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We have a troop rule of no cots in tents.

although at summer camp it is nice when you have to sleep there all week to have a cot to put your gear under. in that case I'd recommend requiring tennis balls on the feet of all cots, and that the tents have to be x size in order to fit the cot.


One thing we've found is 1 man tents, or we have a couple parents who bough "cot tents" sold at Cabelas is that it puts a distance between those people and the rest of their patrol. makes it easier for those boys to be loners and not part of the group.


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Normally on regular campouts, we put two or three scouts in a 4 man (7 x 9') Timberline. The more scouts, the less sleep, them and their neighbors get.


However every August, I take four, 1st year scouts into the wilderness of Northern Ontario. I have been doing this for 25 years. It is my favorite trip and it is a honor to get invited. Everyone knows that I do not like loud scouts. [in fact, the scouts have started adding "and quiet" at the end of the scout law!]


We always put all four scouts in one of my tents. They only weight about 70 - 80 lbs. and do not take up much space. Being a wilderness trip, they do not take anything into the tents with them, except their sleeping bags and flashlights. Being young, they do not need a sleeping pad in the summer (more weight to backpack).


In Ontario, the tent sites are always tight, and the adult tent is never very far from the scouts. The first night, I let them talk for awhile when they go into the tent. Then I call out to the scout that is doing the most talking: "Hey Joe." I wait until I get a reply from Joe. "Will you ask the scouts to quiet down? Your neighbors want to go to sleep."


That it. I never have to said another word to the scouts the rest of the week. I guess I am good at selecting scouts for the trip. [Most of scouts in our troop, are good, but these four are always special!]

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I would recommend 2-person tents over 1-person, and 4-person for first year scouts.


8 1-person tents have a larger footprint than 4 2-person tents. 1-person tents have a smaller footprint so you can put each one in a smaller, flatter space but, overall, you will consume more space.

8 1-person tents weigh more than 4 2-person tents so your packs will be heavier.

8 1-person tents cost more than 4 2-person tents.

1-person tents tend to be more fragile.


If you have 1-person and 2-person tents, be careful about Billy always being the odd man out and being forced to sleep alone. That's a great way to lose a scouting family. That is part of training the patrol leaders.


A patrol's identity could benefit from 1-person tents, especially if they all bought the same model or if theirs was the only patrol that tented singly. The patrol leader should be trained to set up his campsite so he can manage his patrol.


Before investing in shelters, make sure you know the rules at high adventure bases if you plan to visit Philmont, Northern Tier, or the Summit. Philmont has had a rule that 2-man tents are the largest to be used and tents must have a floor. That rule has not been enforced much from my experience there, but it is in their literature.



About getting into the "tent business" for the troop...

I think the key is to educate scouts and parents that it's not really the troop's equipment - it's their equipment.

It's simple to avoid a problem of scouts not caring for a tent and then getting a different tent next time. When scouts join the troop, they pay an equipment fee. This is used to purchase tents. Every tent is labeled by the quartermaster. Two scouts check out a tent. If damage or filth is reported, whoever used it last gets dinged.

For $40, a scout that always checks his tent first and returns it clean will have a shelter for 7 years.


Pros and Cons...

Personal Tents:

- each person gets exactly what he wants or can afford.

- more individual responsibility for care.

- can't blame anyone else for destruction.

- if it breaks, you might not see that scout camping again for awhile.


Troop Tents:

- your campsites look like a troop, not a hodgepodge.

- cannibalize tents as parts wear out to extend other tents.

- each patrol purchases and pays to replace their tents.

- quartermaster has some real responsibility in acquiring tents for new scouts.

- no envy between scouts about getting bigger, fancier tents.

- leaders are sure the tents are adequste.

- less expensive overall.


Our troop uses 2-person and 4-person tents. The troop provides tents for the adults also. We've used Alps Mountaineering for the past 7 years.

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Go for a tent with 2 doors and a low rainfly. As most say hear 2 to 3 per tent is ok. Slumber Jacks are of good quality and at $74 a 4 man tent, economical, only about 1/2 pound heavier than Kelty counter part, but i doubt your ultra-lite weight backpacking. I bought 3 on Amazon for my kids taped and sealed. Just my 2 cents

Yours In Cheerful Service,




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Boys bring their own. Typically 2 man but some have bigger. Mostly 2-3 boys in tent. Tents with more than 2 boys usually are noisier. (I prefer a 2 person cap but we will not make a boy, especially a newbie sleep alone) We do allow boys to bring singles--mostly backpackers and hammocks. We do keep an eye on "singletons" to see if there is a problem with them being the odd man out.


Several boys we had who single-sleepers had bed-wetting issues and it made it easier for them before they out-grew it/got treatment. Most single-sleepers were into backpacking and just liked to use their equipment.


A far bigger issue is when a patrol member does not want to sleep in his patrol area.

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