Lightweight Backpacking Dissertation

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Lightweight Backpacking Dissertation

Postby topshot » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:00 pm

I'm finishing up my dissertation on lightweight backpacking for my Council's University of Scouting. Any suggestions for improvement? Thanks.
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Re: Lightweight Backpacking Dissertation

Postby AquilaNegra2 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:11 pm

Very nice content. Mind if I send it on to a few folks?

Comments to use or toss:
Why the '&' in the table of contents for Chapter 2's title, but not the others?
Introduction: Sentence beginning with "This makes it realistic for younger and smaller Scouts..." is a run-on. Consider breaking it into two.
The list "You can enjoy a lightweight pack without:" doesn't need punctuation for the points. Should you choose to use it, use a comma rather than a period.
Chapter 1: I would use a period at the end of the Philmont quote, even with the parenthetical clause afterward.
Chapter 1: "...the principles behind doing so remains the same." --should be 'remain' (no s).
Chapter 1: sentence following the one above. Spell out the number 'two'. (Spell out numbers less than ten, or round numbers. This comment not repeated for other instances.) Consider breaking that sentence into two, following "...Alaska in 2006."
Chapter 1: (See Chapter 5!) - I would put the punctuation after the parentheses so that the sentence it refers to is complete.
Chapter 2: "That said, ..." (needs the comma)
Chapter 2: "But that ankle support..." (don't need the 'but')
Chapter 4: "There are three major problem with this." Missing an 's'.
Chapter 4: LISTING the weight for the tents would be helpful.
Chapter 5: Need to add a line before "Manufacturer's temperature..."
Chapter 5: Need to explain WHY you think you should never store your bag in a compression sack
Chapter 6: Don't forget the FlameDisk option.
[switched from editing mode to reader mode at Chapter 6 :-)]

One thing that I disagree with, however, is using one TP roll per patrol. IMHO, boys should carry their own 1/2 rolls with the center cardboard tube removed. It only takes one Scout who "forgot" to use hand sanitizer to potentially infect every other.

Also, no emergency blanket listed? (Did I miss it?) They add minimal weight, but can literally be lifesavers. Plus, they can double as tablecloths, signal mirrors, extra insulation in bags, ground cover, and a myriad of other things.

There are other minor things I would change, but they are largely style choices. If you're interested and want to send me a Word .doc, I would be happy to do a more thorough edit. Of course, if you're in a time-crunch, it reads well as-is.
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Re: Lightweight Backpacking Dissertation

Postby smtroop168 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:13 pm

topshot wrote:I'm finishing up my dissertation on lightweight backpacking for my Council's University of Scouting. Any suggestions for improvement? Thanks.



The term "Dissertation" should not be allowed to be spoken in Scouting. Dessert maybe but dissertation never. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Some nice info in your paper.
"Providing Quality Info One Paragraph At A Time"
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Re: Lightweight Backpacking Dissertation

Postby topshot » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:56 pm

AquilaNegra2 wrote:Chapter 6: Don't forget the FlameDisk option.
Never even heard of such a thing. Seems reviews are mixed. It wasn't clear if you could extinguish it either (short of smothering it).

Also, no emergency blanket listed? (Did I miss it?)
Essential #10.

You must edit for a living. :) Several good catches.

Yes feel free to share it however you wish. Might wait a day so I can get final edits done. I hope to get others to help me expand it to desert, PNW and winter conditions.
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Re: Lightweight Backpacking Dissertation

Postby RWSmith » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:54 pm

I thought I saw the E-blanket in there. :mrgreen:

Something I learned in the military: In order for any formal document to be well-written (and thus, in turn, easily read), the author absolutely must have a second set of eyes (and a red ink pen).

You've definitely got a great first draft; but, I would highly recommend a "technical-writing" style edit throughout; and it sounds like you've landed a good one with AN2 stepping up.

