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Troop 279 Individual Camping Equipment

Troop 279 suggests the following items on the page for outing activities. This is the basic Scout kit needed for your Scout to be comfortable in the outdoors.

There are only FOUR things a Scout needs:

  1. A Backpack - alternates include: a duffle bag
    • Try not to use small daypacks/school backpacks/Trash bags
    • A bag that is durable
    • Holds all of their belongings
  2. A Sleeping Bag and a Sleeping Pad
  3. Tableware (something to eat on/with)
  4. A water bottle

The Troop has:

  • Tents available
  • Patrol Kitchens
  • Common Patrol Items
  • Axes/Saws
  • Tables
  • Dutch Ovens
  • Portable Shelters

This Basic Gear list focuses on everything the Individual Scout will need for most outings. You do not need to spend a bunch of money to outfit your scout.


A backpack is the key piece of Camping Gear that holds all of the scout's belongings during Troop outings. Selecting the right pack seems like a daunting task. You don't want to overspend, under buy, or get something that is inflexible.


The measurement you need is your torso length. Use a soft seamstress tape and have someone measure from the base of your neck (precisely, your C7 vertebrae, the most prominent bone at the base of your neck) straight down your spine until it is level with your hip bone (also called your iliac crest). Most adult packs have a fit range of 18 to 20 inches, while youth packs are more adjustable and fit torso lengths between 14 and 19 inches.

Troop 279 Notes:

  • Get an adjustable pack - something that grows with the Scout
  • Fit the backpack to the scout - you don't by shoes three sizes too big?

Internal vs External Frame

There are two types of backpacks:
External frames have a metal framework on the outside.

  • External frame packs are less expensive
  • Provide better ventilation in warm climates
  • Are best for carrying heavy loads on smooth trails.

Internal-frame packs have their support structure hidden within the pack like a skeleton.

  • Internal frame packs are more form-fitting.
  • Can be less flexible
  • Requires more capacity (volume) since all gear must be contained inside the backpack.

Troop 279 Notes:

  • We prefer for scouts to have an external frame pack for their first backpack
  • External frames allow extra gear to be secured to the outside of the pack (it's flexible)
External Frame Backpack Internal Frame Backpack

Capacity (aka Volume)

The amount of gear a pack can hold is measured in either liters or cubic inches. A larger capacity is not always better. Be careful not to overfill your pack and carry too much weight.

Troop 279 Notes: A right sized Scout pack holds between 3000-3500 cubic inches (or 50-55 liters)


Get a pack cover

  • They are around $10
  • Backpacks can be secured to trees during camping - the cover protects them from weather
  • When hiking in the rain, the pack cover keeps the contents dry.

You should be able to find a new, external frame backpack for under $100

  • Check Yard Sales for better prices
  • Some retailers offer discounts to Scouts.
  • Last years models or discontinued lines offer the best value.

Sleep Systems

What is a sleep system? A sleep system consists of all the components to help a Scout get a good nights rest. There are three primary components; a sleeping bag, a liner, and a sleeping pad.

Sleeping Bags

The correct sleeping bag is crucial to keeping a scout comfortable on a camping trip.

Buy a sleeping bag that is the correct size for the scout.

  • A large sleeping bag that a scout can “grow into” makes for cold nights.
  • pockets of air in a sleeping bags makes for cold spots.
  • sleeping bags sized for women are good choices.

ALPS Mountaineering sleeping bags comes in three sizes: Short, Regular, & Long.

Stay away from “feather” or “down” sleeping bags. They lose loft (aka warmth) when wet. Young Scouts don't have the skills to use these properly.

Cold Weather Bags

Georgia is in a temperate climate. Average cold months temperatures are from highs around 55 degrees to lows around freezing.
The Troop recommends a good 20-degree bag for cold weather camping.

  • 20 degrees is the lowest temperature the average person feels comfortable
  • This varies from person to person
  • 20-degree bags give a 10-degree padding for average temperatures.

Warm Weather Bags

Georgia is in a temperate climate. Night time temperatures can be between 50 and 80 degrees.
The Troop recommends a good 55-60 degree bag for warm weather camping.

  • These lite weight bags provide warmth on cold nights, but are not too heavy.
  • Fleece bags are a good alternative for warm nights.

ALPS Mountaineering has an awesome Hybrid Bag that is part 55 degree bag and part sheet or this sleeping bag liner called the Razor that works as a 60-80 degree bag as well.

Sleeping Bag Liners

Liners are lite weight blankets that augment your sleep system. Carry them in the summer and winter to get the most flexibility in your sleep system.

These are silk or fleece liners that go inside the sleeping bag.

  • They will lower your sleeping bag's rating by up to 10 degrees.
  • They can be used as a sheet if it gets too hot.

Alternatively, buy an inexpensive fleece throw or blanket and wrap yourself in it inside the sleeping bag.
Sleeping bag liners can be used as a sleeping bag.

Sleeping Pad

Don't sleep directly on the ground.

  • Get a closed cell foam pad to provide insulation between your sleeping bag and the ground.
    • Without a sleeping pad, your sleeping bag will not go down to it's specified rating.
  • A foam pad cushions and insulates.
  • The ground is rarely soft


Air mattresses do not insulate.
Foam Pads can be purchased for under $10
High end backpacking sleeping pads are nice but cost more money

  • Not necessary unless your scout is going to be backpacking
  • Foam Pads work on most Backpacking trips
  • It's a bulk/weight issue for long treks (aka Philmont)

Bottom Line: Save your money

Mess Kits

Besides a place to sleep, Scouts need a way to consume food.

Traditional aluminum cook kits are nice to eat on, but are OK for cooking and horrible to clean.
Stick with unbreakable plastics:

The Troop recommends the following items: A plate

  • they are cheap, replaceable, lightweight
  • a frisbee works well

A Bowl
A Cup
Fork, Knife, Spoon

Use a paint pen to put your Scout's name on the plastic mess kits - permanent markers don't work very well

Water Bottle

We cannot stress the importance of having a rugged, reusable water bottle. Having two on hand is even better.

  • Hold at least 16 ounces of water (32 ounces is prefered)
  • Have a wide mouth (easy filling & cleaning)
  • Be rugged
  • Made of a material that is BPA free


  • Constructed of Aluminum or other metals
  • Don't use canteens

These can be bought a Walmart for around $5-7

camping/essential_scout_gear.txt · Last modified: 2017/01/03 16:06 by Jack W. Parks