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AnneinMpls

How many tents? How big?

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G'mornin good people :)

Alright, so I'm browsing tents moire seriously this year because of the info on ALPS mountaineering, and trying to figure out how many tents we'd need to buy. We're now up to 4 patrols: 2 with 4, 1 with 6, and 1 with 8 girls.

Many here advocate 2 to a tent: I like this because it reinforces the buddy system.

On the other hand, our funds are very limited and bigger tents are cheaper to buy per square foot from what I can tell from my browsing.

Currently I'm runing comparisons on several brands offering 4-person dome tents either 8x8 or 9x7 approximately.

If we put two to a tent, we'd need 12 tents. If we put 4 to a tent, we'd need 6. 12 of the ALPS Osage 2 would cost us $461.88 plus shipping.

6 of the Osage 4 would cost us $362.94 plus shipping. So, $99 difference...

Most of you say to subtract one in order to fit folks comfortably in the tents. Well, there's o 3-person Osage, so that would mean 12 Osage 4's for $725.88 or 6 Osage 6's for $593.94 for a difference of $132. The Osage 4 just seems like an awful lot of tent for 2 people. We also generally dont camp more than 2 nights in a row so not a lot of gear to stow. Dunno. What do you think?

Anne in Mpls

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Anne,

 

Don't forget that the tent sizes are based on average size people with NO GEAR. In reality, you need to reduce the number of the tent rating by 1 or 2. So, a 4-man tent would hold 2 comfortably or 3 snuggly (with gear).

 

We purchased 3 and 4 man tents. When we are car-camping we typically put 2 scouts in a tent. As the guys get older (and bigger), we find they pretty much need to put 2 big guys in a 4 man tent. If we have an odd number of boys in a patrol, they normally will do one tent with 3 (in a 4 man tent).

 

When we backpack, the guys will try to pack as many in a tent as possible. It varies a lot by the size of the boys. The decision rests with them. The same goes for winter camping, they've learned that more bodies in a smaller tent equates to a warmer night.

 

I don't like big tents because it is harder to get a group of 6 or 8 to settle down for the night. It's also harder to dry out a big tent. (We send the tents home with one of the boys that slept in it to be dried and cleaned.)

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Some more number-crunching:

The Osage 2 allows 30" of width per person. The Osage 4 allows 25.5" per person. The Osage 6 seems to allow 24" for 2 of the 6, and 30" for the other 4...

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Anne,

This might not be the answer you're looking for, but we encourage scouts to buy tents of their own. We have about 4 Eureka troop tents they can borrow, if required, but most of the boys are proud to have their own and they definitely take better care of them.

For beginner scouts, a cheap tent from local sports discount store will serve them fine for a few years. As they get older (and bigger), we encourage the parents to consider a good tent for Christmas and birthday gifts. In early November, we send an email to parents with list of suggestions and links to online discounters.

 

As for size, many folks recommend no more than 2 per tent. Primary reason is discipline. More in tent can tend to get more rowdy and talkative into the night. I personally don't hold by this comment and have found a word from the SPL will settle things down. In the troop of my youth, we used Army surplus tents big enough to handle an entire patrol and found it was great for patrol unity. Yes - there might be more chatter, but that's what you expect when you get a bunch of friends together. Isn't that the point of patrols to begin with? Let them carry on for a little while, then remind them it's going to be a big day tomorrow - time to sleep.

 

-mike

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Having the girls each buy their own, or a couple of families who regularly camp on their own, each loaning a large family tent, might be a better way to go for you.

 

You have to remember you are talking GSUSA here NOT BSA. In GSUSA, the council owns the Troop, lock, stock, money & equipment. So, your TROOP will NOT own these tents, your COUNCIL will.

 

Unless you plan on keeping the Troop going for at least the next 10-15 years, to get the full value out of the tents, you will just be giving them to your Council when you disband.

 

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AnneinMpls Good Afternoon. The Osage 4s you are talking about have a fly which does not extent to the ground on the sides and has only an 8 overhang at the peaks front and back. The D door zipper will leak on the bottom if not seam sealed regularly. I say this because of the number of girls you are intending to put in each tent. With two girls in a 4 person tent they can stay away from sides and zipper (51" each) with three its tighter (34")each with four some one is actually under the seams on each side 25.5" each). Even though the Osage has a bath tub type floor being right up against the side of the tent is not ideal. If Mpls means Minneapolis you may need to plan for heavy rain at some time in the tents life. Even if each girl only had one small bag it would have to go at her foor or head because side to side there is no room left. With the prices you quoted I would suggest seeing if the girls would be willing to buy their own tents $60.50 for the Osage 4s split two ways would allow plenty of room per girl and youth tend to take better care of things they work for and own personally.

LongHaul

 

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LongHaul - thanks for your very astute observations on the Osage 4 - I guess you're right that 4 would be pushing them right up to the sides. The Osage 2 is for some reason a lot roomier for the 2... Our weather here is a lot rainier than I generally acknowledge ;)

I'm now leaning more towards some 2-person tents as we already own a couple larger tents, but the total cost is anxiety-provoking. We want to be sure we're spending our money on something that's a high enough quality to justify it.

