This page will help you prepare you and your family for your first campout with the Pack.
Leave no trace
Tent selection and prep
Arrival at the campsite
What is Car Camping? When we mention “car camping” and some may interpret this phrase quite literally, as “pulling into a campsite and sleeping in your car”. Makes sense, but doesn’t sound like much fun. So no, you don’t sleep in your car but rather in a tent. Car camping simply means that you load up all of your gear for the trip in your car, pull into your campsite, and set up your tent in a designated area. This experience can be called “base camping” as well, just near your car, instead of say, a few thousand feet below Mt. Everest. When car-camping, there’s no hiking or backpacking involved in getting to your site, so the weight of your gear, or how much you pack, is of little concern as long as it all fits in your car. That means you’re free to pack an air mattress, cot or whatever makes you comfortable. Our camping trips are typically done at state and local parks, and Boy Scout Reservations. Most are primitive tent sites with nothing but a fire ring and a picnic table.
All campgrounds that Pack 1714 visits are complete with running water & flush toilets. Sometimes, these facilities may be a long walk from our campsite, with just an outhouse nearby camp. Car camping has a lot of advantages and is recommended as a good first step before tackling a backpacking trip as a Boy Scout.
Leave No Trace
Plan Ahead and Prepare
The leaders of Pack 1714 arrange our camping sites and activities in advance of each trip. The final details of each camping trip will be communicated to you (typically an email from the Cub Master) several days before we depart. Prepare your family with additional items to deal with the current weather for the time of year.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses. Each time we go camping we are at a prearranged campsite. The Pack will typically be all together in one general area. Do not go off alone to find a “secret spot”. It is important to stay close to the group and in the designated campsite.
When on an existing trail, walk single file in the middle of the trail to avoid making it wider. When hiking in pristine areas with no trail, disperse as to not beat down vegetation.
Dispose of Waste Properly
Pack it in and pack it out. Keep all trash in the appropriate areas and help return the campsite to a condition better than you found it. All trash must be removed from camp and disposed of off-site.
Leave What You Find
Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them. Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species. Do not build structures or dig trenches.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires. The Pack will typically have one central campfire. Do not start fires at your personal campsite.
Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand. Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes. Once an item goes into the fire, it staying in the fire.
Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them. Never feed animals. Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
Be Considerate of Others
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience
- Be courteous, yield to other users on the trail
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors
- Let nature’s sounds prevail, avoid loud voices and noises
The long history of the “buddy system” in Scouting has shown that it is always best to have at least one other person with you and aware at all times of your circumstances and what you are doing in any outdoor or strenuous activity. (Guide to Safe Scouting; page 42)
The Buddy System should be used at all times!
The Buddy System is a safety measure for all Scouting activities. Buddies should know and be comfortable with each other. Self-selection with no more than two years age or significant differences in maturity should be strongly encouraged. When necessary, a buddy team may consist of three Scouts. No youth should be forced into or made to feel uncomfortable by a buddy assignment. (Guide to Safe Scouting; page 2)
Scouts are to never go anywhere alone. If you see a Scout by himself, ask him where his buddy is!
Tiger and Lion Cubs are to be with at least one parent/guardian during all activities.
Meals for Saturday and Sunday are made by the Pack. If there is a change to this you will be notified if you need to provide your own food, eat ahead of time, etc. The campout planners work to provide fun and tasty meals for everyone.
Each family will be assigned to help with prep or clean up. It is expected that Scouts will assist the adults in food prep and cleanup. The duty roster for each campout will be sent out with the pre-campout email.
That’s why we are all here, right? If we are at a district sponsored Cub Family Camping event our day will be planned for us with a list of activities on a set schedule. If we are on a Pack only campout, then our campout planning team will have Den specific and Pack wide activities planned.
A Campfire isn’t just the ring of fire that we roast marshmallows on. Campfire is the program of skits, jokes and other fun that the Scouts put on for each other. Each Den is expected to prepare something for the Campfire. They will be completing a rank requirement by doing so. However, the program is not limited to the Scouts, fell free to join in and share your talents.
