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#225902 - 06/14/11 02:31 AM Re: Selecting a backpacking tent? [Re: Denis]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2023
Loc: NE Illinois
My son's BS troop does NOT provide troop tents. They have a few tents that were donated - usually used by newbies that haven't yet purchased their own tents, but we've found that personally-owned tents are treated much MUCH better than troop tents.

Alps Mountaineering provides very good discounts for Scouts and Scouters (adult leaders) and decent basic gear.

The patrols' cooking gear, water jug, and dining fly are indeed kept and maintained by the troop. That includes a Coleman 2-burner propane stove, a 20 lb tank w/ hose, the standard big aluminum cook kit (pots/pans), utensils, a Harbor Freight dutch oven, a cast iron fry pan, 3 wash tubs, and some misc. They have Coleman lanterns, but I don't see them as a must have (headlamps do just fine).

They use plywood patrol boxes. They weigh a ton (for young boys) I'm tending to think Rubbermaid Roughneck tubs would work better - lighter, easy to replace if needed, waterproof, ...

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#225905 - 06/14/11 04:56 AM Re: Selecting a backpacking tent? [Re: KenK]
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
It's interesting seeing the difference between the various Scout groups; I only have experience with the troop I was a part of as a kid back in B.C. and the one here in Alberta I've become involved in and both provided tents, stoves, etc.

As urban troops, maybe they felt providing all but the personal gear was the only practical way to get the kids all out camping? I don't really know though.
_________________________
Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck. Roald Amundsen

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#225914 - 06/14/11 01:41 PM Re: Selecting a backpacking tent? [Re: Denis]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2023
Loc: NE Illinois
Originally Posted By: Denis
As urban troops, maybe they felt providing all but the personal gear was the only practical way to get the kids all out camping? I don't really know though.


I do think that is part of it. Troop-owned tents also LOOK so much better - like the military - all lined up and decked out. My son's troop doesn't worry about that stuff. Finding dry, level, and safe (tree limbs) tent sites is more important. A Scout tends to put a lot of pride in their tent - not always though. I've seen some really abused.

I do wish parents would invest a little more on the Scout's tent and sleeping bag - their two most important bits of gear - at least for Scouts. If sized right and taken care of they will last well into adulthood. I'm not talking top-of-the-line, but decent tents with full rain fly and aluminum poles. Alps Mountaineering's ScoutDirect program provides 45% off retail, so their 4-person Vertex 4 is only $157 plus shipping, and their Lynx 4 is $132 plus shipping. Those are awesome tents for the money.

BTW, I recommend 4-person tents for Scouts. Yes, they are heavy for backpacking, but if really backpacking a distance three boys can split up tent, fly, poles, & stakes and each be carrying only about 3 lbs of tent gear each. When car camping 4-person tents work very well for two Scouts. Most troops only backpack on occasion.

Alps M's quality is on par with Eureka, but I tend to like their designs better.

Links:

http://www.alpsmountaineering.com
http://www.scoutdirect.com -- this is the site the describes how to get the 45% discount for Scouts (including boy, girl, adult leaders, ...)

NOTE: I am NOT associated with Alps M. at all. Just a happy customer.

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#225933 - 06/14/11 07:17 PM Re: Selecting a backpacking tent? [Re: Denis]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3600
Loc: Ontario, Canada
There is something to be said for the Troop maintaining group equipment and the Scouts having some of their own. (We're on the hunt for new group tents right now actually. Ours have been beaten up by a decade worth of Cub Scouts and are starting to show their age.) Both develop pride of ownership, and having some of their own gear allows the Scouts to not only camp-out outside of Troop activities, but also to be better prepared for that "just in case" event. And, as Ken points out, we look good when we're all matching!

That said, our group tries to maintain enough gear for everybody so that we can introduce new youth and their families to camping without them having to rack up expenses before they've even tried it and discovered they like it. (That, we're all a bunch of gear heads.) The cost to get set-up with the basics can eliminate the option of the experience for many, not to mention the overwhelming task of trying to get outfitted when you have no idea what you're talking about.
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#225975 - 06/15/11 02:32 PM Re: Selecting a backpacking tent? [Re: bacpacjac]
Mark_F Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 714
Loc: Kentucky
Awesome info from everyone. Ken, we could use a better (and smaller) tent so I'll be checking into those for sure (already registered with scout direct laugh ). I don't mean to sound like I am complaining about our current scouting situation. It is just a bit frustrating the turnover we have had the last year. Lost 2 leaders and about 20 scouts. At the end, we had all the scouts (tigers up to webelos 2) doing the same activities. Hard to come up with stuff that will keep everyone entertained and learn something too. On the other hand a small group has its advantages. We can do more for them with our limited budget. We also get increased one on one time with the kids and the parents. I can't say I am totally happy with the way things are being run, but I am not the cubmaster. It is what it is and I'll continue to make the best of the situation, for my son's sake and the other boys in our community who want to be involved with scouting. FWIW, the pack is only 4 years old, so all things considered it seems we are doing pretty well. Could be a lot worse.
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#225981 - 06/15/11 04:25 PM Re: Selecting a backpacking tent? [Re: Denis]
MDinana Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2184
Loc: Deep south... Carolina
Originally Posted By: Denis
Just to reiterate what bacpackjac said, for Scouting you don't need to purchase gear like tents & stoves; the troop will have all that stuff for the kids and likely all the volunteers too.

