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Thread: Tent checking

  1. #1
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    Tent checking

    I'm hoping I can use you all as a sounding board about my tent problem :-)

    We have a dry store full of lots of tents. If all were in good order we could probably sleep 120 children. There is a mixture of 4 patrol tents, and many 2, 4, 8 man tents of various types and ages. Some have been in there for a long time and not used for several years because I've been told they have poles missing or tears etc. We have found somewhere that will repair tents at a good price if we send each tent with a list of issues. What's more they will cost up repairs and let us know if they are better written off / cannibalized to repair others. I want to take any tents needing repairs to be repaired straight after half term so we get them back ready for our first camp at end March.

    I am GSL and BSL and we don't have many leaders in our group of 140 children and we don't have a quartermaster. In an ideal world, the quartermaster would look after this or second best the leaders would get all the tents out and put them up to check for issues. This is not a small job. In fact it would probably take the leaders a full weekend. I don't have a full weekend to spare and nor do many others.

    So my plan is to e-mail the parents and send families home with a tent each to take home (with instructions) to put up and check and complete a checklist and pack away again. I can emphasize the need to check properly as their children will be sleeping in them! I'm planning to give them out at scouts and beavers on Monday and give them 2 weeks, including half term to check them and bring them back before the end of the month.

    Firstly, do you think there is a chance of this working?
    Secondly, do you think my checklist at the end of this is good enough? Any advice appreciated. Thanks!

    Checklist

    Outer tent
    Check carefully that tent is complete and free from holes / tears and free from mould.

    Inner tent / bedrooms
    Check carefully that tent is complete and free from holes / tears and free from mould.

    Bags
    Check all bags are present and free from holes / tears.

    Poles
    Check all poles are present and usable and not damaged / split.

    Pegs
    Check all pegs present and are not bent.

    Groundsheet
    Check groundsheet is complete, free from holes and tears and mould.

    Guy lines / ropes / connectors
    Check all present, correct length, usable and connectors undamaged.

    Packing away
    Check tent packed away dry

  2. #2
    Senior Member Ihatecamping's Avatar
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    In my group, you might get four tents checked. Six tents you would never see again, and the rest would come back unopened.

    I would say that the only hope is to do the checks on Camp, put tents away only if you know they're OK, and put the rest in the skip.
    The long march through the institutions is nearly complete.

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    Senior Member CambridgeSkip's Avatar
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    Check the zips! If anything is going to go on a light weight tent then 90% of the time it will be the zip first. So check the zip works and check it's clean. Keeping the zip clear of mud and dirt makes it last a lot longer.

    As above though you may not get much help. My suggestion would be identify a field somewhere. Get as many bodies together as you can and have a day putting the tents up. All of them. Canabalize as you go along as necessary, figure out if you have spare parts after that and skip the rest.

    It's what we did at our last summer camp.

    Interestingly at the end we found we could put together a tent that while beyond use could just about stand up. We used it as a live demo to the kids of why lighting a match inside one is a really dumb idea! It got the message across quite effectively

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    Yup.

    Tents aren't straightforward, I don't think sending them to people who weren't totally familiar would return reliable results. Is there any way you could get the Scout section to look over them whilst leaders or yourself supervise? Its a good idea anyway to get the kids familiar with tentage anyway...

    At the end of the day, the kids are supposed to feel ownership of equipment anyway, I'd be involving them in its management. See if you can get parents down to help on the meeting nights your checking - sell it to them the way you've already described - "You're kids will be sleeping in them, so you'll want to help check them..." At least then, they'll all be (sort of) supervised, the results will be a wee bit more reliable.

    Even packing a tent away can be an exacting science...

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    It would be great if we would get the scouts to check them. There have been very few scout camps over the last couple of years and we have a very young troop. At this time of the year it's dark so can't do it effectively on a scout night. Last time we tried to do it on a Summer scout night anyway we only managed to check 3 tents. I also attempted to get help to check them at a weekend. We couldn't get enough help to make it worthwhile. I feel a bit between a rock and a hard place! I guess I can just give them to parents that go camping or have been to get more reliable checking. Zips are a really important thing to check, I agree. Also, for our first camp of the year we can take more tents than we need, just in case! Worst case I'm hoping is that we can advance the position of where we are now which is we don't have any tents that we know are usable!

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    ASL Kev's Avatar
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    You also need to check attachments for joining inner and outer tents and for attaching groundsheets which are not sewn in. Another thing to check is internal cross bracing straps (like those fitted to Vango 250/350).

    How about aiming to get a certain number of functioning tents and then pulling them out and checking until you have that number? It doen't have to be done all in one go.

    By the way, where is this tent repair place?
    Last edited by Kev; 10-02-2017 at 02:59 PM.

