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New tents for the little guys.....

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Troop has a problem.....Many new scouts out stripping the new gear....


The troop has a hodge podge of tents... two of this and that....Voyagers, some bad shape, a couple newer timberlines and a few 8 years old......



Well, I am going to buy one patrol worth of tents....


Looking for recommendations.....We have a couple timberline 4's and they are too big for the little guys to put up.....they are too heavy to take backpacking. I bought some sierra designs backpacking tents to take backpacking, they are not durable enough for monthly boy scout style camping....



What do you have???? recommendations?????


Looking for something easy for the less than 5 foot crowd to set up.

Reasonable durability.


Looked at MSR, sierra design, alps on the close out sites......not much luck getting something I can afford....looking for 4 tents....

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If you are starting from scratch and are focusing on backpacking then I would go with 2-man, preferable tent-tarps.


Tent-wise I only have personal experience with the Eureka Timberline 2-man (easier to set up and durable but a bit heavy). Also the Eureka Apex AT 2 man. (Pretty tight, mesh is great for Florida, a little hard to set up rainfy, still pretty heavy.) Both ran be about $120 but are going on 5 years.


Hammocks may be the way to go but that may be $60-100 per boy. And finding trees could be a problem.


Bivy Bags? No experience but I have made one from Tyvek. It is now a grill cover.


I think a lightweight tarp system with hiking poles could work. May want to incorporate bug mesh.


What is your budget?

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Our troop was in need of some new tents a few years back -- I'd personally bought two Tetragon 5 (which are 2-man, 5x7 tents) and thought they had really great features for a cheap tent. So the troop bought some Tetragon 7 tents (3-man, 7x7). This last year, with an influx of new Scouts, we needed more tents rather quickly, so we got some more Tetragon 7s. Now those are the only ones we use, although some Scouts still prefer their personal tents.


I like them a lot. We do camp the full year, in the northeast, and we've noticed that the fiberglass poles take a beating. I've had to replace some on my own Tetragon 5, and the older Tetragon 7s need some new ones too. I'd love to find a source that had some exact-fit DAC poles, which would lighten the tents a little, and might work a little better than fiberglass in winter.



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Maybe our kids are fortunate economically, but our troop tents never leave the shed... We made a conscious decision to not buy anymore, and as a new QM, I'm more than OK with that. Now my budget goes for stuff like propane and spatulas.


If the kids buy the tents, they take better care of them. When they age out of Scouting, ideally they have equipment to continue down the trail to exploring the outdoors...

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Guy, have you called Eureka? It's been a few years, but they replaced our poles for free. Also, there are some custom pole makers out there that will make reasonbly priced aluminum poles for weight and shorter sections that fit in packs. Use the fiberglass poles on nonbackpacking campouts and save the aluminum for backpacking.



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Agree with eolesen on not getting into the tent business if you can avoid it but it sounds like you're already there so...


We encourage our Venture Patrol to bring their own tents, they use backpacking tents all year but they own them and are a little more experienced and careful with them. Also it's a little perk for them.


For the rest of the troop we use Timberline 4s, for our typical monthly camping trips. They are durable but heavy, cost about $175 each. We have some that are 5 years old and still in good condition.


I don't think you will find a backpacking tent that will hold up to Boy Scout use on a regular monthly basis, especially the new boys.


For backpacking we use home made tarps made of plastic sheeting. I just bought a silnylon 10 x 12 tarp from Campmor, weighs 1 lb, 6 oz and cost $119. It should be pretty durable and we should be able to fit 4 boys under it.


I have a Eureka Tetragon and could never get the fly to stop leaking at the top even though I seam sealed it repeatedly. Just my experience.


Just a thought, do you have connections with anyone high up in the military? We had some sleeping bags donated to us from the local National Guard. The Army uses MSR dome tents. Maybe you could arrange a donation? They would be heavy but durable.


How about something used but in good condition?

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I have spent ALOT of time on tents the last couple years and learned more about them than anyone not in the business would want to know. Our troop has a barn full of equipment accumulated over the decades and we have one of everything, most of it with some sort of note like "broken zipper", "ripped fly", "missing pole", etc.


We have several of the Timberline 4s, and although a nice quality tent, I agree they're heavy and a pain for the younger guys to put up. There's a reason virtually everyone else has gone to some variation of the dome style.


We have a pile of the WAL-MART/Dick's/Meijers el cheapo tents. They're the ones with all the notes on them. Stay away from them no matter how good a deal you're offered. They are all manufactured by the same company, North Pole Ltd., and they simply do not keep the weather out. As I explained to my committee, they are designed for a family that wants to give camping a try: they go to the local state park and if they have a storm and their stuff all gets wet they pick up and go home. If we camp and our stuff all gets wet we stay and camp in wet gear -- in August that's just an inconvenience, but in October that's a safety issue.


I highly recommend the Alps Scoutdirect program which Oak Tree mentioned. Once you register with them they give you a consistent 40-45% off retail on everything, and they occasionally, including every Christmas, have sales with even more of a markdown.


I found their tents match up really well to scout use at their price point. Their market strategy is to consistently give you sturdier materials, bigger/better zippers, larger/stronger poles than their competitors at the same retail price point. When you then knock that down to their scout price you can't beat it.


