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Thread: Mess Tent options and opinions

  1. #1
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    Mess Tent options and opinions

    We're looking to replace one of two ageing mess tents and are looking at what alternatives are available.

    We know about the ones available from BCT Outdoors and Blacks of Greenock, but does anyone know of additional manufacturers for this type of tent please?

    www.bctdivisions.co.uk/page.php?id=284
    www.bctdivisions.co.uk/page.php?id=276
    www.blacksofgreenock.co.uk/13-tents#/categories-group_tents

    Also, does anyone have any practical experience of the pros and cons of each manufacture’s products please? In particular, ease of pitching in the dark and rain.

    Thanks

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    We've had this http://www.canvastentshop.co.uk/prod...nt-white-.aspx for five years and had no problems and also got two of the extension sections.

    Pro's -

    The canvas on ours is woven from waxed thread, rather than ordinary thread which is then waterproofed, so theoretically we shouldn't need to re-proof it for a good while. It's shown no signs of leaking so far.

    There's no centre poles and it's a clear 5m span

    Ground Rails are included, very useful on soft ground or hard surfaces.

    Cons-

    All connections between ends, roofs, and extensions as well as the door opening are dutch laced with an overlapping flap across the outside to weatherproof the join. Dutch lacing versus zips is a marmite issue, having seen the problems that can happen regularly with zips if they're mistreated I prefer dutch lacing and with Explorers it's not a big job to teach them how to do it. If you're going to have to do the lacing yourself or with parents help you may see it differently

    Both frame and canvas are heavy, again it depends on your circumstances for transport, erection, etc whether this is a "con" for you, but it does mean it's strong. We had the main tent with both extensions (5m x 12m) erected on the Norfolk coast next to the sea when a force 8 came in overnight, and whilst there was a lot of flapping and swaying, there was no damage to frame or cover.

    The website says "out of stock", but it said the same when we enquired about this time of year, and it just meant that this year's container from the far east was sold out so they took a reservation for next year's container when it arrived in March - I'd suggest calling them to see exactly what the situation is.

    If you want any more info PM me.

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    We replaced one of your mess tents 6 years ago with the Base Camp Tent from BCT http://www.bctdivisions.co.uk/page.php?id=275
    We went for the BC1 and extension to give us the flexibility, so it was either 5m x 4m or 5m x 6m, depending on what we want to use it for. A couple of years ago we replaced another mess tent with the Base Camp and got exactly the same again, meaning we have even more options. We are now looking at getting another 2m extension section so that we can have a 5m x 8m and then a 5m by 6m as well.

    The base camp is similar to the one Dave recommend above, but is slightly different dimensions. I love the fact it has the higher roof and no centre poles, as we use to find with the mess tent we would occasionally get condensation build up inside when cooking in there, but since moving to the base camp with the extra height we've not had that problem.

    The only downside is that its all Dutch lacing, including the doors, but I agree with Dave that its a marmite issue that. I don't have a problem with the lacing myself.

    What sort of size were you after and are you after any flexibility in changing the size of it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Davies View Post
    We've had this http://www.canvastentshop.co.uk/prod...nt-white-.aspx for five years and had no problems and also got two of the extension sections.

    Pro's -

    The canvas on ours is woven from waxed thread, rather than ordinary thread which is then waterproofed, so theoretically we shouldn't need to re-proof it for a good while. It's shown no signs of leaking so far.

    There's no centre poles and it's a clear 5m span

    Ground Rails are included, very useful on soft ground or hard surfaces.

    Cons-

    All connections between ends, roofs, and extensions as well as the door opening are dutch laced with an overlapping flap across the outside to weatherproof the join. Dutch lacing versus zips is a marmite issue, having seen the problems that can happen regularly with zips if they're mistreated I prefer dutch lacing and with Explorers it's not a big job to teach them how to do it. If you're going to have to do the lacing yourself or with parents help you may see it differently

    Both frame and canvas are heavy, again it depends on your circumstances for transport, erection, etc whether this is a "con" for you, but it does mean it's strong. We had the main tent with both extensions (5m x 12m) erected on the Norfolk coast next to the sea when a force 8 came in overnight, and whilst there was a lot of flapping and swaying, there was no damage to frame or cover.

    The website says "out of stock", but it said the same when we enquired about this time of year, and it just meant that this year's container from the far east was sold out so they took a reservation for next year's container when it arrived in March - I'd suggest calling them to see exactly what the situation is.

    If you want any more info PM me.
    Our district have a 4-section military surplus mess tent very similar to this. Three sections are brand new canvas. The third is full of tiny holes but still doesnt seem to leak (the waxed surface seems to cause the water to bead in large drops which then run over the holes rather than through!)

