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GoLite Gone :-(
Do you remember what it felt like when Mighty Casey struck out?
"Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville — little GoLite has struck out."
I received an email today that GoLite.com
is having a liquidation sale. I figured it was some spam so I viewed the source - and everything looked legit. I went to GoLite.com and there was a banner "Liquidation Sale", but then every page after that just showed "service unavailable" - I imagine their server is overloaded today.
It's true - GoLite.com is bankrupt and selling out all their inventory to pay off debts.
GoLite is (was) my favorite, daniel-vs-goliath, ultralight gear provider. They pushed the price of gear down and seemed to really try to offer good stuff and reasonable prices. Over the past few years, they tried different sales models. Obviously, some part of their business plan didn't work out. :-(
When I hiked the Arizona Trail, my most important item was my GoLite chrome dome umbrella. It protected me from sun, rain, and big horses. I still have, and use, it but now will never be able to replace it as it is wearing a bit thin.
Also, my wife and I both got GoLite down jackets from Christmas gifts and I wore mine every night across Arizona. She wears hers from Oct. to March here in MN. :-)
But, it's not just me. Andrew Skurka's gear list
includes many GoLite items.
Now that GoLite is going away, I find myself wondering if I could have helped prevent the closing of their doors. Here's all I could think of - do you have other ideas?
- Buy More Stuff - purchase what you need, or just want
- Give Feedback - let them know you like them and why they are your favorite
- Promote - tell your friends about them
Well, there are still lots of lightweight gear retailers - Granite Gear, Gossamer Gear, HyperLite, AntiGravity, ULA, ZPacks, ProLite, LightHeart, EMS, Katabatic, ... but I'll sure miss GoLite. Guess I need to find a new favorite.
Posted: 15:42 11-14-2014 1141
Posted: 9:37 11-11-2014 1138
2K Likes - Thanks!
Need $25 for Scout Stuff?
Boy Scout Trail just hit 2,000 Likes on Facebook. To celebrate, someone gets a $25 Scout Shop gift card.
For a chance to win:
I'll randomly choose a winner of all those that leave a comment before Monday.
I'll do the same thing when we hit 3000, 4000, ... and every 1K after that. Share with your FB friends so the next drawing happens sooner.
Posted: 8:56 11-07-2014 1137
Vote - Support Citizenship
I just got back from walking 1/2 mile to my polling location and casting my ballot. Many of the positions were just the incumbent running for re-election unopposed. There was only one local referendum to vote on. It wasn't a really exciting election.
Modeling good citizenship isn't often an exciting role. As common citizens, our job is to vote and then support those people and policies we have elected and passed. Without the first step of voting, nothing else works out.
So, make it to the polls today if you haven't already - there's still time. Do your good turn of supporting our country by actively participating in the election process. And, maybe even get a cool little "I Voted" sticker to wear!
Posted: 16:06 11-04-2014 1136
No e-Cigs or Weed
Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drugs have not been allowed around youth in the BSA program for quite awhile. Recent technological and political changes have caused two items to be added to section IV of the Guide to Safe Scouting
- electronic cigarettes: Adult leaders should support the attitude that they, as well as youth, are better off without tobacco in any form and may not allow the use of tobacco products at any BSA activity involving youth participants. This includes the use of electronic cigarettes, personal vaporizers, or electronic nicotine delivery systems that simulate tobacco smoking.
All Scouting functions, meetings, and activities should be conducted on a smoke-free basis, with smoking areas located away from all participants.
- medical marijuana: It is unacceptable for anyone to use or be under the influence of medical marijuana at or during any Scouting activity.
Being ignorant of e-cigs, I just reviewed a bunch of online videos of them. Proponents say they are safe, clean, and help kick the smoking habit. Opponents say they promote a smoking lifestyle, deliver drugs and harmful chemicals to the body, and are not helpful in kicking smoking addiction.
My casual observer view is that they look like silly and are very expensive. Youth seeing adults using them could certainly be swayed to use them, too.
Posted: 13:54 11-03-2014 1135
Boo! It rhymes with Goo.
And, goo is the secret ingredient in HikeGoo foot treatment.
No one's going to want a tube of HikeGoo in their halloween bucket, but scouts working on the Hiking or Backpacking merit badges might be very thankful.FootKinetics
has four products to help your active feet - HikeGoo, RunGoo, WalkGoo, and SilkStep. They are all very similar, and they sent me a tube of HikeGoo to try out. So, I used it over the last month of hiking.
Now, I seldom get blisters since I hike about 4 or 5 miles nearly every morning. My feet are used to the routine, my shoes and feet have developed a nice relationship, and the trail is well manicured. So, trying HikeGoo was more to see what it felt like and how it affected my feet.
