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Mess Kit Video Tour

Below is a video tour of my mess kit that I carry. Many a soldire carried one of these. They are great because you can cook in one half and the other half features a divided plate. I also store my utensils and seasonings inside. Another great feature is that it is made out of stainless steel. I have seen aluminum mess kits twist and contort when used to cook; this won’t do either. You also don’t have the issue of aluminum leaching into your food potentially. The whole thing snaps together and stows in your pack fairly small as well. Check it out below and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel.


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How Much Gear is Too Much?

As an assistant Scoutmaster, I have the opportunity to do a lot of camping. I love being out in the wild with the Scouts; it makes me feel younger and I get quality time with my son. We do a variety of camping, from “dump-outs” to “backpacking” trips. I love both types of camping and always look forward to the next one before the current trip is even over.

Backpack Camping:
Backpacking trips with the scouts are great for the following reasons:

  1. Every scout is responsible for all his gear.
  2. Cooking on a backpack stove is always interesting.
  3. The younger scouts really learn what “roughing it” can mean
  4. There is less impact on the campsite
  5. We can be a little more remote
Coffee is important


Dump-outs are great trips with the scouts for a number of reasons.

  1. The food is ALWAYS good.
  2. Plenty of man power to get everything done.
  3. There are almost always enough supplies.
  4. We usually attract more scouts – which is always entertaining!
  5. Did I mention the food?


Lots of gear on this trip

When we do our dump-outs, we bring the troop trailer which has everything under the sun in it. We have at least 4 dutch ovens, multiple cooking sets (utensils, pots, bowls, etc), food gets stored there, wash bins, extra TP, rakes, shovels, propane, you name it. Which brings me to the question: How much is too much?

With a dump-out, all the gear (and usually scout gear included) is pulled in a 10′ trailer. We usually have a larger group so loading & unloading isn’t an issue. The scouts usually prepare some really good meals with all the coocking gear as well! Did we use that 20′ canopy in the trailer? You bet! it was a hot weekend and it provided some much needed shade. Some of the leaders were able to bring cots for in their tents, a few EZ-Up canopies were also brought. We were quite comfortable.

BSA regulations won’t allow a scout to carry more than 25% of his body weight in his pack. This can be an issue for some of the smaller guys. It really makes you look at your gear to see what is truly essential.

It comes down to how much gear does it take to be comfortable? Nobody wants to go camping and be miserable (well maybe a few people). My advice is to bring what you think you’ll need. Would you being a cast iron pan on a backpacking trip? Probably not. Are you going to rake your site upon departure? Probably not on a backpacking trip. I also recommend bringing things that can serve multiple needs. Do you need a bowl, pot, & plate on a back pack trip? I suggest eating straight out of the pot if it’s just you. Less to clean too! For a list of camping essentials, click here.

What are your  essentials? What have you taken on  a trip that you wished you hadn’t?

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That Tent Sleeps How Many?


Tents come in all shapes & sizes. One of the great great mysteries of life for new campers is tent sizing. I’m often asked, “How is it that such a small tent is considered a 2-man tent?”. I used to wonder the same thing. I had a small “2-man” tent that had a footprint to 5′ x 6′ and used to wonder how 2 men could sleep comfortably in there.

It turns out that tent manufacturers use the back packing tent capacity method. Self inflating sleeping pads are laid next to each other until no more will fit without overlapping. That’s how they figure it out. Granted, this does not make for roomy accommodations since sleeping pads are usually 20-22″ wide.  To conserve weight, backpackers will often cram into a tent sleeping head to toe in mummy bags (this also conserves body heat in the winter). In this scenario, back packs and other gear are stored under the rain fly or just left outside if no rain is eminent.
Most campers (me included) want a little more room than afforded by the backpacking style when camping with the family.

Tent manufacturers adopt this model of capacity rating to make their product more attractive to buyers by increasing the sleeping capacity of the tent. One thing is for sure; if you sleep 4 people in a 4 person tent, there is no room for another living soul or their gear!

This gives you a pretty good indication of just how many people you don’t want in your tent. I use the formula of “SSC-2” (where “SSC” = stated sleep capacity) and subtract 2. This will give you plenty of room for the number of campers and their gear without being right on top of each other. Depending on how much gear, the tent will be full but not too full. My son & I used to share a 4 man dome tent and we were comfortable. Our setup included a 2 cots, sleeping bags, back packs, and a cooler. We would set up the cots across from each other with the cooler in the middle serving as a sort of “night stand”. Our backpacks would fit easily under our cots so we had plenty of room.

Obviously, tents with 4 sides (either rectangular or square) offer less sleeping area than the dome tents with 6 or 8 sides. With the dome type tents (and a rectangular sleeping bag) you have the space not taken up by sleeping bags for gear utilizing this “extra” floor space.

The one exception to the SSC-2 rule is the 1 man “bivy” style tent. Obviously, you cant subtract 2 from a 1 man tent. I like a small bivy tent when out by myself or camping with the scout troop. It is big enough for me & my gear and not so big that my gear can get scattered around.

What size tent should you choose? It depends on the type of camping you’re doing, who is camping with you (sharing a tent), and how much gear you have. Camping is fun. It is better to have a bigger tent with a family so that you’re not all cramped together (especially if the weather turns and you have to take shelter!)

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Welcome to Camp Gear Center! This is where we will talk about everything camping; things we love, things we’d like to change, camp recipes, and some product reviews.

Because we love camping so much, we decided to dedicate our lives to finding the best products and information to share with you. While we are out enjoying nature, we are compiling ideas to share and testing new products to review for you.

Pull up a camp stool around the fire. Welcome to camp, we’re glad you’re here.