Not every person is comfortable in the out-of-doors, but millions of
girls who have passed through Girl Scouting say camping is what they
remember the most. First, if your daughter absolutely does not like
to go camping, that’s ok. She can be an active member of our troop
and elect to not go on our campouts. Our campouts range from the
primitive (latrines) to the deluxe (annual service unit encampment
at MI State Parks, with cabins, cots, and flush toilets.) Camping
gives girls an exposure to nature they don’t get in their backyard,
but more significantly, the things we do at campouts (hiking, fire
building, outdoor cooking, etc.) gives them self-confidence that
adults who go with me can visibly see form before our eyes on our
EQUIPMENT: To maintain a minimum comfort
level, your scout will always need the following items when we go
Should be rated to 40 degrees as an absolute minimum standard. (I
personally would not put my daughter in a 40-degree bag, as I know
she would be cold.) For guaranteed comfort in all cases, I would
recommend a “20 degree” bag. The degree ratings are averages, and
some people sleep colder or warmer than others.
Pads are much more for insulation from the ground than for comfort
when you are 9-11 years old. If you are an adult, you’ll need a
better pad if you intend to be able to move in the morning! :-) For
the scouts, a pad will provide great and much-needed insulation from
the cold ground, and help protect the sleeping bag.
Don’t worry about getting the old aluminum mess kit sold at camping
stores. In fact, when we put hot food in those, the entire dish
sometimes becomes too hot for a scout to handle. A Cool-Whip
container will work great for a bowl. A cheap picnic plate will
work for a dish. Pick up extra spoons, forks, and knives at the
dollar store or a garage sale. Scouts need a mug (for hot cocoa,
which we almost always have) and a drip/dunk bag along with their
mess kit. The best mugs are the insulated travel mugs with
lids. The bag should have a string so we can hang it up (with wet
dishes inside) to drip dry.
Best if there’s a way to carry it hands-free, whether that be with a
strap, a fanny pack, or small backpack.
Not required. However, give it some thought. Today’s youth
backpacks are designed to be expandable (e.g., they grow lengthwise
with the child). The girls who move into Cadettes with me will be
taking backpacking trips of increasing length. From a practical
standpoint, even though we only “car camp” right now, it’s still a
challenge to carry a duffle bag, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and
anything else from a car parking lot to a campsite. A backpack is
much easier to manage. A Kelty backpack designed for youth normally
retails for about $70.
addition, a packing list will be provided for each trip. PLEASE
always put names on EVERYTHING your scout takes. Socks, bandanas,
eating utensils, and underwear are often separated from their
A final note:
My personal pet peeve is to hear a scout say “My mom forgot to pack
that”. My favorite answer is: “Is this your mom’s trip or yours?
How come YOU didn’t pack it?”
most all of the girls, packing isn’t done entirely on their own, but
I recommend they set everything out, when they think they’ve got it
all, call mom or dad to check their list with them.
firm believer that this will help them accept more responsibility.