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How to Camp as a Pack


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#1 Keys4scout

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 03:26 PM

Our pack is going camping in a few weeks.   Our pack has grown this year. 

 

Do you have tips on how to camp as a large group?  How do we feed everyone?  Do you have recipes that work well for large groups?  Currently we have just shy of 80 people signed up to camp, about half our scouts.

 

Thanks!


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#2 qwazse

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 05:09 PM

Good problem to have.
With boys keep it simple. Hot dogs and hamburgers with condiments. Have a jar of peanut butter handy if allergies aren't a problem.
Assign each den to bring.a side dish.
Have a cooler for water, one for flavored drink, and one for hot cocoa.

You will probably need to split up around different fire rings, if that's an option where you're camping. Lossly have dens sit up in different areas, obviously parents with boys in multiple dens can only set up the family tent in one of those areas. A call to the ranger or camp director giving them a heads up about your numbers would be in order.

Breakfast is something you all have to figure out. I would only do hot stuff if the boys will be there all morning.
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#3 Chisos

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 07:15 PM

We have usually done one meal as a pack; other meals are by family.  Typically most of our pack campouts are "officially" one night but some families may camp two nights.  We would just tell everyone which meal the pack is providing beforehand.  Some dens or groups of families may plan to cook together; this would especially be a good idea for Webelos dens.

 

Recent go-to Pack meal has been "bag omelettes" for breakfast.  Or foil dinners.  "Assembly-line" style cooking seems to work well.

 

Is someone in your Pack BALOO trained?  When I took that class we spent some time on meal ideas for big groups like this.


Edited by Chisos, 08 October 2016 - 07:16 PM.

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#4 Keys4scout

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Posted 09 October 2016 - 09:05 AM

Thanks!  Those are good tips!  I'm glad I asked. 

 

Yes, we have two people that are BALOO trained. 


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#5 F-P

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Posted 09 October 2016 - 02:44 PM

We usually did one night, and started right around lunch time and told everyone to bring their own lunch.  For dinner, easiest option is do stuff on the grill and have families bring sides for dinner.  The omelet in the bag is a good idea for breakfast. 

You can always order pizzas, but not very "camping" oriented.

If you need a large area to camp, check the state parks - many have areas set aside for youth group camping.

Good luck!


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#6 meyerc13

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 10:22 AM

Wow, that's a big group.  Not undoable, but it certainly presents challenges.  Some go-to ideas that work for a smaller group might not work for such a large group.

 

I think one of the big challenges you'll have is food storage - it will take a lot of coolers and ice to keep the cold food cold for such a large group.  Keeping that in mind,  you may want to tailor your menu to minimize how much needs to be kept on ice.  While Hot Dogs, Brats, and Burgers can certainly feed a large group fairly quickly, that may end up being a lot of meat per person.  Not to mention transporting buns takes up a lot of space.  Another go-to idea for Scouts is foil packet meals.  You'd need many campfires burning to pull that off for such a large group.

 

Here's how I'd approach it.  Growing up in a thrifty family, we had to be creative in making the meat stretch to feed 7 (Grandma-Grandpa-Mom-Dad-3 Kids).  One great option for a group is pasta.  You can do it meatless with just spaghetti sauce and dry pasta, or you can offer a meat sauce and a meatless sauce.  The meat in the meat sauce will go a long way - a pound of hamburger can stretch nicely.  You can buy giant jars of sauce at most warehouse club stores.  The pasta you don't use will keep for your next outing as well.  You can cook the pasta in stock pots with strainer baskets - pull out the basket, the past drains and can be served, and the water is still on a boil for the next batch.  You can probably do several batches of pasta before you'll need to add more water.  You can keep an extra pot on the boil so there is no downtime to wait for water to come up to temp.  With 3-5 gallon pots, you'd probaby want to have 3-5 pots going at once.  If you can find bigger pots than that you might only need 2-3.  For the sauce, I'd brown the meat 1-2 pounds at a time in a skillet, and then drain it and transfer it to a pot of sauce.  Don't use aluminum pots for the sauce, it can react with the acid.  You could use large steel stock pots or large, well seasoned, cast iron dutch ovens.  You can stack the dutch ovens with coals in between to keep the whole stack warm.

