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How many to a tent?

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  • How many to a tent?

    I realize there are many different ways everyone does this, so I was just wondering. I can discuss this in another thread, but we are starting a new Troop.

    Do you allow single tents, prefer two to a tent, or 3 or more is the rule?
    One thing driving this discussion is the fact we would like to become a more backpack type program.

    Future ASM and I decided that since we are just starting up, it would be best if everyone provided their own tent. Sounds great till you start thinking of the logistics and money involved. We are used to 2 boys to a tent, plopping out of the trailer. While that is ok some times, they want to get away from it for the most part.
    My boys want single tents but they are ok with two person tents (But really prefer single tents). For me,two 2 person tents would run me cheaper than 3 singles (Of course that depends on things).

    We do not need recomendation on what tents to get, just which type to get as far as sleep capacity. Is this a Troop made rule or are there safety reasons to stay away from single tents. Those that do single tents, are there special considerations to consider and how much does it take away from the Patrol identity (If it does)? Why do you prefer one situation to another? Also, the boys have pretty much ruled out 3 or more to a tent.

  • #2
    Give the boys a chance they will figure it out........

    Sometimes we have three in a four man tent....sometimes just one...... There is a point when guys will say they want to tent by quickly passes in my experience....It is much more fun to tent with a buddy or two......

    4 guys in a 4 man tent is very tight....again they will learn and self regulate

    So why do you feel the need to forbid a guy from sleeping by himself????


    • #3
      Sorry by the way, I tend to ask questions, then do research. Just found a good one on this very subject.

      "So why do you feel the need to forbid a guy from sleeping by himself???? "

      I do not have a problem with it. We were looking at singles today and saw a 3 man that the boys liked. After they talked awhile they decided to go single. But, that got them to thinking about maybe going two in one 2man and one in another 2 man. Then they got to thinking that someone might want to pair up in the one that went solo in a 2 man (Some of these guys are not gonna want to buy a tent, and they gave various logical reasons)and they do not want someone tearing up their tent. Which took us back to singles.

      Then my wife mentions that she thought that tenting with a buddy sounded more fun. Once again the wheels started turning. Its been back and forth all day. While they are thinking I am shopping around and looking on ebay and such.

      A little information, we will have up to 8 boys starting next month. In March we plan on taking in 8 of the 10 in the WEB2.(This message has been edited by bigbovine)


      • #4
        I have found with Webelos, that the trouble goes up exponentially as you add more boys. That is, A 4 man tent isn't 2x as much trouble as a 2 man tent... It's about 8x as much trouble.

        This may very well differ with older, more mature scouts. But for younger ones, I would advocate 2 man tents.


        • #5
          With younger guys, I really prefer 2 or 3 man tents with 2 guys in it. Have had a few of the younger ones get totally freaked out on a first couple of campouts when they hear a coyote howling or an elk bugling and they do better if someone else in in the tent with them.

          even when backpacking, my boys prefer 2 man tents with one of them carrying the poles and one of them carrying the tent itself and then sleeping together in the tent. then they have the buddy system going on, as well as sharing the load. When they went on the cold weather backpacking, they had someone to share body heat and keep an eye on each other for hyperthermia and such. In the heat if it's very hot they just don't carry a tent at all, just a lightweight tarp each and make do that way.

          They tend to also share camp stoves and cooking equipment and food and water. one carries the stove one carries the pots. the smaller guy carries less water, the bigger guy carries more water. it all works out.


          • #6
            Here's the rule of thumb my troop used:

            size of tent as advertised / 2 = Number of folks and gear

            My troop used 4 man tents with 2 people in them for the most part. Ocassionally you had a 3rd.


            • #7
              For car camping, I think that 4-man tents are the most versatile, fitting 2-3 scouts. (We have separate tents available for backpacking).


              • #8
                We have a mix of 2 man and we have 2 four man tents.