What I found I really needed to pick up for my son to get going were the personal items like appropriate outdoor clothing, a decent backpack & good sleeping gear.

Actually, maybe. Our troop didn't have a lot of community gear - it was mainly cooking stuff for the big events (jamborees and such), tarps and sun-shade type things for those events.

We usually buddy'd up on tents (personal!). One carried the tent, one the poles. The guy w/ the poles usually had a trash bag too to help balance the weight as the trip progressed. Or sometimes they got the bear-box.

Don't know what tents those are (haven't really paid attention to tents in years). We always did fine with cheap colemans from target. One year I bought a sweet North Face tent, all weather, etc etc etc, that my ex-gf ended up keeping after we broke up. Stupid move on my part, I doubt she used it again, but c'est la vie.

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#226021 - 06/16/11 03:36 AM Re: Selecting a backpacking tent? [Re: MDinana]
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
Originally Posted By: MDinana
Our troop didn't have a lot of community gear - it was mainly cooking stuff for the big events (jamborees and such), tarps and sun-shade type things for those events.

I am learning that my experiences with a few troops up here in Canada isn't necessarily the norm. I guess I figured that this was just how Scouts worked without realizing the differences that exists region to region or troop to troop.

Thanks.
_________________________
Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck. Roald Amundsen

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#226023 - 06/16/11 05:40 AM Re: Selecting a backpacking tent? [Re: Denis]
MDinana Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2184
Loc: Deep south... Carolina
Originally Posted By: Denis
Originally Posted By: MDinana
Our troop didn't have a lot of community gear - it was mainly cooking stuff for the big events (jamborees and such), tarps and sun-shade type things for those events.

I am learning that my experiences with a few troops up here in Canada isn't necessarily the norm. I guess I figured that this was just how Scouts worked without realizing the differences that exists region to region or troop to troop.

Thanks.

No worries Denies. I think it's all troop-specific. My brother went to a different weblos pack, and my best friend was in a different troop, even though they were about 5 miles away, totally different vibe.

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#236437 - 11/29/11 07:21 AM Re: Selecting a backpacking tent? [Re: Denis]
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
I guess I should provide some sort of update smile.

After having spent several nights in this tent I am very satisfied with my purchase.

So far I've used it with my kids in a couple car camping sites, a backpacking trip into Elk Lakes Provincial Park (BC) and on a somewhat brisk Scout camp this past weekend.

The car camping was no problem size-wise, even sharing with a kid; I went on separate one-on-one weekend trips with my son and daughter. We kept most the gear in the truck anyway so space really wasn't an issue.

The weekend my daughter and I were out we saw a fair bit of rain and didn't have any problem staying dry. Though I did find that how you attach the fly can effect how much clearance there is between the fly & inner tent at the ends; the first morning we had a contact point where the inner tent and fly touched and let a little moisture through, but re-jigging things seemed to address that. Everything had loosened up quite a bit when everything got wet for the first time too which was also a likely contributed factor.

Honestly, I didn't have any complaints about backpacking with it either. It turns out me and my buddy shared the tent and there was enough room for us to both sleep toe-to-head comfortably and the vestibules were sufficient for us to keep our packs under.

Here it is at Lower Elk lake:



I found it easier to pack when you ditch the bag it comes with. I had a spare OR compression sack that the tent fits nicely into; I then pack the tent separate from the poles which seems to work well.



This past Scout camp was the first time I've had the opportunity to use it solo and the extra room was nice. Basically the difference was it gave me the ability to keep all my gear inside with me and provided more elbow room. I definitely wouldn't consider it too much tent for once person.

Our first night got down to around -12 C but we had no snow, the second night was much warmer but the winds really kicked up overnight and into the morning. The nice thing about this tent in the cooler weather is I didn't notice any breezes or drafts that I've experienced with more traditional 3 season tents (i.e., those with mesh side panels that can't be covered up).

Finally, it's a minor thing but I'm not crazy about the pegs it came with. That said they've proved themselves to be quite strong and I haven't damaged one yet (this is from a guy who hasn't failed to damage a peg for my big tent on a trip yet, no matter which type I seem to use). I just don't like how they vibrate and flex when you are driving them in. I much prefer the MEC Millennium pegs I picked up which are square aluminium and feel much more solid. Oh, and one minor beef I did have was the tent only came with 12 pegs and to fully peg down & guy out requires 14.

Here you can see the difference between the pegs along with the repair material the tent came with:



All in all its turned out to be a good purchase.
_________________________
Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck. Roald Amundsen

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