HOW TO PACK FOR A WEEKEND CAR CAMPING TRIP
Most of the following should be packed into a big duffle bag or backpack. Pack everything in closed gallon-sized ziplock freezer bags that make it easy to find things while also keeping it dry.
- Ground cloth or footprint
- Thermarest/foam sleeping pad
- Sleeping bag rated for expected temperatures
- Top sheet or bag liner (nice by itself for hot nights or inside a bag for cold nights)
- Waterproof pack cover or heavy contractor bag for gear storage in rain
- Bug spray
- Lip balm (especially for cold weather)
- Small pocket knife
- Small first-aid kit (the troop carries a big one)
- Flashlight or headlight
- Wallet with cash for the road, medical ID card
- Scout Handbook
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
- Sunglasses (optional)
- Rain gear
- Notepad and pen/pencil
Dining and Eating
- Hot drink cup
- 1-liter Nalgene
- Plastic bowl
- Matches or lighter
Clothes (hot weather)
- Socks (1 pair/day)
- Shorts (1 pair/3 days)
- T-shirt (1/day)
- Underwear (1/day)
- Wide-brimmed hat
Clothes (cold weather)
- Warm pajamas
- Wool socks
- Heavy boots
- Long johns/warm base layer
- Heavy pants (avoid cotton like jeans if there is a potential for wet conditions)
- 2 warm long-sleeved shirts
- Fleece jacket or wool sweater
- Outer warm, windproof coat
- Toboggan hat
- Warm scarf
- Gloves or mittens
- Book to read
- Phone charger (for the long ride to/from the campsite)
Special considerations for cold weather:
- Cotton is bad, wool is good. Cotton retains moisture. Blue jeans and sweat pants are not advisable for winter camping, although dry sweat pants can be worn in the sleeping bag. Wicking synthetics such as Cool Max are now available for clothing next to skin. They wick moisture away from the skin and allow it to evaporate.
- Layering is important. One-piece winter suits are good only when inactive and not recommended for winter campouts. Throughout the day boys will be active, and need to wear layers of clothing that can be added and removed.
- Putting clean, dry underwear on when going to bed is crucial. Boys will need to bring a spare pair of underwear and long underwear that they can change in to and wear while in their sleeping bags, as well as a pair of dry socks for sleeping. That night’s underwear and socks can be worn the next day, as long as you have another dry set for the next night.
- Most heat is lost from the head. Bring a 2nd dry stocking cap for night, or a hooded sweatshirt, to keep head warm and out of the sleeping bag. For really cold weather a balaclava can cover your face while leaving mouth and nose open to breath without wetting the cloth. Do NOT breathe into your sleeping bag – you will get wet and cold.
- Dehydration can help cause hypothermia. Drink 2-3 liters of water during the day. Storing your water bottle upside down in the snow (next to your tent where you can find it) will help prevent the lid from freezing on.
- Physical activity warms you up. If cold, move!