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WestCoastScouter

Best tents for scouts ??

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I have a group of Webelos II's that soon will be moving to a Troop, and I've been asked to come in as a Asst. SM to be an adult that they know. (I'm their WL).

 

So we are talking about the changes coming up in the next few months, and looking at buying tents that they boys can own themselves.

 

What tents are most durable, and good for both backpacking and also car camping.

 

Is there a make that seems to be more popular then others due to their warranty, ect ?

 

 

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Don't buy tents until you have been in the troop for at least a year. If the webelos families have medium sized family tents, teach the boys how to set these up and let them camp three abreast for a year. After a year they will have a better idea of what "they" want.

 

We have troop tents, the Eureka Timberline IV's and the Eureka Pinnacles Pass 3XT's. They are holding up well.

 

However, one whole patrol has switched to hammock camping. I haven't tried it but they swear by it. Its cooler so its ideal for warm summer nights. They consulted various website and and each other to work out the details among themselves on how to hold off the rain and bugs. This has been a truly boy led development as none of the scoutmasters are sleeping in hammocks.

 

Short answer for the first year make due with what you have and then look for a suitable tent.

 

(This message has been edited by Thomas54)

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I am gonna hijack this post slightly, I looked eagerly for the answer, I find myself in the situation for the first time in my life of looking for a tent to go camping. Been "camping" my entire life in a series of trailers. Having never camped extensively in a tent, those few nights in high scool don't count (no scouts for me) what would be a good tent for someone looking to go camping with at most me and my 2 kids ages 10 & 7?

what should I look for and what should I avoid?

 

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My advice FWIW. ( PChad look at some of the reasons for your hijack ;) )

 

Talk to the troop first before buying any tnets. Reason for that include

 

1) Troop may have tents already and want scouts focusing on other gear.

 

2) Troop may focus on one type of camping, and one type of tent does not fit all.

 

A) Backapacking needs a lightweight.

B) Winter needs heavier type. etc.

 

3) Scouts in a hiking and campign troop will know what exactly you need and are the experts.

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Eagle92 thanks for the options but I am an assistant Cubmaster who has never done the tenting thing and am looking for something for my personal use. And AFAIK our troop doesn't do a lot of camping. . .

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Look for:

- sturdy zipper

- rain fly that goes all the way to the ground

- vestibules rather than open ends to the rainfly

- advertised as "4-man" would be good for 3

- poles: aluminum are more expensive than fiberglass, but lighter for backpacking.

- 2 doors - one on each end, covered by vestibule

 

Check out ScoutDirect.com for the Alps Mountaineering tents.

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pchadbo, I suspect I'm going to go against the prevailing wisdom here, but if you're looking for something that you're going to use a couple of weekends per year, then I would go with the main criterion of CHEAP!

 

We're kind of in the same boat as you--much of our family "camping" is in a pop-up camper. For those occasions when we want a tent, the one that happened to be on sale at Target is adequate.

 

If you're going to be camping near a vehicle, then I would also strongly recommend getting an air mattress and 12 volt pump to inflate it.

 

Now, if you want to move up from "cheap", then there are three factors that I would look for. The first is whether it is big enough. A "4-person" tent is probably comfortable for 2 people.

 

The second is the ease of setting it up. I was a Scout, but my wife is in charge of setting up our tent. It's just too complicated for me, and she's better at reading the instructions. :)

 

The third is very hard to find, but if you're going to be camping near your vehicle, then IMHO, the most important luxury is the ability to stand up. Unfortunately, most "cheap" tents won't give you this luxury (and tents designed for backpacking won't either). You can get away without this luxury for a weekend, but after a while, trying to get dressed without standing up gets very old very fast.

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More bad advice

 

Our troop camps 8 times a year.

 

Cheap is ridiculous. What is going to happen is the boys are going to get wet and cold on an outing and quit.

 

Air mattresses.....and electric air pumps. you will sleep much better and warmer on a closed cell foam pad. how many times have you woke up on a flat air mattress

 

 

Most scouts can get by with a 3 season tent. My manditory things are a large vestibule for storage of muddy wet gear and shoes. mostly mesh tent body to vent heat in the summer... for two scouts a three person tent minimum. Full fly coverage......all the way to the ground. the troop uses Eureka's timberlines..... personally I use Alps mountaineering purchased for 60% off from steepandcheap.com. Great tents at great price.

 

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>>>>Air mattresses.....and electric air pumps. you will sleep much better and warmer on a closed cell foam pad. how many times have you woke up on a flat air mattress

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My experience with tents is that the cheap ones do not have rain flys that go all the way to the ground.

 

I did buy cheap ones to start with - and it's a good first step, but if you're going to ever go camping in serious downpours, you want a serious tent. At least, that's my experience.