[ This place just might end up being worth something, after all. :wink: ]
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Re: Lightweight Backpacking Dissertation

Postby Quailman » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:23 pm

I'm an old-school backpacker. Though I did a lot of weight-saving things like removing extra packaging from food before packing it and getting the lightest weight toothbrush I could find (I didn't cut the handle shorter), I decided I could take what I wanted and be comfortable. Some of the luxury weight I have toted has included a can of spam to cook over a fire the third or fourth day out (slice it and use a couple of barbecue skewers to hold all the slices), fly-fishing equipment (my buddy called me Sparky, since with my rod sticking up a foot beyond my pack I looked like, well...), binoculars and a field guide (to add to my birding life list) and even the occasional bottled beverage. Going light weight on everything else allows you the capacity to carry what you want. Most everything I learned came from Colin Fletcher's The Complete Walker, first edition.

I didn't look for typos as I read this document. I read it in relation to my own experience and to how I thought young Scouts might respond to the recomendations. It's full of great advice. The part on shelters, however, seems a little advanced for young Scouts. I have always carried a lightweight backpacking tent with a floor for complete protection against the elements. While I would often not set it up and sleep under the stars, I considered it insurance and worth the weight (I didn't consider the risk of a miserable wet night worth the reward of less weight). I'd hate to see Scouts go out for four or five nights and get drenched on night two, staying soaked for the remainder of the trip. Of course, two years in a row, when in my early twenties, I went on solo treks where I failed to anticipate the remains of a hurricane that had hit North America hundreds of miles away, drifted and settled over my location, once in Pennsylvania and once along the Continental Divide in Colorado, so I guess I'm overly cautious.

I think Scouts need more experience in enclosed shelters before trying some of the minimalist suggestions on an extended trek.
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Re: Lightweight Backpacking Dissertation

Postby jr56 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:36 pm

Yes, going through the remnants of a hurricane would definately be a memory creating experience.
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Re: Lightweight Backpacking Dissertation

Postby RWSmith » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:53 pm

Ah... a follow-up note... regarding "content" (as opposed to "clean-up" noted in my last post), and, this is just my humble opinion, BTW...

It is great that you place so much importance on footwear. Indeed, everything from your feet up can be "perfect", but... if you fail to make your feet your number one priority, then you're doomed to be miserable... maybe even worse.

topshot wrote:Since everyone’s feet are different and every shoe is made from a different last (template), the model that works great for your buddy may be terrible for you....

Agreed.

topshot wrote:For Scouts with rapidly growing feet, stick with cheap running or trail shoes with lots of mesh. They likely won't last more than a season, but you'll be buying another larger pair soon enough. The author used cheap running shoes from Walmart (sic) for his first major trek of 100 miles on mostly decent trails. Once foot growth has slowed down you can look at some of the nicer brands.

This is the only thing that I can disagree with in you dissertation. *Cheap* shoes for kids because "you'll be buying another larger pair soon enough" is, IMO, not a good idea.

If kids wear crap (er, cheap) shoes, be it age five or fifteen... then it's absolutely, positively gonna come back to haunt them when they're older -- I guarantee it.

When it comes to kids and their shoes:
  1. Regularly replacing shoes for them is part of the cost of raising these little monsters; so... deal with it, properly.
  2. Price does NOT always reflect the actual quality of the shoes. I mean, don't get me wrong... "You (will definitely) get what you pay for." But...
    • ...if you pay for the image factor, then image is what you're gonna get. (And your dogs are probably gonna howl at you for it.)
    • ...if you pay for the quality, then a truly proper fit (and thus, comfort) is what you're gonna get. (And, you're feet will remain 'silent'.)

The trick here is to convince (err, *teach*) the kid(s) that quality trumps image. But, if you're a smart shopper, you can always get high-quality, good-looking shoes... at a reasonable price. (Just not at Wal-mart.)

[ JMO ]
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Re: Lightweight Backpacking Dissertation

Postby topshot » Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:29 pm

RWSmith wrote:*Cheap* shoes for kids because "you'll be buying another larger pair soon enough" is, IMO, not a good idea.
I guess I should have said inexpensive and stressed they still need to fit well and give proper support.
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Re: Lightweight Backpacking Dissertation

Postby RWSmith » Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:36 pm

Sorry I sorta went off there... I guess raising four kids and going through the battle of "proper" footwear (X4) still sets me off.... :!: flashbacks! :!:
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