scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: Re: Backpack Advice
Alan Houser (troop24@EMF.NET
Wed Aug 09 2000 - 12:10:42 CDT
My personal experience with youngsters and backpacks may be
helpful, as I have been able to apply the lessons learned to
the young Scouts in our troop.
Number one son started backpacking with me at age 9. But he was
always small for his age (until later in high school), so we
bought him the REI Little Trekker. It's small enough that it is
hard to overload (though by the end of that first trek, I was
carrying everything but his underwear). When he outgrew that,
we bought the Jansport Scout, a quality pack with an adjustable
frame. He was able to use that until after our Philmont trek at
age 14. At that point, he decided on an internal frame pack, which
he purchased with his own money (and the sale of his Jansport to a
younger Scout). These days he does a hundred miles or more each
summer as he leads treks out of summer camp for older Scouts.
We keep in our troop equipment a number of the smaller frame packs
(including that Little Trekker from number one son) that have been
donated by families so that they can try them before they buy.
Hip belts are absolutely necessary. Still, young Scouts tend not to
have much of a waist. When I was younger, I sometimes stuffed socks
into my back pockets to give my hip belt something to hang on. Of
course, that also requires the pants to be worn at a height that
some kids consider unfashionable these days!
Many smaller packs do not have the ability to adjust the height of
the shoulder straps (usually by moving spaces on a long clevis pin),
but most all of them have hip belts that can be adjusted so that the
belt rides closer to the bottom of the frame thus raising the
relative height of the frame (and the shoulder straps).
It is helpful to have an equipment check before each backpack trek
and to examine how each Scout's pack fits him before he takes it
own the trail. Sometimes all that's needed is to fix that hip belt
adjustment, and it's easier to do it beforehand than while you're
on the trail and everyone wants to make good time except the Scout
whose pack doesn't fit.
Alan R. Houser ** email@example.com
** Scoutmaster, Troop 24, Berkeley, California **
** Committee Member, Crew 24, Berkeley, California **
** Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner, Herms District **
** WWW page ** http://www.emf.net/~troop24/t24.html **