Personal gear list & MB/Rank items for St. Mary’s Hike – August 2022

The Gear

There are many gear lists on the internet chock full of information ranging from the bare essentials to making long distance contacts using shortwave radio. Essentially, your gear list boils down to what you plan on doing for that expedition.

If you were to ask Lauren to summarize her backpacking gear, she would tell you “Every ounce counts.” This is a great one-liner to live by when packing. Heavier gear should be swapped for lightweight gear or even consider gear-splitting with a hiking buddy.

She and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on gear lists, though. I like to bring my ham radio and make contacts with other hams while out backpacking. This 11.5 ounce radio, to me, is a “near essential” while to Lauren is a “non-essential.” Again, it all comes down to what you want to do on your trip and what you are willing to carry. Let me emphasis the last part of that statement: “what you are willing to carry.”

While it may seem like a great idea in the workshop or the kitchen, once you hit the 20 mile mark your back and legs may not be as enthusiastic about your gear load out.

As a reference point, REI has a decent Basic Backpacking Checklist and Beginner’s Guide to Backpacking article but, and here is my bias slipping in, I don’t fully agree with everything. For example, I typically don’t bring extra clothes on my backpacking trips – I did when I first started then I realized it doesn’t really matter how bad I smell to the bears, they don’t care, and neither did everybody else in camp because we were all musty. I do, however, bring an extra pair of socks because blisters (and wet feet) suck! Here are a few highlighted essentials from the REI checklist (which can be found here and here if you’re interested).

  • Water is key – if you aren’t purifying your own water then you are bound to fail. Have at least one method to purify water, two is better. For our family, we use a Katadyn BeFree water filtration bag and, in a pinch, we can boil water.
  • Food – if you can eat off of nature’s dinner table then that rocks! Please show me because I can’t. I would love to identify bark and berries to eat but it isn’t something I’ve spent time studying so I stick to dehydrated meals and fresh fruits. Depending on the hike, I’ll even hike in with a frozen steak, let it defrost while I hike, and eat it on night one.
  • Navigation – I never leave home without a map. I often leave a compass behind because I was taught how to navigate without one, but a map and compass (or navigational aid – GPS) is essential especially if your blazed trail turns into a non-blazed trail and you don’t realize it.
  • First aid – often this item is overlooked. It’s the bag that has been sitting under the seat in the truck or been tucked away in the bathroom’s medicine cabinet. However, this can be life-saving. Don’t go without a first aid kit.
  • Shelter – depends on what you want to bring but I’ve recently switched to a hammock. A lightweight backpacking tent is nice. I have a few friends that only bring a tarp – they sleep on the ground using their backpack as a pillow and string up a tarp for a roof. Trindon and I had one friend build an “igloo” on a camping trip during the winter storm in February 2021. All depends on your comfort level.

Scouts BSA has some good pointers about backpacking and you can read those here: https://troopleader.scouting.org/information-backpacking/

So, consider what you think is “essential”, “near essential”, and “nice to have” then go from there. Curious as to what we are bringing on this upcoming trip? Here is John and Trindon’s personal gear list for the St. Mary’s backpacking trip:

John

 

  • Storage
    • Backpack – 30-60 liter
    • Rain poncho for the backpack
  • Navigation
    • *GPS (the Garmin InReach doubles as a PLB)
    • Orienteering compass
    • Map of St. Mary’s Wilderness
  • Safety
    • Paracord – multi-purpose for bear bag, emergency descents, clothesline, etc.
    • Climbing carabiner – multi-purpose for carrying gear on my backpack
    • Headlamp
    • First aid kit – includes a tourniquet, mole skin, bandaids, tweezers, gauze, lighter, and toilet paper
    • Vitamins
    • 2x Chemlight (good for night hiking or marking camp)
    • Pocket knife
    • *Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
  • The Kitchen
    • Katadyn BeFree water purifier
    • Cup
    • Pot
    • Spork
    • Stove
    • Fuel canister
    • Coffee
    • Camelbak (water storage)
    • Meals (3 squares a day)
    • Snacks to munch on while hiking – fig bar, nuts, and granola (chewing gum is my go-to spirit lifter – when the hike gets tough, I chew on some sugary gum and I’m ready to keep going)
  • Clothing
    • Hiking shoes
    • Crocs (actually I own Amoji off-brand and for this hike, due to the numerous river crossings, will wear these on the trek in)
    • Swim shorts
    • Hiking pants, hiking shirt, wool socks (I will wear these for the duration of the trip)
    • Hat
  • The Camp
    • Hammock
    • Down blanket
    • Camping pillow
    • Thermarest sleeping pad
  • Toiletries – since this is my first backpacking trip with the Troop, I don’t want to run anybody away on our first outing, so…
    • Deodorant
    • Toothpaste
    • Toothbrush
    • Body wipes
    • Washcloth
  • Nice to have
    • Solar charger (I wouldn’t typically bring this on an overnighter, but I’m testing out some new gear and I want to see how well this works)
    • Cell phone (I typically leave this in my vehicle at the parking lot)
    • GoPro (for some awesome waterfall jump shots)

Trindon

  • Storage
    • Backpack – 30-60 liter
    • Rain poncho for the backpack
  • Navigation
    • He is deferring to his “battle buddy” – aka Dad
  • Safety
    • Paracord – multi-purpose for bear bag, emergency descents, clothesline, etc.
    • Headlamp
    • First aid kit
    • 2x Chemlight (good for night hiking or marking camp)
    • Pocket knife
  • The Kitchen
    • Cup
    • Pot
    • Spork
    • Stove
    • Fuel canister
    • Water bottle
    • Meals x3 (splitting one adult size meal across two meal times)
    • Snacks to munch on while hiking
  • Clothing
    • Hiking shoes
    • Amojis
    • Swim shorts
    • Hiking pants, hiking shirt, wool socks
    • Sleeping clothes
    • Jacket
  • The Camp
    • Tent – sharing with another scout (they split the tent gear between the two of them)
    • Sleeping bag
    • Sleeping pad
    • Camping pillow
    • Rain fly
  • Toiletries
    • Body wipes
The MB and Rank Requirements

I’ve been asked by numerous scouts what this trip will cover from a rank up and merit badge perspective. Please find the Master List of MB and Rank requirements below.

Master list – St.-Marys-Falls-Advancement-Requirements-06-August-2022

Categories:

Related Posts

Merit Badge Counselor “Blue Card” 34124 – Fillable PDF
Click here to download the Merit Badge Counselor Blue Card in PDF fillable format: 34124
Guide to Safe Scouting 34-416 (February 2022)
From Scouts BSA: All participants in official Scouting activities should become familiar with the Guide
SAFE Transportation Checklist – 680-696
From the form: The safety of our Scouts, volunteers, employees, and communities is our top