OAHA Gear Tips

By Travis Broadhurst

Well, it’s that time again. Time for proms and evening baseball games. Time when college students are cramming for exams and high school students are starting to review for them. Time when you can smell spring in the air and feel the warmth of the sun on your back. It’s also time for another exhilarating summer of OA High Adventure!

If you’re not signed up for an OA High Adventure program, it’s highly recommended that you do. If you’re already signed up and confirmed, you’re likely beginning to wonder: “How will all of this fit in my suitcase?”

OAHA foremen, past participants and even a former region chief have provided some useful stories and recommendations for your next OA High Adventure experience.

“At OA Wilderness Voyage or OA Canadian Odyssey, the water is your best friend, however, it can also be your worst enemy. Even though there are lakes for miles around, you have to purify all of your water before drinking it. This was a pain for me since I had all metal water bottles. Before going out on a trip, I would fill them all the way to the brim to make sure I had enough water to last me for the day. One of the days, I was paddling and trying to drink water at the same time when my bottle fell into the lake and sank like a rock. I was stunned at first, then I was pretty terrified when I realized I wouldn’t be able to have that much water for the rest of the trip. Even though my brothers shared, I wish I had a better water bottle.” – Dylan Wilhem, 2014 OAWV Participant.

“The Florida Keys have a mind of their own with the things they do. It’s fair to say that the Keys, the OAOA program included, want you to be immersed in your surroundings - but don’t let it take you and your stuff all of the way underwater. We were getting into our outrigger to paddle to Big Munson Island and one of my fellow Arrowmen tipped the boat while all of our gear was in it. Luckily, back at the base camp I was able to grab my extra gear. For an adventure on the water, a large waterproof bag is essential.” – Nate Broadhurst, 2013 OAOA Foreman.

“Philmont is a great place but the priority out there is to keep weight down. There are lots of ways to do this and one is not taking so much cookware. I had to carry the group’s pots and pans. I ended up resenting their extra weight, as well as my mess kit even though I had loved it for years. It was not a heavy mess kit but it was bulky. While on the trip, I saw many different eating methods.  Eating with a bowl and spork seemed to work the best. This simple two-part system will get you all you need for a great trip. I got one when I returned from Philmont and I haven’t looked back since.” – John Mark Lampley, 2012 OATC Participant and 2013 Foreman.

“Whether it’s backpacking across New Mexico, sailing in the Caribbean, zip-lining in West Virginia or paddling into Canada at Northern Tier, OAHA treks will completely fill your day. It only makes sense that a lot of what you do, including breakfast, dinner and conversations with your crewmates, happens when the sun goes down. I had a pretty bad flashlight for my trip to OA Trail Crew. It was heavy, took a lot of batteries and took up a lot of space. Luckily, when I got to Philmont, my foreman pulled it out and wouldn’t let me take it but offered me a headlamp instead. That headlamp saved my trip and he let me keep it for the rest of my OAHA adventures.” – David Joyner, 2012 Southern Region Chief.

You can find all of these items and more gear at your local Scout shop or online at scoutstuff.org. Be sure to consult the OAHA website for all the latest info on what to bring and for full gear lists. If you still want to register for the best experience you will ever have, you can sign up at the OAHA website for the limited spots we have left.

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