contact the troop webmaster for more information.
Troop Tent Pitching and Care
Troop 281 has three types of tents for our Scouts to use on outings – green Eureka Timberline 4-man tents, and Alps Mountaineering Lynx 4-man and 2-man tents. The tents need to last for many years, so must be properly pitched, used, cleaned and maintained.
Tents are one of the main responsibilities of the troop Quartermaster. They are stored in the troop equipment lock up. Each Patrol Leader may request an appropriate number of tents for outings. When a tent is requested, the Quartermaster will tie a tag on the tent bag with the name of the Scout responsible for the tent, and keep a record of the tent number being distributed. Each tent is kept in a numbered bag with a ground cloth, rain fly, 8 stakes in a bag, and poles in a bag.
Some simple general principles
-When handling a tent, DO NOT tap, hit or drag the tent bag on the ground. This cuts the bags and destroys the shock cords that hold the poles together.
-When pitching a tent, do not dump everything out of the tent bag onto the ground. If you remove the ground cloth first, it will provide a clean surface to put the tent and rain fly on. There is no reason to remove the stakes and poles from their bags until each is needed.
Where to pitch your tent
Selection of an appropriate site to pitch each tent should follow principles outlined in the Scout Handbook, including placement on a durable surface, avoiding areas of water runoff and looking up to make sure there are no dead branches or trees that could fall during a storm. Placement so the early morning sun from the east will dry the tent is a good consideration. It is much more comfortable to orient the tent so that your head is uphill if there is a slope. A Scout that pitches his tent sideways across a slope will be awakened by everyone inside crammed together on the downhill side.
We use a Tyvek ground cloth to protect the bottom of each tent. Before the ground cloth is placed, the area should be cleared of obvious debris such as sticks, rocks and pine cones that could puncture the tent or be uncomfortable to lie on. Our ground cloths are white and have the “Tyvek” logo on one side. The logo side is always placed on the ground, leaving the clean white side facing up. Wise Scouts lie down on the ground cloth briefly before pitching the tent to make sure there are no unexpected lumps underneath. Keeping boots off the Tyvek will help maintain a clean tent.
Staking the tent
Each of our tents has a different method to pitch, but some common principles apply. After the ground cloth has been placed, the next step is to place the tent on it. Make sure all the zippers are closed. One corner is staked down. The next corner to be staked should be on the same side as the first stake and the tent bottom should be pulled taut. The last two corner stakes should also be placed to hold the tent bottom stretched out fully. If the tent bottom is not stretched tight, the sides will not hang correctly, causing rainwater to visit you inside the tent.
Tent stakes should never be placed straight vertically into the ground. They should always be angled 90 degrees to the expected pull on them. Most properly placed stakes will enter the ground at about a 45 degree angle.
All tents have either web loops, or metal / plastic rings that the stake holds in place. To properly stake a tent, the loop / ring is first placed where you want it on the ground, THEN the stake is pushed into the ground thru the loop. If you put the bend of the stake in the loop up above the ground and then aim the stake, your aim will usually be off.
Tent stakes seldom need to be pounded into the ground. This generally bends them and makes them very hard to remove. Pushing your body weight on the top of the stake with the base of your palm while gently rotating the stake back and forth will usually get it into the ground where you want it. You do not have to put the stake all the way in as long as it feels like it will hold solidly.
All of our tents come with a stake bag to keep wet and dirty stakes from soiling the tent. The wise Scout takes stakes out of the bag one at a time as they are needed. Dumping them out on the ground in the dark is a recipe for losing a critical stake.
Raising the pole frame
Eureka Timberline – Open the pole bag and pull out the two longer poles. They are part of the only 3-section shock-corded pole. Snap this ridge pole together. Two “bones” pole connectors are attached to the tent at the top of each end. While kneeling on the end of the tent, orient one connector so the arrows on it point “up” and “right” as labeled. Put one end of the ridge pole all the way thru the connector so that it comes out the side with the arrows on it. Go to the opposite end of the tent and put the other end of the ridge pole thru its connector. Get out all four 4-section vertical poles and snap them together. Lift one end of the ridge pole with its attached connector and place both vertical poles into the connector. DO NOT pin the bottom ends of the vertical poles yet. As you lift, the tent body will rise up with its attached connector. Go to the opposite end, lift up the ridge pole and place the vertical poles into its connector. Now you bring the bottoms of the vertical poles towards the tent and pin them onto each of the four corners. This will put tension on the whole frame to form a curve in the ridge pole. Pull the tent’s two black shock cords around the bones to lift the tent up into its final position. Snap the tent’s pole connectors around the vertical poles. Last, put the two remaining single poles onto the ends of the ridge pole to later create an overhang in the rain fly.