The thick wax is squeezed out of the tube directly onto the foot and smeared around with the applicator. I found the goo to take some effort to squeeze out, especially these last few cold days, but it then spread around just fine. I found it worked to spread the goo with a couple fingers to get a thinner, even layer. I then pulled/rolled my socks over my feet so the goo stays in place better.
After my short Appalachian Trail hike in August, I had quite a bit of rough, flaking skin on my heels and around the edge of my soles. The biggest thing I noticed about using HikeGoo this past month is that it really smoothed that skin and made my feet feel better. I was concerned that the wax cream might make my feet perspire more, but that did not happen. My feet and socks were just as dry as normal, and my socks did not get caked with goo after a morning of hiking.
I can really see how this cream could help someone prone to blisters, especially scouts with little hiking experience or just starting to prepare for Philmont or some other long trek. Here are a few things I particularly noticed about HikeGoo:
- Odorless and Colorless - no perfumes or pigmentation, just smooth white waxy protection
- Creamy - I guess you'd expect that from a foot cream, but it isn't greasy and it felt nice
- Packaging - You can carry a 3oz. or 5.5oz. tube. The package adds another ounce, most of that is the 0.6oz. applicator lid. On a backpacking trek, I'd replace with a simple lid.
- Slippery - I could certainly feel the smooth glide rather than rubbing on my feet
With the cold and dry air invading Minnesota now, I've found that the extra HikeGoo left on my fingers after applying is useful. I massage it into my hands and they don't feel so dry and chapped after being outside for hours. Maybe FootKinetics will come out with HandGoo next. :-)
Posted: 11:37 10-31-2014 1134
Campfire Doughy Maker
Few Scouts don't enjoy a campfire and even fewer dislike cooking over one. I wonder how many marshmallows have been roasted by scouts this past summer? Poking food on a stick, wrapping it in tin foil, or tossing it on a grate have been the main ways to cook over fire.
Now there's a new, easy way to cook campfire treats - the Doughy Maker
. It's basically two muffin tins hinged together with an extendable handle. This gadget design is good for a few reasons:
- Keeps ingredients together - no burning marshmallows flying through the air
- Keeps hands well away from hot coals
- Ten individual snacks cooked all at once, very quickly
- Easy to load, empty, and load again
Check out this video of scouts from Troop 341 using their Doughy Makers.
One Doughy Maker creates 10 doughies per batch, so it's perfect for a patrol. It's real cooking, too - not just heating a hotdog or cheese sandwich.
It takes about 5 minutes per batch so scouts in a rush for a fast lunch can still have hot food. Making a second, third, or fourth batch is simple so using up leftover ingredients isn't a problem.
There's no end to what can be made with this fun little cooker over the campfire. Use your imagination to come up with more, but here's a few to get you started:
- Mini Pie - scoop of canned pie filling inside dough
- Cheeseburger Popper - scoop of cooked hamburger and piece of cheese inside dough
- Cinnabun - cinnamon and sugar inside dough
- S'mores - chocolate chips and mini-marshmallows inside dough
- Peanut Butter Cup - chocolate and peanut butter chips inside dough
- Pizza - sauce, cheese, chopped pepperoni inside dough
Refrigerated dough is the simplest to use, but bread dough and cookie dough you make yourself work great and save money. As long as it isn't runny batter, such as pancakes and cake, it's worth giving a try.
Check out the Doughy Maker
website to find out how inexpensive it could be for your Pack or Troop to have a few of these cookers on hand for future campouts.
(I received this product to try out and review)
Posted: 9:51 10-27-2014 1133
University of Scouting
I'm at University of Scouting today. My LNT presentation went well but I missed this Great dutch oven cooking session. :-(
The fella doing this session is fun, and was in a first aid training I did a couple years ago. UofS is a nice opportunity to reconnect with other scouters in your council.
Posted: 14:38 10-25-2014 1132
SansBug Photo Contest
One of these tents is not like the other - can you tell the main difference?
Canvas tents are an old stand-by of Scout Camps across the country. I've stayed in them at Philmont basecamp on both of my treks there. In a dry, arid environment, they work well, but there is absolutely no protection from insects while trying to sleep.
Notice the netting on the cots in the lower picture? Frequent readers may recall my post about SansBug shelters
this past spring. It is a very cool, very fun, protection from all form of bug, insect, creepy critter, and crawly rodent while you're down for the night.
Anyway, I've been chatting with Fayaz at SansBug
and they've got great plans for the next year!
Right now, they are holding their First Annual Photo Contest
just for Scouts to show off their SansBugs in use at camp or on campouts. Each scouting unit can contribute ONE photo for a chance to win.
And, exactly what can you win? Whoa! You've really got to check out that Photo Contest link to find out. It's a lot more than you expect, for sure, but I will tell you there is a grand prize and 9 runners-up. You'd better not wait because the short deadline for this first contest is November 30.
