May 3, 2008 at 8:21 pm #1228751
@ryanLocale: Northern Rockies
More Scouts and Scouters attend the Philmont Scout Ranch in their Scouting careers than any other BSA High Adventure Base.
The purpose of this forum is to serve the needs of those attending Philmont who are interested in backpacking gear, technique, and lightweight style.May 3, 2008 at 8:37 pm #1431507
Thanks Ryan for making this forum available.
Hopefully, we can provide a great Message Forum for those that have questions about Philmont.
MikeBMay 5, 2008 at 6:32 pm #1431774
If a father son combination are interested, there are 2 slots open July 5 – 19, Trek 19. $770 each. PM me and I'll put you in contact with the crew.
MikeMay 8, 2008 at 8:10 am #1432204
@ghost93Locale: Western MD
Sometimes I wonder about the scouting community (at least in my area) when it comes to lightweight backpacking. I gave a backpacking demo at a BSLOT (Boy Scout Leader Outdoor Tranning) tranning class last fall, and had various types of shelters setup. I had a 8×10 silnylon tarp pitched in bomber mode, a DIY tarp tent, a Single wall Eureka, and a Double wall Kelty and a DIY hammock(too show what each was, and what was available). Most of the guys laughed at the tarp and said that they didn't like the no floor aspcet of the shelter or no bug protection. Some also said that a tent is much warmer. Although when I asked what was lighter, a few extra ounces of Insulation and a few pounds of uneed nylon, I got some; Oh yea I guess that makes sense.
On the flip side, last October, While on three day trip with my Troop, we shared a campsite with another troop, and some of the leaders were carrying ULA Catylists and another a SMD Comet. So I guess it all comes with experience.May 9, 2008 at 5:50 pm #1432480
good post. I think there is enough old school still in BSA that lightweight hasn't fully taken hold yet, or maybe "we" haven't done as good of a job as we could on showing why it's a very viable option.
After seeing several scouts last year with 60 – 80 lb packs, (and they were proud of it the first day) I had to wonder what they looked like day 10…May 10, 2008 at 3:56 pm #1432603
News from Philmont is that in 2008 they will carry fuel canisters first time (isopro/butane). For our crews this means we just might not have to carry all of our fuel for the entire 10 days. The Tooth of Time Traders website says that a few of the backcountry trading posts will carry fuel canisters. In the past they have only carried white gas and Coleman specific canisters.
More good news about carrying a light pack at Philmont.May 10, 2008 at 4:30 pm #1432605
At the Tooth of Time Traders website they claim that canister stoves are less fuel efficient than liquid fuel stoves. They say that it takes 3 8-oz canisters to boil the same amount of water as 1 22-oz fuel bottle. I had always heard that canister stoves were actually more efficient than liquid fuel stoves.
At the bottom of the page they list burn times and boil times for many common canister and liquid fuel stoves.
MSR Whisperlite (very efficient white gas stove) – 136 min burn time per 20-oz bottle – 3.9 min boil time for 1 L –
20/136 = 0.147 oz per minute – 3.9(0.147) = 0.574 oz per L
MSR Pocket Rocket (efficient canister stove) – 60 min burn time per 8-oz canister – 3.5 min boil time for 1 L
8/60 = 0.133 oz per minute – 3.5(0.133) = 0.466 oz per L
According to my calculations, the MSR Pocket Rocket (canister stove) would be more efficient than the liquid fuel MSR Whisperlite. In addition, the Pocket Rocket would be lighter (3 oz. vs 11 oz.), more reliable, cheaper, and simpler to use. I am very glad that Philmont is carrying canisters, and I wish they stocked canisters when I went to Philmont :( If I messed up my calculations please let me know.
edit: another factor that I just thought of is canister weight vs fuel bottle weight. You could possibly be carrying more dead weight with used canisters but I don't think it would not be significant if large canisters were used.May 10, 2008 at 10:25 pm #1432646
Hi Phil and Peter,
I tried to do an analysis a couple of years ago, it's below. The only consideration is that the isopropane may have greater difficulties at altitude.
Here's the analysis, any feedback is appreciated.
(I've updated the chart as a gif so it is easier to read)
MikeBMay 11, 2008 at 4:55 am #1432664
Hi Mike. You've done a little more detail work than I have on the weight comparison. But your calculations are convincing to me. A canister stove and fuel could be half the weight of a white gas alternative.
We'll have one night at about 11,000' elevation. We probably won't be cooking at that dry camp anyway. (We'll have our hot meal for lunch that day where we have better access to water).
