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I have a Webelos den that will very soon start to have some overnight campouts. They all have their own tents, and between us parents we have most all of the equipment needed.


I want to bring some kind of dining shelter. I have an inexpensive screen tent, but I don't think it will survive several weekends with nine boys. I'm thinking of getting some kind of dining fly, so I've been researching them.


I'm willing to spend some of my money on it, since I can use it for my own family's camping too.


In a related thread earlier this year, EagleInKY mentioned that patrols were moving toward an "enclosed canopy" instead of a more classic dining fly.


Did that refer to a screen tent? Is that in order to provide shelter against mosquitos as well as rain?


Can anyone point to web sites that provide dining fly descriptions? It sounds like most troops use homemade pole setups. Is that right?


Do you prefer plastic, nylon/polyester, or canvas tarps?

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Here in the temperate rain forest of southeast Alaska we go with the infamous cheap blue tarps but not just for a dining fly. we cover sections of our car camping campsite kitchen, dining area, and if the weather is looking really wet over the tents and the campfire.

Yes over the fire, we use a older tarp for that. We haven't flambed one yet but have added spark holes when a scout got a little carried away adding wood. The trick is the tarp usually 20'x40' is 15-20 feet overhead. Use light nylon twine that is strung over tree limbs and secured to ground and bright surverors tape to mark the lines! Everything comes down when it is time to go home.

For those with LNT concerns as long as you don't reef hard on the lines they won't dig deep into the bark of the trees.



Phillip Martin

Scoutmaster Troop 21

Juneau Alaska

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Seems in our neck of the woods that the dining fly is on the way out. The carport or canopy, is the in thing. You can buy them at Sam's Club. They are just like a frame tent with no sides although you can buy sides or use tarps.

They cost about $150.00.

It is a good idea to color code the poles, as there is a lot of them.


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I still like the old plastic tarp method. Depending on the size of the tarp (they need to be 20 feet in at least one dimension) several whole sections of PVC pipe, perhaps conduit with one end expanded to join with the opposite end, and rebar stakes are all you need. The assembly is cheap, quick, and effective. And they don't have to be blue, the material is your choice depending on how durable it needs to be. Each whole stick of PVC (I think it's 1 inch diameter or so) is cut in half for easy storage, transport, and assembly. One whole stick is used for each end and each set of grommets across the 20 feet width of the plastic tarp.


At the campsite, we put two rows of rebar stakes in the ground to act as anchors for the ends of the 'ribs' of the shelter. Then each rib is assembled by inserting a standard end into a flared end. This joint makes the rib approximately 20 feet in length again, approximately its original length. Then these are bowed into a half-circle and the ends slipped over the vertical stakes. If done correctly they stand by themselves. Then the tarp is slipped over the ribs and secured at the grommets. Lines tied through the ribs and down to end stakes stabilize the whole assembly. Works well for us and take about 20 minutes to erect.

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I saw a Coleman 12x16 Screenhouse advertised for about $125, last week. When I get home tonight I'll let you know which store had it. It's lightweight, and easy. With some zipper lube, and a bit of "training", I would think that this kind of thing will serve you well.

As was noted here, the carports are resonalbly priced at Costco and Sams, they come with a front, back and sides. The problem is of course that you need somewhere to store this thing, and it's heavy & bulky.

For protection from the rain you can't beat the tarps. (You can buy green ones!!!) They are cheap, and easily stored. The boys can even become Tarp Engineers! You really don't have much of a choice if you are looking for protection from the mosquitoes as well as the rain.

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Prefer the dining fly, one which is made of a waterproof ripstop nylon compostion. Besides protection from rain, I can rig it as a sail for the canoe.


As for skeeters, no see ums, and other biting bugs, a head net and DEET works fairly well....

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