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"Upgrading" troop equipment

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I am looking for some opinions on troop equipment. We have a troop which is about to (we hope) have a big growth spurt. Our tents are old and in need of being replaced (we have an old, discontinued Coleman model). We mainly "car" camp, but we do 2 or 3 backpacks and at least one canoe trip a year. We are looking for tents which are light enough for backpacking, at a reasonable price. Right now we are looking at Timberline 2s or Mountaismith Guardians, but we are open to other ideas. Each of these are just at $100, and though in our budget, we would like to spend less (we do not need 4 season tents). Ideas?

 

We are also looking into patrol tarps. Is there anything good out there we should be looking at? We want something more than a plastic tarp from Wal-Mart of Lowes, but again, we want to keep the cost down.

 

I tried to make a more ridid tarp from contracter tarps with 2x2s and 4 poles. It came out fine, but ended up being $70.00 and a real big hastle to put up. We may or may not keep this as an adult tarp, that may depend upon what else we find.

 

 

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I'm eyeballing some of the pop-ups canopies (ez-up is one brand) for our patrols. We've personally used them for baseball and soccer tournies over the years. You can pay anywhere from $80-$200 depending upon the name and quality. I want to get one for each of our three patrols. They are easy to set up, but not the best in wind. Was thinking we'd just make sure they drop them after taps to save any overnight damage. As it is in any kind of inclement they all end up huddlig under the main troop fly; and I get testy when they keep stepping on my toes...(This message has been edited by jtswestark)

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Do you allow the Scouts to bring their own tents?

 

The investment is a lot less and the pressure to use the Troop Method (Troop Quartermaster, Troop Committee bylaws regarding tent care, etc., etc.) is greatly reduced if you allow the Patrols to take care of their own shelter.

 

We always got by with a few old Troop tents for new Scouts who do not have a friend who owns his own tent.

 

Kudu

 

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My recommendation is Eureka Spitfire 2 tents (or equivalent) for backpacking. These 3-season backpacking tents sleep 2, weigh under 5 pounds each, and 2 scouts can split the weight of the tent between them on a backpacking trip. Unfortunately, they run about $150.00 each new from Eureka.

 

For tarps, you might want to consider Tyvek (or equivalent house wrap) which is very lightweight and durable. I've heard that some builders might even cut you off a piece from a Tyvek roll for free if they know you're Scouters.

 

Good luck! I'm sure you'll be getting many, many more suggestions shortly ;),. Also, check previous threads because this question has come up numerous times before.

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I think the Eureka Timberline tent is perfect for Scouting. Fairly tough, and priced well. I have a 19 year old Eureka tent. The Timberline may be a little cramped, but two is a great number for Scouts per tent. Bigger crowd=less sleep. As for a tarp, whatever happened to the old lightweight Nylon fly? Campmor has one (10x10) for $39.99 that weighs 2#, but that seems too small for a patrol fly.

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Let me ask you guys - I've had nothing but problems with the zippers in Eureka tents going bad... just infuriating as I can fix anything in a tent execpt for a zipper, to put a new one in costs as much as a new tent... have any of you had that problem?

 

Thanks,

Jack

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Jack,

 

Yes, our troop has had significant problems with our older Eureka Timberline zippers. That's why we switched to the new Eureka backpacking tents when we upgraded. The zippers on the backpacking tents seem to be sturdier, and we haven't broken one yet (knock-on-wood).

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I am interested in what you have to say about the Timberline 2s. At 36 sf, they should be fine for 2 scouts. To accommodate odd numbers, do any of you use T4s? And has anyone worked with the add on vestibule or annex fly?

 

We are considering the Mountainsmith Guardian right now. They are cavernous compared to the T2s, and Campmor has them on sale at $99, same as the Timberlines. Our outgoing SM has a Timberline 2 and our ASM has the Guardian. Maybe at the next campout, we could put 2 in the Timberline vs 3 in the Guardian and let the scouts decide.

 

As for the Spitfires, do you use them for non-backpacking campouts also?

 

We are really open on flys. I just looked at the one on Campmor. At 10x10 it is plenty large for us (we are averaging 6/patrol on most campouts). It is simple and yet versatile.

 

 

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Yes, we have had periodic zipper problems with the Eureka tents. However, to be fair to Eureka, most of them were caused by the scouts not opening both zippers when they crawl out of the tent. That's my pet peeve and my scouts often hear me bellowing on a campout "OPEN BOTH ZIPPERS!!!".

