It has several unusual features, including its distinctive black colour - and the fact that it's designed to allow a central fire.
It was developed about 1930 by Eberhard Koebel as a variation of the Sami lavvu and became very quickly popular within the Bündische Jugend. In 1935, its use was banned throughout Germany by Hitler Youth official Arthur Axmann; groups still using it were considered "cultural bolshevists" and prosecuted.
There are several distinctive features of the kohte:
- It is constructed from four identical, uniquely shaped, roughly triangular/trapezoidal pieces of heavy canvas. At about 2kg/4lbs each, these allow the weight to be distributed amongst several members of a group.
- Other materials, like the two supporting poles and (8) ground pegs, are commonly sourced locally (with permission of the landowner).
- Black fabric is almost always used.
- The tarpaulins are fastened together using a loop and grommet system, or a loop/strap system, depending on the manufacturer.
- The tent is suspended from an external A-frame of only two long poles.
- A fire can be used inside the tent, with the design incorporating a covered smoke hole.
Variants and extensions
- Smaller shelters can be made from one or two individual kohte segments.
- A larger tent, the Jurte (yurt) is made using six kohte segments for the roof, and adding high vertical walls.
- "The black Tents of the German Scouts", Fichtelgebirge District Scouts
- 75 Jahre Kohte – mit der Freischarlilie fing es an (German); About the history of the Kohte.
- Schwarzzeltarchiv (German); Archive of documents and history about the Kohte, including instructions for set-up.