This topic contains 18 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Jim Crowe 1 week, 4 days ago.
May 24, 2016 at 3:34 pm #53771
I was surprised and a bit shocked to discover that the venerable Patrol-sized cook set with the nesting pots, lids, plates, cups, and the handy lid that doubled as a fry pan was no longer available from BSA suppliers. Everything I saw on Scoutstuff.org was high tech, two person, or light-camping gear.
Are we to infer that the BSA no longer supports cooking by patrol? That seems quite odd since Baden Powell was such a huge supporter of the Patrol as the basic unit of Scouting.
It wouldn’t be so tough if other suppliers picked up the slack, but the closest I could find to a multi-pot set with a frying pan lid was something from Amazon for $60 that did not seem quite as sturdy. (Oh eBay has “vintage” sets but most are a little too “vintage” for our tastes and many are not complete). I’ll keep searching, of course, but it seems like a conscious decision on the part of BSA Supply to stop supporting patrol cooking. What do you all think?
May 24, 2016 at 5:03 pm #53773
Our troop went with a very handy nesting cook kit made out of stainless steel. It was found in a website for boaters cooking equipment. We have had them several years now and find them to be just about perfect. The cost a couple of years ago was around $110.
May 26, 2016 at 11:59 am #53800
I don’t think the BSA Supply Division made a conscious decision to stop supporting patrol cooking so much as they made a decision to stop carrying a product that wasn’t selling. No one was buying the kits, so they phased them out. There are a host of other options available out there, in better materials such as stainless, for a lower cost.
From what I’ve seen in my personal experience and from reading forum posts around online, most troops don’t use the plates or cups that were included as they have each Scout bring his own personal mess kit. The coffee / cocoa pot and lid aren’t as necessary anymore with the advent of instant mix powders when you have a regular pot for boiling water.
So why pay $80 or more for a kit that includes items that aren’t needed? Amazon and other retailers have alternatives such as a Stansport stainless kit with all the same cooking items (pots, pans, lids) minus the plates and kettle for right around $50.
I’d love to be able to buy the old kits as well but the other problem with those kits were they didn’t really support a full patrol cooking. There’s only 4 plates and cups, while the ideal patrol size is 8 and some can have as many as 10.
If the goal is to be able to outfit a patrol of up to 10 boys with everything they need (eliminating mess kits from regular camping personal gear), then it would be more economical to buy one of the aftermarket cook kits along with the necessary plates, bowls, cups and utensils for 10 Scouts. Just my opinion though.
In the end, National Supply’s decision to do anything is almost always based on money. if troops just weren’t buying those kits anymore, then there was no need to keep producing and selling them.
June 2, 2016 at 6:28 pm #53978
The Patrol cook sets suffer the same flaw as the “personal mess kit”…. way too many pieces that serve no purpose or are rarely needed, but sure do get in the way and end up laying all around the (limited) cooking area at camp. I can only guess that this is why they weren’t selling.
They were also a bear to clean. We threw a PILE of cook-pieces away a few camping trips ago. We got tired of the troop trailer being inundated with “parts” getting in the way. We don’t miss them at all.
June 7, 2016 at 12:49 pm #54066
As I was in the process of rebuilding a Troop I became Scoutmaster for a few years ago, I wanted to get the good old aluminum Patrol Cook Set from Scoutstuff.org. When I was pricing everything, it was on the site, but by the time I went to order, they were gone, never to be seen again.
I ended up ordering the “Stansport stainless steel family cook set” from amazon. They usually fluctuate in price from $50 to $75. This is a surprisingly good cook set although I wish it cam with one more handle and another lid. It’s easier to cook with than the aluminum patrol set as well.
November 11, 2016 at 10:35 pm #59058
We still have the old cooksets in our troop, but just as I remember using them 40 years ago when I was a Scout, they’re a pain to clean and the cooking surface of plain aluminum is WAAAAAY outdated. In our troop, I’ve observed the boys abhor cooking because they KNOW how badly it’s going to turn out with the old cookware.
Why not go with more modern cookware that will ENTICE boys to cook, and cook WELL instead of burn and stick everything that comes into contact with the old school stuff. Another Eagle ASM and I are on a mission to get this garbage out of our patrol boxes and enter into the 21st century with decent cookware. Sure the special cook surfaces (Teflon, etc) have to be afforded extra care so as to not scratch them (e.g., need to use appropriate cooking utinsels and take more care packing them). I think the boys will respond with this added responsibility to take care of good equipment if they want to have good cooking experiences and LESS time in KP duty, scrubbing out burned on food they could have eaten had it not burned on the cookware!
