Kit

What they need…

To make the most of camps and other activities, it is important that each young person has the right kit, so they don’t get cold or wet.

Please also bear in mind that for some camps (mainly Scouts and Explorers) we travel by public transport and then walk to the site, so each Scout will need a suitable bag to carry their kit (not a trolley case!). We suggest that each Scout packs their own bag, perhaps with some help, so they know what they have and get used to sorting out their kit. It is also a good idea to put a bin bag or rucksack liner inside the rucksack before packing kit – even “waterproof” ones can leak in the rain!

Other smaller plastic bags are also useful for storing wet or muddy items.

A basic kit list is shown below – for some events, extra items may be needed and we will let you know at the time. Scouts may also want to build up their own extra kit during their time with the Group, for example a personal first aid kit, compass, whistle etc can all be useful.

In the Scout Section, a good opportunity to get such items is to do well on the points competition – we tend to give small items of equipment as prizes to the winning Patrol each term.

Uniform – normally we will travel to/from events wearing neckers, but the shirt should also be packed.

Changes of clothes – if cold, several thinner layers are better than one thick one. Jeans are not recommended as once wet they tend to stay wet, nor “good” clothes in case they get muddy or damaged.

Shoes/Trainers – it is worth having a spare pair of shoes/trainers on camp, ideally either this pair or the pair being worn should be hiking boots offering good ankle support. If you buy new boots it is best to wear them as much as possible before a hike or camp to break them in, otherwise blisters are likely. It is worth spending time practising tying bootlaces at home – we tend to find that Scouts often leave them loose and this is also a big cause of blisters! If wearing boots, these are best with thicker cotton socks.

Waterproofs, hat and gloves – even in the summer it might rain so waterproofs are important. If it might be even slightly cold it is worth bringing a hat and gloves to stay warm!

Sleeping bag and roll mat – a good sleeping bag is really important as camps take place throughout the year particularly in the older Sections – ideally look for one marked “4 season” as this means it is good for a normal winter in the UK.  A “mummy bag” is best as these have a hood to keep your head warm. There is a wide range of sleeping mats on the market (these make a massive difference in stopping you getting cold overnight) – the cheap polystyrene ones are fine, as are the self-inflating type, but we would suggest not bringing full size air beds as there is usually not enough space for these in tents.

Torch with spare batteries – a head torch is a good choice as this leaves both hands free to carry things and you are less likely to lose it! Those with LEDs are better than traditional bulbs as they are brighter and the batteries last longer. Definitely pack spare batteries as we often find they run out during camp!

Plate, mug, cutlery etc and water bottle – mess tins are also OK. A water bottle (bring it full) is very important to ensure Scouts don’t get dehydrated – at least a litre is best.

Penknife – only Scouts and Explorers should bring these on camp with permission provided they are used safely. We reserve the right to stop anyone bringing one if we find they can’t be trusted to use it properly.

Wash kit – toothbrush/paste, soap and towel. They might even be used!

Electronics – we suggest Scouts don’t bring mobile phones, MP3 players, laptops/tablets, Kindles etc to meetings and events (if they want to bring a camera a cheap or disposable one is best). From experience they can get wet, damaged or lost, usually there is no opportunity to charge them, and we can’t take responsibility for them (our insurance does not cover them). If you do wish your son/daughter to bring these on events we suggest you consider your own insurance against loss/damage.  They may not be allowed at all on some events, please check with your Section Leader.

Tents – these are provided so young people should not bring their own.

Buying equipment

There are a number of outdoor retailers in Milton Keynes – often with discounts for Scouts. It’s worth taking your necker with you and asking what discounts are available.

Cotswold and Go Outdoors can be found very close to one another in CMK, either side of the H5 Portway. Cotswold is located near the Network Rail building, while Go Outdoors is on the opposite side of the H5 near B&Q on Rooksley Retail Park. Cotswold currently offer 15% discount to Scouts. Recently Go Outdoors started offering discount as well – 10% on top of their discount card prices which can be a very good deal.

Decathlon are a new player on the scene and offer very good value in some areas, no Scout discount I know of but still well worth a look, such as decent day rucksacks for around £10-12!

The Climber’s Shop in Stony Stratford mainly sells higher end equipment but does offer a discount and will offer excellent advice.

Particularly during summer the supermarkets like Tesco and Asda often have selected items of outdoor kit, though beware of very cheap sleeping bags (for example) which don’t provide much insulation. Argos usually have a good range of outdoor equipment particularly in summer. Finally there are plenty of options online including the official Scout Shop (shop.scouts.org.uk) as well as the Scout Shop at the Quarries for smaller items.

As official partner of the Scout Association Go Outdoors offer online discount too – you can find out the code from OSM.

Penknives

As mentioned above we are happy for Scouts and Explorers to have these on camp provided you are happy for them to have one and they use it safely. They generally are not needed at weekly meetings – we will say in advance if they will need to bring them – and obviously we recommend they are not carried at other times to avoid any issues, particularly knives with locking or larger (over 3in) blades which can only be carried legally with a good reason.

Kieran (our resident equipment expert!) suggests…

The range of penknives available on the market these days is vast so it can be confusing as to which one is suitable for a Scout. The majority of our Scouts have been coming to camp with the classic Swiss army knife, which are good but don’t have a locking blade.

If looking at buying your son/daughter a penknife for use on camp, I would strongly suggest buying one with a locking blade as without this there is a chance of the blade folding shut whilst being used (and catching fingers). These can be purchased from Amazon for around £20. At this stage in Scouting they won’t need a knife with any more than 10 tools. But it’s worth investing the money now as it’ll last them a long time (providing they don’t lose it) so I recommend looking around for a suitable pen knife, but as a general rule Victorinox are a top brand. Any questions please don’t hesitate to ask a member of the Leadership Team.