3 Boy Scout Tent Types Every Scout Needs to Know
From summer camps to backcountry adventures, camping has always been a hallmark of the Scouting experience. With the variety of camping options available to Scouts comes a (sometimes overwhelming) array of tenting options. We’ve broken down the pros and cons of a few of the most popular choices–from traditional to modern. Here are the three Boy Scout tent types every Scout needs to know:
1. Classic Canvas Wall Tents
Canvas wall tents have a long history at Scout camps. Today, Diamond Brand Gear scout wall tents are staples at Scout camps across the nation. In fact, most of the canvas Boy Scout tents found at Boy Scout camps or reservations across the country, including legendary sites such as North Carolina’s Camp Daniel Boone or New Mexico’s Philmont Scout Ranch, come from our factory in Fletcher, North Carolina.
Canvas wall tents, whether vintage or modern, provide semi-permanent, ultra-durable homes away from home. Their cotton canvas coverings and durable steel frames are built to withstand the harshest of conditions, from winter storms to spring downpours. These four-season shelters are also more breathable and better insulated than their polyester counterparts. This means Scouts keep warm on cold winter days, but stay cool on hot summer days. Many old-school wall tents even allow campers to roll up the sides, bringing in even more air.
These advantages, however, are not without their drawbacks. Canvas wall tents often need to be “seasoned” before they can be used year-round. Fortunately, our wall tents come treated for fire retardancy, mildew resistance, and water repellency–absolutely no seasoning required. The cotton canvas fabric is also heavier and bulkier than its polyester counterpart. This means harder set-up and transport. For short-term setups consider another option, such as a pup tent or dome tent.
2. Pup Tents and Dome Tents
Pup tents (also known as A frame tents) and dome tents are ideal Girl Scout and Boy Scout tent types for short-term setups, from car camping to backcountry adventures. So how do you choose between the two? The classic pup tent is the most basic option. If you’re looking to go old-school, a highly durable (though usually bulky) pup tent will withstand most conditions. Bonus: the slanting slides mean rain won’t pool at the top of your tent.
Meanwhile, the now more common dome tent is the more modern option. If you’re looking to go more mainstream, a much lighter (though less durable) dome tent is far easier to set up. This fact, combined with the increased headroom and lower price tag make dome tents the best option for Scouting families or larger groups. Don’t let the size of a dome tent fool you; most pack down well.
3. Mess Hall Tents & Dining Canopies
What’s a Scout outing without some legendary (good or bad) Scout camp cooking? Keep the campers (and, most importantly, the food) dry under a mess hall tent or dining canopy. Look for options with plenty of room (ideally up to 10×20 ft), heavy duty fabric (we prefer 600 denier polyester), and an easy set-up. We use metal hooks and adjustable webbing to secure our Scout dining canopies to their frames, so campers can spend less time setting up and more time grubbing down.
Boy Scouts of America Camping Requirements for Badges
Camping has always been an important component of rank advancement and merit badges. To advance to Tenderfoot, Scouts must spend at least one night on a patrol or troop campout in a tent he helped pitch. To advance to Second Class, Scouts must spend at least two nights on a patrol or troop campout. And to advance to First Class, Scouts must spend at least three nights on a patrol or troop campout.
Meanwhile, to earn the Camping merit badge, Scouts must spend at least at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities and events. So with all the camping options available–from glamping to the backcountry–what counts as a “campout”? This piece from Scouting Magazine breaks it down. Spoiler: those nights in a church basement and camp cabin aren’t going to swing it if you want that merit badge. And be sure you select the right tent type for each Scout camping experience!
Read the official camping guidelines from the Boy Scouts of America.