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German Scout camp, consisting of a number of Kohtes.

The Kohte [ˈkoːtə] is the typical tent of German Scouting and the German Youth Movement.

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.

After World War II, the Kohte was reintroduced in German Scouting and became the most used type of tent in German Scouting.


There are several distinctive features of the kohte:[1]

  • 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.
A Kohtenblatt, one of four identical pieces that make up a Kohte.
  • 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[edit]

  • 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.


  1. ^ "The black Tents of the German Scouts", Fichtelgebirge District Scouts

External links[edit]