Scoutmaster Musings - Tarps or Plastic?


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Scoutmaster Musings

Tarps or Plastic?
Each year, our troop purchases new tents for incoming scouts. By the time the scouts finish their time in the troop, the tents are usually too worn out to pass on to the next generation.

To help keep the scouts dry, we have traditionally added blue poly tarps to each tent that the quartermaster distributes. The thought is that this extra layer of plastic will help when it really rains and the water is saturating the ground.

Just last year, one of our more experienced scouts mentioned that he figured a sheet of clear plastic would be just as good since it would be lighter and more waterproof. Some scouts have moved over to the clear plastic while others stay with the stronger, more durable, blue tarps.

We have two factions in the troop divided on the best way to keep scouts dry in a tent. One side says the tarp should go on the inside, the other side says on the outside.

I grew up as an 'outsider' rather than an 'insider'. But, when I became scoutmaster, the scouts were all insiders, so I went along with that. The reasoning for having the tarp inside is that there is no opportunity for water to collect on it if it is larger than the tent footprint and it stays clean. The main reasons for having the tarp outside is that it keeps the tent bottom cleaner.

This is just another opportunity for scouts to discuss how they might do things and then decide for themselves what works. Either way will be ok, but if they decide, then they're leading rather than just doing what the old man says.

Scout On
Posted: 9:10 09-01-2007 184
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