Welcome to Troop 61

Sudbury, Massachusetts


Table of Contents

Troop Equipment

The troop normally carries certain equipment on camping trips for use by the entire troop. This equipment consists of those items that either represent the troop, such as the Troop 61 and American flags, or contains a more comprehensive level of support, such as the troop first aid kit, or support the adult leadership, such as the adult’s kitchen box, Dutch ovens, charcoal starter chimney, sheep herder’s stove, etc. Troop equipment also contains the bulk items that the patrol and Scouts share, such as water jugs, bulk propane tanks, rope, etc., saws, ax, camp spade, etc. This equipment is provided by and replenished from funds from the troop treasury.

Patrol Equipment

The Scouts of the troop are divided into patrols. Each patrol will have a set of equipment that will enable them to be self-sufficient on a camp-out. The equipment includes such items as tents, kitchen box, lantern, stove, propane tank, dining fly, water jugs, coolers, food boxes etc. The equipment is provided by funds from the troop treasury, but replenished by the patrol. Each patrol should have a flag that represents the spirit of the patrol and utilizes the patrol symbol. This flag should be provided and maintained by the patrol.

Personal Camping Equipment

If you have a new Scout, don’t rush out and spend lots of money on camping equipment yet. Start by reading pages 51 through 53 in your Scout’s Boy Scout handbook. Ask some of his fellow Scouts or his leaders what type of pack and sleeping bag they should have and what they like and don’t like about it and why. Have your Scout go on a camping trip using an old sleeping bag (or borrow one) and have him look around at the various types to see what may work best for him. Of course, you should look at the types of equipment and prices in several stores before making a decision.

What to Buy

After you decide what to buy, you can start assembling his camping gear. A suggested list of major gear, in order of importance, is : sleeping bag, pack and frame, hiking boots, insulated underwear.

About Sleeping Bags

Synthetic filled bags should have 3 lb. of fill, minimum, and a 4 lb. bag will usually be more than adequate. However, additional warmth can be provided by a wool or wool blend “blanket-sheet” inner liner, and a blanket or two on top. There is no current need to invest in a “sub-zero” bag for your son for Scouting purposes. Regardless of your decision to purchase, make sure that your Scout can stuff the sleeping bag by himself before you leave the store. Otherwise, he may have very difficult times on campouts trying to pack a sleeping bag that he can’t handle and turn what might otherwise be a fun trip into ones of frustration.

About Backpacks

Frame packs are better for hiking, as they provide more support than a knapsack, or a “soft-pack.” They are usually larger and can, therefore, carry more equipment. Make sure that your Scout can pack his pack by himself, put it on by himself, and carry it by himself comfortably before sending him off for the weekend.

Test it with all the contents he will be using for the trip (see pack list in the appendix), snacks, and equipment such as a canteen (with water - 1 pint of water = 1 lb.), compass, etc. Total weight of the pack should not normally exceed 20% of the weight of the Scout.

A frame pack can be purchased at any outdoor equipment store. However, at the present time, “Spag’s”, on Route 9 in Shrewsbury, has a very good selection, with a wide range of prices to fit most budgets. Prices start around $30 and go up to over $100. These prices are roughly 30% less than one might find at a typical “Outdoor” store.

About Boots

Most young men of Scouting age are still growing. You may want to wait until your Scout’s growth slows before investing in an expensive pair of boots. Meanwhile, a pair of inexpensive boots will do. Be sure to size him with two pairs of socks on. Hiking and camping in sneakers is not recommended as they are not designed for the support needed for uneven terrain.

About Insulated Underwear

During cold weather camp-outs, one pair minimum, but two pair are better as it allows one to wear the dry pair to bed at night. The original pair will get damp due to perspiration during the day’s activities. Damp underwear in a sleeping bag makes it very difficult for one to get warm in cold weather and can lead to hypothermia. Hypothermia is a dangerous condition where one’s body temperature is lowered and could be fatal to the untrained if not detected and corrected. Scouts in Troop 61 are thoroughly trained on cold weather camping techniques before they participate in a cold weather camp-out.

Damp underwear can be changed in the privacy of one’s sleeping bag, so there is no reason not to change them. Also by putting the next day’s clothes down at the feet, one can have “warm” clothes to put on in the morning.

About Clothing

Choosing the correct clothing, in advance, is important to the safe enjoyment of the sport of outdoor camping. Generally, the best advice is to have many layers of clothing available on a camp-out, rather than a single parka. This allows each individual to regulate his body temperature by removing or adding layers of clothing as desired.

