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The YAK Story

The Youth Adventure Kit (YAK)

In the Spring of 2014 - My wife and I had a brand new scout, headed to scout camp in a few short weeks, and a lengthy packing list.  What do we do?  Where do we go to get everything? Which sleeping bag is the right one, cotton, down or synthetic?  Which compass do we get, mirror or no mirror?  Which mess kit, plastic or aluminum? Bulky towels from home or microfiber? Do we go with plastic ziploc bags or dry bags? What should be in his first aid kit? Waterproof matches or a firestarter? What, what, what  ..... you get my point, because you or the parents for your program feel the same frustration we felt. This frustration lead to our creating the Youth Adventure Kit to specifically ease the frustration parents fell when preparing their youth, not just for scout camp but for any outdoor education or travel need.  

The Youth Adventure Kit is great for:

  • Summer Camp
  • Multi-day Outdoor Education trips
  • Backpacking Camp
  • School Overnight Trips
  • Student International Travel
  • Scout Camp (Goshen anyone?)
  • Camporees


You get my point, if your student is traveling the YAK gets them packed faster. ADVENTURE IS Coming!!!!

Once your student is dropped off with the YAK you and their leaders will be confident they have what they need to be prepared, and it’ll last. 

Because your student is prepared with the proper gear (first aid, warm sleeping bag, comfortable pack), the only thing for you to worry about is if they will remember to write.  You’ll rest easy while they are away, secure in the knowledge they have what they need, and can handle what comes their way. This ease comes because you know they are prepared.  But if they’re NOT prepared, you’ll receive a call that their cotton sleeping bag, the one that was a really good deal is wet, and they need you to bring a replacement. (Not with the YAK you don't)

The Youth Adventure Kit (YAK): Is The Ultimate and ONLY Travel Kit for Students and Youth, The YAK is your student’s basic equipment for adventure. The YAK” is an easy-to-carry kit that includes all the essential gear your student needs to be prepared for school trips, scout camp, backpacking, summer camp, or student travel. Specifically the YAK includes:



The York 70


The YAK starts with our YORK 70L, a multifunction long haul multi-day carrier that will be with student from middle school through High School. The adjustable suspension will grow with your student, ensuring years of use and, adjusting across a wide range of small to large framed hikers. Designed for ages 11 and up, with an adjustable torso between 14" and 21". Our pack can accommodate a middle school student through their first year Scout/backpacker all the way to college, support a scout backpacking trip or a middle school Costa Rican Adventure. The YORK 70 by HMWOutdoors is a comfortable, durable, lightweight (4.4 lbs) long hauler made for summer camp, student travel, camporees, and extended stays in the backcountry.

The York will motivate you, as it does us, to Keep Moving Forward. 

  • Our waist includes an adjustable hip belt length and pad position to maximize comfort during long hikes
  • Lightweight at 4 lbs 4 oz.
  • The York 70 also includes a simple torso adjustment system, adjustable from 14" - 21"
  • Breathable mesh covers contoured, padded shoulder straps
  • Dual aluminum stays support and stabilize the load, transferring it to the hips
  • Forward-pull hip-belt can be easily tightened as kids hike; adjustable sternum strap has a safety whistle built into the buckle
  • Top lid has fleece-lined pockets for phones, electronic gear and sunglasses
  • Lid detaches for use as a lumbar pack for day hikes or side trips
  • Side zip access makes it easy to retrieve buried items inside the main compartment
  • Inner mesh pockets help to keep organized
  • Bottom compartment's access zipper is extra wide to accommodate bulky items, like sleeping bags
  • Buckle-close flaps help compress the load; inner divider separates sleeping bag bottom section from main pack
  • Pack bottom has sleeping pad straps with quick-release buckles
  • Hip-belt has 2 zippered mesh pockets on the hip-belt to keep snacks and other small essentials close at hand
  • Hydration-ready features includes an externally accessible reservoir pocket; sip tube can be routed over either shoulder (water bladder not included)
  • Water bottles can be twist-locked in place in the side pockets; angled pocket openings offer easy access
  • Ice axe loops and daisy chains provide external attachment points for tools and additional gear
  • Side compression straps let kids cinch down to stabilize loads


The HMWOutdoors York 70 is designed to be the only pack your student will ever need from middle school through college.  



