I must have been about 10 years old the time my Dad and I went camping alone for the first time. I don’t remember much about the trip other than the fact that my Dad seemed to have everything down to science.
He had all the answers and seemed to be the worlds best outdoors man.
While we were pitching the tent my Dad told me, “Take care of your gear and it will always take care of you.”
Something so simple… but true.
About 10 years later, I found myself in the basement of Charlie Company 4/9th Infantry in Fairbanks, Alaska. We had just come back from an extremely long field training exercise and were cleaning up our squads gear.
We had all the tent pegs on a board and were painting them red, we had emptied the lanterns and stuck string in the fuel hole to wick excess fuel out, we turned our Ahkio sled upside down to drip dry and let the canvas hang, and we put everything back in its place for the next time we would need it.
My Squad leader came into the room and talked to us about taking care of our equipment. He said to us that if “We took care of our gear… it would take care of us.” I thought wow… that’s what my dad told me. (Wonder where he got it?)
And it was true. The more we used the gear, the more we repaired and maintained it, it never failed us. On extreme cold weather exercises, our gear always did its job, the tent keep us dry and when we fired up the Yukon stove.. it kept us toasty warm.
Tonight as we stored the Troop gear from this weekends camp out, I noticed that some of our gear was starting to show signs of neglect. Now I know that it was not intentional, but at the same time it served as a great illustration of why we need to take care of our gear. Some of the gear we found tonight would need some serious attention and if we needed it tomorrow, it would not be available.. it would not take care of us.
Tonight, the young men of Troop 664 heard what my Dad and my Squad leader told me 22 and 12 years ago. And it’s still a fact… IF YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR GEAR… IT WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU.
So here are some tips.
When you come home from a camp out.
1. Hang your tent up.. get it dry. Even if it was only a little damp.. hang it up. A little moisture can destroy your tent.
3. Wash your mess kit. Even if it got cleaned at the camp out… throw it in the dish washer for a good cleaning.
10. Pack it all back up in a few days. Note anything that may be missing or needs to be replaced.
Take care of your gear. Know what you have, how you use it, and keep it in good shape. If you take care of your gear…it will take care of you. I promise.
Have a Great Scouting Day!