Moving and transporting personal gear to and from the Island is a very complex process. A typical Scout's gear typically follows this path to get to the Scout Barracks.
- The gear travels in a car/trailer from the Saturday morning meeting point to the Star Line parking lot in Mackinaw City.
- The gear is unloaded from the car/trailer and staged in Star Line's parking lot.
- It is then loaded from the parking lot staging area onto a cart.
- The cart is hauled behind a tram from the staging area to ferry. (Scoutmasters from the Troop accompany the gear from this point until it gets to its final destination.)
- The cart is loaded on a ferry.
- The ferry transports the gear to Mackinac Island. (NOTE: Star Lines keeps the luggage carts near the stern of the ferry, where they can be exposed to high winds and elements.)
- The luggage can then be unloaded from the cart and loaded on to a dray (flatbed wagon pulled by horse).
- The dray travels approximately 3/4 of a mile from the boat dock, up several hills, and finally to the Scout Barracks.
- The personal gear is then unloaded from the dray and stacked behind the Scout Barracks building for the Scout to come and claim when the Troop arrives to the Barracks.
- The Scout then carries his personal gear up a flight of stairs, where it stays near his bunk for the remainder of the week.
When the Troop departs from the Island the following Saturday, that process is reversed.
Over the years, we have found footlockers work the best for transportation for a number of reasons: footlockers protect the Scout's gear from the elements, they stack well on the carts and drays, a Scout can usually keep all of his personal gear in a single footlocker, the footlocker can be secured (if desired), and a Scout can personalize his footlocker to differentiate his footlocker from other Scouts.
Scouts in previous years have used suitcases, backpacks, and etc. While backpacks and suitcases can work, they do not stack as well, and oftentimes the gear can shift in all of the different methods of transport.
The Troop has a restriction on Scouts trying to use garbage bags to pack personal gear, sleeping bags, etc. Garbage bags almost always shift in transport. They can also tear. Scouts in the previous years have actually lost gear packed in garbage bags when gusts of wind carried them off the back of the ferry and into the water. NO GARBAGE BAGS.
Under normal circumstances, a Scout will not see his personal gear after it is staged in Mackinaw City, until several hours later at the Scout Barracks on the Island.
Heavy-duty plastic footlockers can be purchased for less than $50 at a variety of different places including Amazon and Walmart. If a Scout is planning on participating with the Mackinac troop for a number of years, a footlocker is definitely a good investment.
- Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Plano-Heavy-Duty-Sportsmans-Trunk-Grey/dp/B017N98OGC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533996072&sr=8-1&keywords=plano+footlocker
- Walmart - https://www.walmart.com/ip/Sterilite-40-Gal-151-L-Wheeled-Industrial-Tote-Black-Available-in-a-Case-of-2-or-Single-Unit/48194359