Gear Recommendations

Troop and Patrol Supplied Items

The Troop provides good quality tents, ground tarps and cooking gear. The Troop Quartermaster is in charge of these items. Each patrol has a patrol box with cooking utensils and supplies. The patrol quartermaster and all members are responsible for maintaining their patrol gear and are encouraged to add or upgrade items in their patrol box as needed. Each patrol currently has one Eureka Timberline and one Coleman Hooligan tent. All tent parts, patrol boxes, and most of the contents of the patrol boxes are color coded to each patrol. 

Personal Gear (not a complete list)

Mess Kit - Required for each overnight. Their own set including plate, silverware, and cup. Whatever cheap one you can find is great. Can be metal or plastic. The metal versions often have a small cook pot included and a plate that doubles as a skillet. 

Sleeping Pad - Many boys don’t have them but we recommend them. A closed cell ridge rest foam pad by Therm-a-Rest or even a cheaper Ozark Trail version from Walmart is much preferred to sleeping on the hard ground. Warmer in the winter too. https://www.thermarest.com/mattresses/ridgerest-classic-1 “Short” is plenty long for boys.

Personal First Aid Kit - Having one and knowing what’s in it is a rank requirement. The scout store at 103rd and Holmes has a good one that fits the bill, or you can assemble your own. The scout handbook lists the required items, same as all the bullet points on this kit: http://www.scoutstuff.org/bsa/camping/first-aid/kits/kit-first-aid-bsa.html

Scout Handbook - The scout store sells two versions, spiral and bound. Go with the spiral even though it’s $5 more. Unfortunately BSA went cheap on the binding of the bound version and the pages are only glued in, not folded and stitched. The glue comes loose and the pages tear out quite easily with use. 

Overnight Items - The gear each boy should bring on overnights will vary depending on the season and the activity. Sleeping bag (and pad), plus see here for lists: http://boyslife.org/outdoors/outdoorarticles/6976/scout-outdoor-essentials-checklist/ 

Compasses for Boys

Base plate compasses are preferred. See the picture below. A usable compass needs a rotatable bezel with which to set a bearing, and a straight edge to align on a map. As a general rule it should just be a compass. If it's also a flashlight, walking stick, whistle, binoculars, thermometer, or any other item, it's probably not a very good compass. Declination adjustment is not critical for the short compass experiences we have but the compass should show a declination scale. 

The scout store at 103rd and Holmes sells several models that will work for less than $20 (avoid the button / whistle / combo gimmick models). http://www.scoutstuff.org/bsa/camping/compass.html Avoid military style compasses as they are harder for youth to learn, and the cheaper ones are truly junk, often lacking a straight edge and with needles that jump all over the place. 

Compasses for Leaders

If adults are wanting to splurge on a nicer compass for themselves, there are a few things to know. The short version is to buy a Suunto with a global needle and declination adjustment. The global needle works anywhere in the world, and behaves more nicely, moving smoothly and not needing the compass to be exactly flat. Brunton is not as highly rated but is also a good brand and the only one made in the US. The official US Military supply compass is made by Cammenga. Beware of cheap knockoffs and also of some very cheap "Brunton" branded compasses.

Silva is no longer a preferred brand. Fine for learning but not for serious navigation. Through corporate machinations Silva USA lost the rights to sell actual Silva compasses in the US and Canada, so the "Silva" you buy here is a cheaper knock off made in China, not the formerly good stuff made in Sweden.

- updated 2017.11, Chris DeLong