- Feb 22, 2018 at 12:11 am #3519769
Inspired by Brad P’s post and positive comments, I wanted to share my preliminary list for feedback.
I use a spreadsheet to keep track of all my gear. It’s too much detail now, but I haven’t taken the time to simplify it yet. In any case it works, and I have records going way back to see my progress towards lightening up. That being said, this is one of my heaviest loadouts in my recent history, primarily because of the heavier pack, camp shoes, and maybe some other stuff I should lead behind. Help me! I have intentionally placed some softballs that I will probably remove as we get closer.
Starred items are new (not field tested) or as of yet unpurchased.
Big question for me is boots. I got these after a rare local mountain hike in the snow (I live in SoCal). That was last year. This year is the 3rd driest winter on record, and I otherwise always hike in trail runners. I may do that in the end at Philmont if I can get my weight down.
Same for the pack. I have a ULA Ohm 2.0 at 31 oz and a Circuit at 38 oz. When first planning this trip and thinking about carrying Philmont sized gear I jumped on the Divide pack from a fellow BPLer. I haven’t really used it yet, and after going to the Philmont workshop I’m not sure. The ranger instructor encouraged me to pursue my ultralight goals, suggesting that the scouts will carry the Philmont gear for cooking, tarps, bear-bagging, etc.
I could save 3 lbs if I used my shoes and Ohm 2 pack – appealing but not decided yet. Let me know what you think.
Bob (slbear)Feb 22, 2018 at 1:22 am #3519785
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+ The Ohm might be tight, but I think you’d be ok. I might consider the Circuit if I were you. The test I give the Scouts is…after you pack all of your personal gear, can you fit your pillow from your bed at home in your pack? If you can, then you should have enough room for the extra stuff you’ll have to carry at Philmont.
+ Shoes – I wore La Sportiva Wildcats and didn’t have an issue. Our crew had 9 in trail runners and 2 in boots. The 2 in boots were patching blisters every day, the rest, just had dirty feet.
+ Clothes – I think you can drop at least one of your layers. You won’t be sitting around camp in the evenings very much — if you are in camp, you’re likely either eating or getting ready for bed.
– Boy, those camp shoes are heavy – maybe leave them at home if you roll in trail runners.
– You can also skip the headnet — we didn’t have any issues with bugs.
+ Essentials — consider a bigger charger. I carried 18000 mAh and used all of it recharging my phone, InReach and flashlight.
– I think that you can skip several of the things in your Essentials list — think of it this way…the crew needs to have 1 or 2 knives…the crew needs extra cordage…the crew needs 2 compasses and topo maps. You personally don’t need to bring these things, the crew needs to bring them. I know we, as leaders, tend to carry a bunch of things “just in case.” But, consider what you need for yourself versus what you need as a group. For example, other than cutting mole skin, I don’t think I used a knife during our trip — and, you have 2.
+ Food & Water – once you have your itinerary, consider how much water you might need to carry. I had 6.5 liters heading into our dry camp and drank/used every drop.Feb 22, 2018 at 1:59 am #3519793
For now, I’ve removed camp shoes from my list. I’m certain I’ll go with trail runners. I don’t trust the every ounce on the feet is X pounds on the back as scientifically accurate to the pound, but there’s NO question that ounce savings in footwear is very important.
If you must have camp shoes, these weigh 17 ounces less than what you have: Vibram Five Fingers
Your list points out some things I need to add to mine like my phone and Anker charger.
I can’t give much advice as I’m on the seeking end of advice, but I’ve liked that “room for a pillow” rule of thumb for the backpack.
Feb 22, 2018 at 3:20 am #3519819
- This reply was modified 4 weeks, 1 day ago by Brad P.
Aubrey W. BogardBPL Member
Feb 22, 2018 at 3:46 am #3519826
- What follows is from my limited experience of one trek and my opinions. All should “hike their own hike…”
- For our trek I wore trail runners and took no camp shoes. I had no regrets, nor did my son or the others in our Crew that did the same. The trails are quite rocky though in places, so I would personally avoid minimalist shoes. Philmont is very old-school with their insistence on boots.
- My experience was that 3-4 days of bulky Phil food would fill a 20-liter stuff sack, so my ULA Circuit was just big enough when we had a resupply.
