scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: Re: Backpack Advice
Robert Lewis (rlewis6@NYCAP.RR.COM
Mon Aug 07 2000 - 16:58:03 CDT
>My son and I are getting ready to purchase backpacks for our Scouting
>adventures. I am curious what everyone would recommend as far as selecting
>good backpack. I would like to purchase a good quality one that will last
>through my son's scouting days if possible
I reccomend that you find a good sturdy, lightweight external frame pack for
your son. I suggest the external frames for young scouts for the following
1) they are usually cheeper.
2) they are easier to adjust as the scout grows
3) they carry large loads easily and have plenty of lashing points
4) they are the easiest to repair in the field, if you have the right tools.
Until your son has stopped growing, this is the easiest solution.
>How do the military surplus
>A.L.I.C.E. packs do? I see them advertised all the time.
Speaking from recent experience with them, the pack is a great design and
durable. The straps have lots to be desired. When looking for a pack, look
for a thick, padded, comfortable hip belt. The hip belt is the point of the
pack that should carry all the weight. The A.L.I.C.E packs do not have a
thick, padded, or comfortable hip belt. This leads to more pain and
exhaustion at the end of the day.
>We are starting a new troop in February with a number of current Webelos.
>want us to get involved in backpacking as well as the other forms of
>camping. So, what my son and I do will also be recommended to the other
>boys and adults.
All I can suggest is to not try to do too much too fast. Most 11-13 year
old scouts are not ready for backpacking, mentally or physically. The
general rule of thumb for size of loads to carry is 1/4 to 1/3 of the scouts
weight. For a scout weighting under 100 lb. or one that has old and heavy
gear, backpacking is not going to be an enjoyable experience since they will
be forced to carry more that 1/4 their body weight.
My first backpacking trip was my worst. I was 12 and carrying a 30-40 lb.
pack. I weighed only 100 lb.. I swore after the trip I would never go
backpacking again, yet 1.5 years later I was out at Philmont. The 2 big
factors that made that trip so bad was the heavy weight, and a small waist
that did not allow the hip belt to fit properly.
Hope this helps,
Robert M. Lewis
ASM T-83 Albany, NY