Sunday, April 29, 2012

Camping Gear Organization Tip for Boy Scouts

It has taken me years to figure out a working system so I thought I'd share this with you. I don't know why it took me so long to figure this out.  I can't tell you how many tantrums and flip-outs my kids have had on camping day over the packing. Even when they pack ahead of time we had problems.

Maybe this will save you some stress.

Camping Gear Organization

1. Buy your Boy Scout everything they need. Give them their own one of the thing. Do not share items as a family, it is nothing but trouble. Do not make siblings share. Have each boy be responsible for taking care of their own gear. They will feel they own it if they actually do own it.

2. Buy a foot locker at Wal Mart in the automotive section. The black one is sturdy and best. It has a hole for a padlock (others do not). They cost $20. There are flimsier ones on the market that are (surprisingly) more expensive. Do not buy ones with wheels, those break and you can't drag them over dirt and rocks anyway. You need the ugly black sturdy one because other Scouts may step on it and use it as a ladder of sorts to get to the top bunk at camp. Repeat: do not buy the flimsy models.

3. At home your Scout's gear should be stowed in their foot locker.

4. Make it a habit to unpack from a camping trip immediately. All gear goes directly into the foot locker. Exception: airing out sleeping bags, those go in later.

5. Consider buying an inexpensive day pack that can get wrecked at camp. Designate that day pack for camping and keep it full of things like sunscreen and insect spray. Put those sprays and lotions into ziplock bags. Keep that day pack inside the foot locker.

6. Buy a large duffle bag that will hold all the camping gear, the sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and pillow, and everything else other than the day pack. When packing for a camping trip put it all in one duffle bag and then have the Scout carry their day pack with them in the car to travel to the camping trip.

7. Anything the Scout may need while in transit goes in the day pack. That includes: full bottle of water, bagged dinner, snack, book to read, pack of cards, and anything else they may use in the car while on the ride.

Prior to starting this system we used the empty footlockers for general camping supplies, some of which were seldom used. We had problems with the most common things used at each campout being mixed with rarely used things, then sorting through all of that to find what we needed. Also the kids fought over whose headlamp that was, so forth and so on.

Other Tips

Take an inventory of your camping gear in the late winter or early spring. Replace anything you need in the early spring, because some stores consider camping a seasonal activity and replenish their supplies in the early spring. As summer goes on, inventory runs out, and you may have trouble finding items.

Buy your Scouts the inexpensive stuff. They can lose headlamps, so buy the $5 one not the $20 one, for example. Boy Scouts need servicable stuff. Preteens and teens are not always the most careful, and it's inevitable that things will be lost or broken. My sons have even had items broken by other Scouts. So even if you think your son is really responsible with items, know that someone else may be the one to break or lose an item.


Oliver said...

Thanks for the great post! I am getting my son ready for BoyScout camp now. We are looking for a footlocker/trunk. We don't have a wal-mart near us so I was looking to order it online. Can you tell me the name of the trunk. I seem to only be able to find the trunks in the home department.

ChristineMM said...

The black footlocker we love is Contico brand. This is sold in the automotive section of stores.

I have a blue sterlite brand which was more expensive, flimsier, and does not come with a padlock hole area.

I do not recommend ones with wheels for Scout camp as they are dragged over crushed stone, tree roots, dirt roads, rocks, and mud.

Sorry for the delay in this response but I was away volunteering at Boy Scout sleepover camp for a week.

McClure Family said...

I really liked your post and got one of the black automotive foot lockers that you talked about.I was wondering. It doesn't latch shut--We will put a padlock on it. Did you put anything around it to be sure it didn't open or did the padlock do the trick?

ChristineMM said...

Our black contico footlocker has 2 big latches and a built on thing for a padlock.