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Tents, what to look for

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  • Tents, what to look for

    Every year we have cub scout families that got cold and wet while family camping....
    Every Year we hold a gear clinic as to what to buy. No matter the folks income level the first thing a scout or family buys is a tent.......Why is that?????

    I will start out with my main recommendation, please add yours.

    No portable mansions....keep foot print smaller than 10x10.
    Full fly including front....It will keep you warmer and dryer than with out.
    Simple pole configurations....

  • #2
    Cub camping??? Tents??? ... I'm just glad when they camp. My recommendation is bring what you have. Don't go buying a new tent for cub camping. Boy scouts would be a different answer.

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    • #3
      I think folks buy a tent because what are the icons that camping represent to most folks? Tents, Sleeping Bags, and Camp fires. A lot of folks already have a kiddie sleeping bag from sleepovers and lock-ins. And cheap tents are available and seem like pretty good deals.

      I agree that steering folks away from giant tents is good but really if in cubs they need to house Mom, Dad, Scout and sibling with air mattress and all that they will get pretty big.

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      • #4
        For a family of 4 a 10x10 tent is small. I see no problems with mansion tents. If the cubs help their folks out setting up mansions, setting up scout tents will be a piece of cake.

        I agree 110% about the fly and the pole configurations.

        I would just recommend that the family get a tent. If they are inexperienced, it might be best if they bought a cheap tent to figure out what they really need.

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        • #5
          I always giggle inside when the families bring their 3 bedroom condo's camping. And, yes even my CC gets some razzing from me when she brings the McMansion, and she's a veteran camper she should know better.

          Even if my families buy a cheap tent, we can make it work with a good tight fly.

          I always recommend bringing warm layers for colder camping and at least a hat. I also tell them to bring blankets from the house instead of going out and investing in all the gear. I do like to remind them it's taken me 7 years to get to the point I'm at with my gear and I'm still changing and improving it. Of course,I can't convince them that a smaller tent is actually a warmer tent. They'll figure it out soon enough!

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          • #6
            As a CSDL who camps in a condo now, I must remind ya that Cub Camping is Family Camping.

            With 5 of us camping, there is a reason why I have a mansion.

            Now next year on the Webelos den camp outs.... I'm either busting out the Eureka 2 man for oldest and I, or make him carry it and I go under the stars.


            HMMMM just realized that it seems my unit number is tied to foul weather: snow storms, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, hail, etc. Guess I'll be under a tarp.

            As what to look for, enough space for the family, adequate rain fly coverage, and a bathtub bottom.

            I would also recommend setting it up prior to the camping,and putting another layer of waterproofing.

            EDITED: forgot to add that like OTN, I also take a lad from Green Bar Bill and tell them how to use stuff around their own house before buying.(This message has been edited by Eagle92)

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            • #7
              I used to hate the mansions...well, I still do , but see them as a necessary evil.

              If I do not buy a hammok, I wiull buy a mansion just for the fact I can set a cot in there and a chair too. I'm tired of the sore back I get from hunching over to put on a shirt or that para-breakdance move that I do when putting on pants: First you lay on your back and stick your feet straight up. Then try to put your pants on. But your arms a a bit too short, so you assume a ski jump stance - just flat on your back.
              Then as your pants are bunched up around your thigfhts, you put your feet down and arch your back like a backwards inchworm. Still, after all that, you really can't zip and button your pants until you step outside your tent!

              So what to look for?

              Poles that are connected by shock cord! Seen ttoo many foilks drive 2 hours to camp and start setting up at dusk only to find out they are missing one piece of pole. THese graphite poles are springy and absorb quite a bit of stress so all stress is absorbed at the pole instead of the fabric tearing some where.

              Tub style flooring. This way, you do not have to worry about correctly putting a tarp under your tent. I only put a tarp under my tent when the ground is very rough, roots, or if I think the ground will freeze. Rain? Nah, not an issue.

              Rain fly! Make sure it covers past all openings and windows. The bigger the better. I also bring an extra tarp with me that I use as a secondary rainfly. It stays at least 1 foot off my tent. This also halps with blocking some heat and blocks out quite a bit of the lioght from a full moon.


              I would also say that you cut the size rating in half. My four man tent is really only a 2 1/4 man tent. By the time you toss in two back packs of clothing and personal toiletries, it is more of a 1 7/8ths man tent.

              After figuring out the size from the previous example, try to only go as big as you have too.

              Nothing worse than goping to a pack campout and having 24 mansions that take up the whole camp. Then you find out that half of them only have one person in them. And the tuaght lines are criss crossing each other like a DMZ barrier!

              Don't worry about getting a camo or forrest looking colored tent. You are not going to make the natural wildlife feel any better after having a bunch of scouts running around whooping and hollering all day. Trust me, the color of your tent is at the bottom of the list of things that could disturb the animals!

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