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 its design to allow a central fire.
Around 1930, Eberhard Koebel developed the kohte as a variation of the Sami lavvu and it quickly became 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 or trapezoidal pieces of heavy canvas, called kohtenblatt, each about 2 kg/4 lbs in weight. Because the pieces are separate, they can be distributed among the members of a camping party during travel. Black fabric is almost always used.
- The tent is suspended from an external A-frame of only two long poles and secured to the ground with eight pegs, all of which are commonly sourced from local wood rather than carried around by campers.
- The canvas tarpaulins are fastened together using a loop and grommet system, or a loop-strap system, depending on the manufacturer.
- 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 (in German); About the history of the Kohte.
- Schwarzzeltarchiv (in German); Archive of documents and history about the Kohte, including instructions for set-up.