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Does your troop sleep on cots?

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  • #16
    Eagle92, neither correlation is shocking. I find the units with the best outdoor programs do it right, because they are proud of their outdoor skills. During my time as SM our troop averaged 14-16 tent camping events a year (not including patrol events).


    • #17
      I had to respond because I had this discussion with a fellow scouter last year.

      As a matter of keeping warm on a winter campout, a cot with a sleeping pad on it will keep you warmer than sleeping on the ground with a sleeping pad. It’s a matter of physics.

      You stay warm by having your body heat the insulating layer of air surrounding it. On top and the sides of you this insulating layer of air is trapped in the insulation of your sleeping bag. Under you this insulating air is provided by your pad plus the compressed insulation of your bag. Keeping warm is a race towards equilibrium between how quickly the cold outside exchanges heat with the air heated by your body.

      It’s a bit of an oversimplification but broadly there are three different types of heat exchange: radiant, conductive, and convective. We’re concerned here with conduction and convection. Again this is oversimplifying, but conduction usually occurs between objects that are touching, convection is between objects in near proximity. Conduction is much more efficient. Think of an oven, you can stick your hand in a 400 degree oven for a brief period and nothing bad happens, that's convection. But touch anything in that oven and it will instantly peel off your flesh, that's conduction. When you are sleeping on the ground you are trying to exchange heat with the ground through conduction; when you are on a cot you are exchanging heat with the air via convection. The ground will cool you off much more quickly than if you are up in the air on a cot.

      We generally do two outdoor winter campouts each year, one is a “Camp Alaska” backpacking trip where we don’t even bring tents and build our own shelters, In the other we camp in a state park and the scouts stay in a big old MASH style tent. In that one the scouts sleep on cots.

      On one of the “Camp Alaska’s” I had a scout string a hammock rather than build a shelter, the same principal applies, that’s warmer than sleeping on the ground. On the other hand I had a trio of first timers crawl out of their shelter one year complaining how cold they had been, I took a look inside, none of them had unrolled their sleeping pads, they used them as pillows instead.
      Last edited by T2Eagle; 12-17-2013, 09:10 PM.


      • dcsimmons
        dcsimmons commented
        Editing a comment
        Gotta say I'm with BD on this one. When I winter camp I have a vapor layer in my tent, a couple of heavy blankets (one wool, one old mule blanket type), a reflective blanket and my bag. If it's really cold I'll throw an old down bag down before the reflective blanket.

      • jblake47
        jblake47 commented
        Editing a comment
        How do you take into account that the air under the cot can drop well below freezing, while a pad on the ground maintains a 32 degree temperature "warmed" by the frozen ground whose temperature remains a constant 32? This is why one builds snow domes, the snow actually works as an insulator against -32 degree temperatures and will maintain a 32 degrees inside.

        We had a troop from town out on a snow adventure where the temperature dropped to -43 degrees. The boys didn't want to come in because they would have gotten colder breaking camp and going to the lodge than staying in their snow domes at a constant 32 degrees.

        It has been shown that a snow cave with a plumber's candle (coffee can of wax with 3 wicks) will maintain a temperature inside in the mid 40's.

        I guess I never want to find out what -43 degree wind blowing beneath my cot all night feels like.


        By the way, the candle inside a snow dome is not recommended unless in survival mode!!!! Leeward ventilation is mandatory!
        Last edited by jblake47; 12-20-2013, 08:26 AM.

      • dcsimmons
        dcsimmons commented
        Editing a comment
        I was thinking about this on my way to work today, only because I was driving in rain at about 35 degrees. The warning on the radio went something to the effect of "conditions this morning could result in roadway icing. Pay particular attention to bridges, ramps and overpasses as they are the first to freeze."

    • #18
      T2Eagle, everything you say is correct. The issue here is when a Boy Scout troop is using cots on all camp outs. At summer camp, or any place where you're staying in structures, or floorless tents set up for you, and having your gear and attendees delivered to the door, cots are a good choice ... but these scenarios do not represent typical scout camping.

      When winter camping I use a closed cell foam pad, with an emergency blanket over it, works very well.


      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        so why then, at northern tier do you sleep on a pad instead of a cot????

    • #19
      Originally posted by Old_OX_Eagle83 View Post

      but these scenarios do not represent typical scout camping.
      Given the Small percentage of the numbers of Scouters there are and the percentage of active posters..nothing on theses forums represent typical scout anything..

      In all my Scouting Experience I have never Encountered any Troops like what yall describe yalls as your "typical" Unit
      Never been to a Camp except Philmont that allowed 300 feet between Patrols, or had enough miles between camp sites for back packing every day.

      I sure can tell the difference in the East Coast Scouters and the Rest of the Scouters of America.
      Last Troop we had around here from that area tried Back Packing to Camp...After 2 Miles humping a Ruck sack in 114 weather they gave up..Needless to say they did not hang with our Scouters much during Camp Activities...even in their ultra light weight tents they had trouble sleeping in the 90+ Weather at night on their sleeping Pads, while our Boys enjoyed their Old Baker Tents and Cots.


