- Aug 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm #3605534
Just flew back from Philmont and boy are my glutes tired. This was our first trip and I’ll try to cover my personal gear, crew gear and my son’s gear.
My Tent – Tarptent Aeon – Well, early on at Ponil, I forgot to pull out 1 stake, pulled on the tent and made a major rip where the mesh attaches to the Dyneema. Argh! Tenacious tape kept it usable, but it’s toast.
I brought it because people said sites were tight. We had 3 advisers and I got to tent alone. Not true. I could fit my Duplex in every spot I put my Aeon. I planned to sell either the Aeon or Duplex, but now that decision is made for me.
The Aeon is a good tent. However, at just shy of 6’3″ and 202 pounds (came home weighing 190) I just don’t fit in a 1 person tent. My shoulder would brush against the wall. Twice we had condensation and that meant a wet shoulder.
Verdict: I will look at 2 person tents for the next trip. However, the Aeon is a good tent.
Son’s Tent – MLD Duplex with Duplex Inner. Silnylon – This worked well for 2 skinny scouts. It was lighter than half a Philtent. Larger scouts will be cramped. It was all in 1 bag so his tentmate took more of the food to balance things out.
Verdict: If you’re willing to make the purchase and scouts aren’t big, it worked well. I could sell it.
My Backpack – Zpacks Arc Haul – This worked well. Our first food pickup was for 4 days. Packing everything in was a challenge for the crew. I took the crew tarp we brought, my tent and a Helinox Chair Zero strapped to the bottom. I didn’t anticipate taking the tarp and just barely had enough paracord to hold them. I’ll replace with longer cord.
It carried well, was light and have only good things to say. The mesh pocket has 2 tears.
Verdict: Will use again.
Son’s Backpack – REI Flash 55 – I spent a lot of time shopping sales for fairly light, compact gear for my son. Others on the crew didn’t do as well. This pack only works if you have compact gear and don’t overpack. He used all optional pieces.
Verdict: Very good pack at a good price. It is smaller than most scout packs, so you must have compact personal gear.
My Sleeping Bag – Feathered Friends Flicker YF 30 – This is a hybrid quilt/bag. It has a full ziper and the foot box cinches closed. I assumed it was warmer in bag mode. It was warmer in quilt mode. I bought an attachment strap to keep it tight to the pad. In bag mode, the zipper was a cold spot, even with a draft tube. In quilt mode, this wasn’t an issue.
It was varying degrees (pun intended) of cold every night. There were no hot nights. My sleep clothes (covered later) were not as warm as they should have been. Not the bag’s fault.
Verdict: Unsure. I like the quilt. Perhaps 20 degrees would be better. Better clothes would work, too. Quality product.
Son’s Sleeping Bag – Summit 20°F StormLOFT™ Down Sleeping Bag – I got this on sale. It’s not as compact as more expensive bags, but for a scout, it was probably the most compact, light crew bag. My son was never cold.
Verdict – shop the sales and this is a good choice for scouts.
My Sleeping Pad – Xlite long/wide – I’m tall and I’ve tried smaller pads. It’s impossible to sleep on them. This worked well.
Verdict: Will use again
Son’s Pad – Nemo Switchback – This is probably the best closed cell foam pad. Bulkier than inflatable, but no risk of holes.
Verdict: Great choice for scouts.
My Rain Jacket – North Face Hyperair GTX – Light, relatively breathable and kept me dry.
Verdict: Love it!
My Rain Pants – Montbell Peak Shell – light and did the job.
Verdict: Use again
Shoes – Altra Lone Peak 4 – Sigh, they fit great. No blisters or pain. Only 1 wet shoe water crossing and they dried quickly. However, after 2 prep hikes and 1 Philmont trip, the left toe kick is coming off.
Verdict: Love everything but the durability. Will consider other options.
Socks – Darn Tough – comfy and durable.
Trekking Poles – REI Flash Carbon – worked well.
Gaiters – Dirty Girl Skulls – kept debris out of my shoes and my socks less dirty. Use again.
Watch – Garmin Fenix 5x – Gave poor numbers with auto pause on. Worked great with that off. Use again.
Chair – Helinox Chair Zero – Used every day. Not good enough to nap in, but worth the weight on this type of trip. Use again, but keep eye open if something better comes out.
Headlamp – Nitecore – Light, compact and charge lasted all week.
Water Bottles – Smartwater – Multiple people in other crews saw how great it was to be able to fit 2 bottles in the side pockets rather than 1 heavier Nalgene. Great choice.
Sleep Bottoms Warm – Odlo Light Merino – Too light. Mid weight would be better choice for me.
Sleep Bottoms Light – Dutchwear Gear Shorts – Too cold to wear them.
Sleep Shirt – Montbell Merino Wool Plus T shirt – Too cold to wear by itself. Very light, nice shirt.
