Things All Scouts Should Know: 16 Camping and Life Hacks from 1911

by Brett & Kate McKay on August 20, 2013 · 40 comments

in Manly Skills

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Editor’s note: In 1911, the first edition of Boys’ Life magazine was published. The first several issues included a short-lived section called “Things All Scouts Should Know,” which featured short, practical tips for boys at home and out camping. Below is a collection of my favorites; some are actually practical and handy, others just fun and interesting, and all are enjoyable to read.

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TAKE A SEAT

takeaseat

If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate predicament of the Irishman who was “hanging between nothing and space” with only a rope to hold on to, you should be able to form quite a comfortable little seat if you hold the rope as depicted in this sketch.

All you have to do is to hang on for a moment or two with your left hand, catch the end of the rope with the right, and bring it up under you in the form of a loop. Then grip both the end and the rope itself together, and you will find yourself sitting in the loop, and easily able to support your own weight.

HANDY TWEEZERS

splinter

Tweezers are a thing one rarely sees about, and they are always not in evidence when required; that is, when one is unfortunate enough to run a splinter into one’s hand.

When scouting, one is always liable to get thorns and splinters into the flesh, and if one carries a pen-nib on one’s person it will be found the best of tweezers. In the illustration, a hand in which a splinter has entered is shown, and this is the method by which it is ejected.

Press the nib firmly at B, just in front of the splinter, when it will open. See that the splinter is between the two divisions, then press the nib along each side of the splinter and let it close up. The splinter will come out without any trouble.

PREVENT SLIPPING

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You may have occasion at one time or another to hoist some heavy article from one place to another.

If you are doing this by means of a hook, you should know the correct way of roping the article on to the hook.

A “Blackwell Hitch” should be used, and this is simply and quickly made by looping the rope over the hook, as it is not nearly so likely to slip.

TO CLEAN PLATES

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Greasy plates are hard to clean without hot water, and when out scouting, or in camp, boiling water is not always easy to obtain. A tuft of grass with damp earth adhering to it is a good substitute. Rub the earth well over the plate, and it will soon remove the grease. Then rinse the plate in cold water, and it will be perfectly clean.

Failing sand, earth will also clean grease or oil out of bottles.

A BOTTLE BEACON

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An uncovered signal light displayed on the top of a hill is, of course, in the very finest position for being blown out by the wind.

On the other hand, when you want to make use of such a light, a glass-protected lantern is not always at hand.

But a candle, or a piece of one, and an empty bottle are generally to be obtained, and with those you can get along very famously if you know how, even on the very gustiest of nights.

Break off the bottom of the glass bottle, which should be without a cork. Plant the candle in the ground, light it, and quickly pop the bottle over it, pressing the latter down firmly into the earth.

There you have a cheery little beacon, that will shine out and not blow out, no matter how the gale rages.

OPENING A NEW BOOK

openbook

Many people soil the binding of new books by carelessly opening them. The proper way to open a volume when it is new is to place it with its back on the table and then to let both the board covers gently down while holding the leaves in one hand. Then open a few leaves at the front, then a few at the back, until the center is reached.

By going slowly like this the first two or three times the book is opened, you will make it last much longer than you would by opening it in a great hurry.

A CAMP NIGHT-LIGHT

candle

The simple contrivance that is known as the camp night-light, is one that often proves handy for camping out. It is formed of a small tin without a lid, and half-filled with fine earth.

Upon this are melted any odd ends of candle, until a fair thickness of tallow has been obtained. A thin, dry stick neatly wrapped round with a piece of say, calico, is then pushed down through the tallow and earth, right down to the bottom of the tin. When this wick is lighted, the camp night-light sheds a modest but useful glow all around.

And, of course, there is no oil to get dangerously upset or spilling about, to spoil things.

THE GLASS WILL NOT CRACK

glasscrack

When hot water is poured into a glass, the latter is very likely to crack if precautions are not taken. To prevent the glass from breaking, you should place a spoon in it and let the hot liquid run down the metal, as shown in the illustration.

This will take the heat away from the glass, and so enable you to keep your store of glass intact.

HELPS WITH BOILING EGGS

eggboiler

Every Scout is on terms of great familiarity with the egg. Camp life without it would not seem like camp life, for does not the egg fill one of the most important roles in the menu? Boiled in a few minutes it is a handy thing when there is a rush on, and it can be made the backbone of many a tasty dish. No wonder that it is an autocrat of the camp.

