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Nessmuk

Canvas Tents - Anyone??

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I am always happy to meet someone who appreciates a good canvas tent. Problem is there are too few of us out there. For base-camping or even trekking I have found that canvas is my favorite..

 

That being said -I still try out new gear since I am gear-nut to the end, but I love the simplicity of simple gear. Been playing with a Golite Hex3 for a year or so now.. But back onto it..

 

Simple tent designs seem to be gone too.. I watch people fumble with several multi-piece shock corded fiberglass poles to slip through slots in their "space alien shelters" while I insert a single stave under my pyramid/miner tent or over a line between two trees for my Whelen Lean-To.. These new tents are like most new things today-unrepairable in the field.

 

8 oz treated cloth is not that heavy if the design is simple, and your total load can still be light if you leave all the extra junk home..

 

Just lookin' for someone who loves the practicality and smell of good canvas..

 

Nessmuk

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I hear you GW..An appreciation for traditional methods is hard to explain to folks who are after what's easiest.

 

It's not easy to explain to a modern rifle hunter why I enjoy my traditional Black powder muzzleloader rifle better when hunting.. Same goes for bowhunting with my longbow versus an aluminum arrow-shooting machine.

 

Or to explain to a non-hunter why the grocery store cuts of meat just don't do the job for me..

 

It's an affair of the heart and soul - although canvas does have some technical advantages over synthetic tent and pack products - like wool is better than most synthetic garments.. You will not ever find a synthetic pack or tent that is still usable 75 years after coming off the shelf (if proper care is taken).. There are plenty of canvas examples however.

 

Also all synthetics are originally made from (you guessed it) Petroleum !

 

Like I said, I scout on both ends just for fun and learning.. The traditional side gives me more satisfaction (even if a little heavier).. I just carry less junk and do fine.

 

Still looking... - Any hard corps out there that love the smell of canvas in the morning?.... smells like "Scouting". This message has been edited by Nessmuk)(This message has been edited by Nessmuk)

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I too can understand the love for the feel, smell, and even sound of a nice canvas tent. I grew up with the canvas BSA Voyager tents, a canvas family cabin tent, and my dad's Baker tent, and so canvas has a very special place in my heart.

 

Benefits: longer life, MUCH better suited to long-term camping (longer UV exposure

 

Disadvantages: can be very heavy - depending on weight of material, not necessarily completely waterPROOF, not sure if the quality we used to have is still out there.

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Oh, I understand the challenge of bow hunting vs. rifle hunting. I just don't see why I should hump any more than I really need to.

 

As for having my tent in another 75 years, if I'm still alive, I doubt that I'll be carrying a tent anywhere.

 

For traditional, why stop with canvas? What's wrong with leather?

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True simpler IS usually better.

 

And as one who remembers fine points of successfully sleeping in the Canvas shelter half - pairing up with a buddy if you had an even number of folks out, and pitching it as a lean-to if you were the odd man out(hey, I'm still that sometimes) :) and trenching it in with (oh) memories. They weren't all they were cracked up to be. Sure they worked, but I'll pass for now.

 

Not that I'm averse to lean-to's, shelter half's, tarp tents or just about anything else but IF I'm going to carry it, AND it's not an object lesson for the Scout's I'm just not going backwards(and heavier) for backwards sake.

 

I can understand why you might do it, and for nostalgias sake might sleep in one but just don't see it on a regular basis, for me. Well, I'll be in a Canvas tent all week next week but I won't have carried it anywhere either.

 

As to primitive weapons, why not a sling style slingshot, or a spear, or for a real challenge track and stalk that deer with a flint knife. Personally I'll stick to good old modern weaponry. The old stuff is fun to play with but if I'm going hunting I'm trying to kill it not mess it up with outdated technology and the flaws that called for the advancement to modern arms. A non-fatal wound due to the inherent flaws of an old technology is just as painful to the animal as a sloppy shot from a poor marksman using todays gear. After all, the hunt is in the stalk if the stalk has been well performed, the kill is anticlimactic.

