- Jan 16, 2019 at 10:16 pm #3573425
Hello ladies and gentleman, scouts and scouters, peeps of all sorts.
I got my employment information from Philmont today, so I figured in celebration I should give back from the BPL Community that has helped me so much personally and in Philont.
I was a ranger last year, and will be returning this year. I was on my first day of training trek when we spotted the ute park fire plume
The real photo without the fire plume
I’m the lanky dude with the kumo on the right
We ended up completing our training at a nearby fairground, and after a week or two I ended up at Northern Tier as an interpreter.
Anyway, onto how I can help you guys, I would love to shake down gear lists, explain policy, recommend or argue against gear, or even just talk about how much we love Philmont.
Recently threw together an alternate packing list for Philmont to kick it off: https://lighterpack.com/r/5cgyai
Let’s talk about it!Jan 16, 2019 at 10:37 pm #3573428
My crew in focus
My training trek in front of the plumeJan 17, 2019 at 6:42 pm #3573543
I’ve read that adults aren’t given a hard time about tenting solo. We might only have 8-9 in our entire crew including adults. Do some rangers give adults a hard time about tenting solo?
Boots/trail runners. The guide says boots but lots of people use trail runners. Will we be given a hard time?Jan 17, 2019 at 8:31 pm #3573555
I’d say with a smaller size group you’ll be fine with a couple 1P shelters. The big thing Philmont is trying to avoid is a group of 12 with 6+ tents because that starts to max out sites.
Re: Trail Runners. It really depends on your ranger. Realistically he can’t make you change them out, and more than likely if you have decent reasoning they’ll get it and lay off.Jan 17, 2019 at 10:17 pm #3573577Steofan MBPL Member
@simauliusLocale: Bohemian Alps
Matt, thanks for stepping up!
I passed a link along to a couple of Scouters, one of them is a staff member on an upcoming Wood Badge course. She is always looking to go lighter and be more informed.
Have a great year!Jan 18, 2019 at 12:59 am #3573614
We have no experienced Philmonters in our troop (aged out) although our CC’s son went with our troop and has worked there in the summer. Our troop hasn’t done a lot of backpacking trips under the previous Scoutmaster. Now I’m SM and I’m trying to get this group ready. I’ve communicated a lot with scouts and parents about gear and some about expectations based on my research.
We’ll also be a younger group, so there will be challenges. I’m making them look at the lower mileage treks when they make their priority list based on their abilities.
OK, one very important question. What’s the best restaurant for after our trek is over and do we have to make reservations?Jan 18, 2019 at 1:28 pm #3573676Jay LBPL Member
@Brad P – obviously lots of good resources for planning, including BPL and Ranger Matt here. One of the best that I found when I was in your situation is the Philmont Advisors Guide published by the Baltimore Area Council. Basically 100+ pages of lessons learned. Best $10 I spent getting ready.
There are not a lot of restaurant choices in Cimarron. The Cree Mee was my favorite, but they closed at the end of last season. The St James has good food but service can be quite slow. Last summer some PhillStaff recommended a pizza place across the road (to the north I think) from the Cree Mee but Ive never been.Jan 18, 2019 at 2:46 pm #3573686
Yep, I have that guide and it is quite helpful. Thanks!Jan 18, 2019 at 3:01 pm #3573690
Cimarron is a quiet little ranch village of 1,000 souls until Philmont opens for the season when its population seems to doubles with Scouts. It is 8 blocks long and the only 5 eateries are within walking distance.
You can Google “restaurants in Cimarron, NM” and see for yourself. The only full service restaurants are St James Hotel (very nice), Blu Dragonfly Brewing & Smokehouse (nice) and The Porch is an open air deck. The House of Pizza is not a house but a walk-up carry-out trailer as is the Burrito Banquet. There used to be an ice cream shop next to a knife store, both favorites of teenagers, go figure???
Most crews coming off the trail want greasy hamburgers, fries and a milk shake, that place closed in about 2007.Jan 18, 2019 at 5:30 pm #3573706Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
+ 1 to Jay’s comment
“Philmont Advisors Guide published by the Baltimore Area Council. Basically 100+ pages of lessons learned. Best $10 I spent getting ready.”
I would also add the two BPL articles SM Prosser wrote for BPL.
The Advisor’s Guide lays out all the action items and meetings the adult advisor and crew chief need to accomplish on Day 1 and led our crew to arrange to arrive a day early (easily booked through Philmont), so the crew chief and adult advisor have a chance to relax a bit before the trek and the crew has an extra day to acclimate. (We travelled by plane from a town at 40 feet above sea level.)Jan 18, 2019 at 8:22 pm #3573735Terry HooverBPL Member
Burger, shake, and green chili cheese fries at Cree Mee’s…doesn’t get much better when coming off the trail.Jan 18, 2019 at 9:17 pm #3573750Jeffrey PetersBPL Member
Brad P most of the adults I saw at Philmont(2017) used one man tents. I tented alone and so did the other three scouters in the crew. Our crew had an odd number of scouts (5) so each night a different scout would sleep with his parent adviser. The Ranger didn’t say anything. On our crew of 11 all but two wore trail runners. The ranger only asked if we had any experience hiking in them and we explained how many shakedowns and distances we did . Again she had no problem with wearing trail runners. The two that wore boot got them wet the second day and they were wet the rest of the trek.Jan 19, 2019 at 3:34 pm #3573850
Disappointing to hear there are limited options for food, but we really only need 1. That hotel sounds like it would work. Nice reward for 11 days on trail.