At the Tooth of Time Traders website I sense an assumption around boiling gallons of water for a meal. Our crews of 9 each plan to boil 2 x 2 quart pots for cooking and cleaning at our one hot meal each day. We might have to heat one more pot for cleaning. Since all our cooking will be boil, soak, and set our hot water requirements are significantly reduced. Each crew will use 2 x MSR Windpro stoves with a well fitting foil windscreen.
Even if the canisters suffer some lost efficiency with altitude do these assumptions make sense?
– Lower average weight for canister stoves vs. white gas
– Adequate stove output with canister stoves
– Simpler operation & no maintenance hassle for canister stoves vs. white gasMay 11, 2008 at 9:32 am #1432700
Yes they make sense Phil.
My primary concern with canisters would be availability at the back country trading posts. I expect they will have them, but….. If you depend upon that and are down to your last canister and they're out…. Cold hawaiian chicken doesn't sound so great.
As another plus for canisters, I have a minor concern about the carrying of liquid fuel: If it leaks out it may cause an interesting delima if carried inside someone's pack. If a canister leaks (ala dirt was allowed to get in the valve the last time it was used), you lose the gas but it disperses pretty quickly.May 11, 2008 at 10:22 am #1432712
Mike – great analysis (much better than mine)
Phil – I don't think canister stove efficiency would be noticeably decreased at only 11,000 feet. From what I have read, I am pretty sure altitude only becomes a serious factor until you get much higher (greater than 14000 feet) but please correct me if I am wrong.May 11, 2008 at 12:13 pm #1432734
Peter, I think you're right. I've used canisters at about 10K elevation before. Any loss in efficiency is negligible for the amount of time we'll be at altitude.May 11, 2008 at 1:27 pm #1432740
Phil (and others)
are you guys turkey bagging?May 11, 2008 at 1:50 pm #1432743
Mike, we will be cooking in a turkey bag (those mylar film cooking bags that you find at the grocery store). At the least we will use a plastic bag of some sort to cook everything. As we've discussed before the huge benefit is to eliminate dishwashing. Next, you gain fuel efficiency by never simmering food on the stove.
My last decision is whether to cobble together an envelope from Reflectix. Our shakedown hikes have been warm weather. Even though Reflectix isn't the most amazing insulation it works well for the application. Only a couple of ounces of material should be enough to cook dinner for 9.
What is everyone's experience with turkey baggin'? Do you use insulation?May 11, 2008 at 2:38 pm #1432749
In 2006 we cooked all our dinners in turkey bags and will do the same again in 2008. We use the heavy duty Reynolds bags without any tears or spills. We pack one for each meal and do not try to reuse them. We use them during our training treks and the Scouts get very comfortable using them and they love the cleanup.
If you want to practice on a smaller scale, use a heavy duty freezer bag. There are some great posts on this subject on the philmontforum and freezerbagcooking.
2008 Trek 705KMay 11, 2008 at 3:26 pm #1432756
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> The only consideration is that the isopropane may have greater difficulties at altitude.
If anything, the canisters will work better at altitude, all other things being equal. In reality, altitude has very little effect on a canister stove BY ITSELF.
But with altitude comes cold, and upright canister stoves do have a problem when the temperature gets near freezing. The butane stops boiling at -0.5 C. That's when you switch to a remote canister stove and use the canister inverted (or use a Powermax).
Yes, canister stoves are more fuel-efficient than liquid fuel stoves. That has been proven time and again.
The chance of getting dirt in the valve is miniscule, especially if you keep the little plastic cap which comes with the canister, and always put it back on.May 13, 2008 at 1:52 pm #1433095
We are going to Philmont this year and all of our participants have been working to get their pack weights down. This site is one of the resources that they have been using to learn about new gear and ways to reduce weight.
While some Scouts in the past may not have paid much attention to pack weight, that philosophy is changing. Doug Prosser and others have helped spread the word on the benefits of lighter gear. Having more fun on a trek because your pack is much lighter is certainly a major benefit.
Thanks for making a special area for us to share specifics.
29 days and countingMay 13, 2008 at 5:17 pm #1433116
Hey John, let us know how it is, and what trek you're on.
706-H4May 13, 2008 at 6:31 pm #1433131
John, that is great to hear. Please fill us in on the trek.
8 weeks to go for us.
Go light. Have more fun.
710-B2 trek 23May 14, 2008 at 5:30 am #1433186
@dahohlLocale: Southeastern PA
We've used "cooking" (if that's what you call re-hydrating with hot water) in Ziploc bags in '99 and '05 with great success.
Everyone eats all of their food, finger-washes their bowls with their drinking water and chugs the "wash" water from their bowls (not as bad as it sounds). One of the youth licks the serving spoon clean. Washing dishes then was next to no work at all, with the result of a little soapy grey water down the sump.
