626 Troops provide for camping opportunities nearly every month of the year. Scouts plan a camping weekend most every month. Summers are dedicated to longer camping adventures. We sleep outdoors from April to November and indoors when we camp in the winter months. Our normal campouts have a participant cost of around $40 with half of that money dedicated to the food budget.
Scouts plan and prepare for camping adventures, themselves. There are Camping Coordinators who work with the youth leadership team, the Patrol Leaders Conference (PLC) to determine where we go and what themes or activities should be planned. At Camp, Scouts cook for themselves, either in small Patrol groups or by assigning cooking crews for the Troop to prepare and clean up meals. Cooking is done with shared Troop gear and can range from small backpacking stoves, larger propane stoves, dutch ovens using charcoal or cooking over an open fire. All Scouts will have opportunities and responsibilities related to cooking and cleanup while at camp.
A sample annual camping plan is shown to the right. A full Troop 626 Camping Log table going back to the year 2000, can be found linked, here.
626 Troop Sample Camping Calendar
The Troop has a very extensive inventory of shared equipment. Group shelters, cooking equipment and youth tents are provided by the Troop for all participants. Scouts are responsible for cleaning and caring for all Troop equipment as if it were their own. Information on Troop Tent care and our Troop Tent Check-in Form can be found following the links.
The BSA Scout Handbook lists 10 essentials for outdoor camping. We encourage all scouts to always prepare their packing list with these items and add on from there. Gear purchasing articles will be linked here when that are ready to publish.
A pocket knife (can be more than just a knife, a Swiss Army knife for example). In order to use a knife in Scouting, Scouts must have completed Tenderfoot requirement 3d on the proper use of knife, saw and ax. (the Blade must be able to fold into the handle and not be spring loaded for safety)
A first aid kit. A basic kit for first aid might include adhesive bandages, medical tape, sterile gauze, moleskin, soap, antiseptic, a mouth-barrier device for CPR, scissors and band-aids.
Extra clothing to match the weather. Multiple layers are superior to a single massive jacket, because layered clothing is adaptable to a wide range of temperatures. More on this later in this article.
Rain gear. A poncho will do, but a set of a rain jacket and rain pants are recommended, especially for spring and fall camping.
A flashlight. Headlamp or lantern will work as well. Extra batteries are a good idea.
Trail food such as trail mix and granola bars, etc. The Troop provides food, but a snack stored in a sealed container can be useful between meals or if a Scout gets lost.
Reusable Water Bottle. Portable water is usually abundant or will be brought with to camp. Scouts should have the ability to carry at least 1 liter of water with them at all times while at camp. More capacity may be needed for specific adventures.
Matches and/or a firestarter. To be used to light fires for cooking, heat, or for signalling purposes.
Sun protection may include sunblock, sunglasses, lip balm and a wide-brimmed hat. No aerosol propellant sunscreen is allowed for safety.
Compass. Maps will usually be provided by the Park or Camp. The compass must have key features including: Direction of travel arrow
swivel compass housing with 360 degree markings, Orienting arrow and Magnetic needle (north end is red).
Additional Camping items:
Class A (Tan Scout Shirt) with Neckerchief and Class B (Grey Troop Utility Shirt) - The Troop ALWAYS travels in Class A uniform. We encourage wearing of the Class B Troop shirt when active at camp, especially on Saturdays during weekend camps and whenever outside our Troop campsite at Tomahawk summer camp.
Personal Eating Kit - Should include a plate, bowl and cup, plus a fork and spoon. Also needed is a mesh bag to hold all of your items to air dry after cleanup.
Day Pack - A bag to easily carry and hold travel items like your First Aid Kit, Water Bottle, Flashlight, Rain Gear and extra clothes. Used when traveling away from the main campsite to make sure you have everything that may be needed.
Sleeping system - This includes a Sleeping bag rated for the temperatures we're likely to experience and an insulated sleeping Pad. A Travel Pillow is optional, but a good idea.
Footwear appropriate to the weather and terrain expected. A backup pair of shoes if the primary set get wet. Slippers are useful for indoor camping. No open toe sandals please for safety. For Spring and Fall camping, if the Scout does not own waterproof boots or hiking shoes, their winter boots will work as a cheap alternative.
Water resistant Bin or Large Bag to carry all personal gear.
Insect Repellent - High Deet percentage repellents for clothing, family friendly repellents for use on the skin. Permetherin is also good to apply to pants and socks prior to departure to mitigate ticks. Again, no aerosol propellant are allowed for safety.
Books and/or Travel Games for the Car and downtime at camp.
Best Packing Tips
Parents and Scouts, here are some packing tips to get setup for a successful campout:
Label Everything - All Clothing and Gear should be marked with the Name or Initials of the Scout. Especially items that many or all Scouts would have a similar item to. Uniforms, Neckerchief, shirts, jackets, mess kit, etc.
Parents, please DO NOT PACK FOR your Scout! If they cannot find an item in their gear, adult leaders cannot help them. Start by creating a checklist. Have them spread out all of their packing items out on a bed or sofa, check everything against your packing list and then have the Scout put everything in their bags and bins, so they know where it is and that they know it was packed. Items will get forgotten. Items will get lost, but set your Scout up for success and start them on the road to being self-sufficient by working with them, not for them.
Store camping gear together in between camps. When your Scout returns from camp, have them help get everything clean and dry and then put gear and specialized clothing back into their packing bin or bag so you know where it is when it's time to pack for the next camp.
Pack some empty Gallon Zip-top bags and maybe a Kitchen trash liner in the bottom of your gear. These can come in handy to keep wet or soiled clothes separated from clean, dry clothes throughout the camping trip. When it's raining on Sunday morning when we're packing out, the larger bag can keep the sleeping bag safer for the trip home.
Put all "Smellable" items in sealed bags or containers. Smellable items include snacks and personal hygiene products. Anything that could attract unwanted critters, large and small from your tent. These sealed containers will be stored in the Troop Trailer or some other locked storage away from the tents overnight to keep all campers safe.
Pack and prepare for all potential weather
Scouts are taught to dress for a wide range of temperature and weather circumstances. The constant, regardless of season, is to pack for and dress in multiple layers. The first layer is made of non-cotton or performance materials which are designed to wick moisture away from the skin. Next is a warmth layer or layers which keep warmth trapped close to the body and finally an outer shell or barrier to keep out precipitation in whatever form it takes. Socks should be non-cotton as well. It is also extremely important to have multiple sets of fresh clothes ready to change into if/when clothes get overly soiled or wet, even on a short weekend campout. The fastest way to get warm is to first put on warm, dry clothing. Changing clothes just before bed will also ensure a warm and restful sleep.
Other clothing tips:
Long Length, Performance Boxer Briefs provide great performance and reduce on chafing when hiking.
Spring and Fall camping, it is beneficial to pack gloves and a warm hat for the cool evenings. Even if you never use it, it's nice to know it's there if you need it.