- Feb 28, 2020 at 5:32 am #3633538
The duct tape smellable thing is funny to me because the tents have their seams taped with adhesive. Maybe they’ve done studies that duct tape adhesive attracts bears and tent seam adhesive doesn’t, but I doubt it.Feb 28, 2020 at 7:31 am #3633548
Sounds like you have the smellable water bottle issue solved.
”our crew area to the camp water supply was often at least 5 minutes each way” Just another reason to rise and hike early. First in camp gets to pick the best site (next to a stream).
I don’t know if they still do but used to, while striking camp each morning the Ranger would gather the whole crew in a circle and have everyone down a full quart of water to rehydrate and saturate our bodies after 8-hours of fasting. We would be “watering rocks” regularly for the next couple of hours. We still practice that discipline, just not as formal or in a circle, it’s just good sense.
I don’t think and inch or a roll makes any difference. Even I can smell duct tape and that’s saying something. Some campers used wrap their spare repair duct tape around one of their water bottles until bears destroyed or carried off the bottle. Just another bad idea.
“Philmont should be enjoyed, not endured.” MoonshineFeb 28, 2020 at 8:50 am #3633553
I am glad you guys pointed out the duct tape / bear issue. My first thought when you were talking about marking one of the water bottles for mixes was to put a bright duct tape around it to make it really clear. That idea is definitely out! Having a different type of water bottle (like the mentioned Gatorade bottle) is a good idea.
Again, thanks for all the ideas and information. I love this site!
RickFeb 28, 2020 at 9:03 am #3633558
On a side note. I was able to pick up a Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2 over in the Gear Swap for $230.
The tent weighs 2lb 8oz packed weight.
Split that as evenly as possible (probably poles for one and tent for the other) between 2 Scouts and their tent weight should be around 20 oz. each.
Compared to the 5lb 14oz Thunder Ridge, that will save each Scout over 1.5 pounds in their packs. Every bit helps.
RickFeb 28, 2020 at 9:06 am #3633559
If you smellable drink mix bottle is going up in the Bear Bag every night, what difference does it make if it has duct tape on it? Duct tape has to be somewhere and Bear Bagged nightly.
“Philmont should be enjoyed, not endured.” MoonshineFeb 28, 2020 at 12:35 pm #3633595
Duh! I didn’t think that through very well did I. You are absolutely correct.Mar 29, 2020 at 7:09 am #3638430
Here’s a few “hacks” I’ve came up with over the past few trips to the Hill. For bulk water storage we use bags similar to Platypus bags, we get them from places like Rib Crib or Taco Casa, they are gallon tea bags, they will give them to you at times or you can order a gallon of tea with no tea. 2016 Ranger questioned there durability, but when he saw we had 12, he was fine. We actually never had one fail.
We take our own bear bags….I have a friend that is a sprinkler fitter and gets a feed sack with fittings in them that are perfect. the tops a seamed and are of good quality. We put our names on them and put our own smellables in them, which makes the morning shake out easy. Usually tent mates will stuff their bags into one (one inside the other) to save space on the cable. We also bring along an extra for the OOps bag. One thing to note, we separate the food out by tents, since the pack “feeds two” they get their amount of food, then divide it themselves to carry. Each morning the crew leader announce which lunch we eat so it can be left accessible, then at dinner he tells us which one to pull.
I picked up some 8qt lightweight stainless pots at Walmart two trips ago, we made wraps for them out of reflective insulation. They weigh the same as the Phil pots but you will have them to practice with.
I made a kit tarp from Ripstopfromaroll.com. Much lighter than the Phil tarp…..plus you can practice the setup.
Like the person said above, put duct tape on your smellable water bottle, it goes in the bear bag anyway.
We’ve taken our own ropes, one year the Ranger said we had to use theirs, not worth a fight so we did. Plus it lets you practice!
Basically I tried and have minimalized the amount of crew items we check out from Philmont. It make the out processing quick when you get off trail. Rangers will question your methods, but if you can show you have practiced and know your gear they will be happy.Mar 30, 2020 at 11:24 am #3638693
You seem to be ahead of the curve. You have and are training with the proper gear.
To be properly prepared for Philmont you need to train and practice with all the crew gear you will be using at Philmont, some you take and some issued at Philmont. It is all listed in the Guidebook to Adventure. In some cases we replace Philmont issued gear with our own lighter gear. We use our own lighter water jugs, bear bags, oops cord and dinning fly.
Nate, can you get those tea bags before they have ever had tea in them so they are not smellables?
We each carry a 3-liter Platypus, CamelBak or MSR type bladder for extra water into dry camps.
We also have and take our own bear bags. We make ours out of ripstop nylon from fabric stores. It come in 60” widths in primary colors so we cut it 40” long, fold in half, seam up two sides and hem the opening to make 30” x 40” bags. Each of our crews will have a different color. Our bright colored bags are easy to identify on a bear cable with two or more other crews’ Philmont tan bags. But now other crews are doing the same so there are many different colors of bear bags hanging on the cables.
