Month: December 2008

Think 1

One Pot that is.
Backpackers are the masters of the one pot meal. One pot meals are also a great way to prepare meals in a cold weather environment.
Planning and preparing is made simple and the results are delicious.
Keeping Scouts warm starts with what they eat. When they prepare good meals, they eat better, when they eat better, they stay warm and have a great experience camping in the cold.

So start getting them thinking about the 1 pot meal.
Here are some benefits right up front.
First. Less mess. This means, less to clean up.
Second. Easy to prepare. As long as you are committed to preparing things at home, the one pot meal can literally take 5 to 10 minutes to prepare. Less hassle and less time.
Third. Good meals that everyone will like.
And finally, Less to carry. This is always a hit in our Troop.

Planning and preparation is the key. A simple idea of what you need, especially in the cold, what you like, and where you are going will dictate the contents of your meal.
Start with your Carbs. You are backpacking, or camping in the cold. You need to replace the energy that you burned all day. Grains are great for that, so look at pasta’s and rice. But you can turn to others too, cousus is a great substitute for rice.
Then pick a meat. Chicken, Salmon, and Ham all come inconvenient pouches that do not spoil. You can precook hamburger too, throw it in ziplock bag and freeze. An easy reheat, add macaroni noodles and some cheese and corn, and you have a nice one pot casserole. Hot, tasty, and filling.
Adding veggies is a must to. You want to ensure you are getting the vitamins to go with your meal, especially on longer trips. A good way of getting your veggies in is either dehydrating your veggies, or just using frozen or dried veggies. Corn, peas, or even mixed vegetables are easy and quick to cook. Transfer your veggies from their original bags to ziplock bags based on the serving size. Reconstituting the veggies in your meal is as easy as adding it to the pot.

So its real simple… it is as easy as 1-2-3.. Carb (Noodles, Rice, Potato), Meat (Hamburger, Ham, Chicken, Salmon) and a Vegetable (Corn, Peas). Get water boiling and voila!

Here is a good recipe to get your started.

Bacon And Pea Alfredo Pasta
recipe and photo from

In a zip lock sandwich bag:

8 ounces small pasta shapes (cook time under 7 minutes)
1/2 cup freeze-dried green peas

In a zip lock sandwich bag:
1 packet Alfredo sauce mix
1/2 cup dry milk
1 Tbsp butter powder
1 tsp dried chives
1/2 tsp diced dried garlic
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Also bring:
1/2 cup shelf stable crumbled bacon (about half of a 3-ounce pouch)
Parmesan cheese

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a 2 liter pot.
Add in the pasta and peas and cook for time on pasta direction.
Turn off your stove.
Carefully drain off the remaining water, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water for the sauce.
To the pasta, add the water back in along with the contents of the sauce bag and the bacon. Stir well. Put your pot back on the stove and bring to a boil over medium flame. Stir for a minute or two, till the sauce thickens, lowering the heat to low after it comes to a boil.

Pull of the stove and add in the Parmesan cheese.

Serves 2 normal sized appetites.

Bon apetite!

Cooking is simple when you take the time to plan and prepare. It could be the difference between a cold and warm camp out for you and your Scouts.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Wind Chill

Last year during our January Camp out we got into a discussion about wind chill.
Now as you know, or may not know, the wind chill temperature is how cold people and animals feel when outside. Windchill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by wind and cold. As the wind increases, it draws heat from the body, driving down skin temperature and eventually the internal body temperature. Therefore, the wind makes it FEEL much colder. If the temperature is 0 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind is blowing at 15 mph, the wind chill is

-19 degrees Fahrenheit. At this wind chill temperature, exposed skin can freeze in 30 minutes.

Our grand debate was what Wind chill effected. If it is all about heat loss, then would it not effect anything that produces heat? Well, I am not sure if we ever solved this global issue, but it was a great way to introduce the topic of wind chill to the Scouts and why it is an important part of winter activities, camping in particular. It is important to wear those layers that provide protection from the wind, not so much to keep the wind out as to keep the warmth in, but I suppose that is one and the same.

Setting camp, select sites out of the wind. In a stand of trees, behind big rocks. Avoid low areas and valleys, they become wind tunnels.

