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Scout/Scouter Owned Tents vs Unit Owned

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Our unit is considering not purchasing new troop owned tents as they become unserviceable.


Rather, we are considering asking unit members to purchase their own tents.


A few reasons for this:


1. Many already have, carry, and use their own tents on Scout campouts. Some have both a tent suitable for short backpacking trips as well as a larger tent for car camping, summer camp, etc.


2. Those that own their own tents seem to prefer them over troop tents. And they take better care of them, it seems.


3. Tents are expensive and there are so many to chose from. Asking unit members to purchase their own tents takes some of the financial strain from the unit.


I am just wondering what some of your thoughts and your unit practice are regarding tents.




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We still have about ten troop-owned Eureka tents, but we encourage the Scouts to buy their own. Sometimes the Scouts also borrow them from their families' friends, so now our campouts can range from 90% personal tents to less than 50% personal tents.


They do seem to take a lot of pride in ownership, and in nine years, I have never heard of any of their own personal tents reeking of mildew from sitting under their beds for a week after a campout :-/


Inexperienced Scouts also tend to remain a lot drier in a cheap $50 dome tent than they do in $100+ Eureka tents that are not set up with the perfect amount of tension on the rain fly.


Even some of the poorest families spring for a tent for their son for Christmas or a birthday. But these things go in cycles and depend a lot on the personalities of the Scouts and their families.


> 3. Tents are expensive and there are so many to chose from.


We encourage parents to buy the cheaper small "3-man" dome tents (that actually only fit 3 small Scouts) in the $50 price range (much cheaper at the end of the season). These work very nicely for backpacking.


Another popular style in our Troop is a rectangular "semi-dome" style 3-man Coleman tent that can actually fit three men.


We discourage family-size tents which can be harder find room for in the woods.


There is a scientific formula for calculating the correct tent size based on the amount of sleep that the Scouts will get on Friday night: 1 Scout = 8 hours, 2 Scouts = 6 hours, 3 Scouts = 4 hours, more than 3 Scouts = 0 hours :-/


I had a couple of $50 "Ozark Trails" (Walmart's brand) "3-man" dome tents that lasted for ten years, until my Scouts managed to loose both of the rain flies at a Camporee somehow. It was just big enough for me, plus all my equipment. I used seam-sealer, and never got wet during the worst rain storms. I also used them in the winter down to about -10 degrees. The poles get brittle at that temperature, and need to be handled carefully. This particular style used plastic clips to secure the tent to the bent poles, and a few of these clips did break in the cold. Some of the newer models have sleeves through which you slide the poles.


The trick is to try to ask parents to buy the models with rain flies that come down to the ground, which helps prevent rain (and even snow) from being blown up under the rain fly.


Some Troops have a "Recommended List" of tents that have worked well for them, so as to avoid the really bad toy tents with the tiny rain fly caps.



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I would suggest to the committee they keep two or three tents in case somebody were to forget or something was to happen. If you have a trailer, you can just keep them in there so if you need it great, if not it's not a problem.


We keep a couple Walmart sleeping bags in ours just in case. Last summer at camp we had 4 hours of rain in a day so stuff got wet especially with the newer boys. I believe the SM went to Walmart that night and grabbed a couple.


Also, they may look into speciallized tents for backpacking and such depending on weather, etc so the boys dont have to have multiple tents for each different need.


BTW-- I have one of those Walmart and dont mind it, but I would prefer a better one..mine's a little heavy.

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My troop has never had troop tents in the several years I have been involved with them. Of course, we've always had a few adults leaders who are gearheads and always have/had extra "loaner" equipment on hand -- tents, backpacks, sleeping bags. Most of the boys have acquired tents of their own -- most good, a few not very good, but no real problems. Never, in my experience at least, any complaints from the Scouts or families.


However, with several new Scouts joining the troop the last couple of years who don't have equipment, I've actually been considering purchasing a few troop tents.


Dan K

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For us, Scouts use the troop owned tents (Eureka Tetragon 9s) and Scouters use their own. Reasons - a uniform look, no squabbles about his tent vs. my tent, etc. Bad points - like the "projects" the tents are sometimes not taken care of properly because they are not "mine." Our solution - each tent belongs to a patrol, not the troop. If the patrol abuses the tent, the patrol has to live with it.


Now, I know of troops who "allow" Scouts of Star rank and above to bring their own tents. This is viewed as a perk (and save the troop money) and is well received by the Scouts.


I don't think there is a real right or wrong answer on this one. Our adults have their own (I bought a Eureka Tetragon 11 to fit in) to save money.

