Guys, as you know, we camp twelve months out of the year. That means there are some cold weather camp outs and you’ll need to BE PREPARED. Here are a few of our favorite ways to stay warm out there.
Dress in layers.
As the temperature changes throughout the camp out, you’ll want to be able to adjust your clothing accordingly. Having too heavy a coat could lead to perspiration which will make you colder later. Be prepared for 45 degree temperatures and 4 degree temperatures.
Bring extra shoes/boots and socks.
Ideally, you’ll have some waterproof insulated boots to keep your feet warm. But what happens if you step in a big muddy puddle and you get your one pair of boots wet? Wet feet on a camp out will make you miserable. Have a dry backup pair, even if it’s a pair of sneakers.
Use a sleeping pad for insulation.
Not an air mattress. They just get filled up with air that can get as cold as the ground. Use a foam or insulated pad. If you don’t have one, bring a big warm blanket and lay it under your sleeping bag. Speaking of blankets…
Use heavy wool or fleece blankets.
You can lay these on top of your sleeping bag (although they tend to slip off in the middle of the night), or you can tuck them down inside your sleeping bag if there’s room.
Put your bag in a bag.
If you have two of them, it’s sometimes a good idea to put your sleeping bag inside another sleeping bag. This is the same concept as using blankets above and below your bag, with the added benefit that it all stays in place.
Don’t sleep in your clothes.
I know this sounds counter intuitive, but trust me, you’re going to want to wear loose pajamas or sweat pants and a t-shirt. Sleeping in jeans or tight clothing reduces blood flow. Also, the clothes you wore all day are probably a little damp from your sweat.
Create a bed warmer with your nalgeen.
Just before bed, boil some water and put it in a nalgeen bottle. Seal it up tight and put it in your bag. It’ll act like a big hand warmer. Consider putting the bottle in a large sock or wrapping in a t-shirt to keep it from burning your skin.
Wear a cap to bed.
You loose a lot of heat through your head (especially some of us old bald guys!), so wear a stocking cap or a buff on your head at night.
Don’t breathe in your bag.
It’s tempting to put your whole head inside your bag but don’t do it! The condensation from your breath will make you and your bed damp, and damp = cold.
Consume some extra calories before bed.
Calories are units of heat. Snack just before bed or even keep some snacks in your tent. (as long as you’re not in bear country!) Consuming hot cocoa right before bed can warm you up from the inside out. It’ll probably make you have to pee in the night, so…
Pee in your tent.
Okay, that didn’t come across exactly right. What I meant was that you’ll want to keep a designated bottle in your tent so you won’t have to leave the tent to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Just be sure to label it so you don’t accidentally drink it. And dump it in the latrine or deep in the woods the next day. (Staying hydrated throughout the day and then cutting your liquid consumption after 8pm can help a lot in this department as well.)
Don’t go to bed with anything damp. Make sure that nalgeen is completely dry. In the morning, you may want to consider laying your bag out on top of your tent to let the sun dry it out for the next night.
Tuck tomorrow’s clothes into your sleeping bag.
Even when you stay warm through the night, getting dressed that next morning can be brutal. Keeping your clothes in your bag will make sure they are toasty warm in the morning. If they are clean and dry, you can even push your boots to the base of your bag so your feet are warm when you put them on. (Consider using a dry bag for boots to keep your bag clean and dry.)
Do you have some cold weather tips that have worked for you? Please share in the comments section.
Are your troop’s weekly games getting a little stale? Download this editable Merit Badge Guessing Game and spice up your game time.
Troop 412’s November camp out will take place at Jacob’s Cave near Versailles, MO on December 11, 12 and 13.
The cost of the camp out will be $25 per person over and above regular meal and fuel costs, but will be well worth it. Between breakfast and lunch, we’ll get a guided tour of the cave, along with a talk about geology, caves and minerals.
After lunch, the boys will be set free to explore the muddy section of the cave. And on Sunday morning all cave adventurers will receive a special patch!
Beyond your normal camping list, you will need the following to explore the cave without:
- A complete set of clothes that may get destroyed
- A sturdy trash bag for muddy clothes
- A hard helmet. (A bicycle helmet will do)
- A headlamp (Duct tape it to your helmet
- A flashlight
- Waterproof matches and a candle (a ziplock back works)
- Glow sticks (recommended for emergency)
- Boots (you do not have to throw away your boots, but they will get muddy)
- Duct Tape (to tape your boots to your jeans)
- Knee pads
- Gloves (disposable cotton gloves are fine)
- A beach towel (You’ll be getting hosed off after the cave!)
