Wayne's Scouting Wisdoms


I don't make the product,  I make the product better


Wayne Johnson



                                                                                July 6, 2002


Wisdom overview


Here are some tips that I have found useful in my scouting career. As you go through these tips, you will find that thrifty, safety, and practicality is the first and foremost objective i am trying to achieve. I use all these tips on every camp out I go on. I really hope these tips help each one of you and make your camping trips easier and more fun.



Table of contents


1.                      Coleman stove grill reinforcements

2.                      20 pound propane tank stabilizer

3.                      9 pound and 5 pound propane tank stabilizer

4.                      Propane lantern case

5.                      Gas lantern case

6.                      Tent storage bag

7.                      Tent pegs (personal)

8.                      Tent pegs (troop tents)

9.                      Tarp pegs (troop tarps)

10.                 Tarp stakes (light weight)

11.                 Tarp support poles

12.                 Bucket seat

13.                 Waterproof containers (cheap)

14.                 Trash bags

15.                 Clothes line

16.                 Water jugs

17.                 Hot spark fire starter

18.                 Dutch oven cooking tips

19.                 Ax sharpening log

20.                 Trivet for dutch oven cover




1.    Coleman stove grill reinforcements


Heating large pots full of water tends to warp the grill on coleman stoves. My solution is:


a.      Two 1/8  x  1 x 5 inch  flat bar bent into the shape of a  c

b.      Place under the two middle grill rails for support

c.       Two  3/8 x    x 19 inch flat bar

d.      Place across stove under grill rails for support

e.      This prevents the grill from warping when hot and heavy pots are used


2.    20 pound propane tank stabilizer


This solution stops the propane tank from tipping over, creating a safety hazard while you are on a camp out or while travailing.


a.      Use a 12 x 12 inch plastic milk crate

b.      20 pound propane tank fits inside

c.       You now have  a 1 square  foot  for stabilization instead of the  8 inch ring on the bottom  of the tank

d.      The tank will pack better for traveling and cannot  role around


3.       9 pound and 5 pound propane tank stabilizer


a.       Use 9 inch square plastic buckets

b.       Drill holes in bottom of bucket to let the rain water out

c.        You now have a 9 inch square for better stabilization instead of the small ring at the bottom of the tank

d.       The tank will pack better for traveling and cannot role around


4.  Propane lantern case 


This solution has the lantern ready for use right out of the case and stabilizes it so the mantles don't break as often.



a.       Use 2,  9   inch square buckets and 1 cover

b.       Put base  and propane cylinder  (empty) on lantern

c.        c.       Cut out the bottom of one  of the buckets

d.       Hot glue the buckets together so they are 18 inches tall

e.        Use  1  or 1   inch thick foam  rubber  cut to fit  in the bottom of the bucket

f.       Use 4 inch thick foam rubber 8 inch square, cut out hole for propane cylinder in the center, make knife cut through the foam rubber

g.       Use 2 or 3-inch foam rubber for top support cut 12 x 9 inches to go over top of lantern

h.         Buckets metal handle can be replaced by line to form a handle, this allows the lantern to pack more secure in the vehicles

i.       Extra mantles, matches, and gas match can be stored in the bucket

j.       The completely assembled lantern now fits inside case for immediate use


5.  Gas lantern case



a.       Use  9   inch square bucket and cover

b.       Use 1 or 1   inch foam rubber cut to fit in the bottom  of the  bucket

c.       Use  4 inch thick foam rubber  8   inch square  with hole cut out to go around the base of the lantern

d.         Use  2 or 3 inch  thick  foam rubber  cut  12 x  9   inches  to go over top of lantern  for support

e.       Buckets metal handle can be replaced by line to form a handle, this allows the lantern to pack more secure in the vehicles

f.       Extra mantles, matches,  and gas match can be stored in the  bucket



6.      Tent storage bag


Does the tent have a ground cloth? Now you don't have to wonder if its with the tent or not, you can feel it in its pouch


a.      Sew a three sided pocket on the out side  of the tent storage bag

b.      This gives you a place to store the plastic ground cloth

c.       In the case of troop tents, everyone will know at a glance that the tent has a ground cloth in it

d.      At the end of the camp out, the dirty ground cloth has a place of its own with out messing up the tent

e.      Use a small plastic bag to put ground cloth in before putting it in the pocket keeps everything clean


