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mikecummings157

Scouts Tenting Alone?

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Eagle92

 

Just because a scout may carry his own tent so that he may sleep alone doesn't mean that the group is not burdened by this preference. Carrying capacity dedicated to unnecessary tentage is carrying capacity denied for other group burdens (food, cooking gear, water treatment gear, first aid kit, etc), so a scout who insists on sleeping alone on a backpacking trek is imposing to some extent on the rest of the group.

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sleeping under the stars used to be encouraged at Philmont. If a light misting was forecast, the guide book said to just cover yourselves with the tarp or dining fly. Everyone inside a tent was the rule for later years; so, sleeping under the stars wasn't necessarily wrong--depends on the year.

On watering the bushes: you don't really want to walk to the trench in the middle of the night. This is when the predators are out; too easy to step on a snake. You don't water in a pit latrine either because of the salts that attract critters. Philmont asks everyone to pee on the rocks (could have snakes at night), or onto the packed down trail (no vegetation). In heavy bear country a lot of us carry a pee bottle we set outside the tent-downwind.

If we always sleep two to a tent, there's no room for the bear!

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Whatever our thoughts on whether one should or should not sleep alone for whatever reason, if Philmont allows Scouts to sleep alone, then there is not a BSA policy that says each tent needs at least two sleepers

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I sleep in a hammock on campouts with a tarp for rain cover. My scouts have asked if they can do that too. A hammock is a one person dwelling. I asked the district director of our district about the official BSA position, and he said there is no such "two person per tent rule" handed down by National.

 

It seems such rules are generated on the troop level, where a scoutmaster can allow it or prevent it, on the basis of other scout practices and ideals. Is the buddy system good? Do we feel young scouts will feel comradeship if they share a tent? Will it bring the patrol together if the patrol members are paired in a tent? These are our decisions.

 

 

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"Also isn't there somewhere else in scouting that you spend the nite alone?"

 

Yeah... when your tentmate gets upset with your snoring and drags your sleeping bag out under the stars. ;-)

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Talk about over-reaction

 

1. Philmont is not the final authority on the outdoors. But if they require tents, it is so the crews have appropriate shelter should they need it (in a downpour etc.).

 

2. Tents are not needed for experienced campers in good weather.

 

3. You are no safer with a buddy in your tent as opposed to the other dozen our so scouts and scouters a few feet away. Safe from what anyway? The boogie man?

 

4. That thin layer of silnylon protects from rain, wind, holds a bit of heat (sometimes a good thing, sometimes bad) and gives psychological protection from the big bad dark. Ye olde bear (or raccoon) wont be stopped for more than a nanosecond by a nylon tent.

 

5. Young scouts like the tent experience with a buddy to help with the homesickness. But no reason to require all other scouts to sleep doubled up if they dont want to. Buddy up those who want to.

 

6. No, bringing your own tent does not burden the group. If you issue the same amount of group gear to everyone, the solo guy just carries a few pounds more weight due to his tent. His choice. A lot of lightweight tents are in to 2-3 lb range anyway these days.

 

7. Maybe we shouldnt be teaching scouts to be afraid of the dark. If you dont need a buddy to take a catnap under a tree six feet from the group during the day, you dont need a buddy to sleep the same way just because the sun went down.

 

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the theory is that since a tent doesn't look like prey, the bear will just pass it by--unless it has smellables in or on it.

there may also be the idea that sleeping in a tent-especially one with a floor-isolates you from contact with dried mouse poop (hanta virus)

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If we end up with an uneven number of Scouts, we will allow one of the older high rank Scouts to sleep alone. RHIP. Our JASM had his own tent at summer camp this year. It's a judgment call by the adult leaders based on how the Scout will do alone. We fully map out tents and tent-mates before going on a camp out or to summer camp so the adults know who is with whom and where and there are no surprises when setting up camp.

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Boomer:

 

Yea, I understand the theory.

 

But I think we over-react in trying to shield ourselves from the unknown.

 

Hantavirus is a possibility in some areas of the country. But (speaking as a microbiologist) I dont lose any sleep over it. I might think twice about bedding down in a cave littered with mouse droppings in the southwest, but other than that, Ive got better things to worry about. Besides, you can put a tarp under your bag.