                I like to sleep when we camp. 4 boys to a tent makes that more difficult, and harder to get them out of the sack the next day.


                • #9
                  Ok, I understand putting more than two to a tent, especially when car camping. I am just interested in 1 vs 2 man to a tent. Looks like it has mostly been answered to some degree. I guess I'll just have to wait for them to make up their mind, but not for too long. We are going camping soon and I am sure they would like to have something.
                  By the way, I love the idea of the Tarp, we just have no experience with it. All of our camping has been out of the trailer, at most 20 yards out. Baby steps, Little baby steps.....


                  • #10
                    As the temps drop around here, we find a buddy has helped protect a lad from hypothermia. So, 2 minimum is what we promote. We're fine with 6 in a tent, although sleep deprivation can be an issue like 2nd class mentioned.

                    Our youth bring their own tents. That comes in handy if they want to go camping with their family or friends. (For example, son #1 and his girlfriend used our family gear to take 8 friends from their fellowship camping this weekend.). Over the years, we've kept a variety of tents from 1 to 6 man in the garage.

                    Of course that strategy only works if one in three families are interested in helping their boys maintain their own gear.

                    Finally, if an SPL or JASM would rather tent on his own, that's fine as long as there's a berth for everyone.


                    • #11
                      There are some good reasons to have the younger boys sleeping at least two in a tent.

                      They can keep each other company and it helps the new guys from being scared, especially during storms.
                      They can keep an eye on each other, if one gets sick or have a medical emergency (think asthma attack) the other can notify an adult.
                      Helps to keep them out of trouble. If you have one who likes to do things they shouldn't be doing, you put him with a patrol leader who can keep an eye on him. (PL caught one boy who brought his own backpacking stove and was going to cook a midnight snack in the tent!)
                      One two person tent is usually cheaper than two one person tents.
                      Less tents to maintain, clean and dry after the trip.

                      In the end the boys get some input and I would try to accommodate their wishes.

                      However I would try to stay out of the tent business all together if at all possible. Let the boys buy their own 2 person tents and take turns bringing them. Then they get to take them home, clean and fix them. Saves a lot of work and expense for the troop. If you've ever had a tent brought back after going home for drying that sat for 3 months wet you'll know what I mean.


                      • #12
                        Yeah I agree on staying out of the tent business for the Troop. I have seen too many boys bring in cots (Which were to big for theses tents anyway and would end up poking holes in it), they don't take care of the tent while in them, and then they make sure they do not get that same tent next time so they do not have to deal with any problems that exist with that tent afterword.


                        • #13
                          Tarping is a bad idea especially in bug territory and new scouts, I am amazed how the boys get wigged out by spiders.

                          So for those whose troops do not provide tents a few questions....

                          Do you have a list of recommended or not recommended tents????

                          How do you handle shelter that is entirely inadequate???

                          Very early in my adult scouting career I had a really bad night with walmart tents and a rain storm...and another night with coleman tents and a windy rain storm.... Both sleepless....

                          I don't want a repeat of it.

                          Never seen a boy bring a cot to a weekend campout.....


                          • #14
                            Our troop has a variety, including some Alps Mountaineering tents. My personal recommendation for a 4-man tent that will stay dry and is VERY durable is the REI Camp Dome 4. I have 3 of these personally, which I've used used extensively with Boy Scouts and for many years in Cub Scouts. They stood up to two years of camping with my Webelos den, with hardly a scratch.


                            • #15
                              If you're going to buy tents buy a good quality, heavy duty tent from a company that you can buy parts from.
                              Eureka Timberline 2 man tents ($160) would be a good choice. We use the 4s ($200! wow they've gone up since the last time I bought one) and put two or three boys in them.
                              Some swear by the Alps brand tents but I've never used them.
                              Get a membership with REI and get 10% back in a dividend each year. They stand behind everything they sell with a very solid 100% replace or refund guarantee. They sell top quality stuff although I've never used their tents. Free shipping too.