But, boiled in a billy-can it can give the boiler something to think about. It’s a very easy thing to drop an egg into a billy-can full of water, but it’s not such an easy matter to get it out. A spoon of no mean size is required to manipulate the egg.

To save time and trouble in boiling an egg, a Scout, having experienced the above difficulties, has constructed the egg-holder shown in the diagram. It is made of wire, spiral-shaped at one end to contain the egg, and with a hook at the other to fasten on the side of the can. In this way the egg is held fast while boiling so that it can be easily removed from the billy when it is done by lifting the hook.

HIDDEN IN SOAP

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Some people when they wish to hide anything go to a great deal of trouble. The chimney is now too well known for absolute security, so digging in the ground in the coal cellar or some such place is resorted to.

There is not the slightest reason to make such a fuss, for the best place to hide anything is in an object which does not seem to offer any scope as a hiding place.

Soldiers seem to have realized this, and it is said that when “Tommy Atkins” received his money he used to make a hole in a bar of soap, place the coins in the middle, as shown in the illustration, and seal up the end by banging the bar down on something hard. Who would think of looking for anything in such a place?

Tobacco has been smuggled into this country in imported broom handles and lady smugglers used to cross the Atlantic with babies who were never known to cry. The reason was made apparent when it was discovered that the babies consisted of lace and other contraband articles.

So when you want to hide something give a simple hiding place a preference.

TO STAND THE STRAIN

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For fastening a rope upon which strain is to be placed, a picket, or sharp stake, like a big tent-peg, is commonly used. But, if the strain is great, or if the only pickets you have handy happen to be small, it may be necessary to make a holdfast for the purpose.

This is constructed of three pickets, driven into the ground at a slope, one directly behind the other, and the top of each one lashed to the lower part of the picket behind it, as shown.

Such a holdfast should be neatly put together, and it will then withstand a tremendous strain on the rope.

FRESH OR STALE?

eggbowl

Here is something more about the egg, much more important than the boiling question. It is to see whether it is worth boiling or not. No one but a person unpossessed of the sense of smell can mistake a bad egg when it is opened, and the most unfortunate individual is he who has opened it and perhaps carried the first spoonful in the direction of the nose.

The difference between a fresh and a stale egg can be detected, however, the moment they are put in the water for boiling the fresh egg immediately sinks to the bottom and lays flat upon its side, whereas, the stale egg will be seen to rise on end. If it rises slightly it may only be a trifle stale, but according to the angle at which it inclines with the bottom of the saucepan, its staleness can be told. If it rises to the top, as shown in the illustration — well, take it out to the dust bin, but be careful not to break it. One disadvantage to our camp boiling receptacle, described above, is that it prevents the testing of the egg in its boiling water, and in this case it is advisable to test the egg in a fairly shallow vessel beforehand, or with cold water in the billy-can.

FLATTENING NAIL POINTS

nails2

There is a right and a wrong way of doing everything, even to the flattening of a projecting nail.

The usual way this is done is shown in Fig. 1, and, although it may be flattened down a little more than is shown in the illustration, the method is wrong and the point is always liable to catch in everything it comes into contact with.

The proper way to flatten the nail down is to place some thin circular object, such as a piece of wire (A), under the projection when hammering down (Fig. 2). This has the effect of turning the point round so that when it is finally hammered flush with the wood (Fig. 3), the point will be driven in, instead of being dangerously turned out.

ONE WAY OF DINING IN CAMP

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Provided the soil is dry and not loose or uneven, a very good mess table for use in camp can be made as follows:

Dig a fair sized oval trench about two feet deep, leaving an oblong space in the center, which forms the table, and then sit round on the ground, with your legs in the trench, and your plates of food in front of you, as shown in the illustration.

DO IT NEATLY

jersey

Many Scouts, no doubt, find it difficult to keep a jersey, or sweater, neatly and securely rolled. Here is a method which will overcome this difficulty, and make it quite easy to strap the jersey on to the belt.

First lay it out flat, as in Fig. 1, folding over the collar B, at the neck. Then fold over the body, A, three times, as shown by the dotted lines.

The jersey should then assume the appearance of Fig. 2.

Next turn the sleeve,  C, over the body, A, as in Fig. 3, and then pull the arm, D, over the body and other sleeve, turning it inside out for that purpose, after the fashion in which you roll a pair of stockings together.

The result, as shown in Fig. 4, is a neat oval roll, which can be easily and comfortably strapped on to your belt.