Why doesn’t National Supply work a deal with some of the modern and efficient camping cookware manufacturers (GSI and MSR) to make some of their 4-person cooksets expanded in size and functionality to fit our patrol needs (8-10 persons without the plates, cups, and other items not needed)? A few good pots, a large and medium skillets, griddle, and handles – all packaged in a collapsable packing structure that can be used as wash basins. AND, they must be able to sell individual pieces in open-stock so troops can replace lost, broken, or damaged pieces (life happens) when needed. THAT’S the progress I’d like to see in Scouting – some basic improvements in basic camping gear.
November 16, 2016 at 3:30 pm #59263
Agree with you all, have old sets (well pieces of said). Have spent a good amount of time looking for alternatives. The Stansport stainless kit looks OK, but does not have the ability to hang over fire which I feel is core to scouting and honestly those pot holders never work fantastic, get lost, too short and who cooks with one pan at a time anyway.
I did find Primus Campfire Cook set on amazon Large set $84 which includes 2 pots with strainer lids and 8″ frying pan, REI caries as well (for more $) with full description…Frying pan includes an integral foldaway handle and aluminum clad bottom for even heat distribution, Large pot has a foldaway bail handle and can be suspended over an open fire; smaller pot includes a foldaway pot lifter. I thinking of putting this into the large old scout pot and only use that for boiling water. The locking feature of that pot is hard to replace. Open Country Weekender 6-Person Cook Set looks VERY similar to the old scout set, amazon $60.
November 18, 2016 at 6:51 am #59315
I cook on coals, so suspension is never a consideration. Pot grabbers are your friend.
What’s a real shame: back in the day, my friends in metal shop would spin whatever shape bowl I wanted.
December 8, 2016 at 9:14 am #59899
Are you still interested in a Patrol Trial Set, (Official Boy Scout nested Pots and Pan)…
I have a few sets you may be interested in, They are Steel and Clean…
Call me, 931-583-0319
January 30, 2017 at 7:20 am #61983
As an active scouter for over 47 years; a scouter who used the awful aluminum cooksets as a scout and a scoutmaster. I say good riddance. These sets are horrible!
Now, to your point of patrol cooking. Patrols can cook with whatever equipment the troop has. You don’t need official BSA cookware.
Come on, think outside the box!
February 9, 2017 at 8:05 am #62512
Interesting thead. I have been camping over 50 years. I miss the availablility of the old style kits. I am not saying anyone’s opinion or experience is wrong but growing up I did not have any of the problems you all did. My troop growing up had six sets. Extra plates and cups were purchased – available separately – to fill out the set for a patrol of eight. We seldom used all at once but usually would use all at least once a weekend. We were taught to soap the outside to make easier to clean and also taught how to use without burning or sticking. Plug to my adult and senior Scouts – we were real good at cooking. Beware of stainless. It gets hot spots where things can stick in kettles and the outside will char just like the aluminum. All cleaning challenges. One thing that works really well, thou will not be cheap is a wide ranging set of cast iron. Good cast iron, not cheap stuff. Griddle, large and small fry pan, stovetop style dutch oven with lid (handle optional). Easy to use, cooks fast and even, easy to clean and care for.
February 9, 2017 at 8:05 am #62513
Interesting thread. I’ve been Scout camping over 50 years. Growing up my Troop had six nesting sets. They were fitted for patrols of eight. We bought extra plates and cups – available separately. Your opinions and experiences are not wrong, but I never had any of them. We never used all every time, but ususally used all pieces at least once a weekend. We were taught to soap the outside and how to cook without burning the inside. (A plug to my adult and senior Scout leaders – we were real good cooks.) Cleaning wasn’t really an issue. But, beware stainless. It gets hot spots and can burn inside and the outside will still char on wood fire, soot on gas. You might try cast iron. But I strongly recommend good cast iron, not cheap. A griddle, large and small fry pan (10&8) and stovetop style dutch oven with lid should fit most meal needs. Easy to use, hard to burn, easy to clean and care for. Just some thoughts.
