Here’s my recommendations for gear gifts for Scouts or Scouters that I have owned and used, some for many years.
Check out my gear guide for more in-depth advice.
If you follow my links and make a purchase I get a referral fee.
My Tee Shirts & Books
Check out my custom tee shirts for Scouts and Scouters at Amazon , and here are my books at Amazon too.
Rayovac Sportsman’s Lantern
Rayovac Sportsman’s Lantern on Amazon
25 Stormproof matches and 3 strikers in a waterproof container. Unlike other “waterproof” or “windproof” matches, UCO Stormproof Matches are easy to light even after being submerged in water, and stay lit for up to 15 seconds.
Storm Matches on Amazon
I carry a kit like this on every camping trip. I rarely have to use anything in it but I can throw it in my pack and I know it’s there of I have no other options
“Contingencies” (someone forgot a flashlight, wet weather makes fire building difficult, etc.) are much more common than actual emergencies on Scouting trips. I recommend a first-aid kit supplemented with a few other items on the ‘ten essentials’ list.
This kit is your Scout’s ‘air bag’ – it’s essential but you hope, like the air bag in your car, you’ll never need it.
While it is possible to assemble a first aid kit from things you have around the house or pick up at the pharmacy, I’ve found that a carefully chosen pre-made kit is usually cheaper.
Coghlan’s Trek II First Aid Kit is packed in a durable zippered pouch, add these items to build a great contingency kit.
- Spare flashlight, I recommend these inexpensive LED flashlights
- Spare whistle, I like these.
- Trail food, a couple of granola or energy bars.
- Matches like the storm matches above, and fire starters.
Dutch Oven Cooking
If you aren’t cooking in a dutch oven you are missing a lot of fun and some great food!
If you need to get outfitted here’s what you’ll need:
Lodge 8 quart pre-seasoned dutch oven
Lodge Camp Dutch Oven Lid Lifter
|Lodge dutch ovens are the industry standard, it’s hard to beat Lodge for fit and finish.||Do you absolutely need a fancy lid lifter? I use one and would not be without it; it makes things a lot easier.||These Gloves cover your forearms and make handling stuff around the fire much easier. A couple of extra dollars for purpose built gloves is worth it.|
|Lodge dutch oven at Amazon||Lid lifter at Amazon||Welding Gloves at Amazon
Dutch Oven Lid Stand
Weber 7416 Rapidfire Chimney Starter
Lodge Pan Scrapers
|You can park your lid on another pot or a couple of empty cans but having stand assures you wont soil the inside of the lid or loose the coals on the top.||A couple of crumpled sheets of newspaper on the bottom, charcoal on top, light the paper through the draft holes and you’ll have hot charcoal in a few minutes.||Two polycarbonate Pan Scrapers for cleaning the stuck on food from dutch ovens without scratching. Each corner of the scraper is a different shape to easily clean every crevice or corner.|
|Lid stand at Amazon||Weber 7416 at Amazon||Pan Scrapers at Amazon|
Winco Pot Gripper
I’ve used many different kinds of pliers to mange hot cooking pots and pans on a fire, but this is the best I’ve found. Made for handling pizza pans they are designed for constant use in a commercial environment, so they ought to last a lifetime. The most important feature, though, is that there’s a spring that keeps the pliers open allowing you to use them one handed – something no other pot pliers I have used have.
Winco PPG-8A Cast Aluminum Gripper at Amazon
EcoZoom Dura Wood Stove
High efficiency wood burning technologies significantly reduce both health and environmental impacts. One of the leading innovators in this work, Dr. Larry Winiarski, developed the Winiarski Rocket Stove. The rocket stove is designed to burn the gases released from a wood fire as completely as possible so less fuel is required.
The EcoZoom Dura weighs 11 pounds and packs very neatly into a standard five gallon plastic bucket. I’ve had people ask me if it would be possible to build a similar stove. There are a number of tutorials and plans out there and I considered doing this myself but decided that by the time I did we’d have spent nearly the cost of a manufactured stove on the materials required and still wouldn’t duplicate the durability or features of the EcoZoom stoves.
