This list below is not an exhaustive list but it does cover the major items of equipment that need to be considered when planning the campsite.
Start with the Site design
Pull up your last Group Jamboree site plan. For the 22nd Jamboree the site size will be approx. the same as the previous one, around 700 sqm. At this stage you may not know the shape of your site. The following topics will affect the design:
- The size, type and number of tents used for the Patrols and adults, include the female/male split.
- If using a container for transporting gear, where on the site will you put it and which way will the doors open?
- What are you using for the dining shelter? A marquee or a large tent?
Plan for 1m spacing between sleeping tents, 1.5m from site Boundary. Tents must be 3m away from Marquees, store or kitchen tents. This will be confirmed less than 12 months out from the start of the Jamboree.
Many Troops hire large marquees for their dining shelter. There is some benefit in this as these large structures stand up to storms extremely well and can double as a dormitory if the weather turns really sour. But take into account the size – do you really need a marquee that big? The cost of hireage is high, but there is no transport cost getting it to and from the site. Ensure you lodge your site plan with the hire company as the marquee will already be erected when you get to site and usually the hire contracts prohibit you from moving them.
An alternative is to use a very robust 6m x 6m, 9m x 6m or 12m x 3m standard centre pole type tent. These tents can withstand strong winds by adding storm lashing (extra guy ropes and pegs). Raising the funds to buy one of these tents means the Group has the use of the tent all the year round and for the next 10 years if it’s looked after well.
Tables and chairs
Outfitting the dining tent is also a significant cost. Depending on the distance involved in travelling to the Jamboree, it may be better to buy suitable tables and forms for seating and have them available for all Group camps. But take into account the cost of moving them.
Some Troops hire plastic type flooring that clips together like a jigsaw. It keeps the floor of the dining room dry in wet weather and stops the dust in dry weather. Others use polythene sheeting and old carpet to achieve the same effect. Yet again, others simply use the grass, and air the dining room out daily so the grass doesn’t die.
Unless you live in the same town as the Jamboree, don’t rely on using your own gas bottles. Transport regulations make it nigh on impossible to legally transport 9kg or bigger gas bottles.
The Jamboree will have an arrangement for hireage of gas bottle on site.
Good lighting is required for the dining shelter as this doubles as a community and meeting centre when not being used for meals. LED lighting has changed a lot of the years with smaller brighter version that require little battery power.
Patrol and Leader tents
There are a variety of battery operated ’LED’ and fluorescent lanterns available that are safe to use in sleeping tents. A large number of spare batteries will be required over the 10 days or so of the camp. Do not consider using gas lanterns.
The most effective lights are probably the LED headband type. Alternatively, an LED torch will do. A solar powered or dynamo torch will negate the need for batteries.
More and more troops are using portable solar panel to charge their batteries/phone etc during the day.
A 10-day camp really requires adequate tentage per patrol to allow for the substantial amount of personal gear to be stored if 5 or 6 people are sleeping in the tent for an extended period. It is desirable, but not essential, that the whole Patrol sleeps in one tent, with the exception of female Scouts from each patrol who get together and sleep in a tent of their own. Leaders of course must sleep in their own tents and never share a tent with youth members.
Continental external frame tent
Currently the most popular tent seems to be the 15’ x 12’ external frame continental type with a sewn in floor and front awning. The advantage of the external frame tent is that it’s relatively easy to add storm lashings in order to stabilise the tent during windy weather. They are made of canvas and must be dried thoroughly before storage to avoid damage by rot and mildew.
The modern lightweight dome type tents are becoming popular but a slight disadvantage is they are not as robust as canvas tents and provide less shelter from heat and cold. They are generally made of synthetic cloth and being lightweight, this usually means the zips too which can become a problem.
Centre pole tent
A third option is the original 12’ x 12’ or 18’ x 12’ Kiwi centre pole tent that has stood the test of time. They are easy to storm lash, and don’t have sewn in floor so a ground sheet is needed. The main advantage of these tents is that they can be reduced in height in high winds simply by removing the bottom half of each tent pole and shortening the guy ropes. A second advantage is that the sides can be lifted and the floor rolled up to air the ground and stop the grass rotting. However, like the continental tent, they are made of canvas and need to be dried thoroughly before packing and storage to avoid rot and mildew.
All of these tent types suffer irrevocable damage from deodorant and sunblock sprays. We, therefore, strongly recommend that only roll on deodorants and sunblocks be permitted and this is enforced as a safety issue.
The kitchen and dining room is really the heart of the campsite. It is also the most significant factor in maintaining a camp free of illness caused by stomach trouble. In essence, hygiene and safety are absolutely critical.