- I’m curious why you have two lights and spare batteries for each (?). I took one Zerbralight with a spare lithium AA battery that I did not need.
- There will most likely not be a place to use a wall charger outside of base camp.
- Crews are encouraged to have one multitool as part of crew gear.
- Someone, likely a WFA-trained advisor, should carry a comprehensive first aid kit as crew gear. Individual first-aid kits can be WELL under 5 ounces.
- Insect repellant, likely unneeded, can be crew gear.
I’m happy to go with just the Altra shoes for hiking and camp. Roger the consensus on not doubling the knives or lights – every little bit helps. I recognize too the compass is redundant with the inreach (and watch has a compass.
I’ve heard inreach is not favored by staff, but its value if needed is unquestionable.
Surprised at the lack of bugs. Pants and shirts have the bug treatment, which helps with skeeters and also ticks. Are those not a concern?. Maybe my clothing does need some more thought.
I was wondering about finding any AC outlets at the staff camps. If not, does anyone bring small package solar panels?. I’m planning to use my phone for camera and maybe to track via Gaia app. I’ve never done a trek this long so I’m not used to needing more than a few charges.
Feb 22, 2018 at 12:15 pm #3519865
- This reply was modified 4 weeks, 1 day ago by Bob Shuff.
I’ve read that the staffed camps do not have power outlets that crews can use.
I have no experience with solar, but are you in enough exposed sunlight for the weight of the solar panel to be more beneficial than a bigger battery? A Goal Zero Nomad 7 weighs 12.8 ounces and you still need a battery for it to charge. For an 11 day backpacking trip, I would think that an additional Anker battery would be more efficient and less to fiddle with, but that’s just my theory.
Take a power strip with you to charge stuff when you arrive (and let others use) to make sure everything is fully charged and leave it in your locker. At least that’s one suggestion I’ve read.Feb 22, 2018 at 1:55 pm #3519867
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You can top off all of your electronics before you leave basecamp — there are plenty of outlets in the leaders lounge.
I did the weight math and decided to bring a larger battery pack rather than a solar charger. My 18000 mAh charger weighs 10 oz. My goal zero with charger weighed >16 oz. I went with the charger because it was lighter and I didn’t have to worry about having sunshine on a cloudy day.Feb 22, 2018 at 6:29 pm #3519910
Jay LashBPL Member
As others have said, no power for charging after you leave base camp. My last trek, one of our adults took a solar charger for his GPS watch. There was plenty of sun to keep it charged up by just using it when we stopped, he never had it “deployed” on top of his pack as we hiked. This was in mid July.
There are lots of outlets around base camp to top things off but they are not near your tent. I have left my phone in the adviser lounge but would not leave it unattended at any of the other places (like the shower house or welcome center).
The mention of a multi tool as crew gear is good. We mostly used it for cooking – to grab items out of the hot water or to steady the pot as food is stirred.
Have never taken bug spray on a trek and never needed it. But then I dont use it much at home either so YMMV based on your tolerance.
I cannot think of a time on any of my treks that we used a knife except to open food packages. I carry a Victornox Classic – I find the scissors more useful than the knife, mostly for cutting moleskin.
How much light you need will depend somewhat on your itinerary and your style. Philmont discourages hiking in the dark, but there are times such as an early start for side-hiking the Tooth, or hiking Baldy. For that you’ll need good light but for returning to your tents after campfire, or the bedtime camp chores you dont need very much.Feb 22, 2018 at 7:15 pm #3519921
I’ve looked at solar panels previously, and did some research recently to update the current state of the market. Preface this with that I’m an EE with a hybrid car, DIY electric bike and more power packs than I care to mention – not bragging, it’s just my disclaimer that I probably think too much about this topic.
The technology is moving really fast on batteries, and I will probably pick up a new battery bank closer to our departure because I will get a more/better product for the same price a few months from now.
Solar, I find, is proliferating, but few companies are doing this right from my perspective. For example, Goal Zero came out with upgraded panels, but the newer small panels dropped the higher voltage charge ports, which they are dropping from their smaller banks as well. It’s kinda like they gave up to a 5V standard USB charging point, and those USB ports are finicky on how much current they will allow into the battery of phone. Their power banks may work good with their new panels, but are overpriced. As such, you may not get more than 1A even in the brightest sunlight to a standard bank. Decent alternatives to the newer Nomad 7 plus would be Suntactics sCharger-5 or -8, the first being lighter. Anker also has some higher capacity panels (15W and 21W) that might work with various chargers to get more stored into their banks in the same amount of daylight time.