AN EASY CURE

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One of the most annoying things that can happen when you are running is to feel that unpleasant pain in the side known as the stitch. The accompanying illustration shows a quick and easy cure for this annoyance.

Bend down in the manner shown, place your hands on your hips, with thumbs to the rear, and then start walking along in this undignified position.

When you have proceeded a few yards, then get up again and you will find that the pain has disappeared.

Do you have any camping/scouting hacks that you learned as a youngster? Share them with us in the comments! 

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Trey T August 20, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Besides how to tie knots, and how to overpack, camping taught me cool ways to start fires. My favorite is super glue and a cotton ball will spontaneously combust when combined, and make a jet blue flame, which easily helps ignite timber.

2 Paul August 20, 2013 at 5:45 pm

My favorite tip for starting fires was using lint from the dryer. Works like a charm (and an added reminder of why you should clean out your lint traps!).

Does the cure for a stitch in the side really work? I’ve never even heard of that one before.

3 David J August 20, 2013 at 6:19 pm

The one way of dining in camp is very outdated. The most current method and most accepted form of camping, anywhere, is Leave No Trace. Unless you are digging for a small latrine or food scrap bin, which could be both. However, there are those who even suggest you pack your poo and food scraps out or eat all your food.

4 Kirk L August 20, 2013 at 6:24 pm

A couple of tricks I learned for keeping warm on cold nights: first, keep your sleepingbag rolled up until you’re ready to crawl inside. This keeps the amount of air trapped inside at a minimum, your body heat will warm it up faster (that’s the theory, anyway, and it seems to work to me!). Also, don’t crawl into the sleeping bag fully dressed, unless you’re expecting to have to exit quickly (at which point, why are you zipping yourself into a bag?). I usually strip down to shorts, maybe a T-shirt. Your clothes pick up moisture during the day, and when you’re not moving at night, your muscles are not producing as much heat, so your (very slightly) damp clothes will make you colder. Keep your socks and pants/shirt down in the bottom of your sleepingbag, and they’ll be toasty warm when you fish them out in the morning.

5 Kirk L August 20, 2013 at 6:26 pm

ETA: Stitch-in-side cure…back when I was running many miles a day, there’s no way I’d stop to do a duck-walk. Best cure for a stitch at that point, I’ve found, is to simply take a series of deep breaths in through your gullet as opposed to into your lungs (the kind when you breathe in, your gut expands more than your chest). After a dozen or so of these, the stitch will usually subside.

6 Jimmy August 20, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Enjoyed the post, though I think that in today’s world, you’re much more likely to have tweezers on you than a pen nib.

7 Ben August 20, 2013 at 8:08 pm

another easy way to remove a sliver is to take out your trusty pocket knife and draw the blade across the sliver perpendicular to your flesh and if the knife is sharp it will pull the sliver right out. Learned that from a retired 89 year old farmer.

8 Todd @ Fearless Men August 20, 2013 at 9:37 pm

I was in this thing called “Royal Rangers” as a kid and learned how to start a fire with flint and steel. Which is humorous, b/c growing up in California I have no idea how to find flint in the wild.

9 Ian August 21, 2013 at 1:22 am

The remedy for a side stitch that I found in wrestling was to place your fingers over the cramping area of the diaphragm and then to press into that point while blowing all the air our of your lungs and bending your chest over the cramp. You should feel the diaphragm relax almost instantly on release.

10 Bo August 21, 2013 at 1:43 am

It’d be nice if the Blackwell hitch indicated which part of the line is bearing the load, I’m certain it makes a difference!

11 Daniel August 21, 2013 at 4:44 am

Good post.

If you ever use a kerosene lamp/burner with a wick:
If your wick runs short, either tie two strings of wool in the end of it which reach down to the fuel and act as a absorber, or fill the tank up with water. The kerosene will float on top of the water so the wick reach the kerosene.
(I haven’t actually tried the second alternative)

12 Ross Patterson August 21, 2013 at 8:02 am

@Bo: It’s a Blackwall Hitch, not “Blackwell”, and the load is placed on the top line (descending to the left in this illustration). It’s really just a half-hitch, and as you imply, it only works when there’s constant tension on the line.

13 Matthew August 21, 2013 at 9:50 am

I was having a terrible time with stitches in my side when I started Couch to 5k at the first of this year. My wife (a lifelong runner) told me to exhale for one more stride than I inhale … I breathe in for two strides and breathe out for three … And I stopped getting stitches! Weird, but it seems to work.

