AY Honor Tents Answer Key used by North American Division

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North American Division

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Skill Level
Approval authority
North American Division
Year of Introduction
See also


Classify three types of tents and how to put them up. List their advantages and disadvantages.

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Traditional A-Frame Tents

Also called a ridge frame, A-frame tents look like an ‘A’ shaped when erected and is the style on the patch. Typically, they consist of a pole at each end with a single ridgepole running down the center. Stakes and ropes hold out the sides. Historically made of heavy canvas, modern A-frame tents are often made of lightweight material, usually with a tarp for rain protection. This type of tent is not that spacious for standing up in because of the steep sloping sides. A-frames are a simple style of shelter, and are the easiest type of tent to improvise. The style is not very sturdy in strong winds, though heavy versions can be quite strong. Few recreational campers own this style anymore, but larger versions are used by guides and outfitters.

Tunnel Tents

Tunnel tents are great for high wind areas (like when mountain climbing). Pitch them so the wind runs with the tunnel. Typically made up of two or more poles running the width of the structure, this shape makes for much better interior space and headroom than an A-frame.

Hoop Tents

Hoop tents use curved poles at either end to give the tent shape and stability. The ropes are very important and the tent must be staked down correctly or it will rattle and flap. A typical hoop style tent uses three arched frames. The design is better then the A-frame for interior space and head room. Hoop tents shed snow and rain well because of the rounded shape.

Single Hoop

Single hoop tents are supported by a single curved pole and are usually a small tent designed to sleep one or two people. Pitch these tents so that strong wind runs with the spine of the tent. Single hoop tents are ideal for cycling or backpacking as they are lightweight and require little space.

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Dome Tents

Dome tents are the most popular style for family and group camping. Distinguished by two or multiple collapsible poles passing over each other at the center of the roof, they may also have side areas supported by hoops or porches supported by straight poles. Generally dome tents offer spacious living areas and great head room with larger models including separate rooms and porches to store gear and equipment. Dome tents are easy to pitch, stable and can handle snow conditions such better than some other styles. Another advantage of Dome tents is they are usually free standing on their own without pegs or ropes. Therefore you can pitch the dome tent on concrete or indoors, and move the entire (empty) tent without pulling it apart if there is a change in the wind. A geodesic dome tent is a variation, with the poles crossing each other around the upper portion of the tent rather then at the very top.

Pop-up Tent

The pop-up is a recent innovation. They are equipped with built-in very flexible hoops so that when the tent is unpacked, it springs into shape immediately and after use the tent is packed down into a thick disc shape. This makes for extremely easy set up but they have their drawbacks. Pop-ups are not designed for use by the serious camper, but rather either as a children's toy or the very occasional fair weather camper. They are usually single-skinned and and their highly flexible structure makes them totally unsuitable for use in strong winds.

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Gazebo Tent

A gazebo uses a framework of metal poles to support a roof, and re often square. This structure provides a lot more usable space than does a flysheet, since the gently sloping roof allows for a reasonable amount of headroom even at the edges . Because a gazebo is free-standing, it is often used as a shelter for a temporary shop at a fair or street market.

There are other types of tents available, such as yurts and safari tents, that you can explore and describe if desired, but they are not typically used by Pathfinders camping.


Describe the materials used in tent making.

A complete tent includes the main tent material, poles, pegs and often rope. Strong tent poles, high quality pegs and secured fastenings will help keep your tent in place, but increased strength comes with either increased weight or more costly materials.

Tents material: The main part of the tent comes in a wide variety of materials. Originally animal skins were perhaps the most common material, but woven animal hair tents are mentioned in the Bible.

Modern tents are made from a range of materials depending on the intended use of the tent. Water resistance and light weight as well as affordability govern the types of fabric and fabric blends chosen by manufacturers. Choose a tent with double sewn seams for overall durability.

a) Canvas (heavy event tents like you might see at a Campmeeting mostly). Canvas is very durable, but very heavy. You don't want the weight on a backpacking trip, but a heavy circus tent will stay up in a big wind storm.

b) Nylon is much lighter, but designed for calm conditions because it does not stand up to wind well.

c) Polyester is good for tents that will be exposed to extended time in the sun.

