For me, there are times when carrying a daypack is simply not practical; particularly when I am just scouting out a new area or have just a couple of hours to spend in the woods. For these situations, I grab my “Scout Kit” and head to the woods. I am quite sure I did not create the phrase “scout kit”, and for others, the phrase may have other meanings. For me, it is a small but functional kit I can use when my time is short and I want to make sure I have everything I need to spend an unexpected night in the woods.
In a previous post, I covered the Ten Essentials everyone should carry with them whenever you venture into the woods, even just for a few hours. For some folks, the ten essentials may seem like overkill, but Murphy’s Law is ever present, especially in the woods, so as the Scouts say, be prepared.
My Scout Kit has undergone a number of changes over the years. Four years ago, my Scout Kit was housed in a Maxpedition Versapak. My Gen 1 Scout Kit contained all Ten Essentials and I could easily spend an overnight with what I carried.
The Maxpedition Versapak is a great piece of kit that can organize a great deal of equipment into a functional small carrying load. My Gen 1 Scout Kit weighed about 7 pounds with water.
Over the next few years, my Scout Kit began to evolve. The first part of the evolution was changing out what I carried my Scout Kit in. From the Maxpedition Versapak, I moved to the Frost River XL Shell Bag. I’ve got to say, the Frost River XL Shell Bag is a wonderful piece of kit, and it holds everything I need for a quick jaunt into the woods.
The most important consideration I take into account when planning what to carry in my Scout Kit is flexibility, weight, and ensuring I maintain the Ten Essentials. My Gen 2 Scout Kit, carried in the Frost River XL Shell Bag weighs about 5 pounds (including water) and has everything I need to have an unexpected overnight in the woods. In my Gen 2, my water and cooking kits changed to the Heavy Cover Canteen Kit. The Heavy Cover Canteen Kit (HC) is a versatile piece of gear. It is durable and lightweight. You can boil water in the canteen or the cup and you can even dry bake in the canteen cup.
For a really quick scouting trip, where time is of the essence, I use my extreme scout kit, my “Mother Kit”. My Mother Kit is contained in a Mother HC Carrier and with water weighs only 3 pounds. It still contains the Ten Essentials and I can still do an unexpected overnight with it if the situation should arise.
My Scout Kit gives me both the flexibility and convenience of a grab-and-go kit, allowing me to hit the woods for a short outing and feel secure that if the situation dictated, I could easily spend an unexpected night.