We have our own bear ropes for use at home but use Philmont’s when there except for own Oops Bag rope (cord). We use 100 foot of 3mm 500 pound test light reflective nylon cord. Since our Oops Bag only has 12 personal smellable ditty bags and the crew first aid kit it does not need to be ¼” rope. It is easy to find and identify for emergencies or oops with a flashlight in the middle of the night.
We have and take our own Chinook stainless steel 8-qt pots (from Amazon) that are very similar to (if not the same as) Philmont issued pots.
We have and take our own Equinox ultralight 1.1 silnylon 10” x 12” under 2-lbs. tarps.
We want to reduce Philmont crew gear weight as much as possible without conflicting with their policies and practices so our gear mimics theirs but in some cases it is lighter.
After seeing our gear and techniques we have never had a Ranger challenge it and have had many compliments.
“Philmont should be enjoyed, not endured.” MoonshineMar 30, 2020 at 2:50 pm #3638728
If you haven’t already done adequate training, it’s possible you might not be able to before your trek (assuming the high adventure camps are even open).
So for this year, if you haven’t already trained with different gear, you probably should be prepared to use Philgear, unless your gear is a direct replacement for Philgear.
This year even more than other years, Semper Gumby applies, always flexible.Mar 30, 2020 at 3:35 pm #3638741
Yes, you’re running out of time but its never too late until the day you leave. IF your crew only goes on one training trip and practice using the gear and techniques used at Philmont it would be better than nothing.
Anything is better than nothing. If you all met in someone’s back yard and practiced cooking and clean-up, pitching and striking your tents, Micropur water, do pack shake downs, weigh packs, go for a day hike with your fully loaded packs.
“Philmont should be enjoyed, not endured.” MoonshineMar 30, 2020 at 4:03 pm #3638749
This is where you could make your crew load everything into lighterpack. Not everyone will have a scale, but it’s good for ensuring you have what you need and not what you don’t need.
Do virtual pack reviews using video conferencing. There are several Philmont training videos.
You can’t or shouldn’t be gathering as a crew right now. But you can assign the crew requirements to do hikes with full packs. Add extra water to simulate food and the share of crew gear. Even if it’s just in the neighborhood, it helps. Follow laws and health guidance wherever you live.
If your crew is physically capable and experienced with camping, you can have a successful Philmont trek. You might not be as efficient as ideal, but that’s OK. The crew will learn and improve. If the adults have to provide more guidance than ideal, that’s OK. That doesn’t mean the adults doing the work but maybe guiding the crew leader.
If you don’t yet have 2 WFA members, this is a problem that you need to address ASAP. The one I used is closed until June.Mar 30, 2020 at 5:48 pm #3638773
If you have not yet trained and don’t have enough time left to don’t fret over it too much, just go to Philmont and enjoy it.
I get the impression from the crews we see at the Welcome Center that most have very little or no backpacking experience. They came to Philmont because it is promoted by their Scouting peers as the ultimate Scouting experience (which is true) and the greatest bragging rights in their Scouting circle (also true).
Not that going to Philmont with no experience is a bad thing, it isn’t. At least they got to Philmont and will have a great and wonderful experience. And can go back and share their experiences and new skills with others in their circle of Scouting. That’s what we do, share our experiences and skills and train others.
My point is not that you must train for Philmont to have a great experience but even with no knowledge or training you will still survive and have a great and wonderful experience. When I first went, I didn’t have any good advice or guidance but I enjoyed it so much I kept going back, just better and better each time.
“Philmont should be enjoyed, not endured.” MoonshineMar 30, 2020 at 6:05 pm #3638778
I highly recommend everyone, crew or troop have a scale to weigh packs. It helps make comparisons before and after pack shake downs, comparing one item over another and as individual improvements in gear selections over multiple trainings.
Our troop has a big 100-pound plus analog scale we hang that everyone can use to weigh their pack. I have a 50-pound digital fish I use at home.
“Philmont should be enjoyed, not endured.” MoonshineMar 31, 2020 at 4:29 am #3638849
David Y asked if you can get the “tea bags” before they have tea in them….Yes! They gave us many over the years, right before Philmont I was 3 bags short, so I went up there and bought three gallons of tea, cut the tea…..the young lady looked at me like an alien but I needed the bags. I’ve found some on amazon before but they had a small port and would be difficult to fill.Apr 2, 2020 at 3:55 am #3639274
Just so everyone has an idea what I’m talking about here’s a pic…..I found them in bulk on line, but 50 of them for $80 is a tad too much, even though it wouldn’t take very many Platy’s to get to $80!Apr 2, 2020 at 10:43 am #3639316
Nate, thanks for the picture, visual aids are always helpful. They certainly look up to the task and large enough to get you through dry camps.
Since we don’t cook and clean-up in dry camps, we’ve always done very well having each member carrying two one-quart water bottles for daily use and a two plus quart collapsible bladder for extra water just for dry camps. Four quarts of drinking water has always been enough to get us through dry camps to our next water source.
I don’t think a lot of crews have their members carry extra capacity for two quarts of water as suggested in the Guidebook to Adventure. So, carry those 2 ½ gallon collapsible jugs that weigh 20 pounds when full, “Scout killers”.
