My first University of Scouting experience last weekend was great fun. I was asked to present a talk about Lightening the Load of Scout Treks since I've done a couple long-distance hikes now and am a total proponent of lightweight efforts.
I spent my morning attending the mandatory Unit Commissioner class (yawn) and then listened in on Backpacking 101 and a Preparing for Philmont presentations which were very interesting. I wanted to make sure my end-of-the-day talks did not contradict what those presenters said too badly. :-)
My big, old pack full of 'normal' gear was opposed to my new, lighter pack full of lighter gear. For the most part, people are interested in the gear of going lightweight, but that really is just the simple part. We also discussed:
- What Lightweight Is
- How Safety and Comfort are Affected
- Advantages of Going Light
- How Lightweight Promotes Scouting Aims
- Cost vs. Weight of Hiking
I've developed my own definition of Lightweight Backpacking:Minimize the resources required for a successful outing by increasing resource efficiency and outdoors skills.
Resources include equipment, clothing, food, and water that you take into the wild. If you just buy the smallest, lightest, highest quality gear items you can waste a ton of money for a very small weight reduction. Taking a wider view of Lightweight means you are preparing and becoming well-skilled so you can make better use of what you take.
Just a couple examples:
- Slowing your pace or hiking in cooler parts of the day so you don't sweat means you need to carry less water which is very heavy.
- Spending an extra $90 on hiking poles that save 10 ounces instead of on a titanium cook set that saves 4 ounces
- Using ritz crackers instead of tortillas cuts the weight of lunch in half for the same calories.
- If you lose 10 pounds while getting in shape, that's 10 pounds you don't need to carry over the mountains.
I've been asked by a few local troops to come and talk to their scouts about this topic. My next talk is tomorrow night and then one in December. Hopefully, I'm helping to make those wilderness treks more fun for young adventurers. If I can save just one youth from a life of overpacking, it's all worth it! :-)
Posted: 12:40 11-05-2012 924 Previous Post Next Post
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Nov 05, 2012 - Eric Larson
I really like where you've gone with this. Too often, I see the gram weenies taking things to extremes, and neither I nor my Scouts can spend the kind of money that they talk about. Enjoying Nature doesn't mean you have to shell out for all that latest products. I wonder, would you be willing to record one of these talks, and post video of it here and/or on YouTube?
Nov 05, 2012 - Scouter Paul
Eric - I don't think a video would work very well because I move all over and change the talk based on the group. But, maybe I'll give it a try. Thanks for asking about it.
Nov 05, 2012 - quentin
I really agree with Mr. Larson, I am a scout and I have trouble with the ouncers who count every single ounce, I don't have the money to spend on new gear all the time. What i do is buy nice things when I need them then use them till they wear out. That saves me alot of money, and i get nice things at the same time.
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