There is another class of solar chargers with a built in battery. The batteries are much smaller than the 10-20K mAh batteries mentioned here. PowerFilm Light Saver is an interesting solo option, with a 3,200 mAh battery (4.9oz ~$100). The panel looks pretty small so could it be recharged in day? They say 6 hours of full direct son, but I’m thinking we are hiking in the morning and it’s often raining in the afternoon. Biolite SolarPanel 5+ has an even smaller battery, but a bigger panel, and heavier (13.8 oz ~$80). It will probably charge up faster, but will then have less to offer to recharge your gear.
Either way, you need to think about charging the batteries during the day and then transferring it to you phone later. If the companies were really thinking about us backpackers they would optimize the battery charge voltage and current with an appropriately sized panel. If they are doing this it’s in their larger form factor products that aren’t ideal for backpacking.
Long story short, unless someone is finding something I’m not, the larger power bank is probably the most efficient method. That means I need to figure out how much I would use on my phone when I have it in airplane mode. Unfortunately I have the iPhone 6S, which may have less than ideal battery peformarnce with the latest iOS. Maybe an iPhone 8 or a separate camera would make the math better. Sorry if I took this off course to much, and thanks for all the feedback.Feb 22, 2018 at 7:18 pm #3519923
BTW…I do like the BioLite SunLight as an alternative to Luci Lights. 3.4 oz ~$25.Mar 1, 2018 at 12:32 am #3521382
I removed the boots and will wear my trail runners on trail and in camp as several have suggested.
Will think about the clothes more – maybe the R1-like fleece can stay in base camp, leaving me a Philmont crew t-shirt (probably LS), my Rail-riders shirt as a windshirt, and my ExLight Anorak for in camp. I had to add sleeping socks, I usually have a separate pair from the 2 I’ll swap out for hiking. I might switch to workout shorts with liners and drop the spare boxers. I have been hiking in the Rail Rider Eco mesh for awhile, and I’ll need something for the service project.
I’m still looking at solar panels – maybe it will be an item shared with other adults. I’m also going to add a Luci or Biolite lantern. I’ll finalize the power system when we get closer, hoping for better or cheaper between now and then.
I was ready to drop the knife and keep the small multi-tool when I read the article about the best mini scissors. That gives me another thing to think about. I know there is unnecessary redundancy, but I really like that Benchmade Mini Griptilian folder. I will drop the Casio Compass watch for a lighter and simpler Iron Man watch, at half the weight. I know these are “worn” items, but the Compass watch is big and if it’s true that an ounce on the feet or in the hands is worth 5 ounces in the pack, then it applies here too.
Thanks all for the feedback.Mar 1, 2018 at 12:14 pm #3521481
I suspect the conversion of wrist weight to back weight is not the same formula as foot weight to back weight. I’m not saying it’s not a consideration, but that they’re not likely equal.
I’ve been researching GPS watches. I have a Samsung Galaxy 2, but the battery life makes it a bad choice for a trip like this. I love the idea of the Fenix 5X, but I’ve owned cars that cost less.Mar 8, 2018 at 6:01 pm #3523138
@ Bob re battery consumption and solar power
Is your Phone an Apple or an android? If you only turned on Gaia for tracking 2 or three times a day, I would think you could get by with an external battery (example Anker) or extra battery for Android. The staffed camps also have AA batteries which you could use with a small gizmo to charge USB device like a phone.Mar 8, 2018 at 6:45 pm #3523153
Hey Bob, did you get my PM?Mar 8, 2018 at 7:06 pm #3523164
Comments on packing list.
I have no experience with the Patagonia jacket but if it performs like some of the pertex DWR treated jackets, it might not keep out the afternoon downpours. It can rain an inch or so in the monsoon season between 100 and 600pm.