      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        that is why you camp and backpack places other than Scout camps. if you camp at your local camp then you rent multiple sites that are 300 feet apart.

        If your talking about a summer resident camp situation????? then we sleep in the camp provided tents and on the camp provided cots.

    • #20
      This unit does not use (and never HAS used) cots. OK, one exception, an adult leader used one at summer time in my memory.


      • #21
        I don't see the big deal either way. We had a very experienced SM who cotted in the summer. Now, he didn't use a tent, but liked the air below him. Cots aren't for backpacking, but they are appropriate for car camping. I hammock, because my back prefers it to the ground. All the boys pretty much either have foam pads, self-inflating pads, or just sleep on the ground in their bags.


        • #22
          Well Here is an Open Challenge to All you Perfect Scout Units..Pack your Back Packs...Come to Northwest Texas Council 587 and Show Me how We have been doing it Wrong all these years....Show me how to Use our State Parks and Area Camping Sites properly.

          Mean while We will pitch our Baker Tents...Set up our Cots..while your walking alongside Hot Blacktop all day avoiding traffic or just walking around and around in Circles to Hike.


        • #23
          How do you backpack with Bakers and Cots? BTW, there are many reason's I don't live in Texas, you have named several of them. I'm more of a 50 degree guy, although it gets over 100 here, and we have insane humidity. I enjoyed the climate at Philmont, hot, but dry ... unless you hit monsoon season.


          • #24
            only used cot at summer camp. had a friend who was in navy. he carried cot around when we used to camp on beach. it didn't look all that comfortable, and it's not that comfy at summer camp either.


            • #25
              In my 3 years, 2 months of Scouting, I've slept on a cot 5 times. Three of those times were at our annual summer camp at Boxwell, sleeping in "tent city." One time was when we went on a eagle watching trip at Reelfoot Lake and stayed in cabins, sleeping in bunk beds. And the last time was at Kodiak at our Council HA Base, Latimer Reservation, we stayed in "tent city" most of the time, except for a backpacking trek in the middle of the week, during which we were in tents.
              To be honest, out of the four and a half weeks of cot camping, versus the rest of my camping, I find my 30 degree Magellan sleeping bag to be much more comfortable than a cot.
              And as a side note, at Kodiak we had a service project day, during which all groups were assigned a different service projects around the camp to do throughout the day. From cleaning up the mountain bikes, to dusting/sweeping the conference center. One of the projects we were assigned was drying out the cots that got wet during the all day/night rain from the day before, so we had to setup all those cots in direct sunlight and relax until they had dried out enough and then pack them back up.
              Last edited by EagleScout441; 12-20-2013, 11:12 PM.


              • #26
                We Don't Back Pack,, We drive several Hours Usually ..We Unload Equipment and Set Up...We Enjoy activities without carrying all our Equipment on our Backs and reserve the saved time and energy for other activities


                • Basementdweller
                  Basementdweller commented
                  Editing a comment
                  So the boys don't have the option of where they would like their program.....They are limited to a program or activity that is with in reach of the troop trailer and parking lots??????

                  Different visions of adventure.

                  So does your troop trailer have a water heater and shower?????

              • #27
                Again Come To Texas and Even Drive to those places you have provided links for...You will Be Surprised to Find that the Majority of those are Trailer/Parking Lot Bloop Places...Been to the Wichita Mountains many many many Times..Love it..but it is still Basically Drive and Bloop and Drop Camping. Even the Charons Garden Wilderness Unit is Basically a Drive in Unload Place...Your Don't Park and Hike. You Park and Bloop. We have been there many times. They Scout Love it..They Hike not Back Pack.

                Ouachita National Trails is 272 miles (4 hours 48 minutes away)
                Beaver bend is 255 miles (4 hours 22 Minutes away)
                So have to Drive basically rules out a Weekend Saturday with a lot of time for Back Packing and Other activities.

                The Boys have all the Say in the World where They go...Opportunity is not as Golden as You Betray for Us. Most of Our State Parks are Bloop and then Hike..Camp Sites are not along the Trails but from The Parking Lot Campsites..

                NO Troop Trailer does Not have a Water Heater and Shower...

                Although Facing Back Surgery for Lowest 4 Back Disc about to Go and Now Recovering from Prostate Removal for Prostate Cancer and Having to Use a CPAP to sleep My High Adventure Days are about over. So Yeah I am looking into a Nice Small RV to Enjoy..Not all my camping is Done Scouting. 10 Years of Working as a Correctional Officer in a State Maximum Prison has been rough on my Feet 14 Hour days.


                • #28
                  Originally posted by Eagle92 View Post
                  so the 3-4 year old tent floors are wearing out fast and they are looking for new tents.
                  Floor wear is probably the only reason I don't use one now that I finally found it in the garage after 10 years missing. It has u-shaped bars, but they're more like an extremely shallow W.