March 11, 2017 at 9:59 pm #64596
Campmor used to make these for supply division, but it looks like they no longer carry the line. I glad I still have mine and that we have about 40 used sets in our warehouse at the Scout Service Center in Orem
May 30, 2017 at 8:55 am #70592
This is an interesting thread. I have a love/hate relationship with these sets. Our boys did use the plates and cups pretty often, and usually boiled water for hot chocolate in the coffee pot, but I was steering them away from cooking in them from the beginning of my time as a scoutmaster. A properly seasoned dutch oven will cook virtually any thing you may want, and do it much better than these aluminum pans (and likely most any other pan you might want to buy). The dutch’s fit right on a Camp Chef two burner stove, or you could go more traditional and use coals or your camp fire. If treated right, clean-up is really easy as well. Our boys learned to really like cooking on these (at least some did). However, there is really nothing like that big aluminum pot from the nested set to boil water for the rest of the dishes.
May 30, 2017 at 8:55 am #70521
I like the discussion and agree with most of the comments – pro and con. That said, the utility of the older sets was hard to beat. These sets held up for years and covered almost all of our cooking needs as a scout and now as and adult. A lot of cooking capacity in a small package.
However, compared with the quality of the sets sold in the 60’s and 70’s, the more recent sets were not of very good quality and I believe contributed to them not selling. To stock out our new field kitchens, I found five NIB Trail Chef Cook sets from the sixties and seventies on e-bay and purchased them for my Troop over a couple of years. They work great, but are a challenge to clean. I believe BSA should re-engineer a set for today consistent with the thoughts shared by Bobby. Cooking as a patrol reinforces the patrol method (one of the most critical of the methods of Scouting) and develops skills Scouts will use for the rest of their lives. BSA should make cooking as a patrol easier with the right equipment.
While personally a fan of the old 60’s / 70’s set, I strongly believe in cast iron for the pan. When we cleared out all the old stuff from the kitchens that were in service for two decades, the only item consistently remaining in usable service, were the cast iron skillets. A 8″ or 10″ cast iron skillet provides lots of options and care is minimal. Add in a dutch oven and most of the messy cooking needs are handled.
June 6, 2017 at 9:02 am #71007
The old steel kits were much better for all kinds of heat sources and for all levels of cooking skill. And we could get replacement parts when someone lost a lid.
Having one standard chef kit was a help in boys learning to care for their equipment.
Aluminum does not transfer heat well and is much harder to cook with.
I would be in favor of Supply bringing out the original item in steel vs. aluminum and standardizing this item once again to support patrol cooking and patrol quartermastering. Yes, it would be good to have a good price point, but with quality, they last for ever and with replacement parts, they last even longer.
Maybe Supply could go retro for a limited time only.
June 28, 2017 at 8:35 am #72157
We are getting ready to ditch the old aluminum sets. The coated skillet was long ago replaced with cast. We are going to try out the high praised Magma nested stainless kits to supplement our cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens.
August 1, 2017 at 9:09 am #73820
Has anyone found a good source for replacement pots? Open Country has 2 and 4 quart pots on sale, but they have a non-stick coating. If it’s anodized I’m OK – but I worry it’s on sale because its a coating and they are phasing it out. Stansport and Texsport have SS sets. To be clear, I’m looking for something specifically for patrol-style backpacking. Our troop has separate car-camp “Patrol” cook boxes. When planning a trek the cookmaster(s) check out a car-camp or backpacking cook box, and should have everything he needs for up to 8 scouts.
November 8, 2017 at 2:46 pm #77432
I think the discussion is missing the point. If the scout shops are supporting the program why did they stop carrying items which support the patrol method. Some troops to not have the adult resources to search for items needed to support the program. Cook kits are just a symptom of the problem with Scout Supply. As a troop quartermaster with six patrols, I found it difficult to maintain all the equipment. I had come rely on the stamp of BSA of approval on equipment. There are consumables, sanitization tablets, binders twine, scrub buckets, fire grates, lost and damaged patrol chef kits parts. I had found that for dining flys and poles damaged in use it was easier just to order them from BSA. I think of my time wasted looking for items for the patrols now, since BSA no longer carries these items, since all the items that used to be available seem to have gone away.
I think BSA National supply has lost sight of the goals of supporting the program at the troop level in the name of “profit”.