Rounding out our discussion of camping gear this post will focus on some of the smaller, but important things to bring which will help ensure that your youth has a fun and exciting outdoor adventure.
One of the most important pieces of gear that your child will need while out on a camp or a hike is their whistle. This is mandatory safety equipment that the youth wear from the moment the camp or hike begins to the end. We teach the kids right from Beaver Scouts that if they get lost they “Hug a Tree” and blow their whistles 3 times to let people know they need help.
There are may types of whistles available, the whistle you purchase for you child should be very loud and should have no moving parts I.E. it should be pea-less. A great choice are the Fox40 brand of whistles although other brands which satisfy the requirements are also out there.
When it comes to flash-lights and kids keep it simple and cheap, chances are they will be broken or lost on a regular basis. Any of the AA or AAA battery LED flash lights will take care of the job.
When it comes to mess kits there are a lot of options however one thing is mandatory, the mesh bag. Once a child has washed their own dishes often times there will be a drying line where they will hang their dishes to dry in the mesh bag. It’s actually a requirement for one of our outdoor adventure skills, so if your mess kit did not come with a mesh bag with a draw string closure check with your outfitter who can usually sell you one.
The Camp-fire Blanket is the final things that you’ll want to consider packing for your youth when they head out to camp. In Scouting many of our adventures are marked by earning badges. Some go on uniforms, but the ones that help us remember events we participate in go on our camp-fire blanket. Over time the Camp-Fire blanket, like our uniform shows our personal journey in Scouting.
In Scouting a formal camp-fire is not used for warmth. Youth sit far enough back from the camp-fire that it’s heat will rarely reach them, and if it did, only their front side would be warmed. The camp-fire blanket is used for warmth around the camp-fire.
The best material for a camp-fire blanket is 100% wool as it retains warmth even when wet and is made of natural fibre which means that it will handle sparks better and more gracefully than synthetic blankets. The challenge is that 100% wool blankets are very expensive and not easy to get.
You can fine some blankets which are between 70% – 90% wool for a reasonable price at army surplus stores and these could be good alternatives.
Scouts Canada sells camp-fire blankets however they are synthetic and are not recommended around fire. Having said that as noted above the youth do sit far enough away from the fire that it should not be too much of a concern if your child is wearing a synthetic blanket.
Many people choose to have their blanket turned into a poncho. However the blanket vs Poncho debate is not one that we can get into in this posting. Scouts Canada does sell a camp-fire poncho, or there are many patterns out there on turning your blanket into a poncho if you would like to go that route.