Sleep Hat – Blackrock Gear 950 Down – Light, compact, warm. Use again.
Sleep Fleece – Kuiu Mountain Fit Hoodie – Should have noticed how short this fits. Poor fit and too light. Hood combined with the hat made for good earplugs. Will take a better fleece next time.Aug 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm #3605535
Tarp – Sanctuary Siltarp – We had 9 in our crew. At no time did all 9 of us use it. It was only used a few times. A full crew of 12 would struggle to fit under it. With trekking poles, it wasn’t really high enough. Attaching to trees (using twigs like the bear ropes) or finding a stick longer than a trekking pole made it more usable. It more than doubled in weight when packed away wet.
Verdict: It worked but will re-evaluate, particularly if we have a larger crew.
Pots – Boscovs 6 quart pots – Smaller than Philpots. For 9, only 1 meal came close to filling it. We only heated enough water for meals and washed with cold water as Camp Suds says is fine.
Verdict: Use again
Stakes – Groundhog Minis – Worked, but I hate the tops. They hurt your hand. We broke a LNT rule and used rocks to push, not pound them in. Probably use again.
Stove – Xcelerator remote canister stove – Light and worked well. Use again. I hate white gas stoves.
Bowls – Fozzils Bowls – These were crew gear. Light, cheap, compact and easy to lick clean. Perfect!Aug 10, 2019 at 7:35 pm #3605540
As I remember more, I’ll add it here.
Possum Down Socks – These were so comfy to put on at night. Definitely recommend.Aug 10, 2019 at 10:04 pm #3605553
Ghost Whisperer Puffy – No hood version. This was just barely adequate. I would go with something a little warmer with a hood. The cold rain in the afternoon was not joyful. I’d put my raincoat on over this, but just was able to prevent shivering while waiting around the campsite.Aug 10, 2019 at 11:35 pm #3605559
Great review. I assume your son used an MLD Duomid? We have an XL and that can be tight for my son and his tent buddy at 15-16 years old. Last time they used it they didn’t bother with the inner, or one would sleep in the inner and the other one would just put the pad on the ground sheet and sorta cowboy camp under the outer.
How high were your camps? Do you know the overnight temps?Aug 11, 2019 at 12:31 am #3605569
Great review. I assume your son used an MLD Duomid?
Yes. Working on little sleep and of course I can’t edit the first post because if we could edit the first post, the communists would win or something.
My son is skinny and 15. His tentmate was 14 and skinny.
How high were your camps? Do you know the overnight temps?
Baldy Town was our highest camp, just shy of 10,000 feet. Horse Canyon is at the top of a peak, but I don’t know the elevation.
I don’t have any temperature readings. Maybe upper 40s/low 50s at the coldest?May 14, 2020 at 11:43 am #3647127
I’m a new member to Backpacking Light and this is my first post. All the Philmont posts have been super helpful and made me decide to join, especially yours Brad.
Our Troop has a trek in June 2021 and I’m the lead advisor. I’m pushing all the kids to go as light as possible and am trying to get them to use the LighterPack website to track gear weight.
I’m looking for a tent recommendation for myself that would be good for Philmont next year. I also do a lot of camping and backpacking with our Troop around the San Francisco Bay Area and Sierras. I’ve been debating between the Tarpentent Notch LI with solid wall interior or the Aeon LI once I see the updates coming later this month. I’m really leaning toward the Notch LI. The Tarptent website shows only 5 left with the solid wall interior as of today.
Thoughts? Other better DCF tents for Philmont?
Thanks for any advice.May 14, 2020 at 12:04 pm #3647133
The Aeon worked great for me. If I had to do it again, I might switch to the Notch Li with solid inner, mostly to keep breezes out. Some people love a nice breeze while sleeping, but it seems to keep me awake.
It rained or threatened to rain every night, so I ended up keeping my doors closed. We had a late trek, so typically more rain than earlier treks. The Notch with solid might give more options for leaving doors open. It would also have less condensation, which I got on some of the rainy nights.
Really, there’s nothing Philmont specific you need to worry about. Get the 1 person tent that works best for you. I’ve only gone once, but there was not a single flat campsite on our trek. I’m not sure if that will affect your decision. but it’s the reality.
As for your crew, it seems there are a lot more bargain, relatively light options out there now. They probably were there before, but I’m more aware of them.
I got a Duomid for my son and his tentmate. Everyone else used Philtents. Unless a scout already has a good 2 person backpacking tent, go with the Philtents and save weight elsewhere.
Dixie recently reviewed some bargain gear she’s going to try out. This is some stuff that scouts should consider. A scout is Thrifty.
