Apr 21, 2005 at 9:29 pm #1216088E. H. ClemmonsBPL Member
Leading a crew of Boy Scouts with experienced adult leaders. Will do a lot of backpacking and hiking to get everybody in shape between now and then. If you have experience, resources, links or bright ideas, we would love to hear from you. Please post them here. skip
[BPL, this could be a subsection of the forums I hope! If this post is in the wrong place, please put me right. Thanks.]Apr 22, 2005 at 7:57 am #1336840
Skip, Our troop has gone to Philmont 2 of the last 4 years, but the lottery number for 2006 was too high for us to consider going then.
Plan on rising early (2:30 – 3am) hike until sunrise, eat breakfast while enjoying the sight of another beautiful day, then hike until you get to the next stop shortly after noon. Enjoy a fun and restful afternoon, eat dinner and get to bed early. This way you beat hiking during most of the midday heat. The boys will also get more time to do the events at each of the stops. If you get in the pattern of rising later, eating at camp, then hiking, you will be hiking during the heat of the day and one of the last groups to arrive at the stop so they won’t get the time to enjoy the events.Apr 22, 2005 at 10:35 am #1336844
I am also going to Philmont. I plan on taking my floorless tarptent. I am concerned about reports that the campsites are all hard packed and consequently I will need a bathtub floor to avoid getting soaked in a rain storm. I am debating between a) just taking my usual plastic painters cloth groundcloth and using treking poles and sticks to hold the edges up if it rains; b) plan A combined with an Oware Epic bivy that has a silnylon “bathtub” bottom; or c) constructing some kind of bathtub floor out of silnylon. I would prefer to go with plan A to save weight, and really do not have the skill to go with plan C. Does anyone have any thoughts on whether I will be okay leaving the bivy behind?Apr 22, 2005 at 11:57 am #1336845
The reports of hardpacked campsites are correct. Our trip was lucky with no substantial rain, but being prepared, I’d opt for your Plan B. Have your painters tarp and bivy. You may find many nights just using the bivy.
REI has a new rig called “Gimme Shelter” It uses your treking poles for support and has a removable bathtub floor. 2 pounds 10 ounces (packed) may be more than you were planning, but the combination is there. If you share it with one of the other leaders, you split the weight and only need when it rains. Maybe your tarptent has a floor available…Apr 22, 2005 at 4:48 pm #1336848Phil BartonBPL Member
Thanks for the comments on Philmont. As Mike mentioned, we too did not get a 2006 slot in the lottery. Our next trip will be my first visit to Philmont with, hopefully, both of my sons. I hope we can keep some discussion alive regarding a successful lightweight approach to Philmont.
BTW, Henry Shires offers the Squall or Cloudburst as 2-man options. Both are available with a floor well suited to hard packed campsites. Where I live they also provide excellent protection from mosquitos, ticks, chiggers, scorpions, etc.Apr 22, 2005 at 8:24 pm #1336850
With 263 square miles to hike and camp, there is plenty of room to wander. It is soon to double I hear, with the ranch to the north going to be donated, the Scout camp will then cross into Colorado.Apr 23, 2005 at 5:53 am #1336863David WhiteBPL Member
You might double-check this; but 3 years ago when we went to Philmont, they specifically prohibitted the use of tarps for sleeping. While no definition of tarp vs. tent was provided, my guess is they’ll consider anything without a floor as a tarp.
And yes, the camping areas are typically hard packed.
Enjoy it; Philmont was one of the most fun and worthwhile experiences of my life. I WANNA GO BACK TO PHILMONT!Apr 23, 2005 at 8:31 pm #1336870
Last year they just said to bring your shelter… nothing was said about no tarps. Besides those BSA wall tents are just glorified tarps with no floors.Apr 25, 2005 at 1:45 am #1336881Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
I haven’t been to Philmont since 1986 but we used our own tarps then – actually, solo sized tarps made of 2.4 oz nylon that of course, served as ponchos!
I don’t know if they will let that fly today or not, given their requirements for waterproof raingear.Apr 25, 2005 at 9:30 am #1336885
From the 2005 Philmont Guide to Adventure, it reads
“Philmont provides a 2-man A-frame tent for checkout at base camp. Called the Philmont Backpacker, it has a 5’6″ x 7’6″ rectangular footprint, 3 short poles, and requires 14 stakes (not free standing). If you have your own tent that you want to take, please discuss it with your Expedition Leader. He will want to see it and discuss with you its appropriateness, size, weight, previous usage, etc.”
