Scout Camping and Hiking guide

Scout Camping and Hiking Information
When you are new to scouting it can be daunting knowing what to buy your scout so they will be as comfortable as possible on their outing but not spend more then is necessary. There is no recommended brands and models to buy as it changes regularly with what the camping stores stock and what technology evolves.
When going on an overnight hike the gear list of what to take is critical. It must be light weight as the scout is carrying it. It must be warm enough for where they are going. It is for this reason that shopping for an overnight hike more or less provides you with all you will need for scouting activities. The list of what to take in the following pages can then be used for other activities.
For An Overnight Hike
The gear list below will be taken

For A Longer Duration Hike
The gear list below will be taken plus more food, more cooking fuel and possibly more water. There is no need to take extra clothes.

For An Overnight Canoe Trip
The gear list below will be taken minus the backpack. They will be given barrels to pack in instead.

For An Overnight Bike Trip
The gear list below will be taken.

For A Standing Camp (i.e. we set up tents and stay in that location for the duration)
The gear list will be taken minus the cooking gear and tents as these will be packed separately. Plus you can add extra luxuries because you won’t be carrying it on your back, like a full sized towel.

The most expensive items on the list are the back pack and sleeping bag. If you can borrow these for the first trip that would be preferable to be sure the scout is enjoying it. Make sure the back pack is comfortable though or they certainly won’t enjoy it.
Tents and cookers are also expensive but the troop will provide these if you don’t have them. A number of scouts have their own and they are welcome to use them. Seek advice before you buy, light weight but robust is critical.

Personal Gear List for Weekend Hike
Packing Your Pack
Scout Overnight Hike Check List
Scout Sample Menu for an Overnight Hike
Sleeping Bags

Personal Gear List for Weekend Hike
On an overnight or several-day hike, your pack can be either your best friend or the bane of your existence. Getting your hiking gear right by packing light and smart is the best preparation you can do (and thank yourself for later)
Scouting guidelines for the weight of a packed rucksack is 20 - 25 percent body weight of the scout.
While it is not always possible, please try to keep the weight down as much as possible (points are deducted for overweight packs at competition events such as Scout Hike). Don’t forget to allow room for food, cooking gear & parts of a tent as these are sometimes divided up after leaving home and everyone needs to carry their portion of the patrol gear.
Warm, breathable and quick-drying clothing worn in several light layers are more effective than one heavy article of clothing. Take one extra set of clothing. No more, save your back. So that is one set of clothes for walking and one for not walking (around camp and sleeping)
Please look out for these at the camping store seasonal sales, ie avoid paying full price!! They also make great gifts at birthdays etc. In the meantime use what clothes you have.
BackpackThe amount of gear a backpack can hold is usually measured in litres. A larger capacity is not always better. Be careful not to overfill your pack and carry too much weight. Once fully packed, try to keep your load to not more then 25 percent of your body weight. A good rule for those not yet full grown: Look for a pack with a capacity of 50 to 65 liters. Shop at an outdoors specialty store with knowledgeable sales staff that can help fit you with the right backpack. Try on at least three packs and then spend the time having each adjusted properly by the sales staff. The bulk of the weight will be carried on your hips not your shoulders.
Waterproof pack liners or plastic bin liner – Heavy duty orange garden bags are perfect.
Other plastic bags – For keeping gear dry and taking your rubbish out with you.
Sleeping BagThis is the most difficult item and a whole page is devoted to it at the end.
Inner sheet – Not essential but recommended to protect expensive sleeping bags. Silk is lightest.
Sleeping Matt or Thermarest – No airbeds, they are too heavy and offer minimal insulation.
Foam mats approx size: 180cm x 51cm x 7 - 8mm. Thermarest self inflating mattress or equivalent brand is also good but more expensive
Thermal underwear A great option in cold weather. They can even be worn under shorts & shirt. Very warm, very light.
Jumper - Fleece is best as it’s light. Wool is not bad either
Beanie – Also great for sleeping in
Socks (Max 2 pairs) Thick cotton or wool socks are needed to absorb moisture and to cushion the feet.
Underwear x 2  
Pants x 2 - For bushwalking boardies are good, as they are light weight and dry quickly, (One to be kept dry for campsite and sleeping). 2nd pair could be track pants in cold conditions.
Shirts x 2 - Suitable for bushwalking (collars are best for sun protection) (One to be kept dry for campsite and sleeping).
Toiletries bag - Tiny bit of soap, face washer; toothbrush & only what you need toothpaste, toilet paper (not a whole roll!). Work out your portions, plus some spare and take no more.
Towel – small light weight towel or better still a lightweight microfibre towel.
Mess kit – in a pull string cloth bag, not plastic bag. Bowl or plate (not both check menu to see which is most appropriate) usually plastic, aluminium or enamel, mug, knife, fork, spoon and tea towel.
Small Personal First Aid Kit – Containing bandaids, bettadine, sewing needle, matches, cotton balls, small scissors, bandage, triangular bandage, safety pins.
Medications – You MUST let your Scout Leader know of any personal medication & allergies.
Sunscreen & insect repellant – only what you need in tiny bottles, tiny bottles can be purchased from pharmacists. No aerosol cans
Raincoat – A waterproof jacket is your main protection against wind and rain. The best type is a hooded Gortex or Japara type however these are hideously expensive & heavy. A poncho will suffice. Padded ski and sailing jackets are not suitable.
Torch – check batteries? Head torch recommended for hands free cooking.
Whistle - In case you become separated from the group on a bushwalk.
Water Bottle(s) – Used plastic bottles you buy mineral water in are the best (light, surprisingly strong). Make sure it is easily accessible and secure on your backpack. The amount will vary depending on the walk and the details of the hike will recommend an amount to take. Never substitute a flavoured drink for water.
Shoes x 1 pair - Suitable for bushwalking. Running shoes/joggers are OK. Volleys are not so good. Crocs, thongs, sandals are definitely not. Boots with ankle support whilst very good are not essential particularly with cost and growing feet requiring new pair each year.
Hat - A hat must be worn for sun protection. Broad brimmed preferred.
Food – On hikes food is always self cater. A sample menu is provided below. Substitute for food allergies. Do not bring extra food you can not afford the weight.
Cooking Gear – Will be distributed before the start of the hike.
Tents – Parts of the tent will be distributed at before the start of the hike.
A1 form & payment – forms & payment must be handed in BEFORE the activity on the due date as shown on the form. No form, no go.

