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Backpacking 101 What you need to know about what to carry, wear and eat when out camping Stay safe – Have fun! Backpacking 101 Getting outdoors Self-sufficient Great exercise Great fun Explore the world outside See nature and your friends in a different light Stay safe!

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Backpacking 101

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backpacking 101
Backpacking 101

What you need to know about what to carry, wear and eat when out camping

Stay safe – Have fun!

backpacking 1012
Backpacking 101
  • Getting outdoors
    • Self-sufficient
    • Great exercise
    • Great fun
    • Explore the world outside
    • See nature and your friends in a different light
    • Stay safe!
planning before we start
Planning – before we start


  • National Camping School, Trek Leader
  • Passport to High Adventure
  • BSA, Venture Backpacking
  • Boy Scout Handbook
  • Guide to Safe Scouting
  • Okpik: Cold Weather Camping
  • Other people’s experience!
now start to plan
Now Start to plan
  • Where do we want to go
    • Why (what will we do when we get there)?
    • What do we need to know about the area?
    • When will we go?
    • How much will it cost?
    • Who will we take?

Make sure you have the necessary permits – from Council and the camp, park, authority you plan to visit. Allow plenty of time!

Any High adventure needs parental permission!



  • What do we expect of our Scouts (and ourselves) on the trail
  • Shakedown hikes
  • Gym sessions
  • Regular Patrol organized activity
  • Medical advice (for strenuous activity, high adventure, Philmont etc.)
  • Clothing
  • Backpack, pack fly
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag/mat
  • Mess kit
  • Cook kit
  • Stoves
  • Tools & accessories
clothing winter
Clothing, Winter
  • Wear layers, it is easier to keep a good core temperature
  • Avoid cotton/denim, man made fabrics will keep out the wind and dry quickly. Wool is nature’s insulator. High-tech materials are lighter and more efficient –at a price!
  • Top layer must offer snow, rain and wind protection. Protect head and ears - HAT
  • Chap sticks, moisturizer
clothing summer
Clothing, Summer
  • Just like winter, layering clothing keeps the wearer comfortable and allows rapid changes through the day.
  • Wear gaiters or other protection against ticks, nettles and thorny plants.
  • Long sleeves and hats and/or sun creams are essential for fair skinned trekkers
  • Sun screen and after-sun treatments
  • Internal frame

From $90.00

  • External frame

From $75.00

  • How much can you carry
    • Adults 25% body weight
    • Boys 25% body weight
camper s load
Camper’s Load

Map pocket

Whistle, plastic bags

Top Compartment

Tent, equipment

Crew 1st aid kit

Ground cloth, Frisbee

O/S pocket

Rain gear, pack cover, plastic bags, repair items,


Nalgene #2, pliers, compass

Cup, bowl, fork, spoon, toilet paper, KP equipment

Sneakers, paper towels

Flashlight, personal kit, Foot-tape, moleskin

Lower Compartment

Rope segments, towel, warm hat & gloves, socks, t-shirt, shorts, pants, bandanna, insect netting

Sleeping bag and pad

leader s load
Leader’s Load

Map pocket

Whistle, plastic bags, song sheets

Top Compartment

Tent, equipment

Crew 1st aid kit

Folding saw, Field guides

Campfire material

Ground cloth, Frisbee

O/S pocket

Rain gear, plastic bags, sewing kit, contact lens, repair items, aquapure, camping hints, religious books


Nalgene #2, pliers, compass

Cups, bowl, fork, spoon, toilet paper, KP equipment

Sneakers, fire-starters, paper towels

Flashlight, personal kit, Foot-tape, moleskin, 50’ rope

Lower Compartment

Pack cover, rope segments, towel, warm hat & gloves, socks, t-shirt, shorts, pants, bandanna, insect netting

Sleeping bag and pad

tent from around 130
Tent– from around $130
  • Your troop or crew will have tents and they will work well for most occasions. There are new high-tech designs that can save weight and space but the traditional 2 or 3 man 3 season type is fine for most events
  • Remember – you have to carry it!
sleeping bag mat
Sleeping bag, mat
  • Like tents and other gear there are small gains to be made by spending more money.
  • I recommend a 20° bag for the winter and, for added warmth on cold nights or used alone for summer camping, a fleece bag liner – from $40 to $$$
  • Spend as much money as you can afford on a mat, being comfortable is worth it ($40 gets a good one)
mess kit
Mess kit
  • There is no need to spend heavily on mess kit, I recommend (less than $10 to buy)
  • Spoon or spork (knife & fork are optional)
  • Plastic bowl or dish (does solid and liquid)
  • Drinking mug (plastic travel mugs are light and will keep temperatures hot or cold)
cooking kit
Cooking kit
  • Most troops have aluminum cook kits, they are perfectly OK unless you have a big budget. You will need (size of crew varies)

Big for pasta, rice, stews and water

Middle size for veggies etc

Shallow or Fry pan, tools and spatulas

Secure handles for all pots and pans

Wash soap and scourers, & MATCHES!

cooking stoves
Cooking stoves
  • Propane/Butane – from $25.95
  • Liquid Fuels – from $49.95