7.      Tent pegs (personal) 


a.      10 inch steel wire pins

b.      BSA catalog # xo1447

        Cost $7.00 for a package of 12

c.       The only tent peg approved at Philmont

d.      Hand fits into the ring at the top to allow for easy entry into the ground


8.      Tent pegs (troop tents)


Standard tent pegs are expensive and are always being lost. This is a very inexpensive way to replace them


a.       Buy 20 feet of 1/8 diameter cold roll steel rod

        Cost about .02 to .05 cents per foot

b.       Cut every 10 inches

c.        Bend 1 inch of the peg 90 degrees in a vise

d.       Tent peg cost less than .05 cents each

e.       Some steel companies will donate the steel to the Boy Scouts


9.  Tarp stakes (troop tarps)


a.       Buy 20 feet of diameter mild steel rod

        Cost about .05 to .10 cents per foot

b.       Cut every 16 inches

c.        Bend 1 inch of the peg 90 degrees in a vise

d.       Tarp pegs cost about .15 cents

e.       Some steel companies will donate the steel to the Boy Scouts


10.    Tarp stakes (light weight)


a.      Use 14 inches 3/8 diameter aluminum rod

b.      Thread top of aluminum rod for inch

c.       x 1 aluminum flat bar cut into 1 inch pieces

d.      Drill 3/8 hole in the 1 inch squares and thread

e.      Screw the 1 inch squares onto the 3/8 rod

f.        Hammer the top of the rod so the flat bar can not screw off

g.      Rod and flat bar can be found in aluminum recycling plants

h.      Some recycle plants will donate the aluminum to the boy scouts



11.    Tarp support poles 


This is a very inexpensive way to support the center of a tarp so when it rains, the water will run off


a.      For a 10 foot x 1 inch ridgepole

1.    Use 10 feet of chain link fence top rail

2.    Cut in half for 2, 5 foot sections

3.    Opposite ends slide together

a.    May use 20 feet of chain link fence top rail, cut to fit your tarp

4.    Drill a 7/16 hole in each end so BSAs adjustable upright will go in

5.    1 inch diameter electrical steel conduct fits in side

6.    BSA has a 2 piece 9 foot 6 inch adjustable ridgepole that fits in side

a.    Adjustable ridgepole BSA # xo1432

7.    For ridgepoles longer than 10 feet, use an other section of chain link fence, steel conduit, or adjustable ridgepole


b.      For support of long ridgepoles

1.    Use a 1 inch pvc tee

2.    Glue in a 12 x 1 inch piece of pvc pipe

3.    Use BSA 2 piece adjustable ridgepole in side the 12 inch tee for support from the ground so ridge pole will not bend

4.    12 inch tee will slide over long ridgepole


c.       8 foot adjustable upright

1.    BSA adjustable upright # xo1413

2.    Use in tarp corners and at the end of the ridge poles


12.     Bucket seat  


From camp outs to summer camp, everyone needs a practical place to sit


a.       5 gallon bucket

1.    Adults use a bird seed bucket as they are taller

2.    Boys can use a standard 5 gallon bucket


b.       Home Depot and other stores sell a plastic seat for about $6.00


c.        Leave the bucket handle on for carrying



d.       Drill small holes in edge of the bucket to tie rope for loops on each side of the bucket

1.    A shoulder strap can be attached to the loops for carrying on your shoulder

2.    When not in use, the shoulder strap fit inside the bucket

3.    Can now be lugged by handle or on your shoulder


You now have a seat where ever you go in scouting plus 5 gallons of dry storage

13.    Waterproof containers (cheap)


Free water proof containers for canoe or rafting trips


a.       5 gallon paint bucket with rubber ring in cover


b.       2, 13 gallon plastic bags with ties


c.        Snap for bucket handle

1.    Put the 2 plastic bags inside each other and inside the bucket

2.    Fill the plastic bags

3.    Twist and tie off inside bag

4.    Twist and tie off outside bag

5.    Snap on the cover

6.    The snap on the handle can then snap on rope tied to the supports in the canoe

7.    If the canoe tips over, everything stays with the canoe


14.    Trash bags


How do we tie up trash bags in camp?


a.       Use plastic trash bags that have built in draw strings

b.       You now have a way to hang up the bag in the camp sight

c.        Bag can be tied in trees for use as bear bags

Comment by Bob Stephan:

      A better way to hang up a trash bag: Take that 5 gal bucket, cut off everything below the ribs that stick out by the handle, file/sand the cut edge smooth, put the trash bag up through the bottom and fold over the top & use a bungee cord to hold the bag to the bucket top.  In use, the bucket will hang open until there's trash in it, at that point the bucket top will tilt and close the bag keeping bugs and most of the rain out. This trick has been used by various troop around the GSLA for longer than I've been an adult leader (15+ yrs) and is very useful.


