- May 15, 2019 at 4:51 pm #3593112
First time going to Philmont. Crew of 12 going in July. I have a few questions for the group here.
Camera – Any guidance on how best to outfit for a camera that won’t run out of battery during the two weeks on trail? I am thinking about relying on my smartphone camera but unsure about being able to keep it charged (battery packs or solar charging).
Do any of the campsites have electrical service?
One of our crew wears contacts; should they just plan on leaving them behind and wearing their glasses for the whole trip?
At the end will we have access to showers and time to clean up?
Can we bring along a small bag of clean clothes to change into at the end after the aforementioned shower? And can we store that small bag at base camp while we are out on trail?
Thanks in advance.May 15, 2019 at 4:59 pm #3593113TAG in AZBPL Member
Camera – I used my cell phone camera and it was sufficient for me. I carried a battery pack rather than solar. It was less hassle and worked even on rainy days. If you decide to carry a separate camera, just make sure you can charge it from the battery pack.
No, there is no access to electricity in the back country.
Contacts — it really depends. Let him try contacts on your training hikes and then decide. Contacts were too much of a hassle for me, but they might be worth it for him.
After your hike, you will return to Philmont basecamp. You’ll have showers and flush toilets. If you drive, you can leave clean clothes in your cars. If you fly in, your crew will have a storage locker to keep things in for your return.May 15, 2019 at 5:08 pm #3593115
Thank you TAG! Very helpful.
We are taking the train in and out; Does anyone have any tips for the crew traveling on the train. We will be on the Southwest Chief.May 15, 2019 at 6:02 pm #3593120Michael FBPL Member
I’m co-advising a crew going mid-June and for what it’s worth I’m bringing my cell phone (iPhone 6S) for taking pictures along with an Anker 10,000mAh battery that is rated to charge the phone between 3 and 4 times. I opted for a phone over a dedicated point-and-shoot because I downloaded the Gaia app and all topo maps for our trek (#23) so it can double as our crew GPS. Also, one of our youth crew members is really into photography, has a good eye and has a better camera set up than most of us so he volunteered to be crew historian. All of that makes me more comfortable about the tradeoff of using a cellphone over something better.May 15, 2019 at 6:36 pm #3593123Phillip MBPL Member
Camera, at least one spare battery for the camera as well as a battery pack,
Yes there are no working current bushes in the backcountry, get a full charge before leaving base camp.
Contacts, Philmont is incredibly dusty, even while it is raining, I have used contacts in the back country in the past the jury is still out if I will do it again this year.
Base camp storage, Part of our gear list is a separate travel bag, carry on size ,the going home change of clothes sealed in Ziplocs are to be kept there. It is also a good place to keep the “Must Haves” while in travel mode.
How long is the train travel?May 15, 2019 at 7:46 pm #3593136
Thanks for the input.
Our train trip is about 8 hours each way. Just a little short of actual drive time but eliminates the need for a sleepover and allows everyone to sleep as much as they need on the way home.May 15, 2019 at 8:20 pm #3593138David YBPL Member
@moonshineLocale: Mid Tenn
Like TAG IN AZ said,
If you carry a camera chose one that uses standard batteries like AAs or AAAs as you can carry extras and most back country commissaries sell standard batteries.
As far as traveling by train, it is sort of like traveling by air. You need to keep your gear to a minimum as each of you will have to carry it from your vehicle to the train to a bus and across camp to In-bound Tent City at Philmont. Pack smart and light.
Philmont provides a small locker about 16”x16” sq. by 24” deep for every crew to store their travel clothes (uniforms) and gear (collapsible duffle bags) while you’re on the trail. Bring a pad lock.
Each of you should bring and store in your locker; bath soap, wash cloth, towel & sandals, deodorant, toothbrush & paste & other toiletries and a fresh uniform to clean-up after you get off the trail.