It does state that hammocks are not allowed. They also say bivy’s are not allowed, I suspect because of the bear safety issue, where they desire 2 people per tent. However Adult Leaders may be excluded from this, as all events I have been on the adult leaders had their own sleeping accomodations.
I guess this is one you actually need to verify from Philmont Staff.Apr 27, 2005 at 11:29 pm #1336954
From talking to scouts who have been to Philmont in the recent past, the lightweight methods are NOT part of the program…Canned food, multiple pots, heavy tents and a Dining fly all seem to be required! I hope this is not true but considering the state of scout camping I am not shocked! A hike in a National Forest or even a National Park would save clashing with a culture set 20 year in the past!Apr 28, 2005 at 7:27 am #1336957
They do advise you to plan on adding 25 pounds of gear, food and water to each of your 13 crew memebers’ packs. If your crew is less than 13, plan on carrying even more than the added 25 pounds.
You are also required to carry at least one hard water bottle (Nalgene/Lexan type), 5-7 liters of water, your complete Class A / Field Uniform and your 10 essentials. The rain gear is suggested to be a rain suit and to leave the poncho at home.
We had some boys that actually carried up to 80 pounds of gear when helping out others that were struggling.
I guess they figure ‘the boys are young and it toughens them up’. Myself… they would probably be air lifting me out due to a myocardial infarction if I carried 60 pounds on a 70 mile hike.Apr 28, 2005 at 11:24 am #1336961Travis SongerMember
You may not be able to got Ultralight in Philmont in the respect that your base pack weight won’t be under 8.5lbs, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make intelligent decesions regarding your other gear choices. I don’t have the gear list, but I imagine many choices would be the same for any hike. For raingear instead of a traditional 2lb rain set you could get Golite Reed pants and a Golite Phantom Jacket. For a sleeping bag you have a Marmot Hydrogen instead of a REI kilo bag. You get the idea.
One of my memorie from Philmont (1994) was that the scouts, including me, used issued “pup” tents from philmont while the scoutmasters/leaders used a personal tent. The issue tents just plain sucked. It was a good thing it wasn’t monsoon season (we missed it by a week) or we really would have been miserable. My point being that we should have used our own personal tents, but we where worried that they would be appropriate for philmont.
Its been too long (and i’m a much different hiker now)since I went to make any real suggestions. If someone has the list of gear that Philmont requires along with what gear it suggests we may be able to help a lot more with gear suggestions.
T SongerApr 28, 2005 at 11:37 am #1336962Travis SongerMember
There seems to be a fairly comprehensive gear list here. If anyone has anything more current that would also be helpful.Apr 28, 2005 at 1:55 pm #1336964
I have seen several lightweight philmont gear lists on the web that are much more sensible than the list on the referenced website. Also, the group I am going with is planning to limit crew gear to a dining fly, a stove, a cooking pot, a couple of collapsible water bottles and bear bags. It is hard to see how that much gear could add 6 to 9 pounds to each of 12 crew members.Apr 28, 2005 at 6:47 pm #1336967Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
We have it on our editorial calendar to release a Philmont Gear list here as well. It’s been tentatively scheduled for publication during the last week of May/first week of June.Apr 28, 2005 at 8:37 pm #1336969
Wow…These guys going to Antartica? or Climbing a 8000m moutain?
I am suprised they do not have a heavy filter instead of the Polar Pure!
As far as leaving “suggested” gear behind, remember that this equipment may not be optional! This is a BSA camp and they do things by the book. (I bet you need to carry the book as well!)Apr 29, 2005 at 10:30 am #1336978
Actually, I think the minimum requirements are pretty limited, and appear to be driven by concerns about bears. You have to use bear bags, you have to sleep in approved tents, and boys have to sleep two to a tent. I suppose they don’t allow hiking in sandals, but that is not a restriction for 99% of us. You don’t have to eat their food, although you get to pay for it whether you eat it or not.
My comments above are from information I have gathered on the web and not from any official Philmont sources. I assume that any gear list BPL releases will be vetted by somebody on the Philmont staff.Apr 29, 2005 at 9:19 pm #1336984
The BSA philmont site is nearly devoid of any useful information. Web based information varies from resonable to super heavy! I have seen a “minimum” list on several sites that looks workable. I guess more research is in order. Add this to the crew gear it still seems like a lot to carry!