Understanding wind chill is important. It can help you in planning and preparing for your next winter adventure.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Guide to Safe… Winter camping

The Guide to Safe Scouting Section 13 outlines Winter Camping Safety.
I have posted it here in it’s entirety:

There is magic to camping in winter. It is one of the most advanced and challenging of outdoor adventures. Special considerations for winter camping include the following:
1. Leadership.
In no other camp is the type of leadership as important as in the winter camp. It is vital that a leader be an experienced camper with a strong character.
2. Equipment.
Do not attempt to camp unless completely outfitted. Even if equipment for winter camp is more expensive than for summer camp, Scouts must be adequately clothed, and leaders should ensure that blankets and other equipment are of suitable quality and weight.
3. Physical Condition.
A physician’s certificate as to physical ability must be obtained by each Scout before preliminary training begins.

Tips for your next winter camping trip:
1. Use the buddy system for winter outings. Buddies can check each other for frostbite, make sure no one becomes lost, and boost the morale of the entire group.
2. Plan to cover no more than five miles per day on a winter trek on snowshoes. An experienced group can cover 10 to 12 miles on cross-country skis.
3. Always allow ample time to make camp in winter, especially if you plan to build snow shelters.
4. Fatigue encourages accidents. Rest occasionally when building a snow shelter; taking part in cross-country skiing or snowshoeing; or participating in other active winter sports. Periodic rests also help avoid overheating.
5. Pulling a load over the snow on a sled or toboggan is generally easier than carrying it in a backpack.
6. Snow is a terrific insulator. Snow shelters are much warmer than tents because they retain heat and keep out the cold wind. If you have adequate time for building snow shelters, you will spend a much more comfortable night sleeping in them than in a tent.
7. Snow is the greatest thief in winter, swallowing up small dropped items. Tie or tape a piece of brightly colored cord to small items so they can be seen in snow. Some items, such as mittens, can be tied to larger items, such as a parka, to prevent them from being dropped and lost.
8. Melting snow in a pot to get water may cause the pot to burn through or may scorch the snow, giving the water a disagreeable taste. Prevent this by adding a cup or two of water in the bottom of the pot before putting in the snow to melt.
9. Punch a hole in the top of your ice chisel and string a stout cord through it. Before trying to chisel a hole in ice, anchor the cord to something large or too heavy to be pulled through the hole so you will not lose your chisel in freezing water when the ice is penetrated.
10. Always test the thickness of ice before venturing any distance from the shore. Ice should be at least 3 inches thick for a small group; 4 inches of ice is safe for a crowd. Since ice thickness can vary considerably, it is best to stay near the shoreline of large lakes.
11. Use alkaline batteries in flashlights. Standard batteries deteriorate quickly in cold weather. Tape the switch of your flashlight in the “off” position until you are ready to use it. This will prevent it from being turned on accidentally while in your pack or on your sled.
12. Encourage everyone in your group to wear brightly colored outer clothing so that each person will be more visible, especially during severe weather.
13. Small liquid-fuel stoves are much better for cooking in winter than fires, which are difficult to build with wet wood. Gathering wood that is frozen to the ground also can be difficult, if not impossible. A pressure/pump-type stove is essential in winter.
14. Always use a funnel to refuel a stove so you won’t frostbite your fingers by accidentally pouring fuel on them. Fuel evaporates at a high rate of speed and quickly removes heat from anything it touches.
15. Place a stove or fire on a platform of logs or rocks so it will not melt through the snow.
16. Never light or use a stove inside a tent or snow shelter. A tent may catch fire, and vapors in a snow shelter may lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Neither of these potential mishaps is worth the risk.
17. A windscreen is essential for using a stove in the winter. Even a slight breeze will direct the heat away from its intended mark.
References: Okpik: Cold Weather Camping, Boy Scout Handbook, Scoutmaster Handbook, and Camping Sparklers