14 ScottH August 21, 2013 at 11:01 am

It’s fun to see ideas that were considered good camping tips a century ago. I agree with others that say we now need to apply Leave No Trace principles to better maintain camping areas for future generations.

I have done a lot of scout camping throughout my life. Much has changed along the way. Some of the nifty ideas shown have given way to changes in technology and available goods.

For example, I like to bring duck tape with me on hikes. If anyone starts to feel a hot spot on their foot, have them remove their footwear, get the area dry, and wrap duck tape over the hot spot and a good part of the surrounding area. Then make sure that the sock and boot are properly restored and fitted before continuing.

This method works best if no blister has formed yet. And it should go without saying that high quality hiking socks and properly fitting boots can go a very long way toward preventing hot spots in the first place.

Duck tape also works a lot better than the old neckerchief method for making arm slings and applying splints when that kind of first aid is needed.

15 Mr Bill August 21, 2013 at 11:27 am

Cool. I just signed my Grade 1, six year old boy up for Cub Scouts. An old dude mixed in with all those young-uns.
So, sometimes we do get to live our lives over again… sort of.

16 David August 21, 2013 at 11:53 am

In 1911, when everyone used fountain and dip pens, those handy tweezers were a lot more handy than they are now, unless you’re a weird fountian pen user like me…

17 MatthewSD August 21, 2013 at 11:53 am

@Brett:

I would love to find a digital copy of the 1911 manual. Where do you get your images?

18 Crpl Agarn August 21, 2013 at 12:01 pm

My favorite was the plastic bag inside your cup for oatmeal. simply remove the bag after and no cleanup. I use a carved stick for a spoon most of the time, too. that way i could just toss it into the fire when i was done using it.
Also, can make scrambled eggs by boiling plastic bags filled with egg.
oh, and another favorite is not using tents. A tarp and some string/rope serves better for rain protection. Usually it’s lighter weight, too.

19 Scott Kirwin August 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm

A Swiss Army knife has to be one of the greatest tools invented by Man. I’ve carried one for over 25 years and my son tells me he’s going to bury me with it because I take it everywhere (except on planes, damn you TSA!!!)
It’s the only tool you need to fix a computer or server. It has a myriad of home improvement uses. The serrated blade will cut inch thick branches as well as fine paper (fold paper and run blade down the crease). It even has tweezers.
Avoid the thick ones for something sleek and light enough you’ll carry everywhere, and you’ll always be prepared. What boy scout would argue with that?

20 Chris M. August 21, 2013 at 1:08 pm

My Dad taught me that sometimes your tarp won’t have holes in the most convenient place.

If that is the case then find a stone about the size of a marble, wrap the corner of the tarp (or whichever part you are seeking to tie off) and then tie the cord around the stone that is wrapped in the tarp.

This gives you an easy way to set up your rain fly/tarp however you want without having to cut holes in your tarp or change it in any permanent way.

Happy travels,

Chris

21 Brucifer August 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Alas, somehow lost in these comments on camping tricks and such, is the lament that today’s youth do not receive the benefit of such publications any longer. Reading Boy’s Life taught me many things; how to survive on my own camping … and how to survive on my own in life. With the scouting movement not what it once was, far too many young men I encounter these days, raised by single moms and/or by “helicopter parents” don’t seem to know enough to come out of the rain. Boy’s Life was always chock-full of practical information and sage advice …. an excellent adjunct to the strengths/weakness of one’s parents. Thank the gods there is AOM, providing remedial instruction and reflection!

22 Ed Gruberman August 22, 2013 at 4:06 am

Lotta good stuff has been lost. The 1942 (IIRC) edition was my favorite reading material as a kid. I think the most important bit of lost wisdom is IMPROVISE. Camp gadgets, making cooking utensils from tin cans, etc.
Which is why I serve as a volunteer–to corrupt the young with ancient knowledge.

23 Jake August 23, 2013 at 2:45 am

I’m an Eagle Scout, and through the years as a youth I learned many different things while camping:
1.) Always have 2 pairs of sock per day minimum; one for the day then change those damp socks out for a dry pair at night.
2.) Always have a water bottle with water before you even think about leaving your house
3.) Always have a hat or some other type of head gear (I prefer a shmagh)
4.) The biggest camping hack is to learn your body: listen to it, find out what works and what doesn’t and how yours funtions.
5.) Always have a first-aid kit close and redily available.

