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If a consistent tent is used throughout the troop, some benefits are:

- recognizable as 'our' campsite

- cannibalization of broken tents for parts

- easier for quartermaster to inventory and replace

- easier to fix

- longer life, passed down the generations

- less expensive

- less campsite space needed


We've got 4-man and 2-man tents, all Alps Mountaineering Taurus. The quartermaster issues 4-mans to the new scout patrols. The next year, they can exchange usable 4-mans for 2-mans - getting ready for high adventure and helping the next new scouts. Since they're all the same look, mixing them still keeps each patrol looking like a single unit.


Our patrols implement either the "straight-line" or "shotgun scatter" tent formation, depending on amounts of flat space, darkness, and rain. It's up to them.


Two scouts did nickname their personal tent "The Taj" at summer camp last year - a 3-room family tent with screen porch for just two guys.



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I like a limit of two guys to a tent, even in "3 man" tents.

I think four guys is too many, and too little sleep, plus, four man tents are heavy and an less you car camp, too heavy to carry, especially on your back.

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I've been in troops that have done it both ways. While there is some benefit to a boy owning his own tent in the hopes he will camp outside of scouting, I kind of fall on the troop supplied side. Our troop has been using the Eureka Timberline tents for decades. We take care of them and they take care of us. We actually have some back-up tents still in use from 1983. When a tent goes out of service, we scavenge all the usable parts for tent repair. We sleep two to three boys per tent depending on the season. The tents are issued by patrol. We supply everything needed by the patrols with the exception of PG (personal gear) like sleeping pad, sleeping bag, daypack, flashlight, mug, etc. Patrol box, cooking untensils, durch ovens, gas bottle, stove, lantern, distribution tree, gas hoses, KP buckets, tents, etc. are all troop supplied. It eases the financial burden on a family when their son joins the troop. But we are a large troop that varies from 50 to 60 boys per year and have been around for 45 years and have a nice reserve of raised money in the bank to spend wisely.

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Socioeconomic theory is bogus.


In poor neighborhoods the first thing that relatives buy a new Scout for his birthday or Christmas is a tent.


I would prefer that they buy quality hiking boots and a good used backpack, but tents are always on clearance sale in the fall when most boys join Scouts.


A poor boy may be ashamed to invite a friend to where his family lives, but a tent is literally his home away from home. Therefore it is unintentionally cruel to tell a Scout that "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." What better reason to leave Scouts than this kind of adult-led Troop Method? The purpose of the Patrol Method is boy-led Adventure, and a boy's own tent helps provide that.


The "responsibility" theory is equally bogus.


Nothing teaches "responsibility" quicker than pride of ownership. The Troop Method imposes the pure drudgery of of adult value judgements inflicted to protect communal property, in place of the sheer joy of private ownership. Boys love their toys.


Interchangeable parts theory is not necessary on most campouts


Rarely will you need to use Troop tents if you allow Scouts to bring their own. On regular campouts, we usually had a pile of extra personal tents stacked up like firewood. On backpacking trips, it does make sense to bring only the best tents. If a part breaks there is usually extra room in a couple of tents on a rainy night, or just sleep under a tarp.


The "appearance" theory is a polite way of justifying Adult Peer-Pressure.


Nothing screams "Troop Method" louder than a Camporee. That is where adult-led really pays off with all those identical Eureka Timberlines in a nice tight grid, under the glare of bright lanterns like a suburban automobile sales lot. The same thing is true for camping in family campgrounds with hot showers and Internet access: Adults have an excuse to cram the Patrols close together. That sure looks good for families that do not know anything about the Patrol Method, now doesn't it? Adult Peer-Pressure!


Baden-Powell coined the term "Parlour Scouting" to refer to this glaring example of adult-run Scouting, because his minimum standard for the Patrol System was 300 feet between Patrols. Likewise the BSA's Patrol Method should be based on real leadership, the kind you need for Patrol Hikes and Patrol Overnights. Believers in the Troop Method tend to reject all of these objective tests of the Patrol Method in favor of identical tents that look good to other adults.