 

Another option would be tacos.  I'd go with soft tortilla shells, less space and easier to transport.  Maybe have tortilla chips for those who prefer crunchy.  You could easily do pulled pork or chicken in dutch ovens as a topping, and ground beef as I explain above, transferring it after browning to a larger pot.  Again - this stretches the meat a long way.

 

As for breakfast - large rectangular griddles are your friend.  If you are using Camp Chef stoves (highly recommended for a group this size), you can buy griddles that cover their three burner stoves.  On a griddle that size you can whip out burgers, grilled cheese, or pancakes in no time.  If you are using smaller Coleman style two burner camp stoves, you can get a griddle to cover both burners but the most you'll probably get is 6-8 pancakes, whereas you can probably do 3x that on the Camp Chef in a batch.  If you buy precooked sausages that just need to be heated, you can do those over a campfire with a Coleman broiler basket or similar long handled grilling basket.  Serve these in batches - one batch can probably feed a den+family.  If you have 2+ stoves you can feed multiple dens at a time.  You'll be able to crank out another batch of pancakes every few minutes - but serve them while they are hot - don't try to precook for the whole group.  Breakfast burritos is another option if you aren't doing the tacos.  I'd precrack the eggs and store them in a tupperware style jug.  scramble a batch at a time.  Serve with shredded cheese, chopped up sausages, salsa, etc.

 

As I mentioned before, grilling is another option, but transporting grills for that size of a group could be tricky.  Stoves are more versatile and I'd probably design my menu around stoves rather than grilling.

 

Hopefully this helps and gives you some ideas of the thought process around feeding such a large group.  Hopefully you have some parents or leaders who enjoy cooking and will take on that role.  I know I'd rather be the chef than the dishwasher - especially with a group that size!  ;-)


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Yours in Scouting,

 

Chris Meyer

 

Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner 2015-Present

Lion Guide 2016-Present

Cubmaster 2013-2016

Father of a Boy Scout 2016-Present

 


#7 JasonG172

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 10:55 AM

Hobo packs, spaghetti, hamburgers/hotdogs. 

 

Maybe a couple of cook stations instead of one.

 

Have the webelos either cooking for helping for sure.


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#8 T2Eagle

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 03:39 PM

Pasta is really easy, Taco/Nacho buffet can work well too.  Get a local troop to come out and cook for you, any troop worth it's salt will jump at the chance to serve a Pack that way.

 

We have a joint Troop/Pack weekend every year; at a PLC this month, the Cub leaders said how about just hot dogs for lunch, my scouts were kind of appalled that they would settle for that, probably the only time they plan hot dogs is as a late night snack/cracker barrel when we have to leave town early on a Friday.


Edited by T2Eagle, 10 October 2016 - 03:40 PM.

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#9 perdidochas

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 09:48 AM

Our pack is going camping in a few weeks.   Our pack has grown this year. 

 

Do you have tips on how to camp as a large group?  How do we feed everyone?  Do you have recipes that work well for large groups?  Currently we have just shy of 80 people signed up to camp, about half our scouts.

 

Thanks!

We  have done chili cookoffs in association with a campout.  We've also made buddy burners (about one for every two people) with can stoves and had the kids cook their own burgers.  Great fun for all. 

 

 

http://thesurvivalmo...e-buddy-burner/

 

Above for the buddy burner. It's a great project for your Webelos dens.  They can also do the stove for below.

http://scoutingmagaz...411/a-tcan.html

 

Above for the whole system (doesn't have illustrations)

 

Another illustrated version:

http://community.sur...ve-heater.4898/

 

Have about 10 spatulas for 30 burners, and buy frozen hamburger patties/bring the fixings. 


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#10 Keys4scout

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 08:40 AM

Those are great ideas!!  Thanks!


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#11 Keys4scout

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 07:26 AM

So, we decided to cook as dens, instead as one large group.  Each den had a per person budget and was supposed to plan their menu & do their shopping or have me go with them to shop (I hold the pack debit card.) 

 

This worked well for most dens.  Three dens decided to combine, totaling 41 people!  This did not go as well as the smaller groups. 

 

Live, Learn, and Scout On!  Right?


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