I have a Lynx for my personal use, I have never had a drop of rain in it, and that includes a thunderstorm that took out a couple of our Timberlines. It has vestibules over each door, which I like, but the scouts don't because it means two zippers to get in and out, and they're too impatient. I got my son a Mystique for Christmas, it went to Philmont, got rave reviews, and came back unmarred; it's easy to put up, but it's not a free standing tent so maybe not what you're looking for. I bought two Meramacs this year for summer camp as a start to replacing the WalMart specials; they held up really well. They're a bit heavy for serious backpacking, but I think they will be great for month in, month out scout camping.


One other note, Campmor will give your troop a 10% discount on all their merchandise; you have to jump through a couple hoops, but as a close out retailer they often have some good pricing.(This message has been edited by t2eagle)

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Our Troop has used Scouts Direct and found some of the gear was better than the Walmart ones and worse than the Eurekas, where-wise.


We have had good luck with an ASM who grabs the deals at Target when the close out their camping gear each year. He got a bunch of Kelty gear marked way down last time.


Also the backpacking angle.


This brings up an interesting thought, what is the life-cycle of a scout tent in practice?

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I did not know that about North Pole. I got the following from Trailspace.com


Tent brands currently manufactured and supported by NorthPole include:


Alpine Design

Broadstone (Canada)



Field & Stream (Dicks Sporting Goods)

Gander Mountain

Glaciers Edge

Guide Series

High Sierra

Magellan (Academy)


North Crest


Outdoor Spirit

Susan Komen

Tailgate Gear

Terra Gear (Canada)

Wilderness Gear



Discontinued brands previously manufactured but no longer supported by NorthPole include:


Alpine Ridge

Backyard Discovery

Cascade Mountain Works

Cascade Sport

Cascade Trail



Emerald Bay


Great Adventure

Great Basin By Quest


Guide Gear


Lake N Trail

Ltd Commodities


Mountain Tek

NEO - Northeast Outfitters



Northwest Territory

Outdoor Spirit

Ozark Trail (Walmart)


Restore & Restyle Kids

Sportsman's Warehouse

Stats Pro

Timber Creek

Timber Top

Trail's End


White Stag

Please note: In many cases, NorthPole is not the only manufacturer that produced and/or still produces gear under these names. NorthPole can only provide customer service for tents that are NorthPole products


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Funded whats that, oh thats right that is when I open up my wallet to pay for everything.


Well the troop is broke.... Hense my most bang for the buck thing....


I like the tarp idea, especially heading into fall when the bugs are not an issue....



I would never buy walmart tents....or off brand names...


Scoutdirect is great.....but exceed my budget....I am hoping steepandcheap will offer a vertex 3 or 4 really reasonable in the next day or so.....you can get them for as much as 80% off.

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Tents are a difficult piece of equipment for backpacking Troops. Most backpacking troops in reality are troops where the scouts may backpack a couple times a year and maybe one high adventure a year. So youre basically left with nine or ten nonbackpacking weekend campouts a year. That means you need a tent stout enough to hold up to a couple years of plain old camping, and light enough for a couple backpacking campouts. Im not sure there really is an ideal tent for that kind of troop.


I admit Ive been out of the troop camping business for a few years and tents technology changes every year, so I dont know whats out there now. But our backpacking patrols eventually moved to stout four man camping tents for nonbackpacking campouts, and personal light weight tents all for the rest. That seems like and expensive way to go, but in reality the scouts found pretty good deals for the kind of tents they personally wanted to use. Typically an observer on our campouts would see two or three of the hardy stout tents with one or two personal tents in each patrol.


As our troop gained to more experience, both the adults and scouts got better at determining the best tents for each trip. For example, we found campsites in the Northern Tier trips was very limited in size, so we tried to keep the number of tents small by using 3 and 4 man backpacking tents. However, two man tents were better on full week backpacking trips in the mountains beacuse they packed a lot better. Sometimes scouts to use single man backpacking tents if it worked with the crew number. Philmont doesnt allow single scouts in tents.


Then there is the style of tents to consider. T2Eagle has given some great advice. Through the years we learned two entrance tents work better for backpacking because it allows each person to enter and exit with minimal disruption to the other occupant. Keeping mud and dirt out of the tent becomes a high priority for comfort through the week, so a little time is required to sit in a tent entrance while taking off the boots outside. No big deal on a nice evening, but if it is raining cats and dogs, somebody is left standing in the rain waiting for the other to get dang shoes off. Then there is that stuff you leave outside the tent but under the vestibule like the boots and raingear. Two vestibule entrances just work better.


We spend most of our backpacking in the Rockies, and mountain showers in the afternoon are more common than not, so we learned the faster you can set up a tent, the less messy it will get inside. We found that tents with sleeves for the poles were painfully slow compared to tents with hooks. And then what about those tents that required a dozen poles to hold it up. I personally like no more than two poles for the tent and maybe one for the vestibule. Oh, if you dont think a self-standing tent is a big deal, try finding some hard ground for that stakes of a non-selfstanding in a mountain forest with six inches of tree compost. Its not any fun running out in the rain every hour at night resetting that stake.


I know other folks have other advice from their experiences, but T2Eagle reminded me of the advantages of different tents.




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