 

I took my wife camping in a thunderstorm that sounded like someone was shooting off black-powder muskets in our tent while shooting off flashbulbs two-inches from our eyes. We had four of us in a six-man tent - and the tent was bomb-proof. We had not one drop of water inside. Best camping purchase I'd ever made - otherwise that night may have soured her on camping for good. My brother was in a cheap tent and his sleeping bag absorbed about 80 pounds of water that night.

 

I had another trip where my son slept in a Wal-mart tent. It rained hard. His description was - "It felt like there was no roof on the tent at all."

 

Your mileage may vary. I know some people have better luck with the cheap tents (or maybe with the weather).

 

You definitely don't need an expensive tent. But sometimes it helps :-)

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As a CM in a pack, I camp about 4 times a year with the pack, 2 or 3 on my own with my son.

 

I bought a $35.00 Ozark Trail tent from Wal-Mart. As far as I can tell after some comparisons..Ozark Trail is a store brand manufactured by Coleman. It has the sealed tarp/plastic material type bottom that extends up around 6 inches on the sides to keep water out. I still put a tarp under the tent that stops about 2" short from the outside edges. This helps extra with water and helps sticks from making holes.

 

The included rain fly barely covers the mesh top of the tent, soooo.....

 

I bought a 12' X 12' blue plastic tarp for $4.00 and it leaves about a 1 foot air gap around the bottom while still totally covering the tent from a horizontal stand point.

 

Basically,I have horizontal air flow without vertical rain intrusion.

 

Tried the closed cell pads. Tried them doubled up. They work great if you are under 110 pounds.

 

Bought a $40.00 dollar heavy duty twin size inflatable Coleman mattress with a felt liike top covering and a check valve type filler cap.

 

Fill it up 80% and wait a few hours for it to either tighten if it's hot or sink down a bit if it's cold. Then adjust accordingly.

 

By the way, you might want to bring a blanket to lay on top of the air matress even if you have a thick sleeping bag. Otherwise you will lose body heat through the air space.

 

Bought a $20 dollar Coleman battery operated pump. Uses 4 D-cell batteries. I get about 1 years worth of use out of it before they die.Not bad for a $7 investment in batteries.

 

 

As said above, if you start going camping monthly, bi monthly or so..then step up and buy a nicer tent. But if you do like some of us and only camp 6 times a year....$35.00 is a fair price. If the $35.00 dollar tent lasts you more than 3 years, you came out ahead.

 

Totally agree with everybody else about tent size. At 6'2" , 255 lbs...and my son being 4'9" , 105 pounds ( at 9 years old) we fill up our "4 man" tent. Barely have room for a backpack or duffle bag.

 

Figure a 2 man really means 1 man ratio when you buy the tent.

 

Personally, I need a taller tent so it's easier to get dressed. Right now,I have top lay on my back and do the feet in the air to pull on my pants, and I have to hunch over to put on shirts.

 

Biggest thing is this: the first tent you buy will be the wrong tent! :)

 

When you buy your second tent...you will be just as trained as anybody else.

 

But whatever tent you buy..if it suits you...then it's the right tent!

 

(This message has been edited by scoutfish)

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>>>>>I bought a 12' X 12' blue plastic tarp for $4.00 and it leaves about a 1 foot air gap around the bottom while still totally covering the tent from a horizontal stand point.

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Whatever type of tent you decide, TAKE CARE OF IT!!!!!! (caps for emph, not shouting). make sure they are clean, dry, and periodically rewaterproofed. My troop had tents 20 year old tents that were still servicable. They were 4 man Eureka's, and we used them for 2 people. Like others said the numebr of folks is actually lower with ger inside. My troop's philosophy was take the number and divide by 2, so a 4 man tent= 2 men and gear, 6 man = 3 and gear, etc.

 

 

now what I have.

 

I have a 2 man Eureka that I owned for the past 11 years. Only problem I've had with it is the nylon pouch for the ridge pole has finally worn through and needs to be replaced. Not that big a deal and I will be getting to it shortly. This is what I have mostly used since I got it. There is a newer version of it, with fiberglass poles instead of aluminum, but I won't get that until my current one is unservicable. And if the Eurekas my troop has are any indication of the quality, I'll have it for a very long time.

 

Now my 2 man Eureka won't cut it for CS camping. Tried it twice and it gets cramped with the then TC and me, so I definately can't use it for family camping ;) SOOOOO the wife gets me a Coleman "Villa del Mar" 6 man tent for Valentine's Day ( If your wife gets you a tent for Valentine's Day, you might be a Scouting Addict). No problems with it. It can be cold compared to others when the temp drops, but that's what extra wool blankets and a capote are for ;)

 

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