15.    Clothes line


a.       Double 20 feet of rope and twist

b.       Tie rope between trees

c.        Loosen twist and put cloths in the twist


16.    Water jugs


a.       Use jugs that hold no more than 3 gallons

1.    Water weights about 7 pounds per gallon

2.    The average boy can carry 3 gallons but not 5 gallons of water


b.       The yellow jugs that pool companies use for chlorine are 2 1/2 gallons

1.    Can buy brand new from pool companies

2.    Cost $3.00 to $5.00

3.    The jugs stack one on top of each other for storage


c.     Attach the jug covers to jugs

1.    Use a wire net, #10 bolt, 2 #10 washers, 2 #10 nuts, 2 small pieces of rubber, 12 inches of twine

2.    Drill hole in cover smaller than #1o bolt

3.    Put wire nut, 1 of the nuts, 1 of the washers, and small piece of rubber on bolt

4.    Screw the bolt into the hole of the cover

5.    Put the other piece of rubber, washer, and nut on bolt and tighten both nuts so the wire nut will swing 360 degrees

6.    Put the twine through the wire nut and around the handle of the jug and tie in a loop

7.    Cover now stays with the jug


17.    Hot spark fire starter


a.       BSA catalog # 01167

1.    Cost $1.95


b.       0000 steel wool for emergency fire tinder

1.    Steel wool burns at 1800 degrees Fahrenheit

2.    Do not touch the hot steel wool as it will cause second or third degree burns


c.        Dryer lint


d.       Hair from palm trees


18.    Dutch oven cooking tips


Here are some tips that make cooking in a dutch oven easier and fun


a.    Army folding shovel with pick ax

1.    Use shovel to put coals on dutch oven

2.    Use pick ax to move dutch oven or to lift the cover


b.    10 x 2 inch cake pan or trail chef cook kit large fry pan fit inside 12 inch dutch oven

1.    4,    inch nuts inside dutch oven will raise the pan off the bottom of the dutch oven

2.    This gives indirect heat all around the pan so food doesn't burn

3.    Use wax paper to line the cake pan or the bottom of the dutch oven so food will not stick

a.    Paper burns at 750 degrees fahrenheit

b.    Electric stove oven at home only has a temperature of 500 degrees fahrenheit


c.       Use pliers to lift out pans from inside dutch oven


19.    Ax sharpening log   


Now we can teach the totin' chip and ax sharpening requirements at the scout meetings in stead of waiting for camp outs.


a.       Cut a log 4 to 5 inches in diameter 3 feet long

b.       With a ax flatten one side

c.        Screw log onto a 12 x 40 inch piece of plywood

d.       Cut a 1   inch diameter branch into 6, 1   inch lengths and drill small holes into them so a wood screw will go in with out splitting them

e.       Screw 4,  2 on each side of log to look like stakes holding it on the ground

f.         Screw the other 2 in position to hold the ax to the log for sharpening

1.    Go to a metal shop or welding shop and get a 4 x 6 x inch piece of mild steel flat bar

2.    The boys can practice using the file on the flat bar with out the worry of if the file slips, they can not get cut

3.    When the flat bar starts to get sharp, you can grind it down on a grinder


20.  Trivet for dutch oven cover 


What do you do with the dutch oven cover when it is not on the dutch oven?


a.    1, 14x 1/8 x inch flat bar

1.    Bend ends 90 degrees 2 inches from the ends in a vice so you have a total length of 10 inches


b.    1, 13   x 1/8 x inch flat bar

1.    Bend ends 90 degrees 1 7/8 inches from the ends in a vice so you have a total length of 9 inches


c.     Drill a hole, larger than a nail (which you will use as a rivet) in the center of the 2 flat bars


d.    Cut nail inch from the head 


e.    Put nail through the hole of the two flat bars and round off end with a hammer

1.    Do not pound so hard as the trivet will not open or shut


f.      You now have a place to put your dutch oven cover when it is not on the dutch oven


g.      Trivet folds and stores in dutch oven when not in use


h.         This may be used as one of the qualifications for the metal work merit badge


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