But, what can you do if you don't have a SansBug shelter yet? You certainly can't take a photo of it, but you can win one! Fayaz says I can give away a SansBug every month in the Boy Scout Trail drawing
. So, starting next month, yet another prize will be added for you loyal visitors.
Hmmm, seems to me an enterprising Scout Camp might get a bunch of these and sell or rent them at their Trading Post for those scouts that came not quite so Prepared
Posted: 12:39 10-24-2014 1131
Perfect Eagle Project?
(click pic for larger view)
On my afternoon hike this weekend, I ran into what very well may be the perfect Eagle Scout service project!
This is a hands-on Knots and Lashings kiosk and can be found at Lowry Nature Center west of Victoria, MN. It was done as the Eagle project of Joshua R. from Troop 589 in December, 2012.
The front side of the kiosk has eight examples of knots displayed in 3 physical steps, along with a bit of text about the knot. The square knot, sheet bend, rosendahl bend, bowline, two half-hitches, taut-line hitch, clove hitch, and timber hitch are shown. (Yeah, me too - rosendahl bend??? it's also called the zeppelin bend
In front of this oversized knot board is a lashing rail with attached ropes and short poles so visitors can actually practice the knots.
So, why do I like this project so much?
- It interacts with the public. People get to DO something with it, not just sit on it, or walk on it, or look at it.
- It teaches useful skills. Whether a grandpa remembering that old knot, or a young girl trying to tie one for the first time, visitors can explore and succeed in just a few minutes
- It promotes Scouting. Knot-tying is an obvious Scout thing, but this doesn't have BSA branding all over it. One placard tells that it is an Eagle project. A great way to show young boys and their parents another reason for them to get into Scouting.
(click pic for larger view)
The back of the kiosk has 4-step displays of the square, diagonal, shear, and round lashings. Another lashing rail with attached poles allows these lashings to be tried, but it appears that the ropes have walked away.
Finally, a small section of display space shows and explains various kinds of material and styles used in rope making.
I really liked the rough log supports and natural colors of this project. It fits into the outdoor area perfectly and is right along a trail so visitors can check it out before or after a short hike.
So, what do you think? The best project ever?
Have you seen an awesome project, too? Leave a comment about it.
If you are interested in duplicating this project, you might try contacting the troop at www.troop589.org
Posted: 10:42 10-22-2014 1126
Hip Patrol Patches
If scouts in your troop or Webelos den are tired of the same old choices in official BSA patrol emblems, have them take a peak at ScoutStuff.org patrol emblems
where they may find something new and fun.
Maybe the BSA will regain some of the market lost to custom patrol patch manufacturers with these new patrol options. Some are just redesigns of older versions, like the Native American and Bison patches. Others strike me as silly, such as the Computer Geek and Game Master patches. And a few, Raven, Knight, Bull, look pretty cool to me.
If you want to just see all the current patrol patches, from Aliens to Zombies, check out my Patrol Patches
Yes, that's right Aliens and Zombies, not the good ol' Antelope and Roadrunner - those are no longer listed at scoutstuff.org
So, what do you think?
Good move to offer more choices, or not?
Do you have a favorite patrol patch from the list?
Posted: 16:01 10-20-2014 1125
Do your scouts ever cook hotdogs?
Here's a new way - it's called the Twisted Dog
Hotdogs and brats are all-American summer food seen around countless campfires and 4th of July family gatherings. They are an easy introduction to campfire cooking for Cub Scouts, and a simple, quick meal for older scouts (even though there's not much real cooking prowese required).
Earlier this summer, I chatted with a fellow that has invented a new item to make this old picnic stand-by a bit better. The Twisted Dog is a simple tool to make a spiral cut down the hotdog. Why, pray tell, would you want a spiral cut hotdog? Well, for a few reasons...
- Even Cooking - the hotdog stays straight instead of bending around when cooking. It also heats up inside more quickly.
- Better Taste - the exposed cuts and edges let juices escape and sear, improving the flavor.
- Condiment Adhesion - there's more area for the ketchup, mustard, and relish to hold in place rather than squirt onto your lap.
- More Filling - spiral cut dogs remain longer than a regular dog, filling the hotdog bun better from end to end.
- Faster Cooking - scout testing has shown the hotdogs cook a bit faster so they get to eat sooner.
This summer, I gave Twisted Dogs to a scout patrol to try out. At last check, they are still using them whenever they do a simple hotdog meal. The scout feedback has been that it keeps the hot dog more evenly cooked, cooks faster, and new scouts like the novelty. They've kept the Twisted Dog in their patrol box and use it whenever they do dogs.
If your troop is looking for a new fundraising opportunity, contact Scott at TwistedDogs.net
and ask for more information. If your troop runs any sort of booth or stand at a community gathering, these could be a great add-on item to offer.
Posted: 15:38 10-13-2014 1123
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