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Troop 849
Manhattan Beach, CA
Boy Scouts of America

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Last Updated:
  March 6, 1999

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General | First Hike | Weekend Checklist | Equipment Guide | First Aid Kit | Prohibited Items | Trail Etiquette

This entire guide is also available in PDF format (161k)

Equipment Guide

Introduction | Forward | Format | To Be Worn Leaving Trailhead | Back Pack Equipment | Eating Gear | Toilet Kit | Miscellaneous | Ten Essentials | Additional Clothing in Pack | Optional | Where to Shop

To Be Worn Leaving Trailhead


Almost any shirt is acceptable. A short sleeve shirt is cooler but long sleeves provide better sun protection. Scout shirts are never worn on the trail.

___Long trousers

Long trousers protect the legs from sun and thorns. Start with long pants and change to shorts if need be.
ThumbStay away from jeans with metal rivets in the hip area as the belly band can rub on them.

___2 pair socks (1 thin inner & 1 thick outer)

Two pairs of socks are needed to minimize friction on the feet, hence blisters. With two pair of socks, the movements of the foot within the boot tend to occur between the socks. Thus the socks take the abrasion.
The inner pair should be silk, thin nylon, or polypropylene. The outer pair should be the thickest wool (or synthetic) sock that you can find. Socks should fit snugly at the heel.
CautionUsing only 1 pair of socks invites blisters.
ThumbAvoid socks with thick ribs in the toe area.
TargetThe best method is to use a thin polypropylene inner and a quality outer sock such as a Thorlo®. This is only recommended for adults as the socks are quite expensive and the Scouts tend to outgrow them.

___Hiking boots (lug sole preferred)

Backpacking hikes start out easy at the beginning of the year and gradually get harder. Comfortable shoes will be fine for the first hike. As the distances get longer and the terrain gets tougher, good footwear becomes more critical. Eventually you will need to get a good pair of hiking boots. (Good high quality hiking boots are required for hikes longer than a weekend or for hiking in the Sierra Mountains.)
When selecting boots, the three most important things to look for are comfort, comfort, and comfort. Quality comes next. Try on various boots of about the same quality and pick the one that fits your foot best. Be sure to use two pairs of socks as discussed previously. Comfort cannot be compromised. About $80-$180.
Generally, boots rated for backpacking and multi-day trips will give the best foot support and the best durability. The troop has accumulated a lot of information and experience with hiking boots. Consult with the senior hikers before looking for that perfect pair of expensive boots. Here are some of the things to look for in boots:
Height:6" minimum as measured from the floor to the top of the boot. This will provide ankle protection and keep you from sinking below mud, sand, loose gravel, etc.
Sole:A Vibram® rubber lug sole gives the best grip on loose soil, snow, wet rocks and other trail terrain. Consider a replaceable type that can be resoled and reheeled as required.

The sole should be reinforced and very stiff. There should be steel or some addition to the sole in the arch area. The sole should bend across the toes. The sole must take the pounding of your weight plus pack weight. It must hold foot contour under weight and unexpected holes in the trail.
Ankle: There should be foam padding or doubled up leather in the ankle area for protection from banging. Protection from turned ankle comes from a stiff upper tied to a stiff sole. High tops by themselves give no ankle stiffness.
Tongue:The tongue must be padded for downhill hiking, the load will be carried by the top of the instep of the foot against the upper part of the boot. A gusset between the tongue and boot upper will keep water and pebbles out.
Lacing:The lace should go all the way to the toe. That way you can adjust upper or whole foot by lace tension. (It is also easier to get the boot on.)
Heel:The boot must be snug across the heel. The foot must not slosh in the boot during walking. The upper lacing should keep the heel in the pocket. It should be tight on the sides of the heel.
Toe:Toe fit should be ample. The toes must not touch the top of the boot. If the toes touch, then downhill blisters will develop. Test toe fit by walking on a downhill ramp. The toe also needs to bend for comfort. The foot can swell a half size on the trail. The width of boot will break into the width of the foot. The length won't.
Water:Ventilation features are desirable. Waterproofing helps during a snow or wet grass hike, but it keeps water in during creek walking.
CautionWearing new shoes or boots on a hike without breaking them in is an invitation to a disaster.
DollarSmaller Scouts can get away with a boot of a lower rating due to the lower body weight.

___Wide brim hat or cap with brim

We can be out in the sun for extended periods at higher elevations where there is less atmosphere to cut ultra violet (UV) radiation. A sun hat is needed that can block the sun from the face, ears, and neck. It should have a wide brim that goes all of the way around. Baseball caps do not do the job.
TargetThe wind will blow, especially on peaks, so find a way to secure the hat.

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