24 Kevin August 23, 2013 at 8:48 am

The advice for losing a stitch is absolutely hilarious. I’m an Eagle and an avid backpacker, and I remember looking forward to my monthly copy of Boys’ Life. Never got around to building that hover-craft though…

I might actually use candles the way they’ve suggested.

25 Kevin Volk August 23, 2013 at 10:20 am

@Bo:

As Ross said, the Blackwall Hitch does work, but not well. There’s a Double Blackwall Hitch that works by looping the rope around the shank of the hook a second time, but it still isn’t the best method. If you do plan to lift anything, don’t use either of these knots; they just aren’t safe enough to trust.

What I learned as the best way to secure a load on a hook is to use what’s called a ‘Cat’s Paw’. Tie both ends of the rope to the load and grab the middle of the rope with both hands. Make sure that you leave a couple of feet of rope between your hands, and then turn your hands towards each other to twist the rope three times. In other words, if you grab the rope and lay your thumbs along it so that they point towards one another, then rotate your thumbs down and keep turning in that rotation until you get three turns. This will make two twists of rope with a little loop at the top; put the hook through those loops and you’re good to go. The idea is that the twists of rope oppose one another, so the load won’t just spin off the hook, and it’s a lot safer than the Blackwall Hitch.

Of course, the best method is a lifting strap, but if all you have is a rope, this works in a pinch.

26 SerialQiller August 25, 2013 at 1:53 am

My favourite camping trick was to use your watch as a compass. You point the hour hand towards the sun and then bisect between the hour hand and 12. That is your North/South line. So say it’s 10 o’clock, You point your hour hand at the sun and bisect the 12 marker; the North/South line will be at 11. If it’s noon, looking towards the sun you are looking South.

There is a little bit of variation due to daylight savings and standard time, but in a pinch, it works great.

Oh, and the above only works in the northern hemisphere. If you are in the southern hemisphere, you point the 12 of your watch at the sun and then bisect to the hour hand.

27 Craig August 28, 2013 at 8:35 am
28 Tom H August 28, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Having grown up on Boy’s Life and camping, this article and all these comments make an old Eagle Scout smile. Five cents for BL, wow. I wish I could find my Scout Fieldbook from the 60′s; it’s so much better than today’s!

29 Doug August 28, 2013 at 9:06 pm

“Take a Seat” in a rope like the kid in the illustration and you might cut off the circulation in your legs. An easier method is to loop the rope over one of your feet and put the other on top of to hold it in place. Get it right and you can stand up to take the weight off of your arms. They teach that in the Gulf oilfield as a survival technique when using a swing rope to board a rig from a crew boat at the lower deck. It’s easy to get stranded if you don’t make it on the first swing, and falling into the water likely means getting run over by the boat that’s backing up to save you.

30 Rks1157 August 29, 2013 at 12:41 pm

You can boil an egg in the campfire using only a paper cup. Fill the cup with water. Place the egg in the cup. Set the cup in the fire. The paper cup will catch fire and burn but only down to the water line. The remainder will act like a small pot and the water will boil.

31 WamblyComet September 2, 2013 at 2:28 pm

I learned this from my Dad. When you put your ice chest or cooler away between trips, store some fresh coffee (whole beans or ground) in the cooler. It keeps away that musty smell.

32 ursum argentum September 3, 2013 at 7:31 am

Blackwall Hitch, with an a?

33 Tom September 4, 2013 at 6:38 am

Great post! I think my favourite is the bottle lamp with its pleasing absence of any safety guidelines.

It sits nicely with the advice on opening a new book and the idea of chimneys being too well known as hiding places.

Trebling off the tent pegs is a great idea, particularly when the ground’s too rocky to get longer ones in.

Off now to stash my cash in the chimney since all those house breakers from 1911 are probably dead now!

34 Dan September 7, 2013 at 6:33 am

I agree with Tom about the lack of “cautions” when taking the bottom out of the bottle. Can you imagine an article written today that involves youngsters and glass? First you would have to caution to only let adults perform this dangerous task. . Safety glasses and heavy leather gloves an absolute must. Finally, a suggestion that this method would best be forgotten and a battery powered light used in its place.

35 Nobody Unow September 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm

I used to run long distance. Side stitch … I just told it that it was a figment and should go away. It did. Point of fact, medical science doesn’t know what it really is — the pain is identified to the exterior of the rib cage and is not specific to any torso muscles, so in a sense, it really is a figment.

36 matt October 10, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Why & how does the stitch cure work? I must know this!