Pole materials: Poles have become lighter weight over the years as manufacturers innovate. Lower priced or very heavy tents may use steel or even wood poles but aluminum, fiberglass, various plastics, and for performance tents carbon fiber are all common in lighter weight tents.

Tent stakes or pegs: A wide variety of tent pegs made of metal, plastic, or combinations of materials are available on the market. This video demonstrates:

  • Standard 9 inch steel tent pegs
  • Light weight metal ripple pegs that have an increased surface area
  • Strong plastic pegs with lots of surface area. Not so good in rocky ground
  • 9 inch nails with a plastic top to attach ropes to
  • Alloy pegs, commonly used in backpacking. Lighter weight, but easier to bend out of shape then steel.

Rope is an important component in many tent designs. Rope comes in a variety of materials.


Identify the classes of tents for the purpose intended and most well-known tent producers.

The first part of this requirement has been addressed under Requirement #1 where the most common camping tent styles are detailed. You should also quickly see examples of various types of tents as you do the second part of the requirement.

The second part is highly variable depending on what part of the world the Pathfinder lives in. One website lists over 2,400 camping tent manufacturers around the world. Perhaps the best plan is to visit a large outdoors store, a camping and outdoor living show, or look around at tents at a camporee so you can see tents made by various manufacturers. Ask lots of questions about the advantages and disadvantages of different tents and the quality of workmanship offered by different manufacturers represented. If none of these options are available, at least go online and check out the websites of some tent manufacturers and camping gear retailers (like Amazon), paying attention to the brands, offered features and consumer feedback. Here is a list of brands carried by Amazon in the USA to get you started.


Choose a specific tent model that you would like to purchase and justify your choice.

Your choice of tent to purchase will depend on various factors including:

  1. Budget - how much can you spend and how much should you spend to get a that meets your needs and will last?
  2. Intended function - family tent, cooking tent, individual tent, backpacking vs load in a car, or perhaps an event tent. For Backpacking you are interested in the duration of carrying the tent. Weight and size are the most crucial factors. For Touring the high frequency of pitching and striking the tent make ease of pitching/striking the tent an important consideration. For Static Camping (staying at one campsite for a week or two at a time) a comfortable camping experience is the target.
  3. Size - intended function leads to the size of the tent. It needs to be big enough for sleeping comfortably and big enough to store camping gear and accessories. Head room, eating space and living space is optional, depending on what you require. If cycling, you may want to bring your bike out of the weather. A family may prefer separate sleeping areas for different sexes and separate living areas.
  4. Internal height - Manufacturers quote the maximum internal height, but the usable internal height may be a little lower, depending on the tent style. Ridge tents have a steeply sloping roof so the whole height is rarely usable. Dome tents slope gently in all directions from the peak enabling nearly the entire height to be usable for a large portion of the tent. Tunnel tents have a good usable height along the center line. Frame and cabin tents have gently sloping roofs and near vertical walls. To fully evaluate the usable space in a tent, both the maximum wall height and slope must be considered. There are four useful heights used to evaluate appropriate tent height: lie down only, sit, kneel, stand. The exact heights at which these apply depend on the heights of the campers involved; those over 182 cm (5.97 ft) are likely to have less choice of tents than those who are somewhat shorter. As a starting point, sitting height is often between 90 and 105 cm (2 ft 11 in and 3 ft 5 in), and kneeling height may be between 120 and 150 cm (3.9 and 4.9 ft). These different heights are useful for evaluating whether certain tasks, such as changing clothes, can be accomplished in the tent.
  5. Frequency of use - how often will you use the tent? A person that takes regular extended backpacking trips will want a better quality tent then someone that drives to one weekend campout a couple times a year that can get by with a cheap tent
  6. Available materials and quality - you can only buy what is available in the market
  7. Expected weather conditions - While you can't predict all the weather you may face, you can predict how you intend to handle extreme weather. Do you intend to stay on a mountainside a day's walk from the nearest road toughing out a storm, or will you be throwing all your gear in your car and heading home if it starts to sprinkle in the campground? This will impact the type of tent performance you need. On the low end, some tents are sold, quite cheaply, as festival tents. These tents may be suitable only for camping in dry weather, and may not even be showerproof. Beyond that, manufacturers label tents as one-season, two/three-season, three/four season, and four season or higher. A one-season tent is generally for summer use only, and may only be capable of coping with light showers. A three-season tent is for spring/summer/autumn and should be capable of withstanding fairly heavy rain, or very light snow. A four-season tent should be suitable for winter camping in all but the most extreme conditions. An expedition tent (for mountain conditions) should be strong enough to cope with heavy snow, strong winds, as well as heavy rain.
  8. Ease of Setup - Is the tent easy to pitch? Can you pitch it alone, or do you need help?
  9. Reputation - Has the tent received good reviews online? Does it come with a warranty? Is the manufacturer well respected?
  10. Tent color - Some may want to reduce the visual impact of campsites for aesthetics or military tactics, best accomplished using green, brown, or tan tent colors. However, there are good reasons for bright unnatural colored tents including:
  • Bright-colored tents can be easily spotted from the air in cases of an emergency.
  • If there is any chance a vehicle may not see a tent and run over it a bright color can reduce risk.
  • Campers wandering away from camp will find their way back more easily if their tent is highly visible.
  • Lost hikers may find rescue by spotting a visible camp site from afar.

