Thrift is a scouting virtue.
Like any hobby or interest, there is a budget to consider to participate. One thing I like to do in traditional scouting is dual use. A lot of BPSA-US members encourage the use of canvas type bags, some you see on the Quartermaster page. Since I also volunteer and train for FEMA projects, and Civil Air Patrol functions, I have contemporary ‘MOLLE’ type military bags. They’re not canvas. They are not camouflage. These bags are better, lighter and stronger, and they do not rot. In my view, less energy and waste means better for the environment, pound for pound of waste, so I go with MOLLE. And it’s dual use. In a couple cases FEMA, et al, gave me the bag(s). Why wouldn’t I use it? I can also use it as a Rover.
This leads me to the consideration of blades for scouting. For all of the hype, again, pound for pound consideration, the best scouting blades I’ve reviewed and used are old school Buck, Gerber hunting knives and K-Bar bayonet knives. Durability, abililty to keep an edge, and value (budget minded!), these blades are exceptional.
The advantage too is they’re plenty long, strong enough for the trail and camp. Usually they’re fixed blade and high grade stainless steel. A disadvantage is they do not cost less buying them used because they’re in high demand since they are that good.
Value. Again, think traditional scouting (which means thrift!! per B-P himself), and it makes sense to consider the aforementioned, instead of of the common blades sold at REI or Walmart.
I actually loath camouflage
Not because camouflage is inherently evil, or associated with warfare. It’s the aesthetics. Ugh, those lines! I think it is hideous; camouflage is awful for this old art student. However, it’s practical in many respects. It might help with repelling insects. Maybe hide you from insurgents, and certainly profit a bad artist for the MIC. Let’s admit – so few look good in it.
But surplus is wide spread (thrift!). When you need a floppy ‘boonie’ hat you are mostly likely to end up with one that is camouflage due to the market availability (or MIC) of the woodland or desert patterns. In my case I have an old woodland pattern cover. A perfect hat for summer sun and downpours. (Trust me on the downpours).
This Rover near Viñales, Cuba. Is it official scouting if I wear this hat? I discovered that camouflage is widely worn by the Cuban people. “That’s an ugly hat, but it looks good on you” – Rodney Dangerfield, Caddyshack
The BPSA-US re-introduces ‘traditional scouting’
Not replacing the old immediately was my thrift plan. I never wore it for an official Scout picture, presumably not conflicting with a no camouflage uniform rule. I needed a new Scout hat for official BPSA-US uniform stuff. Note – I’m not crazy about uniforms either, but I empathize with the ‘feel like you’re part of the team’ espirit de corp. Slowly (very) I’m working on acquiring my official Rover Uniform. I am grateful the 66th Confluence bought me a scout shirt otherwise I may have opted out. I chose to replace my floppy camouflage hat with a solid olive-khaki one.
Another non-official hat for this scout, but worn for safety in the woods on a fall day during hunting season. Improvements for safety in uniforms and gear are permissible for BPSA-US scouts.
To extend my thriftiness, I did not buy a hat from the Quartermaster! No! I found an adjustable floppy hat, in olive that is just right for less money than the Quartermaster offered. Yes, it’s new, please consider I have a big head – literally a size 8.
So, a new big floppy hat was purchased. It is tough to scout with a headache.
No, this isn’t a scout how-to about lighting your camp fire. It’s about thrift; a scouting virtue.
Went looking for scrap wood to take camping. There was an old pallet in an alley I remembered but it departed before I could retrieve it.
Sure enough I have a stockpile of 2×4 ends in the basement that are nice and dry. Pine burns kind of fast, is kinda smokey, but it’s free!