A few Groups have developed mobile kitchens costing many thousands of dollars that make cooking and the work of achieving a high standard of hygiene and safety relatively simple. The kitchens are often in demand in the local community and may form part of the Civil Defence resources should they ever be needed.
On the other hand, they have to be stored somewhere secure, the trailer maintained, registered and insured. Towing the kitchen to the Jamboree is a major cost, especially if a ferry trip is involved. They may also be too big to cater for a small Jamboree Troop.
Troops who have hired a marquee usually partition part of the space off and use that as a kitchen. Some use a standard centre pole 18’ x 12’ tent located at the end of the dining tent. Others build a custom tubular metal frame and put a heavy duty polythene tarpaulin over it.
Airtight storage containers for food are vital. Take a selection with you.
Refer to the
Camp Kitchens and fires document in the Training Resource files on the Scout Website for detailed information about camp kitchens.
A water heater that delivers a constant supply of hot water is invaluable. It’s needed for washing pans, dishes, tables, vegetables and hands. Troops use a variety of devices ranging from solar panels to gas rings, or gas instant heaters with an electric starter operated by a truck battery.
NOTE: No generators are permitted on site.
The table below describes a modern hot water system that is cheap to run and provides instant hot water on demand. The set-up costs may be a bit high, but it certainly seems worthwhile and could be used for all Group events.
|Build a bench top with a sink inserted in it and mount it at a height suitable for the Scouts to use|
|On the back of the bench top and above the sink, mount a gas powered instant hot water heater. It should include an electric starter as well as an on /off switch fitted beside the heater.|
|Place a 210 litre plastic drum beside the bench top to hold the water supply.|
|Fit an electric water pump to the water line connecting the water drum to the water heater. A camper van pump should do the job.|
|Fit a 9kg gas bottle to the Water Heater. This will last a Troop of 42 more than 9 days if disposable plates are used.|
|Use a truck battery to drive the pump and start the water heater. It will last more than 9 days and will also recharge cell phones and run a kitchen light.|
|Turn the pump on to run cold water into the sink. Flick the heater switch to ignite the gas and run boiling hot water into the sink through the same tap.|
Get expert advice on the connections etc to ensure that the heater only operates when the pump is running.
For a simple and effective low-tech water heater, refer to the ‘Camp Kitchens and fires’ document in the Training Resource files on the Scout Website.
Plates and cutlery
It has been observed on many occasions that Troops using disposable plates seldom have health or sickness issues during the camp.
These Troops tend to keep a stock of stainless steel cutlery and robust cups in the troop store and use these for the Jamboree and for Scout Group events. They are easy to clean, can be left to dry (covered) after each meal and then stored in a vermin proof container.
Alas, damp and unclean tea towels that are used by the Scouts to dry the plates and cutlery they bring to camp don’t do a lot to enhance the hygiene standard during a long-term camp. Use the tea towels for one meal only, then soak in a sanitizer solution.
Duty Patrol can rinse then hang the tea towels out to dry the next day. Do not allow the scouts to put their tea towels back into their ditty bags.
After meals, scouts scrape their leftovers into a provided scrap bin.
Then use a paper towel to wipe the residue off the plate.
This will then reduce the amount of food residue in the washing up water and lessen the likelihood of the washing up water becoming a pig swill.
Wash in one sink, then rinse in a clean mild sanitiser solution.
This is not a problem, it really isn’t. Doing their own washing is a life skill the Scouts need to learn. Here’s how you can do it.
- Each patrol acquires an empty 20 litre paint pail and lid. Actually, a Chlorine pail with a screw lid works quite well as the lid is easier to remove.
- The Scout puts the dirty clothes in the pail.
- Add some cold wash powder, cold water and the lid.
- Roll the pail around on the ground for 5 minutes (It’s a game guys!).
- Empty out the dirty (grey) water, rinse the clothes and hang them out to dry.
- All done.
To increase the efficiency of the device, screw two smooth wooden battens 20mm x 15mm x 300mm long inside the pail to act as beaters similar to an agitator washing machine.
Some Troops take old washing machines to camp and power them with a bicycle, or a hand operated agitator. They are ingenious, require maintenance, are bulky to transport but they do work and the Scouts have a lot of fun and turn it into a competition.
Another way just requires some washing up bowls. Line them up in three’s. Wash / Rinse / Rinse.
Water collection and disposal
There are two issues related to this topic. Collection of fresh water and disposal of dirty water (grey water). Both involve trolleys to hold the drums used to collect the fresh water from a nearby tap, and a similar trolley to take the strained grey water to the gully trap.