Those 17 tips for your winter camping experience are pretty basic and are of value to the average winter camper. You can refine that list and certainly add to it. As it reads in the Guide to Safe Scouting it is important to note that this list demonstrates common sense and basic skills. As stated at the outset.. there are three musts for winter camping with Scouts.
First is leadership. Leadership at both the youth and adult levels. Competent leaders that are skilled in camping in the winter. Just because you are a good camper when the weather is great does not mean you have the knowledge, skills, and most important the mind set to camp in the winter. Winter Camping can be very dangerous when not taken seriously. It can be the time of your life when done properly.
Equipment. I talk a lot about gear here at the Scoutmaster minute… and for those Scouts that are in my Troop, you know that I am a gear junky. The right gear for the right occasion is a good rule. Check out your gear, if you are not sure. Ask.
And finally, Physical conditioning. The cold will take you down if you are not ready for it. Backpacking or just camping in the winter is a whole different experience on your body. The cold can really wear it down. Along with physical conditioning it is important to maintain healthy mental fitness in the cold. Having the right attitude is key to surviving and using skills in the cold weather camping environment.

Get out there and Camp in the Cold. But use the G2SS, its a good place to start, but learn all you can before going out there. You will regret it if you do not go prepared.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Got an email and a comment posted to the blog from a reader that has a great site on winter camping.
Please check the site out at

Some real good stuff there.
At the site they have an “About page”.
I love their Charter:

We endorse and strive to achieve the following principles:
1. It’s the journey, not the destination. We strive to enjoy our time in the woods. Some of our most memorable trips did not achieve the targeted destination.
2. The Jamboree Spirit. We have mutated the boy scout theme to encompass the notion of teamwork and individual sacrifice for the good of the team experience.
3. Leave No Trace ( ). We endorse and strive to embody the principles of LNT.
4. 6 P’s (Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance). Winter camping deserves to be taken seriously to avoid unpleasantries.

Thanks Jim for the info about the site.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Teaching Scout about the COLD

We are in the Cold Season and its time to dust off the snow shoes and pull out the poly pro underwear… get out there and go camping.
There is nothing more exhilarating than challenging yourself in a harsh environment. Crisp clean vistas, the chilly breeze, being prepared and having a memorable time in the winter camping.
But when we get ready to go, we need to go PREPARED and that starts with teaching our Scouts skills that will ensure their success in the winter environment.

A great place to start is by introducing your Scouts to COLD.

COLD is a tool that makes learning about cold weather camping lasting. It is an easy tool that the boys can remember and it is simple enough to retain.

C- Clean. You need to stay clean in a cold weather environment Dirt on clothing acts like a wick for wet and cold. Keeping your clothing clean will keep you dry and warm.
Keeping your body clean is a great way to stay warm also.
Oily skins gets your sleeping bag dirty. As you sweat in your sleeping bag you can start to break down the warming qualities of your bag. Opening the pours of your bag.
You need to maintain a clean body. A simple wipe down before heading into the bag for the night will keep you snug and warm.

O- Overheating. KEEP from overheating. Control your temperature by watching what you do and what you wear. As activities increase, loose clothing. Use zippers and hats to regulate heat/cold. If your get cold, put more on, as you warm up, unzip arm pits and take off the hat.
Reduce the amount of sweat sitting on your skin. Sweat freezes and as it evaporates it takes away your body heat. A real fast way to loose heat and lower your core temp is to sweat. Keep from sweating.

L- Loose in Layers. Dress for Success.. Loose and in layers.
Loose creates air pockets. Those air pockets heat you up as they fill with the body heat. Keeping the heat in those layers will keep you warm. Layers are key. Start with your base layer, the clothing on your skin. Sweat wicking and NO COTTON. Then throw on your mid layers. The clothing that keeps you warm. Outer layers that keep you away from the elements. And all of this layered. Remove or add layers as needed.

D- Dry. Staying Dry is the key to warmth. Weather that is dry from wet conditions or sweat. Staying dry with keep you warm. Staying warm will ensure a great time in the winter camping.

Use gaiters, water proof layers, and of course stay out of wet elements when you can not effectively stop it from getting you wet.

These four simple letters remind us how we can stay warm… by knowing COLD.

Have great winter camping experiences..
And Have a Great Scouting Day!

Let it Snow!