Good to hear they’re cool with adults in 1 person tents. I’m 6’3″ and the other adult I’ve got is around 6′ tall (working on a third adult) so squeezing into a 2 man tent would not be joyful.
Our 1 scout with diabetes is the other adult’s son and he always tents solo in case his dad gets an alert on his phone from his son’s monitor. This avoids any YPT issues. His son is also now about 6′ tall. He can tent with his dad, but we’ll have to see how it works out. We won’t have a full crew, so I don’t think we’ll fill a camp site.
I see the guide only mentions boots in one spot, but if you look at the gear list, it says trail runners are OK.
Trail runners are accepted but ankle support with boots is highly recommended.Jan 20, 2019 at 12:37 am #3573920
It’s good you’re (working on a third adult) as going with only two is risky. Anything could happen to either of you even before you leave or on the trail leaving your crew without two deep leadership and jeopardizing your crew’s adventure. It’s best to start with at least 3 and preferably 4 adults.
We two-man tent just because that is Philmont’s practices and we try to work within all their guidelines and policies, it’s the Scouting way, “A Scout is…Obedient”, regardless of what some Rangers may allow.
Great bonds of friendship are formed working and tenting together. And a one-man tent is not as light as half of a two-man tent.Jan 20, 2019 at 2:22 pm #3573978
We very much want to have 3 adults. We know how important that is. Our troop is not big and I’m trying to get more ASMs. Committing 2 weeks of leave to Philmont is not easy. Four would be nice, but getting 3 is already a challenge.
Tenting arrangements are up in the air. As I mentioned, my other adult has a diabetic son in the crew and has to get up sometimes to help him. He doesn’t want to disturb others. We could have him tent with his son and I could tent solo. My son is going, but it’s better to have him tent with a scout. I’m also not sure if we’ll have an even or odd number of scouts. If I take a solo tent, it will weigh less than half a Philtent. It’s all a work in progress.Jan 20, 2019 at 4:37 pm #3573993
Another food option if you drove would be the Colfax Tavern in Cold Beer NM. About 20 minutes driving from Philmont. I have had a pizza there and it was tasty and the people were nice. My understanding is it or the St. James are the go-to for staff members to have a beer after work, so if you see tan twenty somethings with crazy hair at the bar, that’s probably them. Worth the look if you drove.Jan 20, 2019 at 5:55 pm #3574001
One of Philmont’s most important practices is staying “Clear and Copious”, consuming enough water so your urine is “Clear and Copious”. You’ll find with being “Clear and Copious” you also have to pee (“Water a Rock”) a lot, including in the middle of the night.
So we use tents with two doors and two vestibules because we usually have to get up in the middle of the night to “Water a Rock” so with two doors we barely disturb our tentmate. And individual vestibules gives us a dry place to set our boots, camp shoes and water bottles (we never put flavored drink mix in ours).
Another important practice at Philmont is urination practices. Never pee in privies (Pilot to Bombardier) because the acids in urine retards feces decomposition. Never pee on live vegetation because salt in urine attract wildlife that will damage the vegetation. So you are to pee on a rock (Water a Rock) so as not to inhibit P2B decomposition and so wildlife can get the salts they need without harming vegetation.
We need two bottles of treated water first thing every morning, one to drink while striking camp to re-hydrate after the night’s fasting and the other for the trail while the first is being re-treated (cooking). If a water bottle has ever had flavored drink mix it becomes a Smellable and must be Bear Bagged nightly and not available during the night. 24 bottles of water (48 pounds) is a bit much to put up in the Bear Bags. So we never put flavored drink mix in ours so we don’t have to Bear Bag them and can have them at hand during the night.Jan 20, 2019 at 8:23 pm #3574018
Another food option if you drove would be the Colfax Tavern in Cold Beer NM.
Great! we’ll have a van, so that’s a viable option. Although going to a place called Cold Beer and not being allowed to have a cold beer is like putting a biscuit on the dog’s nose and training him not to eat it. :)
One of Philmont’s most important practices is staying “Clear and Copious”, consuming enough water so your urine is “Clear and Copious”.
This will be a point of emphasis for our crew and the crew leader to frequently check scouts’ water bottles. While it’s boy led, we’re there for safety, so adults will check water bottles as well.
I usually can’t make it an entire night without having to write my name on the rocks as is. I’m sure it will be even more so at Philmont.Jan 20, 2019 at 9:50 pm #3574036Kevin SweereBPL Member
What are the top 5 extra gear items (Rangers or crews) should bring?
What are the top 5 “Who in their right mind would take that?” gear atrocities you’ve seen?
