Backpacking Equipment Recommendations
Following is a list of suggested equipment for backpacking with Troop
174. Each scout (or parent) that goes on a backpacking trip with
Troop 174 must come to a regular troop meeting with a fully equipment backpack
(except food) and be checked out by a senior scout or adult leader before
participating in a backpacking trip. This is only done once but applies
to both scouts and parents.
The items listed in bold are considered mandatory and are required
for the backpack check unless noted as optional. The details following
each item are intended only as guidelines. Individual budgets, preferences
and situations should guide you in selecting the appropriate equipment.
If you canít buy an item on the list, see an adult leader and they will
find out if you can borrow one from someone else. It is more important
to just get something you can afford and come out and have fun however.
Troop 174 has several skilled backpackers that can help you with equipment
selection, trip preparation and planning. Donít be afraid to ask.
Each scout and adult will be assigned (by the hike leader) troop equipment
at trailhead to carry during the backpack. You are responsible for the
equipment you are assigned and must turn in at the end of the trip or when
you are instructed to do so.
Troop equipment includes
Pots, Tents, ax and saws, stoves, fuel, ropes and maps as required.
Troop 174 follows "leave No Trace" practices. Individuals must carry out
all of their own trash and waste. Under certain circumstances, general
debris found in the campsite will be collected and assigned to a scout
to "pack out".
Electronic items such as games, radios, tape or CD players are
On backpacking trips. Many scouts choose to take them during the car trip
to the trailhead but they must be left in the car.
Two way radios and cell phones should only be used for emergency situations.
Scouts are strongly encouraged not to carry these devices.
Scouts are encouraged to bring healthy snacks to eat on the trail and in
camp. Candy in wrappers should be avoided. See the food section for more
Hot water is generally available at breakfast and dinner but not for lunch.
In addition a large boil pot is available at dinnertime for making boil
bags. A camp/cooking fir is made at dinnertime if conditions allow it.
We backpack in any weather so "BE PREPARED."
Adjustable styles are recommended for scouts.
Internal and external frames are acceptable but external frames are easier
to use and pack. They are also cooler in hot weather.
Must have a good quality hip-belt that fits properly.
A sternum strap is good and recommended. You can add one if your pack doesnít
Internal Volume of 3500 CI is recommended minimum.
A mummy bags is recommended but a rectangular bags will suffice but keep
the scout as warm.
Synthetic fill is recommended over down for scouts because of wet conditions.
Acceptable fill materials include Holo-fill, Polarguard and various proprietary
materials. Try to avoid common polyester fill, it is not as warm.
A maximum temperature rating of 15F is recommended. A colder rating should
be considered if you are a cold sleeper or is you use a rectangular bag.
Avoid bags with cotton linings.
Used for thermal insulation and padding. Both open and closed cell types
Self-inflating type pads are more expensive and require extra care but
they are generally more comfortable.
Pads are usually available in full or ¾ length. Full length is recommended.
Ground Cloth or Space Blanket
Used in the bottom of the tent, underneath the sleeping pad. Primary purpose
is to provide a barrier from water is the tent leaks.
Space blankets are sliver on one side and help keep heat in during winter.
All scouts are advised to carry an disposable emergency space blanket but
they are only thin Mylar and not recommended to use as a ground cloth.
Must fit well and should be broken in before a backpack.
Mid to high tops recommended. Avoid low tops.
Boots can be all leather or leather/fabric combination. Leather is preferred
for waterproofing purposes. Rubber coated boots should only be used if
they are designed for backpacking.
Use a waterproofing compound like Mink Oil if the boots are not lined with
waterproof membrane. If you have fabric boots they can not be waterproofed
so carry extra socks.
First Aid Kit
Carry a kit that contains band-aids, moleskin, topical antibacterial cream,
pain relief tablets, and lip balm as a minimum.
Carry non aerosol insect repellent.
Carry sun block all year round.
Always carry toilet paper and paper towels. Baby wipes can serve as both
toilet paper and a washcloth.
Toothpaste and deodorant (optional) should be kept with your food. It will
go in your bear bag at night as animals love to eat it
Tip: only carry enough for the days you are hiking to save space and weight.
For all weather conditions; windbreaker or light jacket, heavyweight shirt
or sweatshirt, long underwear and long sleeve undershirt, spare underwear
(Ts and shorts), spare pants are optional.
Cool weather (in addition to all weather above: insulated shirt
or jacket (fleece work well), substitute insulated long underwear, take
an outer jacket or shell that fits over your insulation layer.
Warm weather (in addition to all weather above): shorts or convertible
pants (nylon preferred) and extra T shirts.
Dress in thin layers that can be removed as required as opposed to
a single heavy garment. The only reason is have spare clothes is if they
get wet, which does happen frequently. You should always have at least
one set of dry clothes to put on in the evening when you get into your
Cotton socks are not recommended.
Use woolen or synthetic socks intended for hiking or backpacking.
Sock liners are a great investment. Polypropylene liner work best and they
are not expensive.
Carry at least 2 pairs of sock for each day out or more if you do not have
Summer: use a baseball type cap for sun protection.
Winter/Fall/Spring: carry a woolen or synthetic cap that covers your ears.
Carry at least one pair of gloves at all times of the year. Carry warm,
insulated gloves in the winter and light protective gloves in warm weather.
Bowl or plate (with handle if you bring hot food), fork, spoon, knife 9
can use pocket knife to save weight).
You do not need to buy a metal mess kit. Plastic from home work fine if
you are just going to use them to hold precooked food. The same goes for
Carry a mug or a cup. Plastic insulated variety work well as it serve for
both hot and cold.
Scouts should always carry a waterproof poncho. Check to make sure it is
large enough to fit over your backpack. Ponchos made of nylon or synthetic
materials are better.
Rain pants are optional.
Flashlight or Headlight
Lightweight is most important. Carry one spare set of batteries.
Waterproof varieties are desirable but not required. LED units are popular
A scout style compass is recommended (pages 63 and 66 in the "Boy Scout
A whistle is required for everyone to be used for emergency only.
Scout issue recommended but not necessary.
Sheath knives or automatic opening styles are prohibited.
Totin' Chip card required. (pages 85 and 412 in the "Boy Scout Handbook")
Specific instructions on the amount of water required will be given before
each trip. As a minimum, scouts carry 2 qts for each day on the trail and
adults 3 qts. Each scout will be required to carry water for cooking in
to the above water requirements.
Water containers should be lightweight and inexpensive. Empty 1 or 2 liter
soda bottles are recommended because they can be crushed and carried out.
Other acceptable containers include plastic bladders (hydration systems)
and polyethylene screw top bottles. DO NOT BRING GLASS.
Energy drinks are encouraged but this is in addition to the stated
Pack all you food in a stuff sack. It makes it easier to find it when the
bear-bag is retrieved.
Bagel with cream cheese, hot cereal, cold cereal (donít forget the
parmalet or powdered milk), fruit or granola bars.
A fresh sandwich for the first day, cheese, salami, fresh fruit, salty
snacks or dried fruit.
Boil bags (double bag with freezer zip locks and freeze until the morning
of the trip. Fill with pasta, dogs and beans, or stews. Make sure the food
is in bite size pieces for heating ease. Dehydrated meals and instant soups
also work well.
Trail snacks are recommended.
Avoid any foods in heavy containers like cans, glass or reusable bowls.
Repack any such items in zip lock bags at home.
We typically have hot water for breakfast and dinner but not lunch. Avoid
instant soup for lunch.
- Ben C., Mar. 7, 2006
Clip art from Scout
Boy Scout Troop 174, Yorktown, NY. http://troop174.info.