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May 27, 2006


Chances are if you ask a bunch of people to recommend a solid tent for a couple people to go camping, several of them are going to recommend the tried-and-true Eureka Timberline. It's ugly, but it's been in production forever and it's insanely solid and well-built. Whatever you can throw at it, it will handle.

That, along with memories of using them in the Boy Scouts, is the reason so many people recommend them.

But I loathe the damn things. Though they were okay once you got them together, it was getting them together that was the bane of every early Scouting trip our troop went on. If you got it up in one go, you were a god among men. And I can't recall one trip where the fly pole didn't pop out right after you got it in. Those things were hell.

They did stand up to the elements and a bunch of young rambunctious guys, though, so it's no wonder they were and still are the choice of many BSA troops everywhere.

It didn't take but a couple years, though, for my old troop to have moved almost exclusively to everyone supplying their own tents. A fair amount of our trips were car camping or short backpacking trips, so many people loaded up on inexpensive recreational tents that were easy to assemble and more comfortable (the discount Popular Outdoor Outfitters offered to all BSA members didn't hurt either). Even a large tent not intended for backpacking became reasonable—clear space willing—when you split up the pieces among multiple people's packs.

To be honest, the trips got a lot more fun once the Timberlines fell by the wayside because you could pack your entire clique into one tent and raise hell. You couldn't even play cards in the Timberlines, really.

Of course, the larger tents also brought with them homoeroticism in the case of my troop, which I'm sure the BSA higher-ups would have blanched at, buy hey... that's life. I'm sure they also would have taken issue with the attractive woman in charge of the older boys. And a couple officially unofficial trips we took... And the off-color jokes that always made the Mormons glare at us at scout camp... And the showering naked (speaking of aghast Mormons)...

Really, the best kind of Boy Scout troop for your children is the kind that flies in the face of as many of the BSA's rules as they deem fit, come to think of it.

Posted by Colin at May 27, 2006 4:14 PM

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