(For example, to kick this off bring red pepper flakes, micro food scraper, paint strainer filters, shower curtain ring to hold all spoons while sanitizing, and polycro tent ground clothes)Jan 21, 2019 at 12:04 am #3574061
That paint strainer filters idea is genius!
Top 5 for me in terms of improving the experience would be:
Sriracha: My preference of spicy stuff for the trail food.
Kindle: UL peace of mind and all the books I can read.
Umbrella: Incredible for the south country sun, lots of comments on mine on training trek.
Sunscreen: Paid handsomely TOTT buying last year, will be investing in “the good stuff” in advance
Crazy Creek: Hard to amend with my UL beliefs, but there are tons of times as a ranger that don’t exist in normal backpacking like teaching that a nice chair is appropriate for and thus worthwhile.
Standardized cookware: Worth simplifying bowls to be foldable plastic ones that are easier to slarp and even easier to pack, thus treating them more like crew gear than personal gear.
Additional gallon ziplocs: Always convenient for stuffsacks/additional yum yum bags
A deck of cards or simple game most of the crew plays: Simple to build group dynamic/take up time in camp. I like settlers of catan gutted to the essentials in aforementioned gallon ziplocs.
Seasonings: Don’t underestimate the power of S&P or even a curry on the mountain house they give you. Your preference of hot sauce.
Gaiters: A pair of dirty girls are worth their weight 100x even if you were to only put them on climbing baldy. Never underestimate the power of being the person who barely ever has to mess with their shoes while hiking! In a group of 12 it can really eat up time!
Ironically I have never seen any atrocities because I’ve never taken any Philmont crews out myself with being closed last summer. My biggest so far was another staff member:when I went there as a scout our ranger brought a full size mallet for his tent stakes. Being I was the crew leader and trying to spearhead the lightweight charge for the rest of my group, it hurt more than it should have.
I did take some NT crews out last summer, and by far the most impressive atrocity was a full frame DSLR with full body waterproofing- That I only saw on the last day of the trip! Unbelievable! these kids caught fish in camp… and the camera sat in the pack!Jan 21, 2019 at 12:39 am #3574066
I’m told our previous SM hit the Philmont trail with a 70+ pound pack and others in the crew had packs close to it. I want to ask if he was carrying a dutch oven.
Tears of the Sun is a hot sauce made by a guitarist in Trans Siberian Orchestra I’ve met many times. It’s not insanely hot, just shy of Siracha and has lots of flavor.
I might have to get our crew to learn Settlers. My son knows it.
It’s tempting to bring my Sony A6000, but I’m going to stick to cell phone and a FauxPro for pics.
I’ve heard mixed reviews of using the pain strainers. At least 1 person, maybe here, said they didn’t work well.
The shower curtain hook idea sounds great!
We already plan on using Fozzils Bowlz.Jan 21, 2019 at 3:15 am #3574095
I’m a big fan of the low breathable style OR Rocky Mountain gaiters, they keep your socks, the inside of your boots and most importantly your feet clean. Clean feet and socks are the key to avoiding blisters. I wear them to cover the tops of my socks. No rocks or trail debris can get in your boots and dust can’t collect on the tops of sweat soaked socks to turn to mud and run down your ankle getting your feet dirty and subject to blisters.
Our crews use matching bowls and spoons carried in plastic bag as crew gear. Having match non-personal utensils simplifies things. We use unbreakable plastic 6-1/2” bowls and soup spoons.
We carry Morton Seasoned Salt and Keyon spice wheel to enhance bland trail meals.Jan 23, 2019 at 3:12 pm #3574630Kevin SweereBPL Member
Might you have a newer copy of the Ranger Handbook to share? The latest available online is at http://philmontdocs.watchu.org/Docs/Staff/Ranger_Field_Book_2007.pdfJan 23, 2019 at 3:30 pm #3574638
I’m a big fan of the low breathable style OR Rocky Mountain gaiters, they keep your socks, the inside of your boots and most importantly your feet clean.
I have Dirty Girl Skull pattern gaiters. I like that my Altra Lone Peak 4 trail runners have built in Velcro on the heal for these trail runners.
I just learned that 1 of my crew has dropped out, that might trigger another to drop out. I’m scrambling to get a crew of 7 together. Do 18-19 year olds count toward the majority scout rule? They did for Sea Base. I’m asking some recently aged-out scouts so we can at least have 7-8 in our crew.Jan 23, 2019 at 4:06 pm #3574642
Philmont’s youth age restrictions are like those of Venturing and Exploring, 14 and older to under 21 are eligible. 14 to 18 are youth and older than 21 are adults. But 18 to 21 can be considered either as a youth or adult depending on what you need.
Sorry to hear you are struggling to get a crew of 7. Having a small crew is tough. Every crew has to carry certain crew gear item; bear ropes & bags, dining fly, poles, cords & stakes, stoves & fuel, cook pots & clean-up gear, TP & hand sanitizer, etc. It’s a lot of stuff for just a few Scouts to carry. So the more Scouts the less burden on each. Same for the Duty Roster, the more Scouts the less duties each will have to do more than once.
Have you checked with other troops in your area to see if they have Scouts and adults wanting to go? You could adopt them into your crew.
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