The Essentials


A key component of the YAK includes our Essentials kit.  The Ten Essentials are critical whenever you start an outdoor adventure, backpacking, camping or a “simple” day hike.  You might not need each of them on every trip, but in a bind having them may make all the difference.  To complete your essentials just add food, a jacket, and water.


The first Essentials list was created back in the 30s by The Mountaineers, a Seattle-based group for outdoor adventurers and have been adopted by BSA, GSA and other outdoor oriented groups.  The goal was to help people be prepared in different situations, emergencies or otherwise in the outdoors.

In 2003, the list was updated from items to “systems” instead of listing a knife now we think of having tools or instead of a map and compass, think navigation).

The updated "systems" approach made its debut in The Mountaineers’ seminal text on climbing and outdoor exploration, Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (The Mountaineers Books).


  • The YAK Essentials includes
    • Pocket folding blade (please see an important note about the pocket knife)
    • Ultra-bright 1 Watt LED Headlamp (water resistant too, did we mention bright?)
    • 1000ml BPA Free Water Bottle
    • Waterproof Ripstop-nylon Emergency Poncho/Ground Cloth/Improvised Shelter (premium poncho, not the flimsy disposable type)
    • Fire Starter,Magnesium fire starter stick (completely waterproof)
    • Emergency Space Blanket (Check out its many uses)
    • Compass with magnifying glass (Learn to use this and they won't be sorry)
    • First Aid Kit - Individual (Be their own first responder)
    • Tri Decibel Whistle (help =three equal blasts)
    • SPF30 Sunscreen 




The YAK Sleep System


The Celeste 1000 Sleep System combines the Celeste 1000 25° sleeping bag, our heat reflecting foam closed cell sleeping pad and camp pillow.

Celeste 1000 25° F Sleeping Bag

With a relaxed mummy fit, this 3-season synthetic sleeping bag offers excellent compressibility, warmth and value.

  • Rated to keep you or your youth warm down to about 25°F
  • Synthetic polyester "down like" insulation is durable and highly compressible; the fill also retains some insulating ability if it gets wet
  • Loose cover, to prevent cold spots
  • Equally distributed insulation accommodates the multi-position sleeper; mummy shape is thermally efficient, yet roomy enough for sleeping comfort
  • Durable 20D ripstop nylon shell is water- and abrasion-resistant; nylon lining is soft and resists tears
  • Relaxed fit through the shoulders and hips gives room to move
  • Contoured hood, insulated face muffler, roomy footbox and full-length zipper draft tube work together to keep their heat in and that cold out
  • Full-length zipper is backed by wide, anti-snag binding tape
  • Drawcords allow quick hood and neck adjustments in the dark
  • Nylon stuff sack bag included
  • Designed for 10 - 21 year olds
  • Anti-snag zip webbing
  • Included pillow

Weight: 2 lbs 7oz


Celeste 1000 Sleeping Pad

A compact, accordion-style closed-cell-foam pad designed for backpacking and backcountry trips.  Our sleeping pad features an aluminized surface to reflect body heat for a boost in warmth and comfort.

  • Our molded design is constructed with a pattern of dimples and valleys to trap dead air, increasing insulation value
  • Aluminized surface reflects body heat back to your sleeping bag
  • Dimples make this pad softer and more comfortable than smooth closed-cell foam pads
  • HMWOutdoors Celeste 1000 sleeping pad provides a durable layer of insulation that is ideal for 4-seasons of sleeping
  • HMWOutdoors mattress uses an accordion-style design that lies flat instantly and folds up into a small package quickly and easily
  • Closed-cell foam withstands years of use and abuse




The YAK Camper


 The Camper includes those extra items that really aren't extra.  More importantly it's all included.

