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Holiday Shopping List

The TOP six items that should be on every scout's Holiday List:

1. Zero Degree Sleeping Bag - If you plan on camping between Oct and April, you really need a quality zero degree sleeping bag. The troop does several backpacking trips, so it needs to be light and compressible. If there is one item you splurge on on this list, then make it this one. A quality sleeping bag will last 20 years or longer if cared for properly. Make a solid investment. 

Features to Look for:
- Zero Fahrenheit Degree Rating
- less than 4 lb (the lighter, the better)
- Backpacking type bag (other bags will not compress small)
- I like synthetic filling. The natural down is good, but has to be kept dry, which is difficult on some trips.
- Get an adult bag. Your scout will grow out of the child size quickly.

Example Items: Selection from REI 

2. A quality ground pad - There is a wide variety of ground pads on the market starting at $20 up to $300. Basically, you want an insulating layer between your sleeping bag and the ground. It is OK to go cheap on this item and upgrade later.  If you are new to scouting, then anything is good. If your scout is an experienced scout, then upgrading to a backpacking pad may be a great gift. The link below is the backpacking pad I use and I love it.

Features to Look for:
- The higher the R rating, the better
- Do NOT purchase at REI. REI does not carry the lower cost pads. Stick with Amazon

Example ItemKlymit Static Lightweight Sleeping Pad

3. Hiking Boots - You really can’t be a scout without hiking boots. There is much debate on style (high or low ankle) and should they be waterproof or not. These features generally will depend on the terrain and the time of year.  Since I am most concerned with the colder and wetter months, go with high ankle (great for backpacking and ankle support)  and waterproof (keeps your feet dry in damp and snowy conditions). If your scout plans on attending a high adventure camp or doing extensive summer backpacking, then we can debate the other features. 

Features to Look for:
- Waterproof
- High Ankle
- Purchase a full size bigger to accommodate thick socks and foot swelling.
- Ensure your toe is Nowhere near the front of the boot.

4. Weekend gear bag or backpack
I have seen everything from summer camp trunks to trash bags. Neither are acceptable for a weekend camping trip. A good gear bag is compact and easy to transport from the parking lot to camp. You are not attending Philmont either, so there is no need to spend hundreds of dollars on a top of the line backpack until you are ready. The link below is the bag my oldest son has used since he was a Webelos. It has been everywhere from Assateague to the White Mountains and is still going. It is a nice size and holds all the gear one would need for a weekend trip. 

Features to Look for:
- Less than $100
- Size: 45 to 55 liter
- Includes a rain cover

Example Item
Field and Stream Backpack

5. Pocket Knife - 
Another standard scouting item.  Styles vary depending on usage, but a good Swiss army knife is hard to beat. There are a bunch of styles, but I like the Victorinox Camper. It is just the right size and has everything you need. Resist getting one with too many tools that will never be used. This will be an item your scout will probably own the rest of his/her life. I still have mine from when I was a scout (minus the toothpick and tweezers, of course).

Features to Look for:
- Swiss Army brand. Do not buy a bobo brand.
- Minimal tools. Less than 12 is good.

Example Item: Victorinox Swiss Camper Pocket Knife

6. Compass - This list is full of stereotypical Boy Scout items!! If your scout has all of the above, then get him/her a solid compass. The below is the one I carry. It is durable and accurate. I like this mid-level compass because it has an adjustable declination correction. If you don't know what that means, don't worry about it. Your scout will learn about it at some point and like the feature.

Features to Look for:
- Adjustable declination correction
- Liquid filled
- Steel Needle
- Calibrated for the North Hemisphere (check this one if you are buying online)

Example ItemSuunto M3 Leader CompassStocking Stuffers:
  1. Head Lamp or Flashlight
  2. Rain Gear - quality poncho or rain jacket
  3. Mess kit items
  4. Wood Carving projects
  5. Backpacking stove
  6. Hiking socks - NO COTTON
  7. Dry Bags
  8. Hiking Pants - NO COTTON