Guide to Basic Camping Gear


Having fun in the outdoors requires the right gear and clothing. And as scouts get older, they have opportunities to backpack into the wilderness for a weekend or a couple weeks. This requires small, light gear. The goal is to be able to carry your gear on your back comfortably. Get to that point as soon as possible. Even on weekend campouts we frequently walk in a short distance.

Use holidays and birthdays to add to your gear collection and refine it.

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BACKPACK Carson External Frame Backpack

- Most scouts join the troop in the spring. If a scout renews at the end of the year, he should give serious consideration to getting a backpack, e.g. for Christmas.

- Ask troop leaders and older scouts for advice.

- Check out and for inexpensive starter packs.





Now find small, light gear to put in your pack or duffel.






- Small but durable.

- Headlamp are now the most popular

- Or if using a regular flashlight, the Mini Maglite (two AA batteries) is plenty big. Leave the giant D-cell or 6-volt battery flashlights at home.







- Markings at every two degrees.

- Rotating compass housing (the round part).

- A straight edge is preferred.

- Silva is the major name brand.

- When you turn while holding the compass level, the needle should quickly return to North.







The BSA mess kit is cute, but leave most of it at home.

Here is what you need:

1.      Something to eat off. A plate with a lip or a bowl will suffice. If you have a BSA mess kit, bring one side. A food storage container with lid works well.

2.      Something to eat with. A spoon is enough. Bring a fork if you want. These sporks have become popular.

3.      Something to drink from. A tough plastic or metal cup. It doubles as a bowl for soup.







- One quart or multiple bottles adding up to a quart.  Two quarts for backpacking.

- The Nalgene brand 32 oz. lexan bottle pictured above is very popular. $10 in any camping store.

- Side graduation markings are handy to measure liquid while cooking.







- Keep them dry in a waterproof bag, aspirin bottle, or film canister.

- Do not bet on strike anywhere matches. Always carry a striking surface from the side of a box or matchbook.

- Do not waste your money on store-bought fire starters. Dryer lint is a great fire starter. Yes, dryer lint. It is free, easy to obtain, compressible, and weighs almost nothing. A candle works well also.








- These are not just for comfort. They insulate us from the cold or wet ground.

- Smaller and lighter is better. Big air mattresses (> 1.5" thick) requiring lots of air are not recommended.

- Different lengths are available. Backpackers often get a pad long enough for their torso but not their legs in order to save space and weight. But these pads also provide insulation from the cold ground, so a full length pad is nice in the cold weather.

- Here are three popular styles:

1.      Therm-a-Rest Trail (Thin air pad with open-cell foam core. Self inflates to ~90%. Best insulation of these three.)

2.      Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest (Closed-cell foam, roll up)

3.      Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite (Closed-cell foam, fold up)

- There is nothing wrong with an inexpensive blue foam roll from Wal-Mart.





Use a DITTY BAG so all the small stuff

in your backpack is easy to find.






Put your sleeping bag in a STUFF SACK


- If your sleeping bag did not come with a stuff sack, get one to contain and compress it and to protect it from dirt and moisture.

- Some stuff sacks include compression straps to further shrink the size after getting it into the bag. has good ones at great prices.

- If your sleeping bag must be folded in half and rolled (not as flexible as the one pictured) use two straps or ropes. Roll as tight as you can. Then slide it into your stuff sack.

- Tent mates should help each other when packing to go home.

- DO NOT store a sleeping bag compressed between campouts.





Make a Bag o Bags

This is a Be Prepared kit. Neatly fold various bags from sandwich to garbage size into a quart Ziploc bag. Throw in a folded up piece of foil. Squeeze out the air and seal it up. These bags will come in handy for trash, leftovers, emergency ponchos or shelters, collecting tinder, holding wet clothes, crime scene evidence collection, and countless other uses.





Granville Boy Scout Troop 65
Troop 65 is grateful for support from
Chartered Organization, Granville Kiwanis, and
from Granville Centenary United Methodist Church.



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