Archive for May, 2008

Next week our Cub Scouts will be cooking on Hobo stoves as part of the Pack cooking program. While we were talking about hobo stoves there were a few puzzled looks. What is a hobo stove?

A hobo stove is a style of improvised heat-producing and cooking device frequently used by hobos, tramps, the homeless, and backpackers. It is constructed out of a discarded Tin can of any size by removing the top of the can, punching a number of holes near the upper edge, and punching corresponding holes in the opposite base. Fuel is placed in the can and ignited. Convection draws air in through the bottom orifices and expels smoke from the top holes. Improved heating is encouraged by placing the bottom holes facing the wind. Food preparation is often performed on the top of the stove on a cooking surface that also acts as a lid, however many variations exist where cooking is performed on the inverted base of the can.
The main benefit of the hobo stove is its ease of construction and versatility. The stove itself can be constructed out of a variety of materials; paint cans, food tins, buckets, and large drums being most often put to that purpose. Further flexibility lies in the fact that anything combustible can be used as a fuel source.
The hobo stove reached the height of its popularity during America’s Great Depression. — Wikipedia

Hobo stove
Making cheap and simple camp stoves called a hobo stove (or vagabond stove), made from a large tin can. The fuel part, called a buddy burner, is a smaller tin filled with a coil of cardboard and wax/paraffin. These stoves work perfectly and cost almost nothing.

Buddy Burners
The buddy burner is simply a strip of corrugated cardboard rolled up into a short fat cylinder placed into an old can/tin. The cardboard roll should be as tall as the can it is to be placed into, the corrugations should parallel the walls of the can. The roll is placed inside the can and soaked in candle wax, paraffin wax, old margarine, etc. There are many variations on this theme.

[1] Hobo stove [Wikipedia]
[2] Hobo Stove (PDF) [Greenbar’s College of Scouting Knowledge]
[3] Buddy Burner (PDF) [Greenbar’s College of Scouting Knowledge]
[4] The Hobo Stove [Journey to Forever]
[5] Hobo Stove from Tin Can – Traditional High Tech Camp Stove [Instructables]
[6] A 2¢ Hobo Stove [The Frugal Outdoorsman]
[7] The Fallingwater Multi-Fuel Stove [Fallingwater]
[8] Interesting discussion from rec.backcountry on “hobo” stoves [Thomas Keating’s Survival/Homestead Website]
[9] Multi Purpose Hobo Stove [Ravenlore Bushcraft and Wilderness Skills]


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Pretty much a lost art in Australian Scouting, but something I am investigating instructing my own children with. I’d prefer them to be able to use a knife properly as a Scout than to play with them.

The Whittling Chip is a “license” for a Cub or Webelos Scout to use a pocket knife. In order to earn the Whittling Chip, a scout must undergo proper handling, care and safety instruction with a pocket knife.Baloo’s Bugle

1. I will treat my pocketknife with the respect due a useful tool.
2. I will always close my pocketknife and put it away when not in use.
3. I will not use my pocketknife when it might injure someone near me.
4. I promise never to throw my pocketknife for any reason.
5. I will use my pocketknife in a safe manner at all times.

Ray Mears Bushcraft 1 of 3
* Sharpening knives in the field and in camp.

Ray Mears Bushcraft 2 of 3

Ray Mears Bushcraft 3 of 3

Ray Mears (born 1964) is a British author and TV presenter on the subject of bushcraft and survival techniques. He grew up in Southern England, and started tracking foxes at a young age. It was his Judo teacher who gave him the idea to learn survival skills. He has been teaching survival skills since 1983, when he founded the “Woodlore” School of Wilderness Bushcraft. His Outdoor Survival Handbook was published in 1990, and his first TV appearance was in 1993 in the BBC2 series Tracks.

[1] Ray Mears [Wikipedia]
[2] Woodlore, School of Wilderness Bushcraft [Woodlore]
[3] Clasp knives and Cubs [Ask-A-Scout(er) Page]
[4] The Whittling Chip (2004-Aug) [Baloo’s Bugle]
[5] Whittling Chip Class [Cub Scout Pack 14 Pepperell,MA]

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It looks like the familiar ‘Nalgene’ hard-plastic water bottle will no longer be the essential container for the hiker’s kit. Recent studies have raised questions of the safety of one of the chemical constituents of the plastic used for the Bottle construction.