 

 

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"That's my pet peeve and my scouts often hear me bellowing on a campout 'OPEN BOTH ZIPPERS!!!'."

 

Yeah, ADULT bellowing.

 

If not over Eureka TROOP tent zippers, then ADULT bellowing over TROOP tents not cleaned out, or ADULT bellowing over TROOP tents taken home not aired out, or ADULT bellowing over TROOP tents taken home and not brought back, or ADULT bellowing over TROOP tents brought back with broken parts not reported.

 

The cost of TROOP tents gives a Committee of ADULTS a sense of purpose in drafting TROOP by-laws to protect the TROOP's investment, and usually ADULT rules against Scouts using their own tents for various ADULTY reasons.

 

TROOP tents also offer unlimited opportunities for ADULT moralizing over "values" like "responsibility," be it that of individual Scouts or of the TROOP Quartermaster.

 

TROOP tents offer a powerful justification for sub-par Patrols: ADULTS must keep the TROOP close together so that ADULTS can keep an ADULT eye on the TROOP tents and bellow over the head of any six-month-wonder Patrol Leader in time to protect the TROOP investment.

 

And doesn't a TROOP look really nice to other ADULTS when the identical tents of the TROOP'S sub-par Patrols are laid out neatly in a nice tight ADULT-pleasing grid? :-/

 

Nothing bellows TROOP METHOD louder than TROOP tents.

 

Kudu

 

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Lots of good tents, stick with 2 man tents. Check out Alps, Kelty, Coleman Exponent tents. Unless you do above tree line backpacking stay away from 4 season tents; they also don't have enough ventilation for the rest of the year(the 10 months of the year when snow isn't blowing). Zippers don't wear out, the slidders do. That's why Eureka makes (or used to) Outfitter tents for Campmor. They have heavy duty stainless steel, oversized sliders instead of the pot metal slidders used by everyone. Lots of the canoe outfitters in the BWCA use them. When a zipper no longer closes the zipper its usually because the slider is worn/grooved and no longer forces the coils together enough to hold the zipper together. When guys come to me to talk about repairing zippers I send them to Campmor and have them buy the zipper repair kit, much cheaper. The kit has simple directions and uses hand tools, sewing machine not needed. Alps has super scout pricing, check them out on the net - Alps Mountaineering in New Haven, Missouri.

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woah, woah, woah, please define the parts you are talking about!

When I have problems with zippers it is usually a 'tooth' on either side is bad - meaning each time the zipper 'slider' (piece you grab and pull?) goes over it, it gets hung up and both sides don't join. Replacing the slider wouldn't help in that case...

What is BWCA??

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Sorry, some descriptions are in order. I haven't seen a toothed zipper on a tent in 20+ years. Most jackets have tooth zippers, look at one, they are very different than coil zippers. If you look closely you should be able to see that the coil zipper is really a continous coil. They rarely are broken, they may get twisted out of line much like a Slinky that is twisted. You can take a pin and pop it back into line. The slider (yes, the piece that slides back and forth) forces the two opposing coils together. After use, grit and the coil itself will wear the inside of the slider out (the inside of the slider goes out of spec) and it is not tight enough to force the coil together. Repairing the zipper (really replacing the slider) is as simple as taking the old slider off and replacing with the new one. You should also clean the coil zipper - water and toothbrush (another whole subject). Do follow the instructions in the kit because it will explain how to slide off and how to replace the stop so the new slidder does not pop off the end. They come in different sizes (usually 5, 7, 8 or 10mm - the width of the coil when joined) Once you've replaced a slider you'll amaze your camping friends who will come to you forever for free advice. The Eureka Timberline Outfitter tents used to use 10mm stainless steel sliders on 10mm coil zippers. Most good backpacks and day packs use 10mm zippers on the main compartments - look at the big honking zipper, its a #10. Sorry, BWCA is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. If you walk thru the outfitters in Ely, MN you will see lots of heavy duty gear since they rent it out to lots of canoers of various levels of skill. Hope the advice helps, sorry about assuming about sliders(also a White Castle hamburger) and BWCA. I communicate a lot with scouters on the Philmont discussion list and some shorthand helps save typing. Lots of money is wasted replacing zippers when a very simple and cheap slider replacement will work.

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oooooh, I'm about to be sick!

I've thrown out numerous tents that are exactly as you explain - not toothed, coiled.... all I needed was a new stinking slider.... oh boy.....

thanks so much, a little late to save a lot of tents we already pitched, but this will save our current ones...

man.....

 

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