The net result though was that we've carried the yum-yum Frisbee for no reason. No use for the yum-yum bag, because any left over food particles are left in the Ziploc. No use for the scrubbie because no pots to scrub.
We did double bag each bag in case of a puncture or leak (which never happened), but re-used the outer bag.
Some are concerned about freezer bags giving off harmful chemicals, but the Ziploc site says otherwise: http://www.ziploc.com/ (see their #1 FAQ).
Bottom line: Can’t beat the fast clean-up, we save the weight of the extra fuel that we would have needed to boil all of the wash water, the extra weight of the bags was negligible, the time savings was great, everyone in the crews loved the system (or got used to it), and it worked VERY well on both treks.
Now all we need to do is convince the Ranger that we don’t need to carry the yum-yum Frisbee…May 14, 2008 at 5:59 am #1433190
We're also trek 23!
Still refining my gear list but getting there. Total skin out is about 23 lbs so I'd like to shave some more. Some of that is comfort items (BA pad, slinglight chair, camp shoes) and a 23 oz HD video camera, so I'm not going as light as absolutly possible. They say advisors are 'on vacation' after all.
JohnMay 14, 2008 at 6:20 am #1433194
Going lighter is great! Better yet is having the FOM (fat, old men) drop their extra padding.
We've a council contingent this year. Since our time with the entire crew together is limited, we've pushed hard for lighter gear options. Still, we'll have Scouts going on the trail with 25-35 base weight. It's hard to get parents to buy in to lighter options when they think that Johnny will only make ONE backpacking trip (Philmont) rather than making more trips in the future. Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy (more weight = less fun = only do it once).
623-J1 Trek 23!May 14, 2008 at 6:44 am #1433195
From a FFSOM (formerly fat, still old man) I couldn't agree more. I dropped about 25 in the past year so I figure I'm slack packing this trip.May 14, 2008 at 7:53 am #1433202
John and Ed, isn't it a small world! Y'all will have to let us know how Trek 23 goes. We start 3 weeks after you Ed.
Our Scouts and adults have always thought me a bit zealous about lightweight backpacking. But as we have been training for Philmont it is starting to make sense to them.
I've been wheeling and dealing the last 2 years to find discount sleeping bags and packs plus used gear. We've been able to make some gear available. We charge $50 for a bag or pack. That money goes to the troop. Some of the gear is loaned if finances require it. I've found it works well to politely ask for any deals available to help Scouts. Obviously, some families can handle the cost. But we have made lightweight gear within reach for 2 crews this year.
Something that's developed quite by accident is that our two crews will be using exclusively Tarptents. 5 of our 6 dads bought a TT Squall2. I'm the 6th and already had a Squall. My son will share the Squall with a buddy. I'm going to use a borrowed TT Virga. (Remember that Philmont requires a tent rather than a tarp. Tarptents are a good fit.)
Most of our dads will share the TT with a son. The troop replaced two old and heavy REI two-man tents with two TT Rainshadow2, a 3-man shelter.
We've made many changes from our troop's prior Philmont treks. This will be my first trip to Philmont. I am eagerly looking forward to our time there.
John, my base SO weight is about 14 pounds. It would make an even bigger difference if I could lose 10 pounds in the next 8 weeks. HA HA.
Some of the other changes we've made this year thanks to a lot of good input from Doug Prosser, Mike Barney, and others:
Moved to 2 MSR Windpro canister stoves for each crew.
Using 2 aluminum 2-quart pots for each crew (with lid and handle).
Substituting a 1 foot square of fiberglass screen for the sump frisbee.
Providing our own 10' x 12' Campmor silnylon tarp for the dining fly.
Using our own Triptease cord for dining fly guylines.
Bringing our own stuff sack and light cord for hoisting a smellables bag.
Counting on the bear bags and lines to be the only Philmont provided gear.
Lightening our first aid kits to a reasonable selection.
Encouraging everyone to use either 1L disposable (i.e. Aquafina, Dasani) water bottles or PlatypusMay 14, 2008 at 10:40 am #1433234
We share philosophies and gear choices. I'm using a GG squall classic, my son is in a TT Rainshadow 2 and we're using the same stoves and a lightweight dining fly, ropes, stakes and water containers. Like your idea of the screen instead of frisbee. Hope the ranger agrees.
I could go lighter, but we don't have many long hiking days so I added some comfort items. I expect our gear will be lighter than most, although it seems like more scouters are getting on the lightweight bandwagon.
What are you all doing for shoes/boots?
I'll drop you a line when we return.
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