Monday, October 12, 2015

It's almost time to camp!

One of the things boys all look forward to in Cub Scouts is CAMPING!  One of the benefits of the Fall Festival is that if you're not a seasoned camper, it's a great way to get your feet wet in the outdoors!

Unless you have an open-ended bank account, don't run out and buy every piece of gear you think you need at Cabela's (but if you do, let me know and I'll give you my list!)  The best thing to do when starting to acquire gear is to start small and simple so that you can discover what your family needs... grow from there.  There are plenty of seasoned camping veterans in our pack that have gear to spare so don't hesitate to put the word out if you need to borrow something.

Cub Scout family camping is also referred to as "car camping."  With a large enough vehicle, you're fortunate enough to be able to take just about everything AND the kitchen sink with you.  But for the amount of time you'll be there, it's really not necessary. Though, a few creature comforts are definitely worth it!

For our campout at Sid Richardson, however, you won't necessarily need a ton of supplies. Since they will be providing dinner on Saturday and a continental breakfast on Sunday, you won't even need a lot of what some of us consider essentials to camping.

To begin, you need something to sleep IN, something to sleep ON, something to wear, personal toiletries and light.  Oh... and toilet paper!  Don't forget the toilet paper!

Below is a camping packing list with a few notes to give anyone who needs that itemized list a few ideas.


  • Tent (should come with stakes and guylines)
  • Plastic mallet (I keep this in my tent bag)
  • Tent footprint (this is a tarp to place beneath your tent to protect it from rocks, cactus, etc.)
  • Sleeping pad (unless you're okay with the ground) or air mattress (check the batteries on your pump -- we usually do not have electricity at camps.  I've seen people use those cheap blow-up pool floats for their kids... they're quick, easy and if you pop a hole in them, no love lost as they're easily replaceable)
  • Cot (you won't want to use this in cold weather as the air circulating beneath you will make you colder)
  • Sleeping bags (with liners if it's chilly)
  • Extra blankets to keep in the car (just in case)
  • Pillow (though you can use your sweatshirt as a pillow as well to minimize your packing list)
  • One folding chair per person
  • Pop up shade
  • Folding table (though your cooler may work in a pinch)
  • Lantern / fuel
  • small dustpan and brush (I love having this in my tote to help clean up all the leaves, dirt and debris tracked into the tent)

I like to keep a small tackle box prepped with various items that someone always seems to need including:

  • Multi-tool or knife
  • Glow stick
  • Batteries (for flashlight or headlamp)
  • Bandana
  • Duct tape (it fixes everything)
  • safety pins
  • Caribeeners
  • scissors
  • q-tips


  • Daypacks (to carry your gear for the day -- lightweight backpacks)
  • Headlamp (I find these are much better to use than flashlights because they keep your hands free)
  • canteen
  • Matches/lighter
  • Compass
  • Whistle
  • Sunglasses
  • Hammock
  • Rope


The best motto here is BE PREPARED.  I always keep an extra change of clothing WITH socks and shoes in the car in a bag that we hope to just put away at home when we return.  However, if there is a surprise downpour, a slip and fall in the mud or a spill, we are prepared.  Happy kids = happy parents = happy kids = great campout!  Your weather forecast IS YOUR FRIEND.  Be sure to check it the day before you pack and then check the morning before you leave.

  • long sleeved shirts (moisture wicking is great, flannel is great - these are great to protect from the sun, bugs and to take the morning chill off)
  • sun-shielding hat
  • Bandana (these are handy for just about everything including makeshift first-aid)
  • Close-toed shoes suited for the terrain (NO open toed shoes, flip flops or sandals)
  • Socks
  • Sleepwear
  • Rainwear (a poncho in the daypack can be a lifesaver!)
  • Weather appropriate change of clothes (could be cold weather / could be shorts)


  • toilet paper
  • sunscreen
  • chapstick
  • insect repellent
  • hand sanitizer (can double as a fire starter since it's pure alcohol)
  • First aid kit
  • Toothbrush/toiletry kit
  • Brush/comb
  • Soap/washcloth (I like to take a small bar of soap OR cut up a large bar of soap into quarters and put it in a zip loc bag with the soap.  Use that to wash your face, wring it out and put it back in the ziploc.
  • Deodorant


  • Camp stove with windscreen
  • fuel
  • matches/lighter
  • S'mores fixins
  • charcoal or firewood (you MUST pack your own firewood at Sid Richardson)
  • Cooking gear (pans, pots, hotpads, coffee pot)
  • Bottle opener
  • Can opener
  • Roasting sticks for marshmallows
  • aluminum foil
  • trash bags
  • Cooler
  • Ice (if you freeze jugs of water, you can use them both as a coolant and also as a way to keep your food cold).  You can keep food packed on ice dry by placing cookie cooling racks on top of it and then setting items that can't get wet on top of those.
  • mess kit (plate, bowl, fork/knife/spoon)
  • Mug/Cups
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Serving utensils, whisk, spatula
  • Cutting board
  • Three tubs for proper sanitation along with bleach, biodegradable soap, scrub brush
  • Large water jug - filled with water and ice to last you a couple of days (they will have water stations but nothing ever tastes as good as water from home)
  • Paper towels
  • Ziploc bags
  • Tongs


  • Fishing gear (and license if over age of 17)
  • solar phone charger
  • binoculars
  • maps/guidebooks/local bird or wildlife field guide
  • books
  • decks of cards
  • frisbee
  • walkie talkies
  • umbrella
  • balls (soccer, football -- nerf is best, baseball/glove)
  • Hacky sack
  • Kite
  • geocaching kit with receiver
  • portable fan with batteries (yes, yes I have used this and NO, I'm not ashamed)
There are some fun websites out there with camping hacks that are super cool.  Check those out HERE, HERE and HERE

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