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    So little time, so many miles to go MtnBikerGuy's Avatar
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    Default 10 Year Old Backpacker...

    Just thought I would solicit some ideas. I have taken my son on two backpacking trips and he loves it. He is not into Boy Scouts, so I am teaching him all the little things to make sure he is safe and how to stop and use his head. I am asking for one or two things you would make sure a 10 yr old knows in the woods. First thing I ever taught him when he was about 4-5 years old was to always carry a whistle and to sit still if he gets lost and just blow the wistle 3 times every few minutes. Any other ideas would be great as him and I continue the father/son backpacking teaching. Thanks to all in the White Blaze community!
    Minds are like parachutes, they function only when open.

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    Registered User hammock engineer's Avatar
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    I would slowly get him doing all of the things for himself, or at least helping you. Include him on planning, packing, and picking out a route. Let him lead if you can. Have him help and eventually start the campfire by himself, setup camp, cook, or whatever else.

    I don't have kids, but this is along the lines of what I enjoyed growing up. I also try to do this when I take new people along.

  3. #3
    Registered User SteveJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnBikerGuy View Post
    Just thought I would solicit some ideas. I have taken my son on two backpacking trips and he loves it. He is not into Boy Scouts, so I am teaching him all the little things to make sure he is safe and how to stop and use his head. I am asking for one or two things you would make sure a 10 yr old knows in the woods. First thing I ever taught him when he was about 4-5 years old was to always carry a whistle and to sit still if he gets lost and just blow the wistle 3 times every few minutes. Any other ideas would be great as him and I continue the father/son backpacking teaching. Thanks to all in the White Blaze community!
    Even if he's not in Scouts, you could get him a Boy Scout handbook, and work with him on the information there....for example, we teach the boys the STOP principle if they get lost in the woods (Stay calm, Think about how you got there, Observe your surroundings, Plan on how you're getting out)... The book is structured in a great way so that you're building on info and skills throughout.... You could also look at some of the outdoors oriented merit badges ( http://www.meritbadge.com/ ): hiking, backpacking, camping, first aid....all the info you need to teach these skills can be found in the merit badge books the BSA would be happy to sell to you!

    Have fun!
    Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.

  4. #4

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    FIRST AID!

    My son, a Life Scout, and I frequently hike together. He has learned, and now helps me teach basic first aid skills to the younger scouts. I often play the "what if" game while we are out: What would you do if you found me in a cold, pale sweat, clutching my chest? What would you do if I fell and broke my leg and couldn't walk. Etc.

    ALL of us need to know how to respond to emergency situations in the outdoors, miles from help (Where it is more complicated than "Call 911" or "Go get help"). Proper responses can save lives. It could be YOUR life he saves someday.

  5. #5

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    If I had 10 years old all over again, I would read lots of books on geology, trees, insects, plants, astronomy, American history, and the like to really learn the woods and outdoors. You really soak that stuff up at that age and hold on to the info better than when older. It's more visceral than abstract at that age. I wish I could regain that perspective. I am working on my second graduate degree and I have never learned (really learned) as well as when I was in 4th-5th grade.

  6. #6
    1972 to ???? txulrich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnBikerGuy View Post
    Just thought I would solicit some ideas. I have taken my son on two backpacking trips and he loves it. He is not into Boy Scouts, so I am teaching him all the little things to make sure he is safe and how to stop and use his head. I am asking for one or two things you would make sure a 10 yr old knows in the woods. First thing I ever taught him when he was about 4-5 years old was to always carry a whistle and to sit still if he gets lost and just blow the wistle 3 times every few minutes. Any other ideas would be great as him and I continue the father/son backpacking teaching. Thanks to all in the White Blaze community!
    I would definately start with basic first aid and knots. You can expand this as you go to include more advanced stuff. I would also teach him fire building skills and woodtools (knife, axe and saw) safety. These are all the building blocks that everyone needs to know so that he doesn't hurt himself and can eventually render aid to someone who does.

