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Lisabob

uniform tents

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Now I know this is a little out of the realm of this thread, but please bear with me.

 

One argument often given for troop uniforms is that it levels the socio-economic playing field.

 

What about troop gear, and tents in particular? Do you feel that there are important reasons, including the socio-economic one, that apply to all troop youth members using the same (troop-supplied) tents? Are there other good reasons to encourage "tent uniforming?"

 

 

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A tent is not required for participation in the BSA. ;-)

 

Seems like a pc concept gone too far. Where do you stop? If the tents have to be the same, then so must the stoves, the pots and pans, the utensils, the salt shaker...

 

We have no troop tents so I have a different perspective.

 

 

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For me there are a variety of reasons for using patrol tenting. I say patrol b/c althought he troop buys the tents, they are issued to the patrols and are the patrol's responsibility.

 

#1 Ensures adequate shelter for all members of the patrol. Yuo do get new guys who may not have a lot of gear. Patrol gear, including tents, makes sures that everyone has what they need for the trip.

 

#2 Patrol gear, including tents, ensures responsibility. THEY need to take care of the gear. Put the tents away wet and they get moldy, your patrol is out of luck. If you keep food int he tent despite being told not to, and an animal or ants get to it, leaving the tent damaged, it's your patrol's responsibility to fix it. Use aeosol can isnide the tent eating up the waterproofing, again your patrol's responsibility.

 

#3 Increases comraderie within the patrol. Since the PL assigns tent mates within the patrol, it further increases comraderie.

 

#4 Safety is another concern since you do have folks assigned together in tents, it's another Buddy System. Grant you this is a minor for expereinced scouts who will be up mostof the nite chatting around a campfire, but fo the younger scouts it's a good thing. Helps ease nerves with new guys.

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So after they get "uniform" tents, do they then specify the optimal Feng Shui lay out for every campout?

 

If the boys want them, then I am for it, if the adults think that by having "Troop" tents, that will cure a "personal responsibilty" issue, then they are wrong.

 

How much money will this take? Do you have scouts who don't have the resources to get a tent?

 

I have not heard much about youth talking about who has the nicer tent, I know one scout had his father canvas wall tent that took 2 men and a tenderfoot to carry and the kids loved it because it was so "old school".

 

Now, I have my own prejudices, but when I see a Troop set up with all the same tents, all lined up in a perfect pattern, my first reaction is to shudder and steer clear of this OCD organization. Then again, I could be wrong

 

 

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OGE,

 

LOL. ;)

 

In my troop growing up, all the patrols did have the same tents, when I first joined, simply because we bought them in bulk back in the day, made sure all the patrol had enough tents, and the patrols took care of them. They were about 5- 7 years old when I joined the troop. Now when we added another patrol, we didn't get the same tents as before, simply b/c the troop that these guys came from (that troop folded) "sold" us the tents they had. However we did put all those tents in the same patrol box.

 

Now when the troop did have to get new tents b/c the CO used our fiberglass storage shed as a dartboard for their fair and the tents all got moldy and other gear was destroyed, we did replace them, and every patrol got the same type of tents. We got them in bulk and it saved us money. If memory serves, the annual wilderness survival campout came about b/c of this incident where we went had to improvise b/c 85% of oour gear was destroyed.

 

Personally I wouldn't have been able to afford scouting if I had to buy a tent as a youth, nor some of the other equipment that the troop provided via the patrols. BUT making scouts buy their own tents to troop standards is ridiculous IMHO. Some folks may want a backpackign tent for Philmont and other activities, while someone not as adventureous may want a "condo."

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In all the units I am aware of, tents and cooking gear are provided by the unit, and are all the same.

 

All the tents are the same.

 

The dinning flys are the same.

 

the chuck book/patrol box are all the same, with the same equipment. (stoves, lanterns, pots/pans, etc as the case may be)

 

 

So, when it comes to camping, what would be different would be how each patrol setups their camps, and the backpacks of the individial boys.

 

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Many if not most of the Troops in the District I serve do not provide Troop tents.

Every Troop I ave been involved with has provided the tents.

I have to admit that I think the Troop Tents are as a rule the better way to go about it.

 

Many of the tents I've seen at District Camporees are either something that was a Blue Light Special at K-Mart. Which might be ideal for a night out in the back yard when the weather is fine, but is of little use for anything else. (Trying to get a parent of a new Scout to spend the money to buy a quality tent would I think be a hard sell?)

Or they are "Family Tents" with lots of bedrooms and awnings which require an 18 wheeler to transport them.

Many of these have more zips than the early punk rockers had and these tend to jam and end up going home broke.

I think the reason why the Troops in the area where I live don't buy tents is because they just don't camp a lot.

When they do go to camp it is at one of the Council camp sites, which are very close to home.

The Ship now has several tents, most are Eureka Timberline 4, which I donated after buying them very cheap when Gander Mountain had a clearance sale.

We do have a couple of family tents that were donated when we first started the Ship.

When I was a SM we used Troop tents for Troop camping Trips and summer camp, but when Patrols went Patrol camping what they used was their choice.

If they used the Troop light-weight tents they of course were expected to look after them and return them in good shape.

Ea.

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I like reasonably priced, decent quality troop tents. That way, when Johnny joins the troop, he and his parents can see that the troop has it's act together. The patrol takes care of the gear and all is well. If a scout joins and then is faced with uniforms, handbooks, messkits, and so on, $100 for a tent might be too much. Then you'll have some guys tenting with another who spent the money, but isn't sharing in the burden of the expense.