(Scoutnut, you and I have gone around the merry-go-round before - I don't want to have to keep re-explaining our troop organization for you year after year. It just seems like a big waste of time to me. Yes, we are a troop existing in perpetuity. We bridge girls in and out of our troop. If you're still curious or don't remember our previous conversations please visit the archives.)

We serve a very low income population so buying tents as a troop is the plan. Our plan up till now has been adult leaders pretty much fully subsidizing the troop on equipment needs which obviously isn't quite the right way to go either. It's difficult enough to encourage parents to stretch their budgets to get sleeping bags and socks and hats. Most outings we are trying to track down needed stuff like shoes that fit. Very low income means little to no access to health care and not eating a full meal over a weekend because there's no school.

So, I'm still working on the stated subject: how many, how big :) Anyone got a rule of thumb for square footage per persohn that they like to go with?

Thank you folks :)

Anne in Mpls

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AnneinMpls,

 

To start one "four" man...then two man, two man, two man...etc... later a second four man ....the four man tent is your fall back tent when you have an odd number...and even four small scouts generally fit well...Many units start small and build up...remember almost no event is 100% attended... so a nice goal is say 65-75% tentage...if you have twenty scouts- say 6-7 two man tents and one three man...have leaders provide their own until you are "on your feet"...

 

Now for a temper tantrum...NO GEAR IN TENTS -NO shoes, NO packs and NO anything with edges -it all stays out- As to packs- build a pack frame or hang them on a rope-out side-then cover with a tarp or a large trash bag- but keep them out of your tents...only sleeping "gear" and clothes go in. Tents will last much longer...twin vestibules are nice ....tantrum over....

 

see the staying dry thread for some good information...

 

Try to keep most of your tents two man...program wise they are more versatile- you can divide the parts (tent body to one scout poles and fly to the second) and they can "work" as "backpacking" tents...four man tents are burdensome to carry!

 

 

Last...just a suggestion here...have you thought about approaching any organizations for assistance with gear? We found several benefactors...you might try local Moose or Elk Lodges, Lions Clubs, Church groups, VFW's American Legion Halls, business groups, large companies...on and on (only limited by your energy)...make contact, letters, phone calls...outline your program needs and ask for as much help as you can...Let them know the hard work your kids are doing STAYING OUT OF TROUBLE...and how they can help you continue to offer a better program with thrie support ...with equipment "gifts"...(not cash...some councils get real "touchy" if you ask for money- thats what they do after all and it might hurt their efforts)...

 

good luck

Anarchist(This message has been edited by anarchist)

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AnneinMpls,

I don't think as much in terms of sq. footage as I do shoulder room. Sleeping bags generally run from 30 to 39 inches wide. A tent which allows less than the with of her sleeping bag per girl requires someone sleep against the side wall. That reduces the life of the tent, is colder when temps drop, and increases likelyhood of wet sleeping bags. Anarchist recommends no gear in tents, this is a good idea but then you must have somewhere to put said gear. You are either purchasing more tentage or tarps or pack covers etc. I don't have a one size fits all answer except that each girl needs at least 1 sleeping bag width of floor space.

LongHaul(This message has been edited by LongHaul)

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The Scoutmaster before me bemoaned the hassles of the two Scouts per tents system, with rampant complaining about who go to tent with whom. So, he went with 4 man tents.

 

The weight per Scout is low and many of the Scouts opt to forgo the tents in favor of bivies.

 

We have no complaints about going 4 per tent.

 

- Oren

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Oren, thanks~! What are the dimensions of the 4-man tents you use? Is 8x8 or 9x7 about "right" for overflowing 3 scouts (or 4 littler ones?) or do you go bigger?

LongHaul, thanks to you too! Now you've got me taking a tape measure to my sleeping bags. Oh well. The neighbors already think I'm weird ;)

All of our sleeping bags are 28" wide. My Thermarests are 21" wide. My fullsize (I think?) Airbed fit nicely (wall to wall) in the smaller one of my teeny tiny cheap 2-man dome tents (you know the kind with the doily rainfly on top!). (And yes, resulting in condensation along the sides, but I stayed cosy and dry.)

Thanks!

Anne in Mpls

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We use Dana Design Nuk Tuk tents. They're 8 x 8 and are big enough for three regular Scouts or four "wee-ones."

 

- Oren

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Most of our troop uses 8x8 or 9x9 tents. I don't like using tents much larger than this because of the effect on the enviornment. THe larger then tent foot print the more damage is done to the ground. We do 2 boys per tent. I personally use a 9x9 so I have space for my books and such I take on each camping trip.

 

I forgot. I personally use Timbercreek from Academy. They are about 28.00 for a 9x9. After 5 years I just replaced mine. The zipper came apart, We camp about 10 times a year and I use my own tent at summer camp, reseal the seams after every second trip. I love them tents. Kevin's 8x8 is now 4 years old and he is much harder on his tent then I am.(This message has been edited by Lynda J)

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I would like to reinforce Longhauls comments on the fly. It is so very important to have a fly that extends to the ground in order to keep the kids dry during rain. That, and a 'bathtub' type waterproof floor, are very important in a tent. You can deal with just about any type of weather as long as the kids have a dry tent and a dry sleeping bag.

 

Any hey, Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes, I'm guessing that they must get filled up somehow... :-)

 

I have no opinion on tent capacities for car camping, but if you plan to do backpacking, weight should be a consideration...

 

That's my $0.02...

 

 

 

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