A good way to complete this requirement is to pick a tent and then write an extended review on Amazon or similar site. Note both the pluses and minuses of your selection in your evaluation, remembering that a positive for one application is often a negative for another.


Demonstrate how to prepare a tent for rain and wind. List rules for finding a place for a tent.

Camping Skills II, Requirement #3 says:

Know and understand the following six W's for the selection of a good campsite:

To help remember the things that are important to camp site selection, remember the six W’s:

Wind- Find areas that are protected from the wind. This requires knowing or guessing at the normal wind direction (hint look at the direction trees are leaning and the current wind direction). Face your tent door away from the wind to avoid the wind driving rain in the front of tent. However, be aware of how your style of tent performs against wind, and pitch appropriately. You may want to pitch your tent running with the wind but with the door facing away from the wind (back of tent to wind). Using the correct knots to secure your tent will help in the wind.

Water- Fresh water should be available for drinking, beware of drainage areas, flooding and other water related hazards. Marshy areas can have a high mosquito population that can make camping miserable. Choose a location that is on high ground, not in a depression. You don't want to find yourself in a puddle at night. In addition to things you can do to set up a tent correctly, you might consider spraying your tent with a waterproofing compound before leaving home.

Weather- Preparing a tent for wind and rain is mostly about pitching it correctly and securely. It is also about picking a tent designed for the weather - 1 season tents are not designed for serious storms. Knowledge of the weather patterns of an area can help you decide the best location for the camp site. A rain fly or tarp will help in the rain. A tent in good repair is far more structurally sound and safe. Once a tent has the first rip or broken pole it tends to quickly fail in other places.

Wild things- Beware of signs of large mammals such as bear, wolves, and mountain lions. Also watch out for the small wild things such as snakes, spiders, ticks, biting flies and mosquitoes.

Wood- Adequate wood should be available for a campfire, and no dead wood above sleeping area. Survey the trees to make sure that they will not fall on you in strong winds. Overhanging tree branches can snap in a windstorm. While you may not be able to avoid being under trees completely, at least avoid unhealthy, older, or dead trees to reduce the chance of falling branches.

Willingness- Make sure the owner of the property is willing for you to camp on it. Make sure you have the proper permits for camping areas.

See also the guidance following Requirement #7 here. If you follow the 6 W's your tent will be ready for any storm.


Put up and then take down a tent in the following situations:


Inclement weather

The key to pitching a tent in strong wind is to stake it down as soon as you can. First spread it out on the ground, and then stake it. Do not try to raise it until it is staked. That way when the wind catches it, it is firmly anchored to the ground and will stay in place.

