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


As Cub Scouts get older, they should be doing a lot more camping. Purchasing equipment for your child can be daunting, both in terms of knowing what to buy, as well as the expense. You don't have to spend a fortune, however, to get your child some good gear. I recommend buying a little bit at a time, shopping for bargains, and giving as gifts for birthdays and holidays. The following are some items you might want to consider:

Backpack: Jansport Scout

Jansport Scout Backpack   This is a great backpack that is just the right size for older Cub Scouts (Bear thru Webelos), and will serve them well until they are halfway through Boy Scouts (when they're big enough for an adult-size pack). This pack has two main compartments that open from the front (not the top) for easy access to gear. It has two good size side pockets, and lower pouches that are perfect for water bottles and other things that you want access to while you're hiking without having to remove your pack. It has strap loops on the top and bottom for attaching a sleeping bag and other items like a tent and/or sleeping pad. Most camping stores sell straps for about $1.50 each . I recommend buying four straps— two for the top of the pack and two for the bottom. This pack costs $100 at most camping gear stores, but you can usually find them online for less ($50 thru $80). Both of my own boys have this pack, as does my wife.

Tent: Coleman Sundome 3

Coleman Sundome 3 Tent   As a 3-person tent, this product is just the right size for two kids and their camping gear. It is tall enough for them to stand up in, but not so big that they can't pack it in and set it up themselves. It has a waterproof floor, and a fun little hatch in the back that they can use to retrieve gear. The footprint is 7' x 7', so it can even be set up inside the house for sleep-overs.

Sleeping Bag: Kelty Little Tree 20 Junior

Kelty Little Tree 20 Junior Sleeping Bag   This synthetic sleeping bag is just the right size for Cub Scouts and will accommodate them nicely until they are taller than 5 feet 4 inches. The mummy design is tapered and has a drawstring hood for extra warmth. Both of my own boys have this sleeping bag and have slept comfortably on campouts in temperatures dipping down into the low 20s. While down-filled sleeping bags are lighter and more compact, they are generally much more expensive than synthetic bags. Wait until they are nearly full grown before spending the extra money on a down sleeping bag. The Kelty Little Tree sleeping bag can be purchased online for under $45.

Hiking Boots: Nevados Kids' Cire Mid

Nevados Kids' Cire Mid Hiking Boots   At least for adults, boots round out the four primary hiking gear products: backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, and hiking boots. Most parents are understandably hesitant to buy hiking boots for their kids considering how quickly they outgrow shoes. But at $22 from Academy, these boots are a great deal and offer good foot protection for beginning hikers.