 

But all opinions are welcomed. :)(This message has been edited by Gunny2862)

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KenK - Thanks for the reply - Good to hear there are some canvas lovers out there -On the quality of current tents - canvas is actually making a comeback and there are a variety of lighterweight canvas fabrics that breath and shed water.. I am going to be going to a canvas spike tent 10x10 for my family camping .. There are a good number of US mnfr's out there. I used a BSA miner/pyramid tent in the 80's - no floor- loved em. Also looking at a canvas tent in Cabelas made by Kodiak Tent Co..

 

GW- Buffalo or deer hide makes a nice teepee cover. I'd sleep in it.

 

Gunny -

I was at a Council Jamboree (4000+ Scouts) in May.. We had a station where the WEBELOS were timed in setting up a shelter half..and at that same event I saw a Patrol with 6 shelter half tents set up in a row with their homemade Patrol Flag flapping over a tent set up in front (The PL I s'pose).. I wish I had a pic - It was great how uniform tenting looked.

 

I just made a slingshot a couple weeks back out of a Maple tree forked branch - It puts holes clean through detergent boxes with pebbles - pretty accurate with it too.

 

My goal is to be hunting deer with self bow/ primitive knapped points in 2 years.. I just went back to bowhunting after my shoulder is healed and I have been working with a new long bow most every day. Spears- You can go South and hunt boars legally with em.. Some guys use knapped flint or obsidian spear points too.

 

Anymore? - Gotta be some good canvas tent stories out there?

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I am not a big fan of them for the reasons others have stated except at summer camp where our camps still use the large 2 person wall tents.

 

However, my younger bro (and current scoutmaster in our hometown) also participates with a local mountain man group. He wanted either a pyramid or diamond shelter for a long time, but not having much cash, he couldn't afford one. You should have seen the look on his face when I gave him a diamond shelter I made for Christmas a few years back having followed directions found out there somewhere on the net. Didn't come out as water tight as I had hoped, but he still uses it quite extensively, including at scouting events.

 

The challenge is finding real cotton canvas locally at a price that won't wipe-out your wallet. I had used a painter's tarp. The problem was it wasn't 100% cotton, so I couldn't the fabric to shrink tight enough so that the waterproofing (can't recall the name of it, they sell it through Cabella's specifically for canvas, but I hear Thompson's Waterseal works just as well) would work properly, despite washing it in hot water/hot drying in a commercial washer/dryer three times.

 

Nearly wreaked my sewing machine too 'cause I don't own a heavy duty one. It can handle jeans folded over about three times. Once you started putting in the tie-offs on this thing it was the consistency of jeans folded over six time.

 

I enjoyed the challenge and would love to try it again if/when I can afford a heavier-duty sewing machine.

 

My total cost in materials/sewing machine repair/broken needles/commercial wash-dry fees for his diamond shelter/pack tarp came out to roughly half the price of the tent companies that specialize in that sort of thing (ex. Panther Primitives). I probably should have signed/dated the thing in a corner, but then it would have been less "authentic" for his mountain man rendezvous events.

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Great gift and story Moxieman.. By the way, went up to Maine (Down East) two summers ago and loved it..Fell in love with Moxie too. My kids still talk about it.

 

Next trip is to Baxter St Park (I think)..

 

Been watching for HD sewing machines on Ebay..There's a lot of them there.

 

Mountain Man weekend is a big attractant for Scouts here (and no Mountains).. Which makes me wonder if the traditional skills are what they are attracted to - which leads to.. Well you know..more tradittional scouting.

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Canvas. I have nothing against it....much. The smell takes me back to the 60's as a kid and our family camping trips. I remember that it was so hot that we kids always dragged our cots out under the stars instead of sleep in the hot stuffy tent. We only slept in it if it rained and then it leaked anywhere it got touched. Since then and advancing to quick, easy, light, dependable synthetic tents, I've still spent my share of time in canvas at WB, summer camps and Jamboree. There is nothing more impressive than a row of nicely pitched wall tents and dining flys at a Jamboree. Of course, most contingent troops struggle for hours and still don't get them set up right, so they look terrible. Then it rains and you have to tighten them. Then the sun comes out and you have to loosen them. Everyone has to be careful where they walk so they are not tripping over the sea ofguy lines and tent stakes. The one thing all 3 of the Jambo SM's and the 9 ASM's agreed on as a note for next Jambo was to ditch the canvas wall tents and go with the fast and light dome tents. Even after having practice sessions at the contingent troop meetings and 2 shakedowns, the boys spent most of their first day at Jambo just trying to get all the canvas strung up. The dome folks were set up in an hour and out experiencing a Jamboree. I like canvas just like I like my old turntable and vinyl albums, but I love my iPod and digital music more.

