Backpacking - Cold Weather - Summer Camp - Where to buy Gear? Given our Troops record of camping throughout the year, having proper sleeping and eating gear are important purchases to make. Here are some suggestions. Saving money If you have a young or new scout, having expensive gear isn't something you want to spend your money on. They might decide lots of camping isn't for them. They might outgrow what you buy quickly. And lastly they might destroy it as they don't know how to keep equipment in good repair. I wouldn't suggest that getting expensive backpacks, sleeping bags or other gear should be a priority at this time. When they get older and are doing more backpacking trips that require light compact (and expensive) gear, look into it then. There are many great sources for gear in the Cincinnati area, as well as online. Watch for sales at Bass Pro and Dicks. Dicks also has several coupons in the Entertainment Book. Wal-mart, Target and Meijer all carry inexpensive sleeping gear, but do not tend to carry the lower temp bags in their stores. Hydration and Dining Water bottles - each scout should at a minimum bring a empty gatorade or similar heavy plastic bottle. Beyond that, there are relatively inexpensive bottles, on up to Nangene or Camelback BPA-Free bottles. The reason why each scout should have a water bottle is this. Bringing bottled water results in having lots of half-full bottles that no scout will claim is theirs, and it adds to all the trash we have to haul out. Definitely not leave no trace. Eating Utensils - each scout should also have a simple mess kit, which can be (believe it or not) a frisbee for a plate. Frisbees should survive a trip through the dish washer for getting them really clean. You can also grab some plasticware from your favorite fast food place if really on a budget. Most of the local stores with camping departments will carry aluminum mess kits for under $10, or you can spend a bit more for fancier kits. Sporks are also a great purchase, but have the down side of not having a separate knife and fork when cutting. Again, not having to use paper plates, styrofoam cups and disposable plasticware keeps our trash footprint down. Sleeping Gear Sleeping Bags - In general you will not be able to find a bag that will work all year round. Either you are too hot or too cold at some point in time. Instead, consider getting a regular bag (30-40º) and a bag liner (removable or separate) that can be used to add extra insulation in cold months, or be used by itself in warm months. Padding Having a nice pad beneath your bag keeps you warmer in winter as well as helping you get a better nights sleep. Even the best of campsites will have uneven ground with pebbles, sticks, etc. under your tent. In general there are two types scouts will be using, either the closed-cell foam type, or a thin inflatable type (Thermarest). Large air mattresses tend to be too large and heavy to fit in a scouts tent, as well as requiring air pumps to inflate. Clothing Rain gear - Troop 902 is known for bringing their own source of water with them. Having at least a rain repelling jacket or poncho will make life much more comfortable. Something that compresses down into a small size to fit in your day pack is helpful as well. Shoes - On campouts scouts needs to have good closed toe shoes (no flip-flops sandals or crocs, except at summer camp for showers) like walking shoes, running shoes or boots.
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