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KenD500

Tents? Outfitter quality or not?

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our scouts provide/ have their own tents and gear

The only troop gear is

camp kitchen stuff

lanterns

etc...

I think there are some old tents and bags in the trailer for use as spares

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Historically we used Eureka Timberline 4.  We switched from "regular" to "outfitter" about 10 years ago.  The outfitter version generally held up better - in particular the zipper slides on the regular version would wear out after just a couple of years.  On the outfitter version the zippers were great but the shock cord on the rain fly seemed to wear out faster than on the regular version.

 

Last year we tried the Alps Taurus 4 Outfitter and everyone loved it - dome style, 2 doors/2 vestibules, better poles, about the same square footage but more usable space because the walls do not slope as much as the A-frame.  Nearly half the price of the TL4 Outfitter (when ordered through HikerDirect.com) and great service from Alps.  This is our new tent of choice.

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What tents does your Troop use?  Are they outfitter quality? 

We use Coleman retail.  Ours are pretty cheap--about $50, and have lasted several years of monthly camping fairly well. 

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Scouts purchase/fabricate their own tents or borrow their buddy's (or go without). Quality varies. But, as boys share different tents over the years, they get a good idea of what they want to invest in when they come into their own $$'s.

 

If anyone asks me, I tell them that over the years Eureka has become my brand to trust. After exploding in 100mph winds, I could keep one patched and serviceable for a decade of use by two active scouts. The Venturer tended to prefer the 6-man Coleman, or the 50-cent pup tent.

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I use my old canvas GI surplus pup tent a lot.  Warmer in the cool spring and fall months, easy to pack, still needs drying out just like the nylon tents but takes more time due to the thickness of the material.  With a short cot, the need for a floor is not there, when it rains, I just let the water flow through and be cautious getting up in the morning.  I have noticed that at times, nylon tents with floors often times hold in as much water as they hold out.

 

Canvas tents don't need seam sealing on a regular basis either.  In really bad weather, one can always toss a ground cloth sheet over the tent, stake the corners and be perfectly dry in the morning.

Edited by Stosh
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What tents does your Troop use?  Are they outfitter quality?

 

Alps Mountaineering Tauras AL 4 mans. They will give troops a decent price point. As I recall we paid $150/tent. We've had Alps for over 18 years now and seem to replace every 6-7 years. Just recycled out tents a few years back after 8 years of use.

 

Last year we tried the Alps Taurus 4 Outfitter and everyone loved it - dome style, 2 doors/2 vestibules, better poles, about the same square footage but more usable space because the walls do not slope as much as the A-frame.  Nearly half the price of the TL4 Outfitter (when ordered through HikerDirect.com) and great service from Alps.  This is our new tent of choice.

Gotta agree. And they stand up to boy wear and tear well. In my area the ground can be rough, so we use Tyvek ans lightweight ground cover which helps the tents longevity.

Edited by Col. Flagg
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I'm reminded of my theory that troops could be well served to promote and use backpacking gear for every campout...... kinda points to and leads to more adventure than "tailgate camping" I think.

 

but on the other hand I think of the book I'm reading, Rocks in My Backpack, where the author describes some huge tent the troop had.... think he was calling it the circus tent.  I forget how big he said it was, but I can imagine good times could be had with the big crown bunking up like that.

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We use Eureka Timberline OUTFITTERS.  The Outfitters, as was stated, has better quality zippers, double seams, a thicker floor.  We have some that are 20+ years old and still in good shape. 

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I've had a 3-person Kelty I've used now for 20+ years.  The kids wanted to do a Christmas present for the wife and I and we went to the less cozy 4-person Kelty.  It has more ventilation and better for summer use.  The 3-person is more enclosed (less screening) but I like the style because they both have double vestibules and the rain flies go all the way to the ground.

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We've always been Eureka Timberline 4 tent troop.  Recently, we've been replacing tents with Timberline 4XT or Timberline 4 outfitter.  We had already switched to preferring a rainfly with a vestibule.  The two reasons for changing to the 4XT or the outfitter was #1 the rain fly and #2 the zipper.  

 

  • The Timberline 4 tents never had a long enough rain fly.  The corners would get wet unless you had the tent absolutely perfectly setup.  Even then, I'd argue it got wet.  
  • The zippers ... grr ... we have some old timberline 4 tents that had metal zippers.  A few are still useable.  Then, newer versions switched to plastic / nylon zippers.  Those zippers wear out and fail.  

The outfitter and 4XT versions also have other nicer features.  But generally the rain fly and zippers are the reason for our upgrade.

 

Our troop likes matching tents ... BUT ... we're moving toward letting scouts use what they want.  The reason is easier to manager.  If you don't dry your own tent, that's your issue.  It just does't look as sharp to have a hodge podge of tents.  It's also cheaper to manage.  In the past, 3 or 4 tents were a $1000 purchase.  

 

My only real personal rule ... I hate fiberglass poles.  I've had too many snap in bad weather.  Fiberglass shards are painful to get out of your fingers.

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File under "you've never truly lived unless you ..."

... but on the other hand I think of the book I'm reading, Rocks in My Backpack, where the author describes some huge tent the troop had.... think he was calling it the circus tent.  I forget how big he said it was, but I can imagine good times could be had with the big crown bunking up like that.

The national guard handed down a 24 man (Lord knows how many boys) wall tent that we called "the circus tent." Center-pole was a good 12' trunk in two pieces, which the smallest scout would climb to hang the canvas peak ... which was held together by crossing chains. Typically, we got it out for klondike derbies. We'd all put down individual ground cloths, which gave everyone a fair collection of packed snow for "pillow fights." (God bless my SM.)

 

Yes it was fun. But it was also a good way of keeping an eye on our youngest scouts for signs of frostbite or hypothermia.

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Our troop likes matching tents ... BUT ... we're moving toward letting scouts use what they want.  The reason is easier to manager.  If you don't dry your own tent, that's your issue.  It just does't look as sharp to have a hodge podge of tents.  It's also cheaper to manage.  In the past, 3 or 4 tents were a $1000 purchase. 

 

@@fred johnson, have you guys tried to negotiate a discount? I assume you have. We found that, until we asked, no one offered or asked. Once we asked, the price dropped from $250 to $150 or lower per unit.

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I'm reminded of my theory that troops could be well served to promote and use backpacking gear for every campout...... kinda points to and leads to more adventure than "tailgate camping" I think.

 

but on the other hand I think of the book I'm reading, Rocks in My Backpack, where the author describes some huge tent the troop had.... think he was calling it the circus tent.  I forget how big he said it was, but I can imagine good times could be had with the big crown bunking up like that.

The only problem with that is that backpacking tents are more fragile than general duty tents.  That said, when I bought my own sons (both now Eagles) outdoor gear, I bought backpacking type gear--As I told them, you can use backpacking gear for all camping, you can't use most plop camping gear for backpacking. That, and backpacking gear fits under dorm room beds. 

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The only problem with that is that backpacking tents are more fragile than general duty tents.  

 

Some, yes...especially the ultralight tents. Many of the 3-4lbs tents from REI, MSR or Big Agnes are pretty sturdy and can do the double duty. As always, care must be taken.

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