One Wood Badge candidate's opinions on what equipment to take camping (or not)


This is a compartment that many packs probably don't have, but my Jansport D3 pack has flat velcro pocket just above the shoulder straps. It is easy to reach behind your neck and grab things from it without taking your pack off. I have found two good uses for this pocket. Frist, it makes a convenient place to store a poncho, which can can be removed quickly if it starts to rain on the trail. Second, it makes a great location for a map and compass, which you may need to access frequently while hiking. I would keep the map and compass in a ziplock bag, because a wet map can easily become a useless piece of paper if it gets wet.

Backpacker's Poncho

Backpacker's Poncho

  When I was a Boy Scout, my poncho was one the most hated items in my backpack. It was a standard issue Boy Scout poncho, which meant it was made of thick green plastic. It was heavy and uncomfortable. There were times when I would just rather be wet than wear that thing. Thankfully, I don't think BSA makes these anymore. When I got older, I bought a comparatively expensive nylon backpacker's poncho from REI. It was like night and day. It was light and comfortable. It had a hood with a drawstring. It had grommits on the corners so that it could be set up like a rain fly. It also had a flap that snaps down in the back that is designed to cover your backpack while you hike in the rain. I still have this poncho, and it was worth every cent. I recently found one similar to it from a company called Camp Inn. It was nice and actually cost less than my REI poncho did many years ago.


Compass   This truly is an essential piece of backpacking equipment. It isn't enough to own one either— you have to learn how to use it. The image shown here looks a lot like the compass I have owned for years. It is fairly simple, flat on the bottom, and clear so that a map beneath can be viewed through it. There is also a place on it where a lanyard can be attached if you want to wear it around your neck or hang it off your pack. I wouldn't necessarily buy the cheapest one I could find, but I wouldn't spend a bunch of money either. You ought to be able to find a good one for under $20.