If you've ever tripped over the guy lines of your tent in the dark, or gotten a little turned around on your way back to your tent after a midnight trip to the bathroom, then you know exactly why the StakeLight is so cool.
Q. My Scout Troop took a four-day backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The mosquitoes were the biggest problem on the trip. I used several different bug sprays, and only one of them worked. But the one that worked only worked for about 15 minutes. What type of bug spray (preferably natural) could I use that would keep the mosquitoes away for at least an hour? Also, I’ve heard that there is clothing that keeps bugs away. How effective is this clothing?
Q. Hey Gear Guy! I am thinking about buying an inflatable boat. I checked all of the safety regulations, laws, details, etc. The only thing I’m not quite sure about is how to inflate it. It says it comes with two Boston valves for easy inflation. Do I attach them to a hand pump, like the one for my sports balls? Or do I need a special pump? Please say no! HELP!
Q. Hey Gear Guy, I was really unsmart on my first campout and brought sneakers! My Scoutmaster said I had to get hiking boots, but my family doesn't make that much money. Do you know of some really cheap, decent hiking boots?
Q. I’ve been in Scouts for about a year and I was wondering why my backpack is so heavy. I only pack about two pairs of jeans, extra socks and two shirts. I also pack a mess kit and a flashlight plus batteries. My sleeping pad is not heavy; neither is my sleeping bag. Why might my pack be so heavy and do you know how to fix it?
Dear Gear Guy, I've been skateboarding on my friend's ramp a lot. I always wear my elbow and knee pads and helmet, but they are starting to really stink. I guess I've been sweating in them a lot, and the pads are super-smelly. What can I do?
Q. Dear Gear Guy, I recently inherited a Coleman white-gas stove from my father; he has been using it since he was a Cub Scout with my grandfather in the 1960s. I would love to bring this to camp, but I've heard a lot of talk that white gas isn't permitted in Scouts anymore. Is this true?
Q. I've been camping for years but am still having trouble getting comfortable when I'm sleeping. I can only sleep on my side with my right arm under my pillow but that can be trouble on cold nights when my mummy bag is cinched up tight. Any help Gear Guy?
Q. I have been reading Boys’ Life longer than most Scouts, but I saw the question about “I have a 20 degree bag…but still cold.” His problem might be that he is going to bed in the clothes that he has been wearing all day. Your body sweats, even in the coldest weather, and that moisture will keep you cold even in the warmest sleeping bag. My advice is to change into fresh dry clothes, at a minimum, change into dry socks and long johns. Try it. Dry means warm.
Dear Gear Guy, I have a 30-degree rated backpacking sleeping bag but still get cold in above freezing temperatures. Can you recommend a good bag that is light enough to carry and will still keep me warm? Thanks!
At first glance, Black Diamond's ergoACTIV backpack suspension system seems like a gimmick. But it really works. The hip belt has a unique rotating ball joint that pivots as your body moves. The result is a much more comfortable pack that does a really good job of transferring the pack's weight to your hips.
Q. Dear Gear Guy, I want to train for my backpacking trips with a loaded backpack, but I don’t want to have to pack all my gear every time I want to train. Is there any way to add weight to the backpack in a simple but accurate representation of a full backpack?
Q. Hey Gear Guy, I’m going to the beach this summer, and I was wondering what would be the best things to get for my personal needs, such as my face, skin, etc. I’m going to buy my own personal stuff this year to go, such as my sunscreen lotion, etc. I was just wondering what I need to buy. Any good selections? Thanks.
Q. I'm going to the 2013 National Scout Jamboree, and I've been told that there's tons of hiking. That might be a problem because my feet sweat a lot and give me blisters. Any suggestions for preventing and treating this?
Q. I have a two-person tent that I really like, but when it rains, it leaks badly. I applied seam sealer as you had said in a previous answer, but now it's like the rain is coming through the tent itself, not the seams. I think the rain fly that came with the tent is not big enough. Can I buy another type of rain fly? I was thinking a tarp would not allow air to come through and I will get hot. Do you have any other suggestions?
Q. Last summer at Cub Scout day camp, the temperature hit 106 degrees. I like to wear a wide brim hat on days like that, but sometimes they just get in the way and a ball cap works better, especially when I’m out doing a lot of active stuff like running around or jogging. I find that most ball caps make my head feel hot and just retain more heat. I try soaking them in water and letting evaporation cool my head down, which helps a little, but I was wondering if you’ve come across any good caps that might have some ventilation in them.