The Benefits of Seam Sealing

3:08 p.m. on April 23, 2008 (EDT)
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My son and I went on a camping trip to WPAFB with a local Boy Scout Troop two weeks ago. The campsite was located at the end of the runway, so we were able to see several cargo and fighter aircraft take off. We even had a visit from a departing C-5 at 3am, which woke up everyone in the campsite with its ear-piercing engine whine. So much for connecting with nature...

Anyway, it was very windy and rained most of the weekend. My son and I slept in my Kelty Trail Dome, which I had seam sealed inside and out when I first bought it. The Boy Scout leaders slept in brand new tents that they had purchased at a discount from Gander Mountain. They all woke up to puddles of water in their tents, while my Trail Dome was nice and dry.

Moral of the story: seam sealing works and provides you with peace of mind when the wind is howling and the rain starts pouring.

I won't go into all the horror stories I've heard from folks who now dislike camping because of tent malfunctions due to rain, wind, or the occasional falling tree limb.

6:09 p.m. on April 23, 2008 (EDT)
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But, but. but ... tents don't have air conditioning in summer and heat in winter, and there are no flush toilets and hot showers when you go backpacking, and no place to plug my computer in and there doesn't seem to be any wifi and my cell phone doesn't even get one bar and the TV can't get any pictures (there's a game on tonight in HD and surround sound, what will I do?). Besides, Domino's said they won't deliver a mile up the trail. Why would anyone go camping?

Wait, you said falling tree limbs? And I hear wolves howling. I bet there are mountain lions and snakes. Someone didn't mow the grass, and there were tree roots sticking up when we were playing soccer.

And I couldn't get in out of the rain and Mr. Jones gave us hot dogs on soggy buns with no mustard or ketchup and my potato chips got mud on them.

Why do I have to go camping to get my Camping Merit Badge, anyway?

11:10 p.m. on April 23, 2008 (EDT)
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WPAFB? Wright Pat in Columbus? The last time I flew out of that place was on a National Guard C-124 headed for Panama (headed home from college flying Space A).

Merit badges? We don't need no stinkin' merit badges.

"I won't go into all the horror stories I've heard from folks who now dislike camping because of tent malfunctions due to rain, wind, or the occasional falling tree limb."

We used to get a lot of those complaints. The site owners decided we'd heard enough. Read the READ FIRST sticky post above for more details.

4:03 p.m. on April 24, 2008 (EDT)
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Bill,

Speaking of TV, HD, and surround sound... The first campout I went on with the troop I couldn't believe what I saw. This troop takes a portable generator on campouts to run the Troop's projection TV for Saturday Movie Night and the Troop's microwave for Sunday morning breakfast.

I kept thinking, "This certainly is not the type of troop that I was in growing up."

Anyway, speaking of seam sealing, yesterday the Scout Master contacted me and asked if I could help him seal his new tent. He had to buy another one after the campout because he burned a hole in it with his coleman heater he had with him in the tent.

[banging head on wall] Doh!

I've made it my goal to try to introduce the troop to real camping and backpacking. We'll see how that goes...

4:05 p.m. on April 24, 2008 (EDT)
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Tom,

WPAFB is actually in Fairborn, a suburb of Dayton. I used to work in public affairs on the base, and suggested the troop could use the Boy Scout campground facilities on the base. The Scout Master liked the idea because the boys could go to the air force musuem on Saturday.

7:24 p.m. on April 24, 2008 (EDT)
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tbastress said

Quote:

This troop takes a portable generator on campouts to run the Troop's projection TV for Saturday Movie Night and the Troop's microwave for Sunday morning breakfast.

OGBO's response, as he picks himself off the floor, bugeyed, after having passed out -

Quote:

OMIGOD! The End of the World has arrived!

tbastress then related

Quote:

the Scout Master ... had to buy another [tent] after the campout because he burned a hole in it with his coleman heater he had with him in the tent.

OGBO sympathetically responds -

Quote:

Well, gee, you wouldn't want the Scoutmaster to get cold, would you? He better sue Coleman for making a faulty product that would be so hot as to burn a hole in the tent. They should have put a warning label to not use the heater in the tent because... oh wait! They DO put a warning label on the heaters. Maybe the SM is a software type? You know, "we don' need no stinkin' instruction book"

11:41 p.m. on April 24, 2008 (EDT)
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Tbastress,Oh, that is right. Not sure why I was thinking of Columbus. I just flew out of there a couple of times back in the 60's. The museum is pretty nice. My dad used to fly the B-36 and if I remember right, there is one parked there.

You might suggest to the Scout Master that using a heater in a tent is a bad idea. Some of them, perhaps all of them, unless they are battery powered, may give off carbon monoxide. Same thing that kills people in their homes in winter. Warm clothes and a decent bag are far better choices.

1:23 p.m. on April 25, 2008 (EDT)
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Yes, I told the SM that using a heater in the tent wasn't the best idea, and he responded he's been doing it for years without mishap. Of course, that was before he burned a hole in the tent... ;)

Bill, I made a comment to the SM one time that I thought the boys were being a wee bit pampered on the campouts, and he agreed. He responded that if he made it too hard on them, they wouldn't want to go camping. I just thought to myself, "This is boy scouts, right?"

Oh well...

6:34 p.m. on April 25, 2008 (EDT)
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tbastress made a suggestion to the SM ...

Quote:

he responded he's been doing it for years without mishap.

Sigh! How many times have I heard that, not only from adult scout leaders, but from other people I have encountered, sometimes just after some incident. Maybe you got away with it a hundred times in the past, but it only takes that one time taking the shortcut ....

9:34 p.m. on April 25, 2008 (EDT)
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What am I missing here?
I was a scout way before the days of Ipods and DVD players. I thought the whole idea of camping was to experience being outdoors. That's the part I enjoyed. The idea that kids won't join if they have to leave their tv's and video games at home is pretty disappointing. Why not just stick them in an RV and drive it to the mall for the weekend?

I understand scouting has moved on from just teaching outdoor skills to teaching computer skiils as so on, but really, pampering kids with movies and so on, misses the whole point, in my opinion.

I am sure Bill knows far better than I do, but this scoutmaster should consider himself lucky. Last year, for example, a very famous rock climber was killed in Yosemite when his harness failed. Hard to believe that it could happen to so experienced a climber, but it did. Taking things for granted or not paying attention can have serious consequences. It only takes once and once it happens, all those other times you got away with something, mean nothing.

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