EcoZoom Stove at Amazon
Having the right gear for cleaning up after cooking is important. If you are wondering how I wash dishes while camping, here’s my method.
|Sanitizing Tablets||Campsuds||Dish Brush|
|Steramine tablets are used in the sanitizing step of washing dishes. They work in hot or cold water and are ideal for washing up on a campout.||Lots of cleaning power in cold water, super concentrated, I have lots left in an eight ounce bottle shared by a group of 7 over a week of canoeing.||My Oxo Dish brush is compact, durable and get;s into all the nooks and crannies of camp cookware.|
|Steramine Tablets at Amazon||Campsuds at Amazon||Oxo Brush at Amazon|
Cast Iorn Scrubber
When you first see the cast iron scrubber you’ll probably say the same thing I did; “it’s too expensive!” But the next time you have a crusty dutch oven to clean you’ll agree that it’s worth every penny.
Put some water in the oven while it’s still warm, and scrub away. The chain mail design won’t scratch, and is very effective at lifting tough baked-on residue. No soap needed, cooked-on crud will clean up easily and you’l have a clean dutch oven pretty fast without worrying about damaging the seasoning.
Inspired Basics Cast Iron Cleaner at Amazon
Collapsible Bucket at Amazon
Mountainsmith Lumbar Day Pack
Stoutly made and versatile I use the pack to carry my camera and other gear for short hikes, walks around town, and any other time I need to stow a few things. The waist belt stows away in its own compartment when using the bag with the detachable shoulder strap.
Load adjusting straps assure I can carry pretty heavy loads (15-20 lbs) without the pack flopping around or sagging. Two mesh water bottle holders hold a 1 qt Nalgene bottle or other gear. The pack has a front compartment and a generously sized main compartment with a zippered pocket that is ideal for stowing a wallet and there’s a clip for keys. There’s also a ticket pocket behind the well-padded back panel. Larger gear can be carried outside of the bag (most often I carry a wet raincoat or a waterproof map case) with an adjustable lashing cord.
Mountainsmith Day on Amazon
Solo Wood Stove
The double-walled Solo Stove is a “natural convection inverted down gas gasifer”. Air intake holes channel air to the bottom of the fire and direct warm air up between the walls creating a burst of preheated oxygen causing a secondary combustion of the gases (smoke) given off by the burning wood.
What it means is the stove turns the wood and gasses given off by the wood into a strong, concentrated, efficient flame that burns like a blowtorch! A generous handful of smallish sticks will boil 32 ounces of water in less than fifteen minutes
Constructed of stainless steel and Nichrome wire the Solo Stove measures a compact 5.7 x 4.25 inches weighs only 9 ounces. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to light and use. A few small (pencil lead sized) twigs and small sticks will fire up a pot of boiling water in minutes Very few embers and ashes are left and the stove cools off quickly.
Solo Stove on Amazon
The first time a GSI java press showed up on a camping trip I scoffed, it seemed a little over the top. After I had a cup of coffee brewed in it though I changed my mind and ordered one right away. I don’t think I am a coffee snob, but I sure do like my Java press!
I bought a GSI infinity mug a few years back when my trusty old Stanley insulated mug gave up after fifteen years of faithful service ( I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away, so it enjoys retirement on a closet shelf nearby). The Infinity mug is well-designed, simple and as become an indispensable component of my camping kit.
Anti Shock Trekking Trail Poles
While climbing Mt. Marcy in the Adirondacks years ago I watched other hikers fly past me using trekking poles. I had thought of trekking poles as sort of effete, fancy, accouterments for folks who couldn’t hack it with a good old hiking stick. A few hikes later one of my old Scouts who had through-hiked the Appalachian Trail let me try his trekking poles for a few hundred yards and I was hooked.
I bought a much more expensive pair than I am showing here, but I have found the less expensive poles to be of very good quality. Since we fly to our Switzerland trips with only carry-on baggage we can’t bring our trekking poles, so I buy an inexpensive set when we arrive. and they perform just as well as my ore expensive poles.