Adult Peer-Pressure is why the Troop Method is adult-led. Do you keep indoor Troop Meetings adult-led so that people who do not know anything about Scouting will be impressed by how the Scouts all act the same? Separate those Patrols by 300 feet and nobody will notice that the Scout's tents do not all look the same either :-/


The purpose of the Patrol Method is Adventure. Tents are cheap. They go together.


Yours in the Old School,




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This project will require five months of work just to get started, so if you see me hanging around here again posting anything before 2010, be sure to greet me with: GET BACK TO WORK, KUDU!


I did get it started. Thanks for asking, OGE :) Other projects like Kudu.Net and my recruiting presentation took years as well.



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In my youth, the Troop supplied Baker tents. When we went backpacking, we slept mostly under the stars. Each of us did have a first generation tube tent. Great ground cloths, tube tents. I'll never sleep in one again; they are night stills.


These days, quality tents can be found on sale the year round. Keep shopping at places like REI, Bass Pro, Cabela's and Camp-Mor online. They turn up.


Kudu is right about quality footwear. It's more important than the tent.



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Again Welcome back Kudu!


I hope you do realize that not all troops that use the same type of tent are adult lead.;)


I want to say, and Lisa correct me if I'm wrong, but this thread started b/c the troop she is with wouldn't let the scouts use their own equipment and didn't give a reason to the youth as to why they could not use their personal gear. And I think the scouts should buy what they want, not what the troop tells them. Although I will admit if my old SPL or one of the other youth leaers or adults gave me a recommendation, I'ld probably follow it. Know I didn't follow one ASM's advice one time, suffered miserably for not following it, and exchanged the item for the one the ASM advised. It was a backpack, and I still have it today, 22 years later.


Now me personally it wouldn't matter one way or the other. And I think most of use are of the same opinion, it's what's the Scouts want. But she did ask what other reasons, and we gave them to her.


And yep FOOTWEAR is the most important than the tent. I'd say a backpack is the next most important, esp one with a hipbelt. ;)



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Its interesting that of all the posts on this topic I've not seen any mention of Leave No Trace principles. While identical tents and gear look nice in the typical parking lot set up of a Camporee (and Jamboree) it has no place out in the field.


Blending in to the natural surroundings with little impact should be a gold standard by which a good campsite is judged.


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Sorry!!! How do tents made from uniforms work? Most of our scouts are too small to make it alone, so does it act as a patrol activity? Again, sorry for the terrible thought; but it has been nagging at me to post. Old guy humor (?) I guess.

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Eagle92 writes:


I hope you do realize that not all troops that use the same type of tent are adult lead.


Of course they are adult-led!


If adults tell the Scouts that they can not use their own tents (regardless of the quality of these tents), that is adult-led.


Eagle92 writes:


I want to say, and Lisa correct me if I'm wrong, but this thread started b/c the troop she is with wouldn't let the scouts use their own equipment and didn't give a reason to the youth as to why they could not use their personal gear...But she did ask what other reasons, and we gave them to her.


They are not "reasons," they are excuses. Certainly adults are good at brain-storming excuses.


I do set standards for back-packing and canoe trips, but the purpose of regular monthly car-camps is Adventure, and that includes letting the Scouts experiment with gear.


If a Scout insists on sleeping in a toy tent and the forecast is for rain, then I make him set up an extra tent "just in case." We have extra sleeping bags if they get wet.


For High Adventure I own about a dozen backpacks which I loan out. They can get used boots from the Uniform bank, or sometimes we will spend $5 on a good pair at a thrift shop for a size we do not have.


Moving away from the Troop Method is not that difficult if you are the Scoutmaster and you read the third edition of Hillcourt's Handbook for Scoutmasters. Once they are hooked on Outdoor Adventure, it all falls into place as they get older.





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