Summer Camp 2015 will definitely be remembered for years to come! Many things happened there this year: some good, like rank advancements and not as many bugs keeping us up at night; some bad, like the sweltering heat & humidity, and multiple storms (including a tornado warning) that forced us to spend hours in a cramped storm shelter. I have quite a tale to tell, so read on!
Day One. As usual, our Troop met at the church building in the morning. After everyone was accounted for at circle-up, we set off for Bartle. I rode with Tanner and Mr. McBee, and something happened along the way that gave us a scare. You see, after awhile we noticed that the door of the mini-trailer Mr. McBee was pulling had come open and was flapping in the wind! After coming to a stop on the side of the road, Tanner and Mr. McBee checked the trailer and were relieved to find they hadn’t lost any of their gear. Whew! The rest of the drive was uneventful. After our Troop arrived at camp, we did the swim test and then basically just hung out for the rest of the day.
Day Two. This was the first full day of camp and also when merit badge classes (some 3-day, some 6-day) began. Adam Shinski and I had several classes together, and we were able to find our way around camp pretty easily. At Opening Night Campfire, the staff did lots of funny skits and everyone enjoyed them. Afterwards we returned to our campsites and went to bed…but not for long! Staff woke us up in the middle of the night and we had to go to the storm shelter located below our pavilion. It was packed, and we were sweating and uncomfortable. A severe thunderstorm was the cause of such misery, and let me tell you now, there was more of that to come!
Day Three. During downtime between merit badge classes, the Scouts played board games like Risk, card games like Magic: The Gathering, and Frisbee. Also, something new was started at the trading post this year. It was a game called Gaga Ball, where the players are put into a heptagonal ring and can use only their legs to kick a volleyball. The object of the game is to tag players out by hitting them with the volleyball, and the last man standing is the winner. We had fun playing all these games, but I think most of us were excited for what the next day would bring: Family Day and Call-Out Night!
Day Four. Ah, Family Day, the second-best day of summer camp! Usually this occurs on Day Seven, but this year it came earlier. On Family Day, Scouts’ family members and close friends come to visit and bring good food for lunch so that we don’t have to eat nasty camp food. We always look forward to this day! Scouts and their guests line up at the food table according to rank, so for example Eagle Scouts and their families get to go first. The food was delicious as always! After the meal, Scouts took their guests to see popular sites like The Point and Iconium, and later in the afternoon, many attended the Dance of Joy performed by the Mic-O-Say Tribe. Towards the end of the dance, each dancer has his mom or another family member join him. Family Day was a great time and a lot of fun, but after our families went home it was time to get serious because Call-Out Night had arrived! This is when certain Scouts get called out for either Foxman, Brave, or Warrior in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say. This ceremony must be taken very seriously.
Day Five. Today marked the halfway point of summer camp. The first round of 3-day merit badge classes was completed, but if a Scout didn’t earn one of his merit badges for whatever reason, he has to finish it on make-up day. Most Scouts got their merit badges done, though. As usual, the Old Dogs had their daily 3:00 Slushy Run to the Trading Post. Also, today was the Hike-o to Ico, which is mostly for the First Years. Oh, and guess what? Everyone had to wake up in the middle of the night again to go sweat and be miserable in the storm shelter because of another stupid storm.
Day Six. The second round of 3-day merit badge classes began. This was basically another typical day at camp, but for me it was special because my dad came to Bartle as a part-time camper. He wasn’t able to come on Family Day because he had to work, so I was happy he was going to spend the rest of camp with us. I was also glad he was going to be able to watch me do the Mile Swim! Also, the Honorary Warriors and Honored Women were called out today, and my dad was part of that group.
Day Seven. Scouts continued their classes, and everyone continued to not be thrilled with camp food! Certain people in our troop began working on our skit for the Closing Night Campfire. Mr. McBee and Mrs. Wood changed the lyrics to the song “A Man Of Constant Sorrow” (from the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”) and renamed it “A Scout of Constant Sorrow”. Oh yeah, and we had Round 3 in the storm shelter, losing sleep yet again!
Day Eight. I completed my Mile Swim in the morning. My dad and lots of troop members came to cheer me on, and Mr. McBee nicknamed me Jacob Barracuda! The day continued with the usual rotation of merit badge classes (final day) and free time to play games. The performers for the Closing Night Campfire skit practiced at a select spot in camp. I was part of that group and it was fun! Last but not least, we all had to go to the shelter for the fourth time because of another storm and a tornado warning. It would be the last time in the shelter, thankfully, but it was also the longest.