Nate, maybe you could set up a booth at the Welcome Center and sell some of your extra 50 bags, LOL.Apr 2, 2020 at 11:46 am #3639347
Q. My Wilderness First Aid Course has been cancelled; can I still go on my trek?Current WFA certification will continue to be required for all backcountry and remoteadventures. As a reminder, a current CPR/AED certification is a pre-requisite for a WFA course. In addition, we are closely monitoring the status of instructor-led courses and working with our partners at the American Red Cross and Emergency Care and Safety Institute for acceptable alternatives in the event courses are not available in your community. We will post further information in the next update.Apr 3, 2020 at 10:50 am #3639475Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
IN reference to the thread above about training restrictions given the Covid-19 crisis, I think you need to separate physical conditioning for Philmont from the honing of backpacking skills and teamwork skills. In normal times, the three or four training hikes recommended by Philmont can cover both conditioning, backpacking skills, and provide the opportunity for the crew to learn to work together.
It is not optimal but it is possible but a crew that knows each other already and make up the crew building skills on the trail. The adult leaders do need to watch for the physical stress of the hiking to creep into intra-crew dynamics. It is also not optimal but possible to work on backpacking skills on the trail. The Rangers are used to crews whose only previous backpacking experience was the three training backpacks. IMO if these two parameters, backpacking skills and intra-crew skills, are finely tuned before Philmont, the crew has more time for more fun because they pack up camp more quickly, they hike more efficiently during the day, they reach the activities early, and have more unstructured time to do whatever they want.
So let us turn to physical conditioning. Philmont treks can be very physically demanding for youth and adults. My experience is that in a normal year, Scouts who are involved in sports that are aerobic, have no problem with the physical part. Scouts who are doing no regular aerobic exercise can hit “the wall” on day 3 or 4. But they recover quickly. Worse is the adults who are not regularly exercising. In my experience, I have used the training hikes as teaching moments to talk privately with at least adult that “if you are having this issue with a two night, 30 mile trek, you need to increase your exercise routine. Tired adults on the trail are adults who get injured. Every year when you come into base camp you see some adults on crutches.
So what is the corrective remedy in this non normal year especially if training hikes are impossible because of shelter in place regulations? Of course, you recommend solo aerobic activity. But you can also make the Philmont energy expenditure lower and reduce the risk of injury for adults by reducing packweight. As mentioned above, you can weigh packs after practice hikes. But you can also inspect pack lists and ask Scouts and Scouters to weigh each and every item in their packs.
Beyond reducing the weight of the three systems (Shelter, sleeping, pack) to an avg of 1.5 lbs per person, there are many simple weight reductions. If there are 12 people in the crew, you no not need 12 pocket knives and 12 bottles of insect repellent and sun block. A Scout can weigh all the bowls that he or she owns and take the lightest one. In terms of backpacking logistics, Philmont is really just a linked series of 4 night trips since you are re-supplied. There is no good reason for anyone’s pack including consumables to weigh over 30 lbs. In the past BSA Policy was that a Scout pack (total including consumables and water) should be 20 to 25 percent of Scout’s body weight for HA activities. So if you have a 100 lb Scout, that is at maximum a 25 lb pack.Apr 3, 2020 at 5:55 pm #3639536Tony RoncoBPL Member
I’ve had 4 crews go to Philmont to date.
Average carry weight coming out of Base Camp has been in the low 25 pound range. This is with a few adults who typically insist on pulling that average to the right (*smile*)
(Carry weight =Base weight + 3 liters of H2O + 3 days of food + a share of crew gear)
Your Ranger will get a good feel for how well prepared your crew is when he/she quizzes/ teaches / chats with your crew during their time in base camp interactions. Waiting outside of med check, waiting outside of logistics for the crew leader & lead advisor, during lunch, and dinner. A crew that is well prepared / experienced will answer their questions/convey/interact from a position of knowledge and conduct themselves accordingly. Little things like does your crew automatically carry rain gear and H2O with them around Base Camp without the Ranger telling them so.
THAT is what provides credibility … and with that a level of trust in the gear substitution choices.
Bottom line: Be Prepared … it will showApr 3, 2020 at 7:55 pm #3639556
Here’s another fun problem. One of our adults tried to schedule his annual physical for summer camp. His doctor and many others aren’t scheduling well patients. So getting a physical done might be a challenge.Apr 4, 2020 at 7:07 am #3639595Apr 4, 2020 at 10:14 am #3639616Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
“Here’s another fun problem. One of our adults tried to schedule his annual physical for summer camp. His doctor and many others aren’t scheduling well patients. So getting a physical done might be a challenge.”
I would hope that if the doctor has seen the patient in the last year, the form could be filled out and signed off without a physical face to face meeting or at least a telephone call. My medical group has gone completely to telemedicine.Apr 4, 2020 at 7:30 pm #3639716
I would hope that if the doctor has seen the patient in the last year, the form could be filled out and signed off without a physical face to face meeting or at least a telephone call. My medical group has gone completely to telemedicine.
I have not had a need to see a doctor since my physical last year (knock on wood).
I brought this up with a mom of one of our scouts who is a nurse and she said it would be unethical to do that if you didn’t have a complete physical.
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