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Thanks for commenting SR540Beaver..

On the tripping-

I have a nylon (canvas version in the works) pyramid style from Cabelas -with guy lines and everyone in camp passers-by comment on how much they like the style.

 

I show them the single pole in the center and they wonder why they mess with shockcorded fiberglass rods. The Cubs are tripping over the guy lines and I tell them it's my "Cub Scout Trap" and then I say "no running in camp" and "be observant" - and then I trip over my own guy line - LOL.

 

Also I am dismayed at how I hear so many comments from Scouters about how hard it is to teach Scouts to do things (like set up a tent) and how new designs and technology serve as their way to accomodate the Scout's supposed inability to learn (or Scouter's inability to teach)..

 

It was not like this in decades past (or the 80's even).. I think most people are too quick to write themselves an 'excuse note' just because "things are different now"..

 

Just being patient and teaching a boy to overcome the challenges of a wall tent and its maintenance builds into him an attitude or mindset that is much more valuable in his future than any badge or walking around a sea of scouts to be entertained by a bunch of adults.

 

If it's not easy, your probably doing the right thing.

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Our troop has two sets of gear. One for camps where we carry and one for camps that we drive to. The drive to arrangement includes big canvass tents that most Patrols can fit into. They need to be pitched right and attended to. They require skill. That's why we use them.

 

If you can camp in canvass the lightweight dome tent is easy as. There are other reasons for the big tent but as far as heavy canvass goes I see it as a skill that is either right or you are uncomfortable.

 

They do work in tropical downpours. The version we use anyway.

 

Our Scouts look at the sea of domes at big camps and our Scouts get quite proud of themselves. They gripe often enough until that point. Then at these big camps they compare their skill against others and can see how much they have learned.

 

My family has a camper trailer. The words mean something different in teh US I understand. Imagine a canvass tent that folds up towed behind the family vehicle. That's right - canvass. We were chased off Fraser Island at Christmas by a cyclone. Everybody was wet through. But not us. The rain was horizontal. All the domes went home and for lack of company (and it was wet outside) we went with them. We thought about curling up with some books but it was a family thing with the dome dwellers.

 

But when hiking - its goretex and nylon all the way. We use sailmakers tape for repair of tears. See any ships chandler. We also carry 6 inch tubes of aluminium that fit over the rods which withsome tape fix the poles in the field.

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I have to agree with you in that I like the old style canvas tents. In our pack we have seeeral former members of the military, and they all remember the shelter half. It was good in that you could split the load and two people carry the shelter. We are looking into purchasing several sets of shelter halfs for our cubs to give them a good camping experience.

 

But that is not to say that we won't keep the newer dome tents on hand for new scouts and families that are looking for something that is a little easier. It all depends on what we are trying to do or how much time we have available. What I mean is, if we do not have a lot of time to set up before we need to get the activities going, then the newer dome tents would probably go up. But if we are going to have time, or we have several of our former military members there, then the canvas shelter halfs will go up and sometimes just as fast.

 

There are pros and cons to each. For some there is the vintage look, but for others, there is the ease and weight are concerns are the concern.

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Question on the canvas... How do you keep cool in the canvas? Here we usually only camp a couple of weekends when the temp even gets below freezing? We have canvas frame tents at camp, and we run miles of extension cord for fans so that everyone can sleep. We actually had one night this year, while the troop was at camp that the temp got below 65. It seems so much easier to adjust the fly and open the window on a dome tent to let some breeze in-- if any breeze even exists.

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