Tent Selection and Prep
Tent Sleeping Capacity
Size is the first thing to consider when shopping for a tent. Tents are sized by the number of people that can fit laying down side by side. A 2-Person tent will fit 2 adults laying down, and that’s it. No room for equipment. Think about this when you are shopping for a tent. If the tent is just for you and your Scout, consider a 3 or 4 man tent so you can both sleep, dress and relax comfortably while leaving room for your clothes and other supplies. If the tent is for the an entire family of 4, consider a 6 man tent. You want to be comfortable and for everyone to have an enjoyable time. Feel free to talk to any of the leaders in the Pack that have already walked this road, we are all glad to help with any questions.
A rainfly is a separate waterproof cover designed to fit over the roof of your tent. Use it whenever rain or dew is expected, or any time you want to retain a little extra warmth. Two rainfly types are common. Roof-only rainflies allow more light and views while offering fair rain protection. Full-coverage rainflies offer maximum protection from wind and rain. Virtually all tents come with a rainfly, this is not something you have to purchase separately.
Higher-quality tents will include loops on the outside of the tent body for attaching guy lines. Guy lines allow you to batten down the hatches—no flapping fabric—during high winds.
Footprint or Underlayment
This is a custom-fitted groundcloth (usually sold separately) that goes under your tent floor. Tent floors can be tough, but rocks, twigs and dirt eventually take a toll. A footprint costs far less to replace than a tent. For family tents that get a lot of in/out foot traffic, this is especially useful.. You can always take a piece of clear plastic sheeting and cut it to the size of your tent floor. Be sure to roll up the edges and tuck it under the outside edges of the tent so that water doesn’t have a chance to get between the plastic and the bottom of your tent. Water caught that way flows underneath your tent and can seep through the floor fabric.
Practice setting up your tent
Don’t wait till you arrive at the campsite to try assembling your tent for the first time. You may get stuck in traffic and arrive after dark. Trying to figure it out in the dark can be daunting and is not an enjoyable way to start the camping trip. Have your son help you assemble and pack up the tent a few days before the trip. This is a great experience for you both and will lead to excitement for the upcoming campout.
Packing List for Overnight Camping
Try to fit these items into a dufflebag or clear sided plastic containers. These items are all suggestions, pack what you feel is appropriate for the particular trip you are taking.
- Sleeping Bag and Pad
- Sleeping Buddy/Stuffed Animal
- Bedtime Book
- Tent that fits your family and supplies
- Fleece or Sweater or sweatshirt
- Rain Jacket or Poncho
- Field Uniform (class A) for morning formation and Night Activities
- Activity Uniform (class B) Pack T-shirt
- Underwear –one per day + 1 extra
- Pair of long pants
- Long sleeve shirt
- Shorts-one per day + 1 extra
- T-shirts-one per day +1 extra
- Socks-one per day + 1 extra
- Tennis Shoes or old sneakers (closed toe, not Crocs or Flip flops)
Personal Hygiene Items
- Comb and/or Brush
- Mess Kit or Reusable Plastic Plate, Bowl, Utensils and cup along with a dunk bag
- Trash bag to put dirty clothes in for return trip
- Flashlight & extra batteries
- Water Bottle
- Small Backpack
- Trail food (no nuts of any kind please)
- Insect Repellent
- Personal Medications
- Personal First Aid Kit
- Camping Chairs (you don’t want to sit on the ground)
Arrival at Campsite
You should receive a comprehensive communication before you leave for the campground that would include the site # or campsite name that we will all be meeting at. Drive slowly and cautiously through the campground and locate the Pack’s designated campsite.
Pull your vehicle as close as possible (while staying on the area marked for vehicles) and unload all of your gear on to the ground. Don’t set up camp yet. Relocate your car to the assigned parking area first. Then walk back to the campsite and begin to set up your area.
Tent Site Prep
Some sites have tent pads for you to place your tent on. Other sites may be open terrain. Choose a site that will fit your tent without harming nearby vegetation. Be sure your tent isn’t in a depression where water will run or collect if it rains.
Clear the debris. The location you choose for your tent may be littered with sticks, rocks and other items that could puncture your tent. Collect these items and place them all in one location (like at the base of a nearby tree). You will spread them back out when you take down your tent. Remember, Scouts Leave No Trace!
Include your Scout in the set up. Setting up a tent and prepping the campsite is something he’ll be doing the rest of his time in Scouting.