    I second the idea of the scout handbook. It is such a great resource, and who knows, maybe he'll even want to join a troop someday.

    I would also second the idea of including him in all of the planning, but also in all of the cleanup. It's important that he learn to take care of his gear.
    Peace,
    Joe

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    Registered User briarpatch's Avatar
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    I started teaching my sons how to use a map and compass at about that age. Whenever we would stop for a rest break, we would break out the map and compass and figure out our location, how far we had come, and how far to our destination. If we were on a mountain peak, we would practice compass sighting on recognizable landmarks and use triangulation to pinpoint where we were. Then we would talk about bailout points with the intent of picking the best/closest side trail or main trail for getting to help, if needed.
    A bad day on the trail beats a good day most anywhere else.

  8. #8
    Registered User ShakeyLeggs's Avatar
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    I agree with everthing posted here. I would also and have done with my son's teach them how to make a rudimentry shelter and how to find water.

    But the big things are make sure that they know when lost to stop moving and not panic. I never let my son's go in the woods alone until I felt they had mastered tha basics of survival I.E. fire building, finding water, finding shelter.
    To this day they never go in the woods without a bailout plan in place.
    A Fact Of Life:

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    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    I suggest you contact the parents from this journal -- they know exactly what a 10 yo boy needs to know to backpack: http://www.trailjournals.com/about.cfm?trailname=3002

  10. #10
    Registered User BigwaveDave's Avatar
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    First aid, shelter aka knots, water, compass and map reading skills. Hammock eng. has a good idea working him up to more and more responsibility. Your son will do fine. When I was a scout my Assistant Scout Master had done time as a Rhodesian soldier, we all had to carry "bail out bags" which we carried at all times, basis stuff, fire starter, compass, pocho liner, candy bar, S.A.knife, thin cord, whistle. It didn't weigh anything to speak of and we were taught how to use it. Even when we were on hikes if we took our pack off it stayed with us. When we were in camp or wandering around it stayed with us. Seems it was a trick he learned over there during the uprising, in case anything ever happened and you had to bail, you had the basics to survive. I still use the same principle on any hike only I carry it in a fanny pack. Is it overkill on the AT? If he's ever out of your site hiking ahead, etc probably not. Point is since your son is young fix him up one, he'll probably like carrying around the tools of the trade, I remember we were all proud of ours. Didn't mean to get off point.
    BWD
    "Not all who wander are lost"

  11. #11
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    Let him make mistakes. Keep him from dying, of course, but let him forget something important. It will be a lesson better taught.

    S

  12. #12

    Default Whistle

    I have read reports of S&R's where the person was blowing a whistle but when the sound travelled it mixed in with the natural ambient sound and went unnoticed. They suggested buy a whistle with a distinct annoying sound or bang on metal. They said banging on metal was best for locating a lost person.

    So maybe tell him to bang on his cook pot.

    Good luck.
    Yahtzee

  13. #13

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    You would really benefit from the Boy Scout "field book" which goes along with the scout handbook just a little more advanced. The wilderness survival merit badge handbook is as well as great resource and can be found on line as well.
    Knots, compass skills as well as GPS basics. Basic fire building skills as well as stove safety and maintance. The seven princables of LNT are great basics. The camping merit badge book has all the skills in it.
    Good look and savour every minute being in the outdoors with your son....mines growing up way to fast!

  14. #14
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    Good on the sit down and wait. Stuff I would think about:

    Pressure points to stop bleeding in extremities.

    Morse SOS. Easy to remember, s is short.

    Half-hitch. Bowline with eyes closed.

    Leaves of three- leave them be...

  15. #15

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    suggest map reading skills. look for Orienteering also! It's a fun sport and will teach very DETAILED map reading, how to keep from getting lost, how to get found.


    However, the whistle and also "hug a tree". Find some water, and sit and wait for help. the last most public "lost" kid, didn't stay in one place. If he had, he might have been found a day earlier.
    For a couple of bucks, get a weird haircut and waste your life away Bryan Adams....
    Hammock hangs are where you go into the woods to meet men you've only known on the internet so you can sit around a campfire to swap sewing tips and recipes. - sargevining on HF

  16. #16

    Default Congrats ona great idea!