Likewise, when striking a tent in strong winds, leave the stakes in until the tent is down. Only then should the stakes be removed, and even then, you could leave one or more in the ground as you roll it up for storage.

You can also try to reduce the wind either by choosing a sheltered location or placing a temporary shelter - pulling a tarp between trees or even parking your car to block the wind could help. Other strategies include putting gear in the tent for weight before you strike it.


At night

Familiarity with the tent makes working with it in the dark much easier. You don't want to have to check the directions in the dark. Track your tent pegs carefully because they can be hard to spot even in daylight.

It is always a good idea to set up and take down a new tent (or one you have not used in a long time) at home before you head out to make sure you have all the parts and know how to put them together. That way you are not stuck when you arrive at your campsite after some delay and are forced to figure things out in the dark.


Tell the safety rules for living in a tent.

Prepare: Research the area(s) you plan to visit. Are there any particular dangers, such as certain animals, plants or insects that you might encounter? Are there seasonal dangers of which you should be aware? Before you leave home, do some Internet research and call the park rangers or the campsite(s) you plan to visit to find out about any unusual dangers or concerns. Remember to check the weather forecast and pack accordingly.

Inspect: Look for potential hazards in your campsite. Check the ground thoroughly for glass, sharp objects including rocks, overhanging or about to fall branches or rocks on cliffs, pests like large ant hills and wasp nests, hazards like poison ivy and any hazardous terrain. If you find something that can't be rectified, consider a better spot.

Tent Placement: Only pitch your tent in a safe spot. A good site is level, with enough space for your gear. It is not in a roadway or blocking a trail. Do not place your tent in a low-lying area as it may be prone to flooding. Higher ground is better in a rainstorm.

Campfire Proximity: Don't build your fire too close to your tent. Make sure your campfire is always attended to or out cold.

Gas Stoves: Use away from the tent to prevent accidental fires.

Wildlife: Keep your campsite free of food scraps and odors and do not bring food into tents because that is an invitation to animals to come in for a midnight snack. No tent offers effective bear protection. Instead pack food in a bear-proof locker or canister overnight or put it in the trunk of your car. If this is not possible, then hang food and perishables, as well as the pots and pans you cook with, at least 200 yards away from your campsite. Many animals feed at night and the use of a flashlight may warn them away.


Demonstrate how to repair a tent in the following situations:


Torn or a burnt hole in the tent wall

A rip and a burnt hole require slightly different approaches.

Rips are holes in which the fabric can be smoothed down and little or no hole is visible. To fix a rip, first make sure the area to be repaired is clean and dry. Smooth the tent down and line up the torn sides neatly. Trim any excess string or excess fraying. Next apply tape over the rip, going well beyond the edges of the rip to ensure good adhesion. Avoid any bubbles or ripples as these can cause water infiltration. Consider applying tape to the other side of the rip as well. Here is a video demonstrating.

There are special tapes marketed just for tent (and other gear) repair, but duct tape or various other strong tapes suitable for fabric will also do a decent job.

Holes are a different problem. You need to cover the hole with a fabric patch (potentially on both sides) and then tape it securing down. Iron on patches are another option. In all cases make sure everything is smooth and wrinkle free to prevent water infiltration, as well as to prevent dirt getting onto the tape and weakening the repair.

Special sealants are alternative method that works for pinholes and seam issues. Basically you just cover the hole or failing seam with the sealants, following the directions on the tube.

Canvas tents can be sewn together or holes patched.


Broken pole or arch

Most modern tent poles are under stress when erected, so the key is to bridge the broken spot and transfer the stress to unbroken portions of the pole, while still keeping the pole flexible enough to do its job. If you don't have a repair kit, you can perform an emergency repair with duct tape but that might not provide enough strength for the pole when placed under stress. Taping on something like a metal tent peg or strong stick can help bridge the break.

