Scouts-L Mail Archive for September of 1998: Re: $500 in gear? (was: Wow! Cost of Scouting)
Re: $500 in gear? (was: Wow! Cost of Scouting)
Sun, 27 Sep 1998 23:08:13 -0500
At 08:46 AM 9/25/98 -0700, Storms, Randy wrote:
>OK, so a number of people have commented both privately and to the list that
>a scout does not need $500 to be properly equipped for camping. That
>estimate was constructed using the items on the "Personal Overnight Camping
>Gear" list in the Scout Handbook , with approximate prices derived by
>comparing similar items in the Official BSA Catalog, the REI catalog, and
>the Campmor catalog.
>Here's the rough list I compiled:
>1st Aid Kit 5.00
>Rain Gear 10.00
>Sleeping Bag 170.00
>Foam Pad 30.00
>Mess Kit 20.00
>I also added these items which I consider essential:
>Cook Stove 50.00
>Hiking Boots 50.00 (Yeah, right. my last pair of crappy tennis shoes
> Total: $502.00
>Note that I did not bother pricing Extra Clothing, Trail Food,
>Matches/Firestarter, Sun Protection, Clothing for the Season, Ground Cloth,
>or Cleanup Kit, as I felt most of this could be found at home.
>None of the prices listed reflect "Rolls-Royce" gear.
Rolls-Royce, maybe not. BMW, probably not. Cadillac / Lincoln. Maybe.
Chevy. Not Quite.
Here are the places I disagree with your costs:
Knife: I would recommend the Boy Scout Utility Knife ($13.25) if I was
to recommend a BSA knife, otherwise, I would recommend the Victorinox
Sentry (10.95 from BSA) or the similar New Pocket Pal (2 blades), which is
about the same price (this is what I carry every day, and have for 13
years). For any of these prices, you get a knife that should last a
lifetime and hold an edge decently.
First Aid Kit: Doesn't need to be a boughten one. Can be a box with the
same supplies in it. Even the BSA Scout first aid kit for $5.25 is little
more than a box of various size band aids. Make your own.
Rain Gear: I agree that this is one place not to compromise too much
for quality. At $10, you are getting the lowest price gear that will
survive even a little while.
Flashlight: I think $15 is a bit much (that's almost enough to buy a 2 D
cell Mag light, but not quite). I would say $5-10 (and you can find decent
ones in this range). My fear for this item is that the scout will loose
it, so don't get too good of a light.
Compass: $12.50 for Polaris from BSA supply. You might be able to find
the same model for cheaper elsewhere. This is adequate for most scouts
until they go on a high adventure trip (and even then, it may work).
Sleeping Bag: $170??? My recommendation would be the Red River II from
the BSA ($90.50) or the Ranger ($51.00), also from the BSA. Either of
these would be a 3 season bag, unless you did a lot of winter camping
requiring an all season bag.
Pack: You've probably found the cheapest frame backpack in the catalogs.
Foam Pad: $30 You're starting to get to better pads. Even though I won't
camp without mine anymore, this could be eliminated completely for new
scouts. If they insist, the adult foam sleeping pad from the BSA is $13.15
(and similar ones available for less elsewhere) or the Ridge Rest for
$17.50 (bought from the BSA, may be available elsewhere cheaper).
Mess Kit: $20... Yes, that's the price of a BSA mess kit (or the price
of a cheap one plus the silverware set), but is it really necessary???
Unless you teach your scouts to cook in them (I wouldn't recommend it),
forget it. They need a cup/mug (lots of places will give you plastic
glasses, although I recommend a thermal insulated one), possibly a bowl
(depends on the mug you get), a plate (I've seen frisbees recommended,
which you can get for free), and silverware. It doesn't have to match,
nest, but you shouldn't necessarily have to BUY something (warn scouts to
check with mom before taking from the kitchen). I would budget about $10
for most scouts. With imagination and time, I might be able to do it for
$5 or less, an NOT pull good stuff from the kitchen at home.
Hiking Boots: This is hard to price. It depends on the time you are
shopping and what you look for. I've gotten decent boots (work boots type,
but I've used them for hiking) in the $40-60 range (I buy them for winter
boots. I don't like to spend too much, as the salt gets to them before
they wear out. I find it is easier to get new boots every couple of years
than to clean them every day)
Canteen: This depends on need. I've got a 24 ounce bottle with a mesh
holder / sling that I bought for $5-7 (and these types are relatively easy
Now, some of this gear, even though it is listed in the Scout Handbook may
not be needed. Specific gear needed will depend on the types of camping
your troop does.
In my troop, we seldom camp where all gear gets carried into camp, and most
times camp where vehicles deliver stuff to camp, so the pack is not
needed, duffel bags are sufficient (may already have them, but if you have
to buy new, $10-20). That eats a big chunk out of it. In the same token,
personal canteen is usually not needed on campouts, although the bottle I
described above might be needed on some of the hikes we do.
In most cases, we don't require every scout to own/carry a compass. This
usually isn't a required item for most scouts.
Most scouts (everywhere) want to carry a knife, but it may not be necessary
immediately (you can borrow a knife to pass the knife requirements). Not
requiring it may calm those parents (I suspect they are usually the mother)
who don't feel their son is old enough to be carrying a knife.
The last thing I question is the stove. I'm not sure what type of stove
you get for $50, but I do not forsee any situation where EVERY scout needs
to have a stove. Usually this is a troop / crew / patrol item, with 1-2
Since our troop usually doesn't hike equipment to the site, we don't
specify footware (require hiking boots), although clothing is discussed
when going camping in the winter.
Now, having said that, here is my expectations on 1st year equipment (only
what is ABSOLUTELY required):
Rain Gear: $10.00
Sleeping Bag 51.00
Eating Gear: 10.00
Water Bottle 10.00
Band Aids 5.00
Duffle Bag: 20.00
Worst Case: $116.00
As always, recommend that camping gear makes great christmas gifts. If the
boy likes camping and stays in scouts, you can always get better equipment
Yours in Scouting,
Scott A. Begin Troop 348, Oak Forest, IL, Calumet Council