Mountain Equipment Co-op, the country’s largest specialty outdoor-goods retailer, says it has pulled most food and beverage containers made of polycarbonate plastic from its shelves, citing concern over possible health risks.
The Vancouver-based firm been one of the largest sellers of such products as polycarbonate Nalgene water bottles, and probably has done more than any retailer to make the distinctive, brightly coloured containers an iconic product everywhere from backcountry campsites to urban offices and university campuses. … — Mountain Equipment pulls water bottles off shelves [1]

Recent studies link bisphenol A to obesity, breast and prostate cancer, and neurological disorders. [2]

Scouts Canada and its Shops are in the business of helping Canadian youth enjoy the outdoors and adopt healthy lifestyles. Our priority is always the safety of our youth members and volunteers. If the safety of a product we sell is put into question, we need to ensure we are doing everything possible to safeguard our customers’ well-being. [4]

To check and see if your bottle contains BPA just turn it over and look for a ‘7’ inside the recyling triangle design. This is not limited to ‘Nalgene’ branded products so check your other branded products as well.

[1] Mountain Equipment pulls water bottles off shelves (2007-Dec-07) [globeandmail.com]
[2] Two words: Bad plastic (2007-Aug-02) [Salon]
[3] BPA and NALGENE [Nalgene]
[4] Scout Shops Remove Products Containing Bisphenol A (2008-Apr-18) [Scouts Canada]
[] Nalgene BPA Announcement (2008-May-04) [KISMIF]

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The raingutter regatta is a Cub Scouting annual event in the United States of America that is the sailboat equivalent of the pinewood derby. The sailboat kit consists of a seven-inch long balsa wood hull, a 6-1/2 inch mast, plastic sail, plastic rudder, and metal keel. Within the basic design rules, Scouts are free to paint and decorate their sailboats as they choose. Modifications for speed include the placement of the keel and rudder and the size, shape and location of the sail. A catamaran is an exceptionally fast design, although this modification is not allowed in all races.

The boats are raced in a standard rain gutter that is ten feet long, placed on a table or saw horses, and filled to the top with water. The boats are propelled by blowing on the sail, either directly or through a drinking straw; the boat cannot be touched with hands or the straw. The first boat to reach the end of the gutter is the winner. The overall winner is determined by an elimination system. — Wikipedia

Raingutter Regatta Rules – Pack 435 [DOC]
Raingutter Regatta Rules – Pack 902 [PDF]
Rules for Raingutter Regatta – Pack 135 [PDF]
Instructions for Building a Rain Gutter Course and Mounting Stand [PDF]

# Boats must be made from the BSA Raingutter Regatta kits
# Hull: No longer than 7″ or shorter than 6 1/2″
# No wider than 3 1/2 inches
# Mast: No taller than 6 1/2″ from deck to top
# Keel: Supplied in kit
# Rudder: Supplied in kit
# Sail: Supplied in kit
# Additional decals, paint and glue are permitted
# The materials supplied in the kit can be modified within the restrictions & limitations.

Raingutter regatta kits:
Raingutter Regatta® Kit BSA Supply [www.scoutstuff.org]
Pinewood Racing Car and Derby Supplies
Raingutter Regatta [Raingutter Regatta – World Class Boats]
Construction Kits – Raingutter Regatta [Hobbylinc]

[1] Raingutter regatta [Wikipedia]
[2] Rain Gutter Regatta [Buckskin Council BSA]
[3] What is a SailBoat Race? [www.pinecar.com]
[4] Raingutter Regatta – World Class Boats [Raingutter Regatta]
[5] All About Fast Breath Powered Boats [Lastufka Labs]
[6] Make the ultimate raingutter regatta racer [Boyslife.org]

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The Fly The Flag competition is on again and this year the prizes are even bigger!
The rules have been adjusted to make it easy for EVERYONE to take part – you no longer need to have a World Scout flag.
So celebrate the Year Of The Scout by flying the flag before 31 August 2008.

The competition for 2008, is now open. To get some ideas check out the 2007 Fly the Flag Winners.

Time to put on the thinking cap and come up with a *brilliant* idea for flying the flag to win this years competition! Perhaps Joey’s abseiling from helicopters? 😉

How Do I Get Involved?
Get together a team of Scouts (any Section) and show the Australian Scout logo (see below) in a high profile and creative way. It’s a great way for us to show our pride in the Scout Movement, letting the public know what Scouts can achieve. It is preferable for people to be able to fly a Australian Scout Logo flag. However, if you don’t have one, you just have to be able to display a copy of the Australian Scout Logo on a display board of at least A3 size.

And look what The NetCommish @ USSSP – Ask Andy is linking to on Amazon! I’ve just ordered one for us 😉

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I’m NOT up for this job!

Dwarf mongooses (mongeese?) are trained to sniff out explosives in Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, making disposal of the island’s countless landmines far less dangerous. Lightweight and intelligent, they don’t set off the bombs, and can yell “get me the hell out of here!” when strapped to the robots that drag them through dangerous, landmine-infested locales.

via BoingBoing Gadgets

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