Anyone taking a Trek this year and have the “official” list?May 4, 2005 at 6:40 am #1337079Ched HudsonMember
Reading through the earlier posts, I have to address some mistaken perceptions. It is entirely possible to embrace ultralight backpacking on a Philmont trek. Some crews do, many do not. Remember we’re talking about teenagers, many of whom may not have the time, money, or interest to tweak every last ounce from their kit. Priorities are different at that age.
Philmont has equipment available for use, usually expedition-weight, but does not require its use. Our crew brought all of our own equipment on our trek last year. Philmont has a few specific requirements, like use of bear bags, no open-toed shoes on the trail or while cooking, and fully enclosed tents – not floorless – to avoid safety issues like waking up with a rattler in your sleeping bag (found one under my ground cloth one morning). Scout uniforms are required for travel to/from Philmont, but are not required and almost never worn on the trail.
Some extra weight is also due to insurance – adult advisors are responsible for health and safety of the teen crew, and many coach a few extra pounds of clothing and equipment for unexpected circumstances that inexperienced backpackers frequently don’t consider…like sub-freezing morning temperatures at Copper Park on occasion.
For those looking for lists, here’s a link to Selden Ball’s Philmont website, the comprehensive index of all things Philmont.
Section 126.96.36.199, entitled “Lightweight Packing” has a half-dozen links to equipment lists from a number of adult advisors (and the first link in the list is to BackpackingLight.com!) I used Dr. Bob’s list as a jumping-off point last year and it served me well. (http://www.troop111.org/phil02list1.html)
Ched HudsonMay 4, 2005 at 6:44 am #1337080Gerry B.BPL Member
@taedawoodLocale: Louisiana, USA
I led a group to Philmont in 2003. Other than prohibiting hammocks and bivies, we were able to limit our weight to 35 – 40 lbs. per person which included food and 3 -4 litres of water per person.
The guides assigned to each crew for the shakedown are college-age young men who take their jobs seriously but seem to appreciate the value of lightening the load. I brought my Tarptent Squall. One evening my adult partner and I had to get up and re-orient the tent because the wind had changed direction but other than that, it worked great. I also brought my own silnylon tarp to replace their dining fly (highly recommended). If your troop has good backpacking tents, by all means, bring your own…theirs weigh in at 7 + lbs as I recall. With proper planning and distribution of gear, all of your boys should be able to handle their loads comfortably. After all, thousands do it every year.
Have a great time; it is a trip of a lifetime.May 4, 2005 at 11:11 pm #1337096
What about the 25 lbs of “crew” gear I have read about on the web pages you cite?May 22, 2005 at 5:48 pm #1337467Dennis HorwitzBPL Member
@dennishorwitzLocale: Southern California
I went to Philmont in 2003 as an adult co-leader. Here are my best advice:
1. SHELTER. I had an OR Advanced Bivy as my co-leader had a solo tent and didn’t want to share a larger tent. (Eveyone does need their space when you are together 24/7 for 11 days.) So I went with the bivy for pure weight reasons. For someone who had claustrophobia as a kid, my bivy and I co-existed just fine. Rain or shine, we survived together. So to respond to the tarp tent question – YES if only if you have the bath tub floor option.
2. BACKPACK. I had a Gregory Forester which is optimum for 40 lbs but inadequate for 50-60 lbs. You do really get loaded down with crew gear and food (repack in base camp if you can). I would have preferred a larger pack that could handle the extra bulk and weight more comfortably.
3. FOOD. Don’t eat the strawberry cheesecake desert. It made everyone either queasy or sick (like me). The Philmont food wasn’t bad but it could be repacked into ZipLOC bags for bulk and weight savings. They give you too many peanut butter and cheese packets. Consider leaving about 10% behind at base camp. I also thought the dry granola in some of the breakfasts was hard to eat. Consider bringing a few extra pouches of oatmeal – mix with either cold or hot water as convenient.Jun 5, 2005 at 3:04 pm #1337892Tom OldhamMember
Hi. we’re headed to Philmont in a couple of weeks. I have seen the description of the Philmont tests but wonder about the weight. Can anyone give an estimate of experience with them? Thanks.Jun 8, 2005 at 5:28 am #1337950
Tom… read Gerard’s post above from 5/4/05… He said his best recollection was 7+ pounds. From what I remember that is about right.
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