Gear Me

Everything and adult needs for Boy Scout Camp

Gear

When I think of traveling I can’t help but conjure the images from old movies when porters for the “wealthy old woman” load trunk after trunk of gear into a car that is two sizes too small….Piles of leather bound boxes strapped to the back of an old Duesenberg . What on earth could she be taking with her? Are the facilities so primitive as to lack running water? Or a stream?

Somewhere along the line I was taught that “light is right”. To me this means take the bare minimum of gear and find multiple uses for each. The end result is much lighter packs, much faster movement through the woods and less damage to my carcass. In my experience, this applies to all manner of travel.

But what to do with a week at Boy Scout Camp? The set up is similar to a car camping trip without the RV. You are going to be in camp for an extended period of time.

The answer is what you see above. The breakdown is pretty simple as it follows closely what I take on a full-on backpacking trip with the addition of reading material and electronics. To make this pile, I followed the same methodology as I do for every trip…and it does not include consulting any pre-made, one-size-fits-all list.

To create my mental packing list, I mentally work the trip two ways: House and Step-By-Step. This allows me to, usually, not forget anything essential.

By House I consider all the rooms of a house and make sure I have them in my bag. For example, House = Tent/Ground Cloth, Kitchen = Stove/Utensils/Food etc. By working through every room of my house, I am covered for how I am going to live.

The second method I use is to mentally walk through every step of the trip, starting with what I am wearing as I walk out the door. Do I have the keys? How about gas? Do I know how to get to trailhead and do I have the map?  I walk this thinking though to the moment I return. By doing this I can mentally see what I will need for each event along the way. This also covers the items not associated with a house…like fly fishing gear.

Make no mistake, I have forgotten important gear before. In these instances, you make do with what you have. Consider Les Stroud manages to spend 10 days in the wild without any gear. If he can do it, so can I.

The lesson here is that my two methods for packing for the wilderness (or any trip really) serve to keep my gear load to just the things I need.

 

 

 

You don’t make men with an Xbox

Last weekend our troop participated in the annual Klondoree event. Basically it is an annual  “Scout Olympics” competition set in the cold and snow of the Colorado Front Range.

For the 2012 event, weather conditions were pretty tough. We camped on about 14 inches of snow with 10 degree weather and 80+ percent humidity. It was dang cold. In fact, the sky “froze” at one point as indicated by snow with no clouds.

During the weekend I realized that this is exactly the tough conditions that turns little dudes into men. There is no “parent” to take them to the warming hut when they are cold. If they make a mistake with their gear, they have to solve their own problem. Basically it is an exercise in personal management and taking care of oneself.

This is the essence of Scouting and the outdoors.

da Klondoree

pOut here in Colorado we have an annual winter camping trip known as “Klondoree”. It sort of like Camporee, just with snow and cold.nbsp; For the un-initiated, the Klondoree is camping in the winter punctuated with events testing scout skill (you know, like building fires, ice rescue and such) while competing against other troops./p pIn the past these have been great events and this year should be no different. We are hauling 22 scouts and 6 adults into the woods. The weather is calling for snow to start falling on Saturday. I’m sure the dudes will all be prepared for a great time./p pOur troop hosted last year’s Klondoree. It is a lot of work for the host troop keeping track of all the events and managing all of the scouts./p

Okpik = Cold Camping

A couple weeks ago our troop sent six of us to the Okpik Winter Survival Program at Tahosa, near Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.  The program is excellent and provides the basics for how to camp/survive in a very cold environment.

Now, I’ve been in the mountains for 30+ years. I’ve been cold before. This, however, was one of the coldest weekends I have ever spent. This had nothing to do with the program, it had everything to do with the wind. 15degrees, sustained 15-20 mph wind with gusts that blew down trees….the whole time we were there. Brrrr.

Quinzee

Home

The fun part of the trip though was building our quinzee, which is basically an igloo. We camped out in these, two men per quinzee. Not too bad.

All in all a great experience.