The nearest tap is usually within 50 metres of each camp site. A 4-wheel trolley to hold one or two water containers of say 20 litres is best as bigger containers will pose a weight problem for the smaller scouts when decanting the water. The trolley also has to be of a weight that two Scouts can manage to comfortably pull without injuring themselves or anyone else around them.
Grey water disposal
Waste (grey) water needs to be strained at your campsite before transportation to the gully trap.
Use cheesecloth or large chux cloths over a sieve or funnel to strain the food particles (then dispose of the cloths in the rubbish).
The disposal issue poses a hygiene problem as the grey water has to be tipped or decanted into a gulley trap usually within 50 to 100 metres from the camp site. The concern is that small Scouts sometimes have difficulty controlling the emptying process and grey water is spilt around the gulley trap instead of in it. This of course attracts flies and generates mud around the gulley trap.
Some troops build a steel or aluminium container on a trolley that fits beneath the kitchen sink top so the waste water drains into the drum through a 50mm or bigger screw top.
A 50mm drain pipe is added to the bottom of the drum and a cap or tap fitted to it. The pipe needs to be long enough to allow the waste water to drain in to the gulley trap which is generally about 200mm above ground.
Food collection trolley
Traditionally Jamborees set up a large warehouse where Duty Patrols collect the food for each meal and take it back to the campsite.
Most Troops build or buy a steerable 4-wheel trolley with about 200mm diameter inflatable wheels that two Scouts from the Duty Patrol can tow to the warehouse and back again with the food for the next meal. The distance involved can be a long as 1 km on grass or gravel roads, so bearings for the axles, and sides on the deck of the trolley are necessary.
Fences are recommended around each campsite. This is to mark the boundaries of the site to help keep the foot traffic down and also to help give each Troop some privacy. You don’t want people taking a short cut through your campsite, especially if there is sickness elsewhere at the event.
The fences need not be elaborate and most settle for say 20 electric fence pigtail standards and 100 metres of light cord, possibly 6mm polyrope or similar. The equipment should be suitable for all Troop camps and will last for a number of years if stored correctly.
Troops attending a Jamboree are encouraged to build a gateway to help identify the site.
The gateway is a trade-off between being impressive and yet being able to be built by the Scouts under the supervision of the leaders. An example is shown here.
Any specific requirements for the gateways such as maximum height will be advertised.
The gateway competition is part of the overall Jamboree fun and a great place to display your camping standard pennants.
A flagpole is optional, but the majority of Troops do erect one. The Flag Break ceremony is used to provide a formal start of the day’s activities.
The flag pole doesn’t need to be elaborate, but it does need to be smart looking and with minimal guy ropes as a Jamboree campsite is fairly tight in terms of space. The maximum height of a flagpole will be advised to Jamboree Troop Leaders.
Make sure you have spare tent poles, guy ropes, pegs and 6mm rope to make a clothesline, with enough space for at least 46 47 shirts and 47 pairs of socks etc – per day.
Clothes containers vs packs
Now here’s a potentially contentious issue. Scouts traditionally go to camp with a back pack in which to store all their personal gear. That’s great if you are moving across the country and staying at a different location each night.
But what about 7 and 9 day camps that you travel to on a plane or bus and then stay put?
Bus drivers and the airlines love it when a party of people turn up with the same sized rectangular containers full of gear that are easy to stack. But wait for the next bit.
If each of your Scouts arrive at camp with a waterproof plastic container that fits under their camp stretcher, imagine how much room in the tent is saved? And if it rains all night, who cares? Their clothes and sleeping bags will remain dry. Think about it. Tradition or practicality? Your call.
Ah yes, or inflatable air beds. It really comes down to expense, transport and storage and also depends on the floor of the tent they will be in.
Folding Stretchers that are at least 350mm above the ground
Robust and excellent for storing plastic clothes containers under, but are more expensive, heavier and take up more space in a transport container. Some Troops use two tier bunks and save even more space, but Scouts will be Scouts and bunks may not be appropriate depending on the size and weight of your scouts.
Lightweight stretchers with wire legs
Some are not so robust, especially if a rough and tumble happens in a sleeping tent. You cannot store containers under them, but they can be strapped to a back pack if needed.
Very practical, will fit inside a pack if needed, but puts the Scout at risk of wet gear if very wet weather occurs and the site floods slightly.
And if the weather turns cold, that cold is transmitted from the ground through the air in the air bed. So add an insulation mat to the kit list if you choose air beds, and also a pump and repair kit.