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    Different people will have different thresholds for things like mould etc - one might think the tiniest pinhead speck is unacceptable therefore reasonably serviceable tents might get binned...
    Martin (GSL & acting CSL)

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    Sea Scout Leader richardnhunt's Avatar
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    I've had more success running this as a "1 day camping skills course"

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    Yes, I've got the T-shirt Sparkgap's Avatar
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    We had a tent-checking weekend at one leader's house, about 15 leaders plus same number of scouts/explorers. Made it a bit of a picnic/bbq event over the weekend and got about 50 tents sorted, labelled, and marked up. Also useful to show newbies how to properly put up different types of tents!
    Andy
    SL 1st Wellington
    www.wellingtonscouts.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by RaccoonSB View Post
    It would be great if we would get the scouts to check them. There have been very few scout camps over the last couple of years and we have a very young troop. At this time of the year it's dark so can't do it effectively on a scout night.
    Depends on the tents of course. We've not got the variety you have; I've stuck with Eurohike Avon 3-man tents over the last decade or more, not because they are the best (there are loads in that price bracket), but specifically to avoid a proliferation of types (and to allow cannibalisation).

    Anyway, with the camping season coming up (we've some out this weekend), I had the Patrols pitch them in the hall. No pegs of course (I'd get thrown out of the church for putting them in the badminton court!), but you can get them up enough to be sure they are in OK condition. Good training for younger Scouts, it's nice and light and dry in the hall, which is good for first-time campers, and generally a good evening was had by all. You could even argue that it counted a bit towards the Outdoor Challenge, although there's not a lot of point because they'd have to pitch a tent again to earn the rest

    We've got canvas Patrol tents as well; we may do the same with those some time.
    SL, 11th Hitchin

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    Senior Member johnmcmahon's Avatar
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    We get the Scouts to pitch the dome tents in the hall. You can make a game of it. Who can pitch a tent, have it checked by a Leader and pack it away, the fastest.

    Watch for gummy bears left in the pockets inside the tent.

    Any bits not serviceable - sling / cannibalise. We often finish up with a bucket of spare pegs from discarded canvas which then get shared out amongst the other tents. I always carry a large bag of spare pegs on camp to ensure all tents are properly equiped (thanks to the £ shop).

    Most small tents have a plastic sleeve on the outside. A sheet of paper with the name of the checker / user and any comments plus the date of last use / checking.

    Include how many pegs should be in the bag. Replace any badly bent / damaged ones. If you use a felt pen on the bag to number it then a simple spreadsheet will allow you to track them.

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    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    A few years ago now after we inherited all the tents the guide unit which used to meet at our meeting place owned (including about 6 toilet tents none of which were tall enough to stand up in!?!) with help from a couple of explorers and the GSL we got every tent the Group owned out checking it for damage and missing pieces, replacing any missing pieces if possible and if the tent was damaged, missing too many pieces just rubbish or not useful to us we threw it or gave it away. We also reorganised our gear store at the same time.

    We thought this would take a couple of days 4 at the most in fact it was more like 6 days. We got rid of a hell of a lot of rubbish tents that we had been donated over the years as well as the useless toilet tents given we already had 4 toilet tents of our own.

    I would say that its pointless asking parents to do tent checking at home unless you know they happen to have a camping background as you will not be able to reply on the results even if they actually do the checking. What you can do is make use of willing parents as extra manpower in a tent checking exercise where Leaders can help supervise so you are confident the results of the tent checking are accurate.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.org.uk

    Previous Scouting Roles
    2003 - 2013 ABSL
    2017-2018 AGSL

    Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
    www.leeds-solar.co.uk
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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    On the other hand, for the District camp earlier this month, there was no time to check tents. So, we took 14 Avons, on the basis that we wouldn't quite pitch them all. Sure enough one showed up with a bit of a problem, but we just pitched another instead. With our friends in the neighbouring Group, I think it was about 26 Avons in all or something. So the Scouts did check the tents, it's just that they actually pitched them at the same time - with considerable parent help. Taking the odd spare tent is an approach I often use.
    SL, 11th Hitchin

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    Senior Member Shaun's Avatar
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    I would start with the tents you need to use on the camp.
    Once they are checked and complete put them away properly.
    Next camp use different tents.
    Repeat until all tents are used/checked.
    Will also give you an idea of which tents you want to keep/continue to use.
    I wouldn’t send them home and from experience with my scouts I would check each tent personally.
    My scouts managed to not properly check a hammock and tarp.
    4 pegs, 4 guy lines, in a peg bag one ridge line attached to one tarp.
    All in one bag.
    Hammock in a separate bag.
    We can check them before camp, get there and pieces are missing when we get there.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Shaun

    SL
    Hanging Heaton Scout Group

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    We get the explorers to check tents before their expeditions. They are then put aside until the trip. After the expeditions the tents are sent home with one of them who brings it back dry and “clean”. When they bring them back they are put up and checked, pegs counted, inside checked etc. Trang’s are also checked to make sure they have been cleaned. All ok then they are packed away ready for the next time. It’s treated as part of the expedition and part learning to take care of kit.

    We use a “camp” form to list all the equipment that goes out and it’s signed to show all the equipment is returned. Any issues with the kit can be noted on the form and damaged kit can be put aside to be fixed or replaced.

    We’ve adopted this approach because kit was being left back to the stores dirty, wet, wrong poles, no pegs etc. And no one knew who used what last. Now we do and their are far fewer issues with getting kit ready for camps & expeditions. At the moment between ourselves and our partner group it’s the section leaders that run this but we’re looking for someone to take on a quartermaster role. I know it’s easier for explorers to take kit home than for the younger sections but parents of the younger sections seem to have bought i to the approach.
    Last edited by Big George; 31-05-2019 at 09:25 PM.

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