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Our troop provides tents and patrol boxes full of gear. It provides a high level of uniformity to our troop. The scout tents are EUREKA "4man", but we assign two per tent.


A) We truley make the Troop QM amd PQM earn thier leadership.


B) It does reduce the cost of scouting for most families.


C)We have a good fundrasing system in the community which allows us to provide this level of troop equipment. Be it also disclosed we have troop bus, which could be a whole thread unto itself.



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I think privately owned tents work best but some troop equipment is needed. Patrol boxes, stoves, cooking kit, cutlery kit, water coolers, ice chests, dish washing tubs,lanterns, shovels, first aid kits, twine, ax, saw and dining fly would be good for group equipment. Tents just seem to last longer if owned by an individual.

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My last unit had all troop-owned tents. Setup/teardown was simplified, equipment accountability was better, training was easier, and we knew that nobody would get wet because of cheap equipment. Plus, they were just large enough for two boys and their gear, so we didn't have the frat party temptation that comes with larger tents. On the flip side, if they got wet, we had our supply building draped with wet tents after we got back, versus mom's basement.


Now, we have some troop-owned tents, but mostly Scout-owned. The troop-owned tents are mostly for transfers, new Scouts, etc. I don't think it's threatened Scouting as we know it, but we look like a refugee settlement, winds will inevitably take down one of the cheapies, and rain will also send at least a few Scouts scurrying for a dryer tent in the middle of the night.


I'm afraid I don't understand the argument that says "if they bring their own, they'll take better care of them". If you apply that logic across the board, we shouldn't have stoves, lanterns, cook sets, or anything else -- the lads should bring it all. I've always believed that if someone damages a tent through negigence or mistreatment, they pay for repair/replacement.


If you can swing it, and maintain/store them, I'd go with troop tents. Just a preference, but in the balance, I like it better that way.



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My arguements for privately-owned property (tents, some cook gear, some other patrol gear... but not too much of the troop-level stuff) would be:


1.) Teaching responsibility. We CAN teach responsibility with communal property, but the lessons and consequences are more immediate, or more natural (I am not really sure how to phrase that) if it is your own stuff.


2.) Teaching a SUSTAINABLE love of the outdoors. It fascinates me sometimes to see how most troops camp. Our old troop was a behemoth and camped like an invasion- big old communal 'portable garage', big adult cooking area (with those fancy high-powered burners and about 6 tables), patrol boxes it took 6 strong backs to shift, numbered tents being passed out in a scene straight out of a war movie, etc.


OK- this is not inherently bad... but how much of this can be carried over to family camping? Families camp much like patrols, but not like small armies. If we do this right, this Scout becomes an ambassador for camping to his friends and family, and later in life, to his new family.


3. Opportunities for creative activities- making your own shelters (like the Pyramiddle- http://www.hufsoft.com/bsa51/page0001.html, or hammock camping- http://www.shire.net/mormon/hammock.html), or many other options), scavenging up a great cookset from local thrift shops (we did this years ago as a challenge game- it was amazing the great gear they found!), etc.


4. More intelligent use of unit funds- instead of spending all the money for upkeep, upgrades, etc., use the money elsewhere (or cut your budget to accomodate the lower demand) and/or use fundraisers to help Scouts and families buy the gear.


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> I'm afraid I don't understand the argument that says "if they bring their

> own, they'll take better care of them". If you apply that logic across the

> board, we shouldn't have stoves, lanterns, cook sets, or anything else

> -- the lads should bring it all.


To keep things logical, just classify tents as personal gear :-)


Tents are expensive and fragile, whereas most Patrol gear is not. The Scouts in my Troop really do take better care of their own tents. They seem to be more aware of the condition of their tent if no one else has ever used it. I'm sure that different Troops have very different experiences, but the bottom line is that if a Scout neglects his own tent, the rips and mildew do not become someone else's problem on the next campout.


Our all-girl Venturing Crew borrows the Troop tents and they do not always take good care of them. The older male Scouts tend to be more responsible, so they have their own Troop tents for those who need them, and we let them lock them up between campouts. If a young Scout wants to borrow one of the Troop tents, he sets it up outside before the campout to make sure that all of the parts are there. This is a hassle, so it makes tent owners very popular.


As far as lanterns go, I'm always happy when those things break. If nobody in the Patrol wants to learn how to find replacement glass or mantles, so much the better! From what I have observed at Camporees, the Troops who most value rows of identical tents tend to light their area up with bright lanterns. Ugh!


> I've always believed that if someone damages a tent through negligence

> or mistreatment, they pay for repair/replacement.


That usually requires a lot of high drama :-/



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