Alps Lynx – This dome tent only has 2 LONG poles. Pull them out of the pole bag and extend them fully. An easy way to do this is to lift up one end straight vertically and keep lifting until the pole is about 12 feet tall. Each section will snap in place during the lift. One Scout places a pole end onto the grommet of a staked corner and holds it there. A second Scout grasps the other end of the long pole and gently pushes it towards the diagonally opposite corner of the tent, creating a bend in the pole that crosses the tent. Once the second end is placed into its grommet, each Scout connects the second tent clip around the pole to hold it in place. The other pole is installed in the same way, creating an arched “X” over the tent. The top tent pole clip is snapped around the topmost pole at the “X”, and then all of the remaining connectors are snapped onto their adjacent pole.
Placing the rain fly
Eureka Timberline – The green rain fly has ten shock cords on it. The two black D-rings along the ridgeline each sit just above a “bone”. Stretch out the fly and pull it over the top of the tent. Attach the shock-corded clips onto the overhang poles first to hold them in place. Next attach each corner shock cord to the corner of the tent where the pole attaches. Many Scouts forget the next step – connecting 2 clips on each side of the fly to D-rings on the side of the tent. This pulls the tent side out to be vertical and greatly reduces rainwater inside the tent. The last four stakes are used to stretch the sides of the rain fly out with shock cords. Before staking, stretch the shock cord’s ring right down to the ground where you want it, and THEN put the stake thru at 90 degrees to the pull.
Alps Lynx – The rain fly has connector clips at each corner and clear plastic windows on the ends. Stretch out the rain fly, find the “X” of seams in the middle and place the seams directly over the crossed poles at the top. Zippered vestibules will be on the same side as the two doors – make sure the zippers are closed fully. Clip the rain fly corners to the tent corners. Stretch out one vestibule, find the side that has the flap over the zipper and place its loop where you want it on the ground, THEN place a stake thru the loop at 90 degrees to the pull. Do the same to the other vestibule. This tent will leak without the next step – stake out short guy lines on both ends of the tent. Lastly, open up the two Velcro-covered ventilation duct props at the top of the rain fly to minimize condensation.
The tent is now your home. Keep it clean and organized.
- Put the pole and stake bags into the tent bag and put them just inside the door where you can find them later.
- Leave your muddy boots outside, or place them inside in a plastic bag.
- Don’t ever step on the fabric of the tent with your boots.
- If you need to briefly get something inside the tent, stretch in with your feet still outside or crawl in on your knees with your boots up off the floor.
- Don’t push things hard against the side of a tent as this can split a seam.
- Keep your gear organized in your pack inside the tent so that you can find it easily.
- Don’t EVER bring food inside a tent as it will attract big and small animals that may destroy the tent trying to get at the food.
- Be gentle with the zippers. Open the door enough to get in and out easily. Don’t force a zipper – line up the sides before pulling the slider.
On the morning you are leaving a campsite, pack up all your gear before leaving the tent. If the tent is wet, consider pulling the rain fly off and hanging it in the sun. Unstake the tent’s corners before dropping it. Open the door and lift the tent over your head by the poles to dump out any leaves and dirt that are inside. Put the tent back down on the ground cloth to keep it clean as it is packed. Reverse the steps of pitching to take the tent down. Poles go in their bag. Please clean off the stakes and count that there are 8 before placing in their bag. The rain fly is taken off and folded above the ground between two Scouts to prevent it from getting dirty. The tent can be 4-folded long-wise on the ground cloth, the rain fly placed on top, and the pole and stake bags rolled inside both. This roll is placed inside the tent bag. The ground cloth is folded with the dirty “Tyvek” logo side against itself and put alongside the tent in its bag. Once packed DO NOT tap, hit or drag the tent bag on the ground. This cuts the bags and destroys the shock cords.
Who takes a tent home?
Each tent is tagged with the responsible Scout’s name before leaving the Quartermaster lock-up. The troop expects this individual to look after the tent on the outing, take it home to be cleaned and dried, and bring it back to the next troop meeting. The responsible Scout may make arrangements with another Scout to take the tent home, but he remains responsible to see that the tent is returned in good condition to the Quartermaster.
Cleaning and drying a tent
If a tent is left wet it will rapidly mildew, destroying gear that may cost hundreds of dollars for you to replace. After a campout all tents must be cleaned and dried same day. If it is raining, hang the tent and rain fly in a garage or basement to dry. If the weather is nice, open the tent, rain fly and ground cloth out on grass in the sun. Wipe off any mud or stains quickly with a wet rag (an old hand towel works nicely) while still wet. You do not need soap on the rag. Open up the tent and clean inside. Tyvek ground cloths can be hosed off and then wiped clean with the rag. Only the logo side should be dirty, but both sides should be cleaned. DO NOT put a tent in the wash as detergent can damage the waterproofing. Dryers are a no-no too as they are too hot for the fabric. Once clean and dry, pack the tent up again and bring it early to the next troop meeting for a Quartermaster inspection. If the tent is not clean and dry, or is missing items, you will need to make it right before the tent is taken back into the troop inventory.
Here are the manufacturer's instruction sheets for our tents:
|Last Updated on Monday, 31 March 2014 00:18|