 

With today's equipment, nice tents suitable for backpacking cost about $100. I'm not talking about about ultra light, one man (person) tents, I'm talking 7' x 7' "3 man" Eureka which really slep 2 just fine and only weigh a few pounds. Easy to pitch and strike and are virtually waterproof!

 

Gonzo1

 

 

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Nothing looks better on a campout than to stand back from the site and see sharp lines of evenly-spaced, identical tents. I've never been a fan of the rag-tag, randomly placed, non-matching village of dome tents.

 

Then again, as long as the boys are having fun and learning something, it doesn't really matter, does it?

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We provide Troop tents, it can be a socio-economic issue but so far we've had enough tents and few enough Scouts who wanted to use their own gear for non-backpacking events that the socio-economic side hasn't raised it's head on this topic.

 

We have a mix, we can set-up the parade ground exercise with the nice neat lines of uniformed tents, and will for certain occasions - like a recruiting campout with Webelos Scouts. :)

 

Or when backpacking it's "catch as catch can" to try to observe LNT as much as possible, to somewhere in the middle for campouts when we aren't in the public eye.

 

I am a big fan of the personal backpacking tent(when backpacking) but we don't require those, we simply divide up the weight of our four man tents and balance that with food and water distribution. If a Scout has purchased personal gear, that's fine they can use it but we do require that it be at least two man sized and that they use it in accordance with the buddy system.

 

We have had issues with people trying to use hammocks but then require them to have a buddy, either a hammock in close proximity or a one-man tent next to them - to observe the buddy system.

 

It's not been a problem for us, so far.

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I prefer the main argument for uniforms, which is not a socio-economic one at all. That is that the uniforms show pride of membership and shows how all Scouts are connected. The uniform say's "I am a Boy Scout".

 

I'd use that same argument when it comes to tents. Which set up most indicates a well run, well-prepared, competent patrol - a patrol with 4 tents that are all the same (hopefully set up in a semi-circular or circular pattern around a center point and not in a straight-line military fashion) or 4 tents that are all different?

 

Think about what it says to outsiders - if you weren't in Scouting and you were visiting a state park for the weekend with your family, will you be more comforted by the site of a well-organized Scout Troop/Patrols in the group site or the site of a Scout Troop/Patrols with a mish-mosh of tents? If your child needs minor first aid for a cut and you know there is are Scout Troops in the park, which will you go visit first - a Troop with a mish mosh of tents, or a Troop that has the same tents? My experience is when a unit has a mish-mosh of tents on site, other things tend to get downplayed a bit too, like noise restrictions, etc.

 

I think the answer is to have the unit supply the tents. If Billy Scout gets a tent for Xmas, he can use it when he goes camping with his family or friends, but when it comes to a Scout outing, he uses the tents provided.

 

Besides, there is a practical matter to consider. If everyone is using the same tent, the tents are each other's back-up. If you have a quick storm come through and one tent ends up with a snapped pole and a second ends up with a tear that renders the tent useless, you're only down one tent as you can use the pole of the ripped tent to replace the other pole. If those are two different tents, you're down 2 poles. Plus it's a lot easier to set them up quickly in the rain or dark of night - especially if your SPL's, PL's and Instructors are bouncing from tent to tent to help new Scouts figure out how to set up their tent. A tent I use regularly when camping I can set up in my sleep. A new tent is going to take me a bit of time to figure out, especially if it's at night, I've never seen it before, and the instructions were tossed out with the box at Xmas.

 

(This message has been edited by CalicoPenn)

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All our patrols are issued a standard kit: tents, stove/lantern/tree/hoses/tank, patrol tub with a BSA cook kit and chef kit, water jug and tarp. So yes, everything is standardized.

 

That said, if a kid wants to bring his own tent, he may do so and it happens from time to time. But it is at his own risk. The only thing we don't allow are the huge 12-man condos. Discipline problems go up and sleep time goes down exponetially with the number of kids in a tent.

 

We have a couple guys with high-end tent who like to bring them and show them off. But they fairly quickly learn, 1) no one really cares; and 2) they alone get stuck with cleaning, drying and packing away the tent when they get home.

 

We've found that by permanently assigning patrol gear to each patrol, maintenance issues are almost non-existant. Before, kids just grabbed a tent off the shelf in the store room. If something was missing or broken, he only had to bury in the pile and grab another one. The chance of getting stuck with that tent next month was small. With gear assigned to patrols permanently, you have a 1-in-4 chance of getting the broken tent next month and 100% chance of having to deal with dirty cook gear or greasy stove.

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"hopefully set up in a semi-circular or circular pattern around a center point and not in a straight-line"

Please don't do this. You'll increase chances of a wild critter finding its way to the center, and then going berserk when it can't easily find its way out again.

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Also, in a circular pattern, everyone will be tripping over guy lines, especially at night.

 

Our Scouts use their own personal tents. We tell the parents to buy two-man tents, and most go with either the REI Half-Dome or the Alps Mountaineering Taurus. We encourage the parents to wait and get them on sale. Simple, two-pole designs (though the Half-Dome just went thru a redesign that looks a little more complicated). They can be used for car camping, river trips or backpacking. We have not had any problems with damage. I like to think that if they have their own tents, they may also go camping with their parent or family, outside of Scouting.

 

Each patrol gets their own equipment box with stove, cook kit, cooking utensils, etc. They have to take care of it and clean it, as they will be using it again next month.

 

I guess all the "uniform tent" folks didn't care for the Third Place winner in the photo contest in Scouting Magazine, taken by a friend of mine, Jim Gilpatrick. http://www.scoutingmagazine.org/issues/1003/a-adventure.html

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