Packing Your Pack
Make A Check List
Use a check list that includes every item you will require. Sample below.
Pack Liners and Plastic Bags
A pack liner or bin liner should be used inside your pack to keep everything dry. Clothing and other items should be kept in plastic bags inside this liner to keep them dry and easier to find. The sleeping bag in particular must be kept dry under all circumstances, so make sure it is well wrapped.
Dry foods are best packed in individual zip lock bags. Wet foods such as margarine, honey, spreads etc, are best stored in small  plastic containers available for pharmacists or camping shops (expensive) and then stored in a plastic bag. Leave jars, canned food etc at home - they add unnecessary weight.
Packing your Gear
Pack all your gear into your pack. Don't leave anything hanging on the outside. It may fall off and get lost and will probably rattle and jiggle about annoying both you and your companions.
Packing lightly and efficiently, with only the things you really need keeps your hiking adventure fun, rejuvenating and memorable
•   15kms into a hike in the wilderness is not the best place to realise you've forgotten to pack something really important, so use a basic list to make sure your hike is set up for thrilling success.
•   Use a waterproof pack liner inside your pack to keep everything dry if it rains or otherwise gets wet. If you don't have a proper packliner, use a heavy duty bin liner. Even the best, most expensive packs leak in heavy rain!
•   Use more plastic bags to hold clothes and other things that must be kept dry. Be very careful to keep your sleeping bag very dry. This method of dry bags within dry bags makes absolutely sure your warm gear is kept dry.
•   Put the heavy items towards the top of your pack, close to your body. Lighter things and things you don't need to get at easily can go at the bottom.
•   Many packs have a separate compartment at the bottom for your sleeping bag. (If you can unzip this compartment, please do so as it will create heaps more room for you.)
•   It makes good sense to put things you may need to get at near the top. The top pocket is an ideal place for the things you have to get in a hurry, including your first aid kit. 
•   Don't let Mum or Dad pack your pack - remember, you need to carry it and know where everything is!

