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Are You Smarter Than a Boy Scout?

Scoutmasters wrote the book on camping, and built an army of pack-toting teens. But do the troops truly rule when it comes to outdoor skills? We pitted three Scouts against three average readers to find out.

6. Tent Pitching

Game On
Each team gets a lightweight Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 tent. First team to pitch theirs correctly wins. Team BACKPACKER goes right to work. Jeff snaps the hubbed poles into their I-shape configuration, while David lays out the tent body. Louis has the cross pole and rainfly ready.

The Scouts, meanwhile, fail to observe that the short end of the pole assembly aligns with the tent body. Once they get that sorted out, Todd is left holding the cross pole. "Where’s this go?" he asks. Nobody is sure.

Team BACKPACKER, no contest. In 2 minutes, 24 seconds, they pitch a drum-tight tent. At 4 minutes, 53 seconds, Team Scout stakes the last guyline. It’s all tied up as we enter the homestretch. Readers: 3, Scouts: 3

By the Book
Orient the tent with its lowest point into the wind; avoid setting up in a low-lying area where water could collect; drive stakes into the ground at an angle, with the tops pointing away from the shelter (fill stuffsacks with snow and bury them during the winter); and always guy out the rainfly tightly to increase stability and reduce unwanted condensation.

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