In February 2015, the 1st Powassan Scouting Group was re-formed after 15 years without a scouting program. All of the equipment had been dispersed to other groups in the area, so we were starting from scratch. We knew we’d be able to come up with much of the equipment needed through donations of used equipment and loaners. The one thing that we could not rely on is used tents. We anticipated strong popcorn sales after the very positive response we had from the community for reforming the group, so our group committee decided to purchase good quality tents that would serve us well at both standing camps and canoe tripping.
We shopped around and the best tent we found in our price range was the Eureka Mackenzie 4 from the Scout Shop. We ordered 6 tents and within two weeks of receiving them last fall, we put them to the test. Our troop went on a weekend canoe trip to Algonquin Provincial Park and a few weeks later we held a weekend Parent and Youth camp for Cubs and Beavers at Camp Wirribara. This summer, our troop is heading out on another weekend canoe trip and a weeklong standing camp. We are also registered for CJ’17 and having good quality tents is one less thing to have to plan for.
After using the Mackenzie 4 tents, we have found that they have met our expectations. At a little over 10lbs, they are not an “ultralight” tent, but they are light enough and compact enough to portage. The tents are durable and can stand up to the extra wear and tear that Beavers, Cubs and Scouts will put them through. The floor material is heavy enough not to tear when the youth dive in through the door.
The tents are rated for four people. We find that three youth and equipment at a standing camp is ideal. On a canoe trip, there is plenty of space for four youth to sleep comfortably.
With two doors and two full vestibules, these tents provide easy access and lots of dry storage space. The vestibule comes right to the ground, so muddy boots can stay out of the rain without being taken into the tent. Each vestibule utilizes the “High-Low” ventilation system. A flap on the vestibule can be opened to allow air in and a vent at the top allows the air out for good air circulation.
The Mackenzie 4 tent is designed for quick and easy assembly. Scouts are able to have the tent up and covered within 5 – 10 minutes. The support system uses a clip that snaps on to the pole rather than a sleeve. Over the years, I have seen youth struggle with sliding poles in and out of sleeves, particularly when damp. All too often, they try to force the pole through and end up tearing the fabric. I was leery when I first saw the clip support, after some bad experiences with them in the past. I discovered, however, that these clips are attached to the tent using an elastic material that relieves stress on the tent seam. The seam is also covered with a binding strip so the pull on the clip is spread along the entire seam and not just one point.
In my opinion, the Mackenzie 4 tent is made to last. The aluminum poles are thicker than most, but considering they are being used by youth, they are well worth the extra weight. The floor and fly are heavier material than most tents I have used. With proper handling and storage, I think we can reasonably expect these tents to last 1st Powassan at least 10 years.
I give the Mackenzie 4 tent a rating of 4 ½ stars out of 5.