Day Nine. The last full day of summer camp–everyone was very excited and happy! All of the Called became Foxmen, Braves, and Warriors, and it was also make-up day for merit badges. My dad treated me to a Father/Son day by going to Ico for dinner instead of settling for Camp Salisbury Steak. At Closing Night Campfire, all the troops performed their skits, and we got a great reaction from the crowd when we did ours. Almost everyone stood up and cheered! Most of our troop’s gear got packed up today as well.
Day Ten. After packing our remaining gear and eating breakfast, Troop 412 left for home! Another summer camp was in the bag. Yeah!! And even though the bugs weren’t as bad this year, I still had so many bug bites, I didn’t even bother to count them. I was very happy to get home, and I’m sure everyone else was too!
Well, that about wraps it up. In my opinion, our Troop had a really fun summer camp with lots of great experiences…except for all those times in the storm shelter. But even that helped make Summer Camp 2015 one to remember!
The Ft. Leavenworth Haunted Tour camp out was a mix of seriousness, relaxation, haunted stories, and fun. This tale begins with driving to our campsite on the Ft. Leavenworth Army Post. I rode with Mr. Brewer, Jonah and Tyler. As we were going down the road, we came to a complete stop at an intersection where a motorcycle accident had just happened. People were crowding around an unconscious male who was lying face down on the pavement. Mr. Brewer immediately called 911 call and the police showed up at the scene in five minutes. A special thanks to Mr. Brewer for acting quickly! After we arrived at camp and set up, it began to rain so we basically just stayed in our tents. Some of us listened to the Royals game until we fell asleep.
After breakfast early on Saturday morning, most of the Scouts played a game of kickball. We also played catch with a football. After we had our share of running and catching balls, a group of us went on a little nature walk behind our campsite. It was nice to have lots of free time on this camp out so we could be active and have fun! When it was time to eat lunch, the Ravens made grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. How original, right?!
Once lunch was over, everyone went on a tour of Ft. Leavenworth. The first stop we made was at a museum, where we bought our tickets to the Haunted Tour that night. We then walked through the museum and learned about Ft. Leavenworth’s history and historic sites, including the old disciplinary barracks (the site of the Haunted Tour). After that, we drove to the national cemetery, where many of our fallen military heroes are buried. This was the really serious part, especially for my dad because a Soldier named Spencer Duncan is buried there. Spencer was a member of my dad’s unit and died on August 6, 2011, during their last deployment to Afghanistan. Spencer was only 21 years old. Our last stop was a visit to the Buffalo Soldier Monument, located by a lake on the Post.
After we returned to our campsite, we had to make dinner and eat quickly so we could arrive on time to the Haunted Tour. We visited a total of nine stations, each one explaining various hauntings that had been witnessed there. The actors there were silent as they walked around pretending to be the ghosts, not speaking, just looking at us and stalking us. It was kind of creepy! At one of the stations there were some actors playing the ghosts of three dead girls. They started getting really close to us, and one even hugged me! (What can I say, I’m a ladies man!) Colin was with me and he kept asking the girls for their phone numbers as a joke, but they wouldn’t answer. It was pretty funny!
Once all this was over, we headed back to our campsite and went to sleep. The next morning, we packed up and drove home. Great camp-out, everyone!
Lots of fun activities and tasty treats were offered at this year’s Webelos Walkabout! For those who are not familiar with what Webelos Walkabout is, here’s a quick summary. The Scouts plan fun activities within their patrols to entice Webelos to want to join our Troop. This year, the Honey Badgers and Ravens created two fun activities for the Walkabout.
The Ravens decided to show the Webelos how to make won-ton dumplings. There were two kinds: sweet and savory. We stuffed the sweet dumplings with Nutella, Peanut Butter, and Marshmallows, and we put a little block of cheese in the savory dumplings. The Webelos were taught how to fold the ingredients in the won-ton wraps, which they did themselves, and then they watched from a safe distance as we fried their dumplings to golden perfection in one of our dutch ovens.
After they ate their won-ton, the Webelos got to participate in the Honey Badgers’ activity called Gladiator Games. Two to four Webelos stood on top of slightly raised platforms. Each received a pre-made sword/lance to try to knock the others off their platforms. The last one standing won the game. I later interviewed Ethan L., the mastermind behind this idea. He explained the object of the game and said that the Webelos had a really fun time.
Thanks to all who participated in the 2015 Webelos Walkabout event!