Nothing to profound just a simple request.
We have had our first “Official” snow fall of the year, in fact as I sit and stare out of my window, the light dusting of Updates every 5 minutes….”THIS JUST IN… another snow flake has hit the ground”…
And panic as unfamiliar drivers hit the road to stock up on winter rations, preparing to batten down the hatches and ride out the …. Storm?

The word of the day…. Courteous.
Yep folks, the world will not stop spinning because of snow, and for those of you wrapped up in the global warming cause, well…after you put your snow shovels away, turn down your heat and and put away your sweat shop made polar fleece, and just be nice.

I just went out to our local store to pick up some Christmas lights, and sure enough the panic stricken populous was out en mass. Fighting for the up close parking lot, jocking for pole position at the check out line, and snarls to those that dare take the last of…well…anything.
That’s all I ask… just be courteous.

While the weather outside is frightful, inside it’s soooo delightful… let it snow..let it snow… let it snow…
But be courteous out there, sure makes the place better, don’t it?

Have a Great Scouting Day!

So what’s with the Buffalo?

A week or so ago, I was asked to participate in a “Trivia Contest”. This was a unique contest as it was to be part of a Scouting Podcast called The Leaders Campfire, hosted by Cubmaster Chris and his sidekick Scoutmaster Steve.
Steve played the role of “Game Show host” and the contestants were, Shawn (Commissioner’s Corner), Chris (Leaders Campfire), a fellow names Michael who is a Scout leader in New Zealand, and me.
The game was based on knowledge gained from the 1986 Boy Scout Handbook. Now I thought I had this licked as I remember most of what I was taught as a Scout in the 80’s. But as the game progressed the chap from New Zealand pulled ahead with amazing aptitude about the Boy Scouts of America.
There were categories such as Scout craft/skills, citizenship, and communications, and more.
We got to a question in the citizenship category that asked what our National Mammal was?
Michael shouted his name and answered…”THE BUFFALO”!

He is right. Now how many of you knew that?
But here is an interesting side note about our National Mammal as it pertains to Scouting.
I am sure you all know about our Nations Highest Scouting recognition.. the SILVER BUFFALO award.
But did you know that in Gilwell Park, just outside of London, The Buffalo Lawn is so called because of the replica of the Silver Buffalo award that was presented to the Boy Scout Association by the BSA in 1926. This was to honor the Unknown Scout that helped William D. Boyce bring Scouting to the United States. The Buffalo Statue was originally mounted on a large tree stump. The stump has been replaced by a brick pedestal. The inscription reads: “To an Unknown Scout Whose Faithfulness in the Performance of the Daily Good Turn Brought the Scout Movement to the United States of America.”

The First presentation of the Silver Buffalo award was in 1926, the same year the statue was presented to Gilwell. And not so oddly enough it was presented to Lord Robert S.S. Baden Powell, founder of the Scouting Movement and Chief Scout of the World.
Since then the Silver Buffalo has been presented annually. As of 2008 674 men and women that have made noteworthy and extraordinary service to youth on a national basis, either as part of or independent of the Scouting program have received the Silver Buffalo award. 13 of which have been Presidents of the United States. The First President to be presented the award was William Howard Taft in 1927. Of note, that same year Brother Barnabas McDonald, the founder of the Columbian Squires of the Knights of Columbus also received the Silver Buffalo.

Other Noteworthy recipients are; Charles Lindbergh, Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (Medal of honor Recipient), William Temple Hornaday, Norman Rockwell, Eddie Rickenbacker, Walt Disney, Jimmy Stewart, Bob Hope, Douglas MacArthur, John Glenn, Vince Lombardi, Neil Armstrong, Gerald Ford, William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Hank Aaron, Charles Schulz, Jim Lovell, Joseph Csatari, and Archie Manning.

The Award is representative of all that is good in America. The buffalo, a strong animal that is far ranging and able to withstand harsh weather and adapts to changing conditions. This is as American an animal as we can get.

So what’s up with the Buffalo? It’s the Boy Scouts of America’s highest recognition, but it is as world wide as Scouting itself.
I learned a lot playing our little trivia game, there is so much neat stuff to know and pass on in Scouting. Aside from first aid and knot tying, there is much that we can learn and share.

Have a Great Scouting Day!