    If we were in the market for a mess tent ourselves at the moment we would look for similar - in small bits at first as can then add to it. Heavier, more pricey, and takes a bit longer to pitch - but so much more versatile...

    One bay for a standard cook tent (about the same size as a normal BCT mess tent)
    Two bays for cooking and eating space for a standard cub pack holiday
    3 or 4 bays for group camp

    Why are we not buying one ourselves? Why would we when our district kit store is half a mile up the road, has easier road access than our hall for a big van, and the tent is free to borrow when we want it? Other groups don't borrow it because they're scared of putting it up (which could be a con)

    The lacing can be a bit tricky if you don't know what you're doing - but once you're used to it its fine - and its pretty forgiving (we've laced sections up staggered before now, but the sod-cloths are so long the walls still touch the ground.

    Unlike the thin canvas or cotton mess tents, the waxed canvas is virtually rot-proof... and the heavy framework is much less prone to bending.

    The other big tent we use (sometimes joined onto the end of the big mess tent as a cookhouse for group camp) is a large plastic party tent. We bought this second hand from the local SSAGO group (who bought it when I was involved and had a vehicle that could transport it!). Its not the cheapo garden type, but the sort commercial wedding-hire companies use... needs a few little repairs after 6 years service but again has no central poles to get in the way, and the heavy duty frame is very resistant to bending.

    Both are heavy bits of kit (together the party tent and mess tent weigh over half a tonne) which may affect groups for whom transport is an issue.

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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    We have a 4m X 8m event tent that we use for the cubs.
    Advantage over canvas is weight and speed that it will dry out - they can be put away wet, but the stitching may rot. The roof also is one piece without the need for joins.
    Disadvantages, not many, but we did write off the previous one (10 years old) when the roof shrank and could no longer be stretched over the frame. The frames tend to be a bit on the light side and its important that all guys and fastenings are used in the event that it gets windy.

    I wouldn't want to use it for cooking - I've seen the melted windows on one (not ours) that resulted from some cooking related event.
    Vince Hall
    AESL, Meyer Explorers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jakala.NL View Post
    We have a 4m X 8m event tent that we use for the cubs.
    Advantage over canvas is weight and speed that it will dry out - they can be put away wet, but the stitching may rot. The roof also is one piece without the need for joins.
    Disadvantages, not many, but we did write off the previous one (10 years old) when the roof shrank and could no longer be stretched over the frame. The frames tend to be a bit on the light side and its important that all guys and fastenings are used in the event that it gets windy.

    I wouldn't want to use it for cooking - I've seen the melted windows on one (not ours) that resulted from some cooking related event.
    We use our plastic (as said above heavy duty) tent for cooking. The stoves are kept well away from the walls though!

    Have never had a plastic tent shrink - have (at a previous group) replaced a canvas mess tent when that shrank to be shorter than the poles. The old tent was still kept for use as an extra dining space where waterproofing wasn't quite so important and when I left we were looking into replacing the sod-cloths with longer ones.

    I would never put any tent away wet. Our party tent has black mould stains from another group (I wont mention what organisation they belonged to, but their badge is a trefoil) returning it after borrowing it, and assuring the SSAGO group who it belonged to at the time that it was bone dry. It then sat in stores for almost a year before being taken out for camp, at which point it became evident that they had exaggerated its dryness quite a lot. The same group also damaged it by transporting it on the back of a builders truck without sweeping out the gravel etc first!

    That said, I have also written off a district canvas mess tent (white, BCT type) after it was left wet in stores for 6 months and rotted through!

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jakala.NL View Post
    We have a 4m X 8m event tent that we use for the cubs.
    Advantage over canvas is weight and speed that it will dry out - they can be put away wet, but the stitching may rot. The roof also is one piece without the need for joins.
    Disadvantages, not many, but we did write off the previous one (10 years old) when the roof shrank and could no longer be stretched over the frame. The frames tend to be a bit on the light side and its important that all guys and fastenings are used in the event that it gets windy.
    In severe wind they fall to bits as the lightweight poles can't handle it.

    Neil

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    For info - this is the party tent we use http://www.norwichcamping.co.uk/prod...ndustrial-pvc/

    Never had a problem with it in the wind - only time its come close to taking off was when we left it half pitched because the kettle had boiled!!

    We guy it down internally in the corners with ratchet straps.... if storms are forecast we also throw a couple of big straps over the roof (spares from the big district mess tent)

    Ideally takes 4-6 people to pitch - we have done it with 2 but that involved a lot of planning and work!

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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