About Different Types of Material

DOWN is the best insulation WHEN DRY, but it cannot be waterproofed. If wet by perspiration, snow melt, or rain, the feathers and down mat together, and it looses about 75% of its original insulation capability. DOWN is really “too good” for beginning campers, and it requires a slow and difficult process to dry out once it gets wet.

SYNTHETICS known commercially as “HOLOFIL II, III, etc.” and “POLARGUARD” have much better insulation qualities when wet than DOWN. It can be squeezed to remove excess water and worn damp with about 50% of its original insulation capacity. Synthetics are a few ounces heavier than DOWN per garment.

WOOL has the best insulation properties when wet. It can be squeezed and worn damp yet maintain over 75% of its original insulation capacity, but it is very heavy even when dry.

Where to Buy

Scout equipment may be purchased in the same manner as uniforms. See the Scout uniform section of this guidebook. As a general rule, camping gear can be purchased cheaper at stores other than “Official Boy Scout” suppliers, and the equipment is just as good and in some cases better. You may want to look in some of the local outdoor shops. Included are:

  • Maynard Outdoor Store, 24 Nason St. Maynard
  • Herman’s Spags, Route 9, Shrewsbury
  • REI, Framingham
  • Eastern Mountain Sports

In general, equipment from discount stores may not be quite as good quality-wise, but will cost less money and may be completely adequate. The decision is yours — shop around and be vigilant for sales.

Other excellent sources of “experienced” equipment and uniforms are:

The Salvation Army Stores, Older Brothers, Flea Markets, Yard Sales, Neighbors, friends, relatives

Those parents interested in equipment or who have questions regarding equipment, please feel to call the Scoutmaster or any Assistant Scoutmaster.

How to Keep Warm in the Winter

Think of your body and clothes as your house. Work from the inside out.

First, the heating system. The food you eat is converted to heat just like the furnace in your house. Good, fulfilling foods like stews and soups provide both energy and immediate heat to get you warm and keep you there. A hot stew, warm cup of soup or hot chocolate warms you right now and gives your body fuel to keep making heat, just like putting wood on a fire.

Once your furnace is in order, generating heat, you just have to adjust for being too hot or cold. Even in winter, you can get too hot. And you know you can be mighty cold when the winter winds howl. To allow control over these extremes, we use clothing, sort of like the walls, insulation and doors in your house.

Think about the layers that form your house. Work from the inside out. First, what’s next to your skin? The best item here is polypropylene long underwear, tops and bottoms. This layer absorbs (”wicks”) moisture away from your skin. Just as sweat cools you off in the summer, it cools you off too much in the winter. Long underwear often then contains a layer of wool that absorbs the moisture but keeps you warm despite being wet. Cotton long underwear doesn’t do this–in fact, it keeps the moisture next to your skin, actually making you colder.

Next, you wear some sort of insulating layer. Wool shirt and pants are best, although insulated ski bibs and vests are also good. The idea here is to form layers of insulating material to preserve warmth and provide dead air space to trap the warmth. More than one layer is OK, depending on the expected weather.

Finally, the outer layer provides a wind and snow shield. A nylon wind pant and jacket are great for daytime, while you might want to add a parka for the inactive meal and campfire periods. The winter wind can rob substantial heat from layers, so the outer wind shield is KEY.

Special Consideration is due the extremities–head, hands and feet. Bring and wear a winter weight hat–a wool shell at least. There’s an old saying that says “if your feet are cold, put on a hat.” You lose substantial heat through your head if you don’t wear an insulating hat.

Mittens are much warmer than gloves for your hands. Better yet is a layering system like you wear on your body. A light glove or mitten liner (made from nylon or silk), then a woolen mitt, and finally a nylon mitten outer shell, is ideal. Mittens comprised of several layers are also good idea, In any event, be sure to bring at least two (2) sets of hand gear to allow for the inevitable wet mitts (due to snowball fights?).

Last but not least, is the feet. If your feet are cold, you’re miserable, condemned to spend the outing hanging around the fire trying to keep warm. The same as your body, wear a pair of synthetic inner liners (available at outdoor stores) next to your skin. Next a pair of WOOLEN socks are worn. (Some campers wear a plastic bag between these layers.) Finally, a boot that is layered with insulation and weather proofing (leather and/or rubber) is put on. Make sure the boot is big enough to allow the insulating air layers. Gaiters over the boot provide protection against deep snow. Make sure to bring extra socks (they also make good emergency mittens).

The secret to keeping warm in the winter? Be Prepared! Avoid overheating and over cooling. Eat and drink a lot, wear the right clothes and have fun!

See you in the snow!