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Klondike Tips

We are into Winter camping now and Klondikes are right around the corner.  I'd like to share most of the handout T123 Scoutmaster Jon Moran gave to the Scouts and parents of the troop, with occasional comments.

Next month, we will participate in the Klondike Derby.  This is  one of the premier activities of our Scouting year, as we get together with other troops to test our skills and knowledge.  I hope every one of our Scouts can participate in this memorable experience.  But, since it does involve Winter Camping, some preparations are in order.

Here is a Klondike contenders' wish list for Santa:

Sleeping bag rated to at least 0 degrees. (That bag you took to summer camp won't do the job.  It get cold at night up at Ockanickon in January.  Walmart carries a Coleman 0 degree bag for about $50  That's what I use).  **I bought my son that bag a few years ago on Jon's advice.  He loves it and says it is quite comfortable and doesn't use his fleece bag liner.

Polypropylene or silk long underwear (Those cotton waffle weaves are okay for the lodge.  But if you're gonna be spending extended hours outside, forget about it.  The saying among outdoorsmen is "cotton kills".  It soaks up moisture and holds it close to the skin.  The guys are going to sweat no matter how cold it is.  When cotton gets wet, it provides NO insulation.  Go silk or synthetic).  ** leave the sweats home too!  or use for sleeping only

Wool or synthetic socks or a blend of the two (Here again, cotton won't cut it.  If you want your scout to get chilled and shiver and be miserable, send him to the Klondike in sweat socks.   For best protection, we recommend a silk or synthetic under-sock, with wool or heavy blend sock over that)

Snow boots (No one will be allowed to compete in sneakers.  Sneakers are made to keep active feet cool.  Boots are made to keep feet warm and dry.  I wear snowmobile boots with felt liners I found at the discount store in Morrisville.  Just check to make sure you don't have 2 left boots, etc  in the box when you buy it)

A hat that can cover the ears  and waterproof snow gloves (The saying is " if your feet are cold cover your head".  It is the number 1 source of heat loss.  And unprotected ears are a prime site for frostbite.  The waterproof gloves protect two other important extremities.)

As much as possible avoid cotton. Synthetic fleece or wool shirts are great.  When necessary I use a pair of Swedish army surplus wool pants that I found on the internet.

Your outer layer needs to provide protection from sleet and freezing rain (Again, warm & dry is the key to Winter comfort)

Sleeping bag pad (When you sleep, you will lose body heat through contact of the bag to your sleep surface.  The pad helps limit that heat loss.  I have an old army blanket-wool-that I wrap under and over my bag)**plastic coated gym mats etc. work well as pads