One question that will come up almost immediately is “What equipment does my Scout need?” The troop is well supplied with equipment for most outings. The Scouts will need a few items of personal gear – we suggest the following (links are examples of proven gear, but exact models are not required): a mess kit, a high quality plastic spork, a 30º sleeping bag, a ground pad (preferably a closed cell foam pad, not an air mattress), a headlamp, a rain coat (no ponchos), the Scout’s personal hygiene kit (toothbrush, comb, etc.). We don’t recommend that the Scouts use down sleeping bags, as they are expensive and will fail when wet – the Scouts will do fine with polyester or similar fiber bags. A mummy-style sleeping bag with hollow polyester fiber filling (Hollofill II or Polarguard for example) that is rated 30º =will work well year round in Tennessee. Except for the sleeping bag, these items are very inexpensive and all can be obtained at Walmart, Dick’s, REI or similar stores. Please see any of the adult leaders if you have questions. For most camp outs, each Scout will need to bring a sleeping bag and pad, good hiking shoes or boots, and arrange to share a tent with another Scout.
Scouts BSA regulations require Scouts always maintain the “Buddy System”. This means that at all times they will be with one or more Scouts, even at night while sleeping. However they will tent with another Scout that is no more than two years apart in age. Troop 3 has a good supply of tents for Scouts to checkout, so a personal tent is not required or needed in most cases.
On most camp outs, especially those designated as “backpacking”, the Scout will need to bring his equipment in a backpack; for new Scouts and for occasional other camp outs, a duffel bag is satisfactory. Troop 3 recommends that parents not spend a great deal of money on equipment until the Scout gains some experience. For the first year or so of Scouting, many Troop members’ borrow the equipment they need. This provides them with the opportunity to become familiar with different types of gear and minimizes the expenditure.
See the section later in this Handbook for a Camping or Backpacking Checklist.