Carolina Mountain Sports
123 West Broad St
Statesville, NC
(704) 871-1444
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July 17, 2018
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■Equipment Tips

Proper Pack Fit…is important for everyone but especially for young scouts who are starting backpacking.  If it doesn’t fit, it can be uncomfortable or maybe even a  totally miserable experience…and could cause them to loose interest in hiking or Scouting.  
            The size of the waist; the length of the torso; the thickness of the chest and the length of the neck are important factors.  The hipbelt should fit snugly around the waist with the buckle over the youth’s navel.  The center of the padded belt is then over the top of the pelvic girdle and the weight of the pack can be transferred to the hips and legs, the strongest muscles of the body.  If this occurs, only minimal weight need be carried by the shoulders and back…and shoulder straps primarily keep the pack from falling backward.  Should strap adjustment  and loadlifter strap adjustment are also important but best demonstrated with a weighted pack on the person. 
            A pack with a good range of adjustment for torso length is also important.  Some have this feature and some don’t.  Adjustment range is important to fine-tune the fit, and in the case of Scouts, to allow for the pack to be adjusted as the torso of the Scout grows over the  years. 
            External frame packs like the Kelty Trekker and Jr. Tioga are excellent models for small scouts who are still growing.  External frames by Alps Mountaineering may also do quite well.   Some internal frame packs can also have good range of adjustment. 
            Size charts do not give sufficient info to insure a good fit.  The only way to determine fit is to try the pack on, with weight in it, and then have the fit properly evaluated and adjusted if necessary. 

 

Fitting Boots…A good boot is an important accessory for young folks that hike a lot.  But, they can outgrow boots and shoes pretty rapidly so buying good boots may not be cost effective.  Winter conditions may dictate boots, but in summer, tennis shoes and sneakers may be fine.   Whichever route seem appropriate, I recommend fitting footwear when wearing two pairs of heavy socks, and maybe and extra footbed inside to reduce volume.  (as the foot grows you can reduce socks and thickness…)  A decent fit around the heel and arch is important.  If the boot seems too long, that’s probably no problem at all.   Typical guidance is to buy boots 1.5 to 2 sizes bigger than street shoes…with at least a half inch of space in front of the toes. 

Sleeping bags…Ideally  Scouts benefit most from a “mummy” bag.  There is less volume for the body to heat and the bag packs smaller and is lighter.  The most thermally efficient bags are also just long enough to accommodate the Scout’s height.  But, from a financially practical standpoint, most scouts do fine with a regular adult sized bag designed to fit someone up to 5’ 10” approximately.   That way, as the Scout grows, you don’t have to worry about the bag becoming too short and a good bag will last for quite a few years that way. 

Carrying water…Almost any water container that does not leak will do fine.  The most popular are the Nalgene and Camelback bottles in 1 quart/liter size.  Platypus collapsible bottles are a good alternative and are much lighter.  Hydration bladders are also popular…but are more expensive and  require more work to maintain and keep clean due the long hose.   To keep “stuff” from growing inside the hose, consider storing the bladder and hose in the freezer when not being used…

 

 

 

Updated: March 12, 2014
 
 
 
Carolina Mountain Sports

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