There are a great number of options ranging that will meet your needs, see a website like www.msrcorp.comormaybe look atwww.rei.comor visit your favorite store to get some ideas

tools accessories
Tools, accessories
  • Compass – clear base map compass $9
  • Pocket knife ($15.95) v. multi-tool ($60.00)
  • LED headlamp ($20.00) v. flashlight ($6.00)
  • Rope, nylon cord
  • Matches (waterproof 2 for $3) & kindling
  • Fanny pack ($7.95) very handy on the trail
  • Hydration system – from $60.00 v. Nalgene bottles – 2 for $16.00
scout leader stuff
Scout Leader stuff
  • Songbooks
  • Rope for activities
  • Cord for running repairs
  • Safety pins
  • Religious material
  • Games, leisure material
  • Wildlife, birding, tree books
  • Specialist v. Supermarket
  • Plan the diet
  • Enjoy the food
  • Water, water, water
    • Water filters
    • Treatment tablets
  • Remember, you have to carry it!
food ideas
Food ideas

Powdered drink mixChocolate MixTeaCanned meatsCheese of all kindsCrackersPeanut butterRaisinsSoup MixChinese noodle soupPower barsInstant OatmealInstant Cream of Wheat

RicePancake mix (no eggs needed)Hash brown potatoesGranola bars"Cold" Cereal with fruitCookiesJello NO BAKE Cheesecake mixGraham Cracker crust Many pre-made dinners work wellBeef does not  spoil quicklyPrecooked chicken does not spoilShish-kebab works:meat, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers

Flatbread or Pita bread

1 st aid kit
1st Aid Kit
  • At least 2 members of your crew should carry a first aid kit. The contents will vary according to your activity but should include as many as you can of the items listed on the next page

Before you go, Consult & take a copy of the 1st Aid Merit Badge pamphlet

1 st aid kit suggestion
1st Aid Kit (suggestion)

Tylenol, AdvilSteak tenderizer for bites

Pepto Bismol

Di-Gel Ant-acidExlaxThroat LozengesPins: Safety assortedPlastic GlovesThermometerSoapPaper & Pencil1st Aid Instructions (MB pamphlet)LighterMicro-shield for mouth-to-mouthPractice mouth-to-mouth shield

Ass. bandages & pads,

2x3", 3x3" & others

2 Ace Bandages 2" x 4"2 Roll BandagesTriangular bandageAlcohol SwabsTape for bandages

Wide tapeScissorsGood TweezersBurns cream Triple antibioticCortaid for bites

trek safely
Trek Safely
  • Qualified Supervision
  • Keep fit
  • Plan ahead
  • Gear Up
  • Communicate, clearly and clearly
  • Monitor conditions
  • Discipline
qualified supervision
Qualified Supervision
  • Leader #1 – min. 21 years of age, trained to understand risks,BSA policy & procedure
  • Leader # 2 – min 18 years of age.

I recommend at least three adults for any high adventure activity with minimum 2 trained in BSA policy & procedure.

Leader # 1 is responsible for inclusion of min. 1 person with activity appropriate 1st aid training

keep fit
Keep fit
  • It is vital that your trekkers should be “fit for the activity” you are planning.
  • Consider and plan an appropriate training regime for your troop’s needs.
  • BSA Personal Health & Medical Record
  • Start slowly and build carefully
  • Train with friends – it is more fun!
plan ahead
Plan ahead
  • This is covered in many different books, pamphlets and web sites throughout Scouting in the U.S. and worldwide, it is important
    • Local Tour permit – 30 days notice
    • National Tour permit – 90 days notice

Always remember to have an alternative plan – just in case!

gear up
Gear Up
  • Get maps, road books & topographics to cover your route
  • Have a troop inspection of ALL equipment to be used
  • Demonstrate and train in the use of new, unfamiliar equipment
  • Plan & conduct at least one shakedown to ensure all trekkers are properly equipped
  • Publish (e-mail or printed handouts) all your plans and activities
  • Keep all parties aware of new developments or changes in your plans
  • Ensure the leader has ALL contact details for trekkers
  • Leader should carry a cell phone in case of having to make emergency contact
  • Ensure everyone knows what is expected of them, youths AND adults!
monitor conditions
Monitor Conditions
  • Keep an eye on the weather, roads etc to make sure you are able to make good decisions
  • Avoid dangerous/doubtful conditions
  • Use your advance planning to provide the best experience, as safely as possible, for your trekkers.
  • Publish your troop policies
  • Get ALL participants to read, agree and sign to troop policy
  • Be strict – take no chances with safety
  • Be fair – You will not keep respect unless everyone sees your fairness
  • Be clear in your instructions, avoid any misunderstanding
trail discipline
Trail discipline
  • Set a lead and tail trekker
  • ALWAYS stop at any change, break, change in direction on the trail
  • The leader MUST check with the tail trekker BEFORE starting out again – at every stop in the trail
  • Formulate your own routines for what to do if any trekker is separated, for both trekker and crew. Follow BSA policy wherever possible.
All the information and help you need can be found in Scouting and outdoor activities publications but the best source of knowledge and help is to be found among your fellow volunteers, scout leaders and the scouts themselves.

Be prepared!