The more professional repair involves a tent pole repair sleeve - a hollow aluminum tube that fits over the tent pole available at camping supply stores. You could also improvise one from scrap metal tubing or pipe. To install a tent pole repair sleeve:

  1. With pliers make the broken pole as round as possible so the sleeve fits over
  2. Position the sleeve midway across the break and mark the ends of the sleeve.
  3. Wrap duct tape inside the marks on the two sides of the break until the tape is a snug fit inside the repair sleeve.
  4. Insert the two broken sections of pole into the sleeve so that the tape is no longer visible.
  5. The sleeve should be pressure fit with the tape, but removable with a tug for disassembly or repositioning.

If a replacement is available you can replace the whole section of tent pole. Disassemble the pole by removing the end cap and pulling the broken pole sections off. Thread a new section over the cord and tie on the end cap again.

You can also skip the repair and order replacement tent poles from Amazon or camping supply websites. Just be sure you know the length of the broken pole and diameter of the pole so you can order something comparable.

Photos of a tent pole repair.


Torn zipping or grommet (eyelet)

Torn grommets are extra annoying. The exact fix is going to depend on the extent of the damage, but generally you will want to to repair the rips as described above. You may want to use a patch as well around the grommet hole.

Damaged zippers on anything can often be fixed by gently adjusting the zipper clasp with a pair of pliers. Squeezing the clasp together and feeding the zipper back in. A little bar soap on a problem zipper can help it slide better. If the zipper is separating from the tent you may need to sew it back on, or you might try taping it with very strong tape similar to a rip.


Seam separation

Either apply a sealant according to the manufacturers directions, or tape as described for rips and tears above.


Know how to keep and properly care for tents.

Every Pathfinder needs to know how to care for tents. The most important thing to remember is to only put away a dry tent. If you can't put the tent away dry, take the tent home and open it up again to dry it out properly. A wet tent will mold, rot, and stain.

A tent missing poles, pegs or other pieces is completely useless and very frustrating. Failing to put all the parts together in the tent bag will cause much frustration on the next camping trip.

Spiritual Application and Missions Information

This honor's official requirements do not have any spiritual component, but all Pathfinder activities are an opportunity to increase Bible knowledge and bring in spiritual applications. The official requirements also reflect the minimum required and you should look for ways to enhance all honors. When teaching or studying this honor consider these points.

Uses of Tents

Remember that the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, God's dwelling place on earth, was an elaborate tent for which God provided detailed instructions.

Many Bible characters lived in tents including Abraham, the entire Jewish nation during the Exodus, armies during wars, and others. David lamented that the Ark still lived in a tent while he lived in a sturdy palace, a concern that lead to the construction of Solomon's Temple.

Tents also held an important place in early Adventism. The pioneers found that sending out tents to hold evangelist meetings in was a very effective way to plant new churches.

Tentmakers and Tentmaking

Modern Christian missionaries who self support through a paid profession or business are often called "tentmakers". Tentmaking gets a person out in the marketplace, meeting people and developing friendships that are not based strictly on an attempt to evangelize others. In this way, a tentmaker can witness to people that might run away if approached by a pastor or bible worker. Tentmaking provides the money to live, reducing or eliminating the need to get church employment or private donors. In countries where it is impossible to get a visa for religious work, tentmaking provides the best practical platform for living in the target country because these countries will accept qualified professionals or businesspeople.

William Carey (1761-1831), considered to be the father of modern evangelical Christian missions, was a tentmaker in India, working as a factory owner and university professor while fulfilling his mission duties. At the time, international mission work was a new and controversial idea in the Church, and tentmaking was the only way for Carey to support his ministry. His example has led thousands of Christian missionaries to support themselves while ministering overseas.

Adventist Church co-founder James White was a part time tentmaker who supported his and Ellen White's ministry in part by selling Bibles and other religious books like Concordances in pioneer settlements as they traveled. Today Adventist Frontier Missions provides training and support for tentmakers.

The term "tentmaker/tentmaking" comes from perhaps the greatest missionary of all time, the Apostle Paul. We know that Paul supported himself in ministry at least partly through the trade of tentmaking. (Act 18:3 "Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tentmakers just as he was.")

Our bodies as a tent

Given Paul was a tentmaker, it is not surprising he drew in tent imagery when writing to the Corinthians.

"For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less." 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 The Message