Overall Best Backpacking Towel – REI MultiTowel Lite While all six of these are great options for outdoor lovers of all kinds, and each has its own great uses, we believe the most versatile option on this list to be the REI MultiTowel Lite. Its lightweight material and great absorbency make it the perfect choice … Read more
Best Camping Knife – Editors Choice Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife Much like the eponymous survivalist himself, the Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife is excellent in a pinch and accomplishes so much with seemingly so little. This is one of the few camping knives few came across that includes both a fire starter rod as … Read more
There are lots of myths and misconceptions about lightning strikes on outings. However, one thing to remember is that there is no safe place for Scouts during an electrical storm. Scouts and leaders have been hit by lightening (and killed) in shelters as well as open spaces. In fact, during one especially terrible storm at the Griswold Scout Reservation in New Hampshire, 23 Scouts who had taken shelter under a canopy were hospitalized from a lightning strike that hit close to them. The problem is serious enough that BSA has studied it ……….
Best Windproof Lighter for Hiking & Camping Zippo Chrome Lighters Best Windproof Lighter Zippo is a well-known American lighter company, and its common knowledge that their lighters are amazing. As the original manufacturer of windproof lighters, they’re expected to be the best, and they excel at this task. They give a lifetime guarantee on their … Read more
One hot afternoon, a new Scout on his first outing ran through the campsite screaming loudly and holding his crotch. Despite the commotion, the other boys barely noticed because they were occupied trying to start a fire with a magnifying glass. After a few seconds, however, I realized what was wrong and said to the closest adult leader, “Better go and get the first aid kit, we need to remove a tick.” It took us more time to chase the boy down and get him to cooperate than it took to pull the tick out. (Please forward this email to your Scouting friends.)
How To Stay Safe: The Ultimate Guide To Hiking Safety The number of things that can go wrong during a hike or backpacking trip runs into the hundreds. This doesn’t mean, however, that we should be nervous or reluctant to head out into the great outdoors—it just means we should be prepared to deal with … Read more
Best Knife for Backpacking The Spyderco Delica 4″ Most people wouldn’t be surprised that the Spyderco Delica 4 is the best backpacking knife. You mention Spyderco to any knife collector, and you can watch their eyes light up. The Delica 4 has all the best qualities – it’s lightweight, has a textured handle for superior … Read more
Best Backpacking Thermometer Sun Company Outsider While other backpacking thermometers might be more “advanced,” most of them provide functions that few hikers or campers need. This is where the Sun Company Outsider’s survivalist design shines brighter than digital backpacking thermometers that are larger and heavier. Outside of the standard thermometer, the Sun Company Outsider also … Read more
Best Power Bank for Backpacking Best Power Bank for Backpacking Jackery Bolt 6000 mAh By far the best quality of the Jackery Bolt is its incredible packability demonstrated by a svelte profile that measures 4.3” x 0.9” x 1.9”. But, this compact profile is combined with a lightweight design that tips the scales at a … Read more
On the fourth day of a 50 miler, the group was interrupted by a boy loudly complaining about intense pain in his stomach. The adult leader, assuming appendicitis, frantically hiked to the nearest ranger station and arranged for a helicopter evacuation. When the boy finally arrived at the hospital emergency room, a quick examination by doctors revealed the problem and the Scoutmaster was dead wrong in his diagnosis.
One of the unique characteristics of backpacking is that it puts you in control of your own destiny in a very real, but sometimes dangerous, manner. There are no hospitals, usually no access to roads or ambulances, and very few doctors in the backcountry. If, therefore, someone in your group gets sick or injured, then … Read more
Bears are an increasingly common companion for hikers in the backcountry. According to a Ranger in Yosemite, there are now more than 30,000 black bears in California, which is a sharp increase over the past decade. Hiking safety in the daytime generally means backpackers have the responsibility to yield to Black Bears. Basically, that means … Read more
At dusk the mosquitoes were swarming and we were all cowering in our tents. Only the cook and his assistant were forced into the open, and they struggled to prepare dinner in long shirts, gloves, and mosquito hats. When it was time to eat, everyone grabbed their food and disappeared back into their tents as fast as possible. Next morning, we ventured out and were immediately attacked by thousands of frantic mosquitoes. Everyone just grabbed their stuff and ran down the trail with tents, cooking equipment, and even sleeping bags in their arms until the mosquitoes left us alone. (Please forward to your backpacking friends.)
Believe it or not, many boys (and men) refuse to go on a long backpacking trip only because they are psychologically unprepared to squat and take care of business behind a bush. Get all the information you ever want or need in this great white paper called Toilet Paper Free Expeditions from Backpacking Light (Published with permission … Read more
At the end of the summer, Colin was climbing around in Rock City, a popular area at Mt. Diablo State Park. Since the temperature was in the high 80’s, he was wearing only shorts and tennis shoes as he scampered from rock to rock in the bright sunshine. Unfortunately, he suddenly lost his balance. A large bush broke his fall, but he ended up scratched and bleeding where the branches penetrated his skin. The next day in the hospital emergency room, Colin learned the bush was poison oak, and he had several painful days of recuperation ahead of him. (Click to learn more about poison oak and how to deal with the rash it causes. Please forward to other Scout leaders.)