Trekking poles will save your knees and feet, something I have found helpful as I have grown older,
Anti Shock Trekking Trail Poles on Amazon
Black Diamond Storm Headlamp
I’ve owned several LED headlamps, but the Black Diamond storm is my overall favorite. The Storm is fully water proof, and sports 1 TriplePower LED and 2 SinglePower LEDs provide 100 lumens at maximum brightness. I especially like the ability to dimming feature that allows me to set the level of brightness to the task at hand. 2 SinglePower Red LEDs save night vision. The four AAA batteries last for 200 hours at maximum brightness and a led monitors the battery level. Finally the light can be locked so it does not accidentally turn on in your pack.
All these features come at a price, but I carry my Storm headlamp everywhere. It comes in handy looking under things or in dimly lit conditions like taking out the trash at night and it has been very handy during power outages.
Black Diamond Storm Headlamp on Amazon
Fingerless Ragg Wool Gloves
I’ve worn out a dozen pairs of these gloves over the years. Most of the time when I am outdoors in winter I need to use my hands, and I have yet to find a full glove that keeps my hands warm and allows for the kind of dexterity required while camping or working outdoors. When the temperatures really plunge I can put a pair of mittens over my fingerless gloves. The wrist portion is long enough to cover your wrist and that tends to keep your fingers warmer.
FingerlessGlove on Amazon
Stormy Kromer Wool Hat
Nature makes a few perfect heads, the rest are covered with hair. Keeping my perfect head warm during the winter can be a challenge, but my Stormy Kromer wool hat performs admirably. An integral wool band can be slipped over my ears when the wind blows. I have a big head (my wife insists that it get’s bigger every year) but the Stormy Kromer hats are available up to XXL, so a good fit is assured. Crucial to my dashing old guy profile.
Stormy Kromer Wool Cap on Amazon.
Wool Watch Cap
If it’s good enough for Jack it’s good enough for me.
The design of the classic wool watch cap hasn’t changed in decades, and they are as near a perfect winter hat as you are likely to find. There are any number of stylish beanies out there (I wonder at the hipsters who wear them year round, what are they thinking?) but my favorite is the the simple wool watch cap without stripes, zig-zags, or clever sayings and corporate logos embroidered on them. They are a lot cheaper too; the one I have set me back all of ten bucks.
Wool Watch Cap On Amazon
I have a couple of full-sized Swiss Army Knives, but the Victorinox Minichamp (2.3 inches long) rides on my keychain. One of the most useful tools is the hooked ’emergency’ blade pictured on the lwer right above. It’s an excellent tool for opening that frustrating plastic clam shell packaging. Having a spare pen and led light has come in very handy on many occasions.
Midnite Minichamp Tools
- Nail file with nail cleaner
- Cuticle pusher
- Screwdriver with ruler
- Emergency blade (package and letter opener)
- Orange peeler with scraper
- Bottle opener with magnetic Phillips screwdriver
- Wire stripper
- LED mini white light (18,000 MCD)
- Retractable ballpoint pen
- Key ring
Victorinox Midnite Minichamp on Amazon
Tilley LTM6 Airflo Hat
I’ve worn my Tilley Airflo it camping, backpacking, canoeing, and touring for about a decade and it’s one tough hat. It’s been crushed, soaked, washed and re-washed without showing any appreciable wear. I doubted my sanity spending what I did for it, but it’s been a solid investment.
Tilley LTM6 Airflo at Amazon
I discovered NEOS overshoes (New England Overshoes) working on a film outside in cold, wet, snowy weather all late fall and early winter. Several members of the film crew wore NEOS and spoke highly of them.
A gusseted opening makes them easy to get on or off, and a drawstring closure snugs them up around the ankle to keep snow out. As the name implies NEOS are worn over shoes or boots. I have the insulated Voyager model and they are very warm, easy to put on or take off, and totally waterproof. I have worn them on snowy camping trips when temperatures didn’t get much higher than 20F day or night and they kept my feet nice and toasty.
The lighter-weight uninsulated Neos Villager is great for rainy or snowy days around town.
Neos Voyager at Amazon