  • The Camper
    • Mess kit (Plate, bowl, cup, knife, fork, spoon)
    • Travel size Toothbrush/paste (don't let them raid your medicine cabinet)
    • 2oz Campsuds BioDegradable Soap (leave no trace)
    • 1oz Hand Sanitizer (don't get sick because of hygiene)
    • Towel - Wash (S)
    • Towel - Bath (M)
    • Towel - Beach Towel (XL) (leave this at home if there isn't going to be any swimming)
    • 2 - 5L Dry Bag (because it has to stay dry)
    • 2 - 15L Dry Bag (because who wants wet clothing, just because the tent was left open)
    • Camp Games (Checkers, Chess Backgammon)

As you can see, the YAK gear list addresses a significant number items found on any student travel packing list. With the YAK a student would add clothing, snacks, a camera and water and they are ready to go.

Will students need everything found in the YAK? We get this question a lot. The YAK is a toolbox for your student. To reiterate, it just depends on the scenario, they will need different items for different trips. For example:

  • For a school trip, the knife should stay at home
  • For a multi-day trip to a cultural destination where they are staying in hotels, the sleeping system isn't necessary, while the pillow might work out great for the bus
  • For a scout weekend camping trip, the beach towel can stay at home.
  • For a scout summer camp with many hours spent in the lake, the beach towel is perfect
  • For the school overseas trip to Costa Rica, the sleeping system, knife and mess kit can stay at home
  • For the week long outdoor education trip along the Appalachian Trail, the whole kit is just what the teacher asked for (again check with the teacher concerning the knife, we say it's a tool, they might say otherwise) 

The point is, the Youth Adventure Kit is your student's outdoor gear toolbox, ensuring they are prepared. By bundling everything in one kit, we save you time and money. Our kit takes the guesswork out of student adventure packing.  When they open their YAK, and explore it they will love it and you will love that they are prepared.   When they get back from their trip, and had everything they needed (except that one piece of flare they left under the bed), you will love that you invested in their YAK.  5 years from now, when you are dropping them off at the airport for a high school trip to Costa Rica and you know they are capable of carrying everything they need in their  YAK, you will love the investment you made to ensure they were prepared. You and they will love your new YAK.

 The night before the big trip, time is a luxury most of us won’t have. We have said it before but, that’s why the YAK includes everything your student needs to always be ready for their next adventure, just add clothes, water and snacks..

And just imagine how much better you’d feel knowing that their gear packing is DONE, if they could grab the YAK out of their closet, add clothing, and head out the door.

An Investment Every “Parent” with a Traveling Student Should Make

Fortunately, the YAK is quite affordable, especially when you consider that it includes all the core gear and essentials needed for any manner of adventure, will carry your student from middle school through college and frankly doesn't exist anywhere else.

It would take days (or even weeks!) to assemble all of the materials in this kit. That's if you had the time to do all the research. But the fact is, most of us simply don't have the time. So we've done all the legwork for you. All the running around. All the testing. And, if you did put together your own kit, you would spend upward of $800.00 to assemble your own kit. (One person told us it could take over $1000.00)

The best value is the YORK 70L pack designed for ages 11 through college with an adjustable torso between 14" and 21"(4' 6" - 6').  And the backpack is still an excellent value at is only $129 for a pack your student won't outgrow.

 And as you know, all of us here at HMWOutdoors take great pride in the products we offer. We want to make sure you are totally satisfied with your purchase, which is why we are offering a full Guarantee on the YAK, you tell us what's wrong and we fix it.

 Remember: Your student has many years of adventure in front of them. Make sure they have the gear they need for whatever adventure comes their way. Don't get caught running from store to store. I sincerely hope you will make a lasting investment and get prepared today.

First, select a version of the YAK you would like (and how many). Then go ahead and complete the ordering process. We use totally secure SSL servers and your privacy is 100% guaranteed. Please click on the link below to order now.

P.S. “Mommy, my sleeping bag got wet and stayed that way all week.” These are words you probably never want to hear... but it’s not hard to imagine it you picked a heavy weight cotton sleeping bag. We have done the heavy lifting to select the right gear, for your students next and future adventures. Make sure they are prepared for their next adventure -- get your YAK today.