Why take both an isobutane canister and a esbit stove. If you want quick boiling water for the morning coffee, I would just take the isobutane.
the Navkit. Unless you plan on doing something special with your crew at Philmont, I am not seeing the need for it. The crew itself does the navigating and most of the wrong turns are due to lack of care reading the Philmont map at intersections. In my experience they do not want any crew off a designated Philmont trail, so cross country travel.
rain mitts. I found no problem keeping my hands warm during the day while hiking even during the big rain storms. I did take a pair of lightweight wool “liner” gloves that I wore once or twice on cold nights.
I see on this list, you have included a Garmin (Delorme) Inreach. So maybe you will need extra capacity. There was a BPL thread last year where Rex Sanders explained his method for getting the maximum use time from one charge of his Delorme device.Mar 8, 2018 at 8:33 pm #3523220
I have an iPhone 6s, but may upgrade to the iPhone 8 before Philmont. In addition to photos (and as a phone), I use it to keep the trip stats on Gaia – and occasionally to check location for an approaching trail junction. I also use it to connect via Bluetooth to the InReach to type messages.
I should probably rethink the Gaia always on method, since it is the scouts job to navigate. It would prevent the normal scenario where they ask me “how much further?” Of course the standard answer whether we are just starting out or nearly at camp is “4 more miles”. I picked that up at Camp Kern and it’s served me well. It always takes one or two scouts a lot longer to understand than the others, given the trail sign they just saw – but eventually they all get it when the others scouts answer for me in the same way.
As for the InReach, I got this as an emergency tool, but also so my wife could reach me and I reach her if I was hiking alone or just with my son. My wife has only responded to my “all’s well” or “we’re running late” messages, so I can probably leave it off most of the day. There’s a benefit of keeping a bread trail if we were taking an uncertain route, but I think Philmont staff will know where we are regularly. I’ve read that Philmont doesn’t like it, but it’s still an amazing emergency safety tool.Mar 8, 2018 at 8:40 pm #3523227
Great comments. What would you recommend for a lightweight jacket? I don’t get to test waterproofness very much out here in SoCal.
I usually take alcohol with an esbit backup (or for dry baking). I’m waiting to see if the scouts want to use white gas or Isobutane stoves on my crew. I guess I can carry a small canister for the coffee patrol, since I just picked up that BRS mini stove. At 0.5 oz per tab, esbit is still a good emergency option, but the main crew stove/fuel would be a backup in any case.
Roger on the nav kit. Included in there are my reading glasses and mini pen/pencil, which I will still want to carry. Roger-Roger on the rain mitts – The logic is sound, but have never actually used them.Mar 8, 2018 at 10:24 pm #3523254
I just got a $99 for my annual rebate at REI. Any suggestions to lighten or otherwise upgrade my Philmont kit?
I don’t buy too much at REI, but I have their credit card. I may start off with the BioLite SunLight portable lantern – a fancier alternative to the Luci lantern: https://www.rei.com/product/130261/biolite-sunlight-portable-solar-light?Mar 8, 2018 at 11:11 pm #3523265
RE: Lightweight jacket. The Patagonia might be fine. As I said I have no experience with it. You could try the home shower test for 20 minutes. From posted reports a lot of folks are taking the OR Heliums but I think they might not be much different from the Patagonia. It is possible that Ryan Jordan has reviewed the Patagonia jacket here at BPL or on his blog site.
I bought a Froggs Toggs pants and jacket to take. But at the last minute i switched to an Arcteryx GoreTex Paclite that was on sale for 1/3 off at REI. The purchase bent the “A Scout is thrifty” principle and at 11 oz it was much heavier than the Froggs Toggs but I am still wearing the Arcteryx.Mar 9, 2018 at 1:38 pm #3523357
I don’t have personal experience, I’ve just been reading stuff from people who do. I recently got a good deal on eBay for a North Face Hyperair GTX. It’s on sale at REI. At 7.2 ounces, I’m hoping it will be a good solution for me.Mar 9, 2018 at 1:41 pm #3523358
I don’t buy too much at REI, but I have their credit card. I may start off with the BioLite SunLight portable lantern – a fancier alternative to the Luci lantern: https://www.rei.com/product/130261/biolite-sunlight-portable-solar-light?
I’d personally prefer to just bring a light headlamp and hang it when necessary. I wouldn’t want this instead of a headlamp. If taken in addition to a headlamp, it would duplicate the purpose of the headlamp.
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