How heavy is your Pack?
Your full pack with all food and gear included should not weigh more than 20% of your normal body weight.
How comfortable is your Pack?
It is absolutely essential your pack is comfortable. The pack should sit comfortably on your back with most weight on the hip belt, not your shoulders. DO NOT use a ‘hand me down’ pack which is too big or too small for you.
Your weight(kg)
Max pack weight (kg)

Scout Overnight Hike Check List
Use this list every camp/hike. Add or subtract as required for the particular activity, print it out and use it!
Collected by Scout
Checked by Parent
Packed by Scout
Backpack – suitable to the amount being carried

Waterproof pack liners

Sleeping bag



Thermal underwear



Socks x 2

Underwear x 2

Pants x 2

Shirts x 2

Toiletries bag

Small towel

Mess kit

First aid kit




Insect repellant

Rain coat

Torch – make sure batteries are good




Your share of cooking gear

Your share of tent

Plastic bags to keep your gear dry

Plastic bag to carry your rubbish out

Pocket knife – optional

Golden rule is The Scout has to carry it all so think about how much weight you are carrying for hiking expeditions.
Note to scout: Mum will always want to put in more, don’t let her.

Scout Sample Menu for an Overnight Hike
Day 1 lunch – a regular sandwich
Day 1 dinner –pasta and sauce packet that you add water to cook (e.g “Continental Creamy Bacon Carbonara”)
Day 1 dessert – powdered custard and dried fruit
Day 2 breakfast – oats and bit of sugar and dried fruit to make porridge or your cereal choice; and some powdered milk
Day 2 lunch – flat bread (e.g. wraps), a few salami slices, cucumber and cheese (the pantry stuff, you can buy a box shaped like a wheel with 8 individually wrapped cheddar cheeses, usually next to cheese sticks)
Snacks – dried fruit, museli bars, chocolate, trail mix
One emergency meal – a third of a cup of rice in a plastic bag
Sleeping Bags
If cost was not an issue you would have 2 or 3 sleeping bags for different seasons/locations and your warmest bag would be an ultra light goose down one. Unfortunately the $1000 price tag makes this not an option for most people.
During the summer cheap sleeping bags will often suffice. But be wary of places like the tablelands where temperatures can change radically even in summer. Autumn and spring, you can have a wide range of temperatures so prepare for the cold. It is always better to be too hot than too cold. Winter of course requires a warm sleeping bag. We will camp out in temperatures down to zero and occasionally a little cooler so aim to get a bag where your scout is comfortable at 0°. They will survive at lower temperatures and can wear a jumper or thermal underwear to turn a not so good night’s sleep to a good night. Thermal underwear offer lots of other advantages as it can be worn walking, canoeing, skiing, etc.
Most sleeping bags have a temperature rating on the tag (e.g. +10°, -5°). This tells you, the minimum temperature that will be comfortable while in that bag. It’s important to realise this is a rough guide only and not an industry standard. Keep in mind, are you a hot sleeper or do you always seem to be colder than your friends.
Modern synthetic bags work well for young, carefree scouts who might not remember to keep every thing dry as they still insulate when wet (where as a down filled bag is useless when wet and takes a long time to dry), are simple to care for (machine washable), easier to store and are much less expensive to purchase than down bags.
Long life
Wide comfort rating
Warmer if wet
Packs smaller
Dries quickly
Cheaper initially
Most thermally efficient

Costs more initially
Less efficient
Inefficient when wet
Much bigger when packed
Dries slowly
Allergenic for few
Shorter life span

Narrower comfort rating

• A stuff sack (aka compression bag) is a good accessory, only $15 to $25 at any outdoor shop.
• Don't buy a cheap and nasty sleeping bag.
• Always fluff up your bag before use.
• Use an innersheet. It keeps your sleeping bag clean and you warmer.
• Always air after use.
• Don't leave the sleeping bag in it's sack for extended periods.
• Don't roll your bag up, stuff it in.
• Pack your sleeping bag and gear in plastic bags to keep dry.
• Always use a sleeping mat of some description - it insulates your body from the cold ground, keeping you warmer.
• Sleep wearing a beanie - 30% of body heat is lost through your head.
• Don't sleep in the clothes you wore during the day.