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Buffalo Skipper

"Upgrading" troop equipment

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Buffalo Skipper,


We have used Timberline 2s in our troop for many years, and we really love them (except for the zippers). They have plenty of room for 2 scouts which is our recommended maximum number of scouts per tent. We have a couple of T4s that our adults use because of all the additional room. We have not worked with the add-on vestibule or annex fly?


We use our Spitfires on both backpacking and non-backpacking campouts. They are super light (less than 5 lbs. each) and have plenty of ventilation since they are about 75% screen mesh. The only down-side is that they are not free-standing and must be staked down which is not a huge disadvantage in our opinion.


Good luck!


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jtswestark writes:


"So who is supposed to buy the tents then?"


Older Scouts who have caught the backpacking bug usually purchase more expensive tents with the money they earn from part-time jobs and Troop fund-raisers (after they have raised enough to pay for summer camp).


The parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles often buy tents for the youngest Scouts as presents, or just give them a tent that has been gathering dust for years.


Under our optional equipment list (which we labeled "Wish List for Birthdays, Christmas") we included:


"___ SMALL '3 MAN' DOME TENT -- WE NEED THEM! (When buying new, the outer rain cover should come all the way down to the ground. Costs about $50 on sale)"


We recruit our Scouts in the local public school in September, by which time tents are deeply discounted and relatives are already thinking of Christmas presents.


Tents as gifts are surprisingly popular with very poor families in which a boy might be embarrassed to invite his friends from school to his house in the projects. A tent is a Scout's home away from home. It may be the only part of his life over which he has control.


Pride of ownership is THE natural way to teach responsibility, far sweeter to a Scout than the customary bellowing and guilt-tripping over "values" that so often accompanies the imposed socialism in Troops that do not allow Patrols to use their own tents.


An extra advantage of any $50 Coleman or Ozark Trails tent is that the "bathtub" bottom keeps an inexperienced Scout much drier than a Eureka Timberline. Inexpensive dome tents also shed snow well. If you are careful, even cheap poles will not snap while setting them up in below-zero weather.


We have a dozen Troop-owned Eureka Timberlines available if needed, but most of our Patrols end up with a pile of unused personal tents stacked up like firewood after they find a remote Patrol area on Friday night and decide how many tents they want to set up.




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My son's troop (I'm as ASM) has Scouts bring their own tents - enhances ownwership - and then has a few troop tents for those Scouts who don't have tents.


My advice would be to look at the 4-person Alps Mountaineering Taurus Outfitter tents.


45% off for Scouters. They have heavy duty zippers and floors, aluminum poles, no pole sleeves to rip, and the vestibules make for easy pitching.


I'd still recommend enforcing the open the zipper all the way rule AND the no shoes in tent rule.


When you're car camping, these tents can hold 2-3 Scouts easily.


When you're backpacing, these tents can hold 3-4 Scouts with gear stowed outside. Scouts can distributed the tent, fly, poles, and stakes amoung their packs.



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