    PassionPhish and I are looking forward to an AT thru-hike beginning March, 2008 and his 10 year old, LittlePhish, is talking about joining us in the excursion. Parts of it at least. The first thing I'd want LittlePhish to know is NOT TO GET LOST. Never needing the whistle is much better than blowing it 3 short blasts every few minutes or so. Keep up with your hiking partner; don't get out of sight; and take someone into the woods with you are the first things I'd want to teach a newby.

    Good luck on your expedition with your little one.

  17. #17

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    It is ironic, borderline fasinating in a way.....all the skills being listed in this thread are the skills that a scout learns in a troop setting as a Tenderfoot!

    The young man is not much into scouting though....just the "basic" skills that scouting teach's on a daily basis in an average troop anywhere USA.

    Intresting! He loves the outdoors, hiking,etc all the things scouting is about...scouting is outing!

    I would be intrested to know what the young man "doesen't" like about scouting!

  18. #18
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    Since no one else has suggested it - see Just Jeff's hiking with kids page

  19. #19
    Registered User jesse's Avatar
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    He is too young for Boy Scouts. I would suggest next year visiting a Boy Scout troop. Find one that is into backpacking, or help a teach troop how its done. I take my now 13 yo backpacking and camping. I can teach him a lot of things, but I can not teach him teamwork. This is probably the best thing he gets from scouts.

  20. #20
    Registered User The Cheat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jessebrent View Post
    He is too young for Boy Scouts. I would suggest next year visiting a Boy Scout troop. Find one that is into backpacking, or help a teach troop how its done. I take my now 13 yo backpacking and camping. I can teach him a lot of things, but I can not teach him teamwork. This is probably the best thing he gets from scouts.
    I'm trying hard not to turn this into an attempt to convince him to join Scouting....but..... Anyway, he is too young for Boy Scouts (unless he has crossed over from Webelos, which I am assuming he hasn't). If he's in fourth grade, or entering fifth, please consider Webelos (Cub Scouts) and then boy scouts.

    Here's the Webelos Outdoorsman requirements:


    OUTDOORSMAN (Required for Arrow of Light) Do two of these:
    1. Present yourself to your Webelos den leader, properly dressed, as you would be for an overnight campout. Show the camping gear you will use. Show the right way to pack and carry it.
    2. With your family or Webelos den, help plan and take part in an evening outdoor activity that includes a campfire.
    3. With your parent or guardian, take part in a Webelos den overnight campout or a family campout. Sleep in a tent that you have helped pitch.
    4. With your parent or guardian, camp overnight with a Boy Scout troop. Sleep in a tent that you have helped pitch.
    And do five of these:
    1. <LI value=5>During a Webelos den meeting, discuss how to follow the Leave No Trace Frontcountry Guidelines during outdoor activities (See Webelos Handbook, page 72.)
    2. Participate in an outdoor conservation project with your Webelos den or a Boy Scout troop.
    3. Discuss with your Webelos den leader the rules of outdoor fire safety. Using these rules, show how to build a safe fire and put it out.
    4. With your accompanying adult on a campout or outdoor activity, assist in preparing, cooking, and cleanup for one of your den's meals. Tell why it is important for each den member to share in meal preparation and cleanup, and explain the importance of eating together.
    5. Discuss with your Webelos den leader the things that you need to take on a hike. Go on one 3-mile hike with your Webelos den or a Boy Scout troop.
    6. Demonstrate how to whip and fuse the ends of a rope.
    7. Demonstrate setting up a tent or dining fly using two half hitches and a taut-line hitch. Show how to tie a square knot and explain how it is used.
    8. Visit a nearby Boy Scout camp with your Webelos den.

    Sounds like a good start for a 10 year old to me.

    p.s. in the interest of full disclosure: my son got his arrow of light in March, he's working on tenderfoot now with this new troop. He turned 11 four days ago.

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