“Philmont should be enjoyed, not endured.” MoonshineMay 15, 2019 at 8:50 pm #3593142Jay LBPL Member
Couple of lessons learned re: arriving by train.
If you are coming from the east, the train arrives at 10:30am. The busses do not make it back to base camp in time for lunch so they stop at “fast food row”. The train from the west arrives about 4:30pm so I would guess they do the same thing for dinner.
Since you cannot bring stove fuel on the train, check the advisers lounge (behind the security building) before you purchase fuel – there is usually both white gas and partial canisters there for the taking.
Heading home, the bus to the train station will stop at the grocery store so you can get sandwich stuff or just snacks.
We come from the east so we get on the home-bound train it little before 5pm. One of us goes straight to the dining car and gets a reservation for the whole crew. We build the cost into the trip. Travel by train, and eating in the dining car is something most people will never experience. The Scouts always enjoy it.
Another dinner option if you are from the east – when you get on the train, call ahead to the pizza place in Trinadad, CO. They will deliver to the train.
The train shuttle arrives in Raton quite early (for east-bound it leaves camp at 2pm). There used to be a little store front about a block from the station with a kind of Scouting museum. It was by appointment only – you had to call and the guy would come down and open up for you.
You may, or may not, have access to your packs while on the train so plan to have everything you need in your day pack.May 16, 2019 at 5:36 am #3593213David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Instead of a dedicated camera, I’d use my cell phone, keeping it off most of the time, and in airplane mode when in use.
But if you bring a dedicated camera and it’s been out for a few years, you usually don’t have to buy official Nikon or Cannon batteries at a camera shop or Walmart for $24.95 each. Just type the battery part number or camera model number into Amazon (if you’re in a hurry) or eBay (if you have a few weeks) and you’ll find ones for very, very little. Like $1.73 each the last time I did it. Get a few and charge them up at home. That way, you can avoid charging cables, inefficiencies of charging and be able to change them instantly.May 17, 2019 at 2:43 pm #3593404
Thanks everyone. your suggestions and advice are very much appreciated.May 17, 2019 at 2:53 pm #3593406Brad PBPL Member
I’m planning on using my cell phone (with external battery pack) but also thinking of bringing a GoPro with a couple extra batteries. We’re going on a cruise of Norway 2 weeks before Philmont, and my son and I are going kayaking in one of the fjords. The GoPro will be great there, so I’m thinking it will be good at Philmont.
I’d love to do one of those long exposure deals for the stars at night, but one of those will eat a battery.
I can’t (yet) justify the weight of my Sony A6000 for Philmont.May 17, 2019 at 8:15 pm #3593438David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
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Brad: My suggestion to anyone traveling overseas with multiple devices is to bring one European to US adapter and one Christmas-tree-light extension cord (8-10 feet long with 6 to 10 US outlets along it, $8 at Home Depot each December). Then when you’re in a foreign hotel room, airport, or ship cabin, you can get power from behind the bed or the far wall of the room and have lots of US outlets to plug phone, USB, battery, tablet and laptop chargers into.
Yeah, it’s only physically a US plug and doesn’t convert 220 VAC/50Hz to 120VAC/60Hz but all modern “wall warts” are switching power supplies that handle 100-240VAC and 50-60Hz just fine (get a magnifying glass to examine them and be sure). The super-quick check is just to heft it. If it’s heavy and dense, there’s a transformer inside with steel plates and you CAN’T just plug it in to a different voltage. But if it’s light or fluffy, it doesn’t have a transformer inside and can plug into anything.
The multi-outlet cord is also really handy even in a US hostel or airport when all the plugs are full. Just ask if you can unplug someone else and replug them into your extension cord (they can’t say no to being interrupted for only 5 seconds) and now there are 8 more outlets for everyone to use.May 19, 2019 at 10:13 pm #3593714Brad PBPL Member
We’ll have 1 day in a London hotel, but the rest on a cruise ship. I believe it has US outlets. They also don’t allow power strips.
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