 

And I suppose a bear MIGHT be more likely to see a human in a sleeping bag as food than a tent, but really, what is the risk from a bear in a group of a dozen or so scouts sleeping in a group? I think any bear that is hungry and aggressive enough to invade a herd of large animals like humans that a clearly not its normal prey is not going to balk at a tent wall.

 

Besides, where are your scouts camping anyway? How often are you really in high country/grizzly territory? I am guessing that most of the troops asking about mandatory tents and two per tent are in much more civilized areas (the state park?). When we camp in bear country, we cook some distance from camp, hang our food in bear bags or bear-proof containers and a few adults have bear spray in their packs (I bet that will set some folks off but were talking Griz country here!).

 

Nah, fact is as humans our primary sensors are our eyes. When they dont work well (night) we get nervous. That noise in the bush scares us because we cant see what it is. We set up tents on a calm, clear evening with mild temperatures because we psychologically feel more secure inside.

 

You need a tent if it is:

Rainy

Insect-infested

Very cold/windy

Other than that, you dont NEED a tent. I always have one (be prepared!) but using it is a personal choice depending on conditions.

 

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For what its worth, a quick GOOGLE of Boy Scout Bear Attack shows several incidents in the last decade, but interestingly all but one involved bears attacking scouts IN TENTS. The exception was a scout on the trail.

 

Want to bet food in the tent (a safe bet with young boys) is more risky than sleeping without a tent? Im guessing that a scout is more likely to have cheetoes in his tent than in his sleeping bag.

 

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Today marks the one week anniversary of a Black Bear being spotted between the Dining Hall and the Troop site for Summer Camp.

 

Google Hickory Run State Park and Boy Scout's. Now a Pennsylvania black bear is by no means a Grizzly, but I still respect the damage they can do. One nearly took a kids face off at Goose Pond a few years back. Course, the kid had food in his tent. You don't have to be in the great western wilderness to encounter bears. We use bear precautions anytime we camp, just a good habit(This message has been edited by OldGreyeagle)

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tents are especially mandatory in state parks. otherwise, when you change your clothes, you may be mooning someone's grandmother

wouldn't it be better to carry your bear spray on your hip? seems it would take too long to dig out of a pack

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The troop I currently serve does not allow single boys in tents. But there is a reason behind it. The troop is 45 years old and has about 60 boys on the roster. Due to our age and success over the years at fundraising, we provide all tentage for boys and adults. This is actually a selling point for new scouts coming into the troop. Other than personal gear like a sleeping bag, rain gear, flashlight, etc., they don't have to purchase any other gear because it is provided. Since we are such a large troop, trailer space is limited and we don't allow kids to bring their own tents, stoves, lanterns, etc. There simply isn't room or any need for it. Even the senior leadership doesn't sleep alone. Their one perk is that they get an adult sized tent instead of a boy sized tent. We use Eureka Timberline tents for the boys and sleep two to three boys per tent. While tents are provided tents, they are welcome to bring their personal tent and sleep single if they so desire.

 

In the troop I served prior to our current troop, we were brand new and had no equipment. The SM had a trailer that was far too big, so we had more room than we knew what to do with and could take everything including the kitchen sink if we wanted. The boys provided their own tents and we let them bunk together or sleep alone based on their personal preference.

 

I find the whole buddy system claim on sleeping multiple to be bogus. We occasionally have adults asking boys where thier buddy is when they walk from their patrol site over to the adult site and we are all in full view of each other. That is overkill in my opinion.

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SR540 Beaver:

 

Sounds like your troop has good, if historical, reason for the two per tent policy in your unit. If it works for you, go for it. However, if it ever comes up, you might want to re-consider. The 2-man tent I use the most is sub-3 lbs and packs to the size of a loaf of bread. It is in my pack. The pack is not really smaller (in size) with it left out. Times have changed.

 

Is your troop trailer really THAT tight on space?

 

And yes, boomerscout is right, I use my tent in areas where modesty and scout protection require the private area for changing. State parks, camporees etc. By sleeping under the stars I was thinking more of on the trail.

(This message has been edited by Sandspur)

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I took a Back Country Leaders course offered by our council last year and it was suggested that under LNT it is good practice for everyone to double up to reduce the number of tent bottoms on the ground and the overall size of the camp site. Not a requirement (though they suggested that as leaders we make it so for our units) but good practice.

 

In a non-back country situation, the sites we get a district camporees fill to overflowing if everyone single tents.

 

Hal

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