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Tents? Outfitter quality or not?

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#1 KenD500

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 08:27 AM

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


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#2 blw2

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 08:30 AM

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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#3 jjlash

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 09:19 AM

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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#4 perdidochas

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 09:42 AM

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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#5 qwazse

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 09:46 AM

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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#6 Stosh

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 10:23 AM

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, 22 February 2017 - 10:24 AM.

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#7 Col. Flagg

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 11:14 AM

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, 22 February 2017 - 11:16 AM.

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#8 blw2

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 04:06 PM

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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#9 eagle90

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 09:56 PM

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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#10 Stosh

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 10:41 PM

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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#11 fred johnson

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 11:03 AM

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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#12 qwazse

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 01:40 PM

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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#13 Col. Flagg

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 02:19 PM

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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#14 perdidochas

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 04:13 PM

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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#15 Col. Flagg

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 05:24 PM

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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#16 Torchwood

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Posted 24 February 2017 - 08:16 AM

+1 for ALPS Mountaineering tents, and Hiker Direct in general. The Taurus Outfitter tents are awesome. I have one of their smaller Zephyr series tents for myself, my everyday carry daypack is their (sadly just discontinued) Solitude, and I have a Caldera internal frame pack for bigger hauling. The current pricing through Hiker Direct for a 4 man Taurus Outfitter is $186.94 (MSRP is $329.99). But, order early, as they always seem to sell out the yearly production run.


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#17 blw2

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Posted 24 February 2017 - 10:22 AM

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.

exactly.  Wouldn't have to be top of the line stuff.... almost any 1-2 man tent could fit the bill great.  Not like they are doing a through on the AT with it.

a small tent from walmart could be a step in the direction I mean.  Heavy, sure....but split between a couple scouts manageable for short hikes.

Gets the brain going for camping with less stuff and opens up easier transition into things like overnight canoe trips where you might not be floating the trailer along.... or a few mile over night hike maybe, to a nice swimming hole.

also they are cheap and replaceable when they don't last.

Many of our guys use hammocks and a few have smaller 1 man biveys.

 

I'm figuring that 90% of the camps will still be steps away form the tailgate of the SM's truck, but it would get them practiced up so that it's not as big of a deal when a more adventuresome trip opportunity presents itself. 

as a comparison, right now I would guess it would take a fairly big investment for our troop to do a little 1 mile in and out backpacking overnight.  The guys have never gone without a cooler, don't have little stoves, don't know how to camp cook without pots/pans, dutch ovens, etc... and many have tents that would not be reasonable at all to carry....  We could probably pull off a overnight in the canoes camping on a sandbar, but even that would take some doing.


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#18 ianwilkins

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Posted 24 February 2017 - 10:25 AM

Can I ask, as an interloper from across the pond...what is meant by "outfitter quality"?

 

Talking of matching tents, we had a stroke of good fortune a couple of years back. An ex-leader got back in touch with us, his company were having a global sales conference, and decided it was cheaper/better to put all of the visitors in tents, as the location had loads of green fields and it was summer. As the event was themed, they had some custom flysheets made for some standard two man tents, put one person in each, with a sleeping bag and headtorch. They had all the tents put up in rows on site by a professional organisation, then asked us, and a couple of other charities to come and help ourselves after the end of the conference. We didn't realise quite how many tents they had....

 

 

newbry-fields-strawberry-tents-banner.jp

 

 

typical British summer, it was raining heavily when we came to take them down, but we managed to fit about 120 in our vehicles. Plus about 50 sleeping bags. Then all we had to do was dry them! I say we, I was on holiday at the time, in very sunny France, so I missed all the fun!

 

We divided them up amongst local scout groups.

 

They're definitely not for hiking, unless you're feeling very strong, but we had probably 15 or 20 of them up on our summer camp last year. The Explorers, as typical teenagers, wanted to put them up randomly, but my tent OCD didn't allow it, and, to be fair, the camping space we had was not the biggest, so they were lined up, not quite as well as the picture, but not bad. Looked great though, and should last us years and years.

 

Ian


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#19 KenD500

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Posted 24 February 2017 - 11:23 AM

@ianwilkins - outfitter quality generally means a thicker material for the floor & heavy duty zippers (#10 vs #8).


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#20 fred johnson

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Posted 24 February 2017 - 12:10 PM

@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.

 

If you found the tent was $250 and you were able to get it at $150, I'm betting it was a different tent.  Eureka has lots of models of the Timberline tent.  Three thicknesses of floors and zippers.  With Vestibule.  etc.
 
  • Timberline SQ Outfitter 4 ... List $379 ... Sale in the high $280s
  • Timberline SQ 4XT     ... List $299 ... Sale in the high $280s.
 
We've watched sales and were able to get major discounts.  We were lucky enough to get several of ours at $199 as a store was clearing out their inventory of  them.  We bought as many as we could.  It was a good sale.  
 
To be honest, I prioritize less now about having them all match or having a stock for the troop to use.  It takes one kid to not dry out a tent for a month to cause major damage to a pricy investment.  
 
Translation ... Kids (and families) take better care of their own stuff.
 
Only way I've seen it done really well is a troop that has a big garage with hooks.  When they return from camp, they hang all the tents to dry.  It's a nice way to maintain inventory.  ... I'm jealous.  

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