37 Clay from Boys' Life magazine December 3, 2013 at 5:04 pm

I”m an editor with Boys’ Life, and I wanted to let everyone know that we’ve archived all 100+ years of the publication online. Find all sorts of tips, both fully usable and entirely outdated here:
http://boyslife.org/wayback/#issue=TVGeB4AU0_4C

38 Ex-Scout Leader January 23, 2014 at 6:57 am

Here are some of the tips I learned in the Boy Scouts and in the Finnish Army (I’m no career soldier, though, we have conscription here). These are for use in the Finnish terrain (which is overwhelmingly subboreal forest dotted with lakes), but should work in the northern USA and Canada as well.

-When using double socks inside your boots in cold weather, put the thicker wool sock FIRST on, and only then a thinner cotton sock. This keeps your feet dry, as the sweat goes through the wool into the cotton. Also, it prevents chafing, as the bigger wool sock is “anchored” inside the tighter one and can’t wander around your foot.

-An emergency rain coat: Take a big rubbish sack, cut the bottom and one side open and two hand holes in the sides.Tie the corner of the bottom and open side to a sort of clasp so that the other corner forms a hood. If the plastic is decent, this coat can suffice for two days.

-Buy an army canteen with two or three parts. Seriously, do it. It can be used as a kettle, as a drinking vessel and as a plate, all at the same time, while taking minimum space. Also, you can store your fork and spoon inside in between meals.

-While making your campsite, put a layer of fir boughs on the ground, and only then spread the bottom fabric of your tent over them. This makes for a much warmer and drier sleeping time, as the fir boughs insulate you from the ground. If there are no firs around, pine and juniper work too.

-A good way to keep warm, while sleeping in a lean-to in winter, is to build a so-called “crack fire” (rakovalkea). Take two logs, about eight inches thick, and carve a wide concave “gulf” along one side of each. A good length for the logs is traditionally said to be “one axe-haft length per sleeper”. Put the logs on top of another, the concave sides facing. Support with four stakes (a picture is found here: http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rakovalkea). Put a good amount of sticks and wood shavings from the carving between the logs. Light the sticks and wait until a small, steady fire burns between the logs. This kind of fire gives a decent amount of warmth and some light, when placed in front of the lean-to, with minimum maintenance and waste of wood. I have actually slept two nights in a row in a lean-to in -20 Celsius weather, warmed by a rakovalkea, so I can testify it works.

-The Scout uniform shirt is a camper’s best friend. I bought one that was one size too big for me and it is the most versatile garment ever. In hot weather one can wear it alone untucked, with half the buttons open and sleeves rolled, and it’s pretty cool. In autumn and spring it serves as a light jacket, with a sweater plus an undershirt underneath. In winter it’s a nice medium layer between the outermost coat and the wool sweater. If you don’t have a scout uniform, any loosely cut, thick-fabric collared shirt serves the same function. Forget fancy high-tech fabrics and “technical” garments, a simple, sturdy cotton shirt with breast pockets is all you need.

-Always use a leather belt around your waist and over your coat. Especially a scout belt is useful, since one can strap all kinds of tools and a water bottle hanging from it. This saves time as you don’t have to fish everything from your backpack. Also, a belt around the waist gives some extra support to the torso, which is nice when carrying a heavy rucksack.

Well, these were the ones I remember off the top of my head. Hopefully someone gets some benefit from them.

39 Ex-Scout Leader January 23, 2014 at 7:20 am

Oh, I almost forgot the most important tip:

Always use a travel staff when hiking. Shoulder-height or a bit shorter is the best length, and the best material is young birch. If one wants to be fancy, one can make a permanent staff by iron-shoeing it and treating the wood with oil/lacquer, but any freshly-cut pole serves, too. The staff serves as third leg of sorts, making walking with heavy backpack a bit easier. Also, it can be used as a support for jumping over streams or for improving balance when going over very soft or gravelly terrain, for swiping bushes and foliage out of the way, as a short drying rack when tied between two trees, for feeling the safety of ice when traveling over frozen lakes, or if the ground is solid while going across a swamp, etc. Also, if one can carve wood, the staff can be made into a kind of a series of mementos, by carving dates, pictures, initials and so on into the wood. In summary, a travel staff is a useful multi-purpose tool I never neglect to make when going hiking.

40 commander wolf April 7, 2014 at 10:28 am

when i was in scouts, i got to do all kinds of great things! i learned about how to make a can oven! simply place a large candle under a tomato can(family size), with 4 holes punched in the bottom.

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