I have a million things to do before we go to Oshkosh in less than two weeks. I did a couple of them tonight. Our Union T-shirts came in, and I sorted through those and tagged them with names. I wrote a rough draft of the packing list too, but I want Va to turn that into a nice-looking checklist. We’re going to have a packing drill on the Thursday evening before we leave, and the teens in the club will be responsible for making checkmarks on the checklists.

I still need to find out what I was thinking when I ordered the Union pins. I have them, but I have not counted them, and I don’t remember how many we’re supposed to have. Also, I don’t know who needs what. Luckily all that info is tucked away in various emails, so I should be able to sort it out. It’s just gonna take some time and effort.

I ordered to new tents for the club tonight. We bought two 3-man tents, and they were not cheap. We used to pay about half what I spent on each of these for an 8-man tent, but over the past five years of camping with Pathfinders, I have learned that cheap tents are kind of expensive. They fail. They leak. They have to be replaced.

I talked with my staff about what kind of tents to get, and we weighed the pros and cons of various options. The 3-man tents seem to be the best compromise. I intend to replace all our 8-man tents with these over the next couple of years.

A three man tent can be divided into three piles: poles, canopy, and fly. Each of these piles can be stuffed into a kid’s backpack, and the kid should still be able to carry it three miles.

When we aren’t backpacking, we can put two kids in each tent and they will have more room. They will also have more ownership in pitching it, and these are a lot easier to pitch than an 8-man tent. The “ownership” aspect teaches responsibility.

Sometimes we break camp in the rain. Sometimes we break camp when there is still dew on the tents because it won’t evaporate off before it’s time to go. If you store a tent wet, it will mold and mildew, and then… the tent can no longer be used. So when we break camp with wet tents, I end up taking them home and pitching them either in the yard if it’s not raining, or in the garage if it is. I leave them up until they are bone dry.

Drying them out in the garage is always lot’s of fun, because then we can’t park in the garage when we most want to – on a rainy day. Maybe with smaller tents, I can send them home with provably responsible individuals and they can find a corner in their house to dry them out. Or… I could pitch a couple in the basement. It’s just more flexible for stuff like that.

Sometimes we camp in the woods and it’s difficult to find a large enough patch of ground to pitch a big tent (those cursed trees!). I think it will be easier to pitch several smaller ones (just like when we dry them out).

So – that’s my rationale.