toothbrush/toothpaste/hand towel
- full water bottle (1 liter, wide mouth)
Secrets to Winter Warmth
Keep warm in winter? It's simple! Here's how:
Wear clothing in several layers rather than one thick garment: - long underwear, warm shirt and pants, sweatshirt, sweater, windproof winter coat. Layers are warmer, plus they let you control your temperature by adding or removing layers. It’s better to stay slightly cool, which helps your body adjust to low temperatures and keeps you dry.
Brush snow off yourself before it melts into your clothes. NEVER stand by a fire. Fires overheat you and make you sweat.
Wear a Hat
Your head radiates enough heat to make your feet cold! Keep your head covered. If your feet are cold, put on dry socks AND a hat.
Change Your Clothes
Bring at least one change of everything and bring several pairs of socks. Tiny amounts of moisture in your clothes will make you VERY cold at night, so change ALL your clothes when you go to bed.
You need it, especially the bottoms. You can use a Non Cotton sweatshirt or turtleneck for the top.
Wool is best (try the army surplus stores). Avoid cotton shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants. Jeans are worthless, and are unacceptable as winter garb!
Winter footwear should have removable felt liners (wring them out when they get damp). Footwear must be roomy for extra socks (if it is too tight, circulation is reduced and your feet will get cold). Sneakers are unacceptable!
Keep your mittens or gloves dry. Mittens will keep your hands much warmer than gloves.
They are helpful on bright winter days (and they look cool).
A folding Swiss Army type knife can be handy, but is not required. Hatchets and axes may be fun, but a bow saw is quicker, safer, and easier to use. The Troop supplies Axes and Saws for outing use. The troop bans any non-folding knife or any personal hatchet or axe.
For warm-weather outings, hiking boots should be the lightest weight and least expensive pair you can find that are comfortable and have lug soles. Because of a boy's rapid growth, you don't need top-quality boots, but proper fit is vital. Hiking boots should be comfortable right from the start (never buy boots that need to be "broken in"). Sneakers are acceptable only as a backup to proper hiking boots, and sneakers are never acceptable in winter.
For winter snow camping, you need warm boots with removable felt liners.
You can buy Scout supplies locally at the DelMarVa Council service center located at the River Front Shops in Wilmington, DE, or with the BSA national supply service center at 1-800-323-0732 or www.scoutstuff.org.