I strongly suggest scouts use a framed pack and not the frameless one she reviews. Bulk of Philgear and Philfood is a bigger issue than the weight. My son used a 55L REI Flash pack with his tent and pad strapped on the outside. I think a minimum of 65L would be better for most. The biggest offenders in personal gear are bulky sporting goods store sleeping bags and bringing too much clothing.
Make sure every crew member has some sort of straps to securely attach stuff on the outside. You might not use it, but seriously, the bulk of gear and food required a lot of squashing and Tetris skills.
Some more cheap options:
May 14, 2020 at 12:35 pm #3647139
- This reply was modified 2 weeks, 6 days ago by Brad P.
Thanks for the tips. I follow Dixie and Darwin and recommend them to our Scouts. The price of backpacking gear is definitely an issue with some of the families. The parents try to save money by buying cheaper gear but then it weighs too much. I really hate to see a Scout overloaded with a heavy pack who then decides he or she doesn’t like backpacking. Our Philmont bound Scouts are more open to spending some money on gear but some families have been hit with furloughs during this time so we’ll see what happens. We had to cancel one of our shakedown trips already back in March and am trying to see if we can do one in July but it depends on the restrictions and comfort levels of the families.May 14, 2020 at 1:01 pm #3647148
Derek, we had weather and other things screw up a lot of our shakedowns. You’re not behind at all for 2021. Obviously the more, the better, but don’t fret now.
One of my biggest frustrations was I would send out info on sales of good, cheap gear, and people would ignore it. Then we’d meet for a shakedown and they’d be missing that gear or have something not appropriate for backpacking.
Old Navy had this fleece that was light and on a big sale. I think it was maybe $10. Even if you don’t get it for backpacking, it was a great deal. Nobody got it and few had appropriate warm gear. We’re in VA and I think some didn’t believe me that you need warm clothes in summer.May 14, 2020 at 1:18 pm #3647154
Most of the Philmont kids have been backpacking for at least 1-2 years with the Troop so they are already fairly experienced. We do monthly car camping trips and every third month we try to do backpacking. What we really need to train on is the Philway of doing cooking, bear hangs, etc. and working as a crew with those responsibilities split up. The kids are getting excited already although I think the adults are even more excited and we’re 13 months out.May 14, 2020 at 1:31 pm #3647159
I was geared up for Philmont in 2018, and had hopes again this year. I was planning to use a Zpacks Solplex I picked up here on GearSwap, but if I was buying new maybe one of the Zpacks Pleximid, Altaplex or Duplex. You will know about these from Darwin already. I used the Solplex in the Sierra for our 2018 replacement trek, and took a 32″ carbon fiber pole along with one of my two treking poles to set it up. I liked that I still had one pole for dayhikes after my tent was setup, and I think that would be good at Philmont on some campsites.
I have a Tarptent Notch (silnylon) that I also picked up used years ago. I think you can’t go wrong with the Zpacks or Tarptent. I’m less familar with the Aeon Li, but the weight looks inline with the lightest Zpacks shelters. You will read a lot of discussion about limted space in campsites – and others can comment on recent treks, but my take away was that adults can use single tents and space is typically not a big problem.
Also notable is for the Sierra our food was “smaller”, but we all had to carry 6 days worth in a bear can. I think there are lots of choices for good scout packs for Philmont. Some scouts took the clues I gave on lightening the pack, but others were typical teenagers and wanted to make up their own minds. Those particular kids seem to be capable of carrying a heavier load (than I was willing to carry) so it was fine in the Sierra.
I’m jeolous. My son turned 18 last month, and our troop’s Philmont trek this summer was canceled (again!). His sights are now turned to college, so our opportunity has passed.May 14, 2020 at 1:44 pm #3647168
I had a young crew, all 14 and 15. Two turned 14 shortly before we started our trek. One was rather small, too. Unless you have a small scout, they will deal with weight OK. Having said that, everyone enjoys carrying less weight.
The camping sites are small, but our 9 person crew always had plenty of room. There is no problem with an adult tenting solo. You’ll enjoy it better that way.May 14, 2020 at 2:14 pm #3647188
Bob, that’s terrible luck to get 2 trips cancelled. Sorry to hear that. The kids only want to hang out with us for so long and then we are too uncool for them.
Question about the Notch since you have it. Did you have any trouble with trekking pole sharp tips up piercing through the fabric? I’m a little worried about it during a windy night. I know Tarptent sells attachments to use the poles with tips down but they are sold out right now. Not sure if this is something to worry about.May 14, 2020 at 2:53 pm #3647201
No problems yet with the Notch tips up. I used it in windy conditions on Catalina Island – Parson’s Landing beach camp. Mine has metal grommets on beefy webbing, backed by some heavy duty material disk (hypalon maybe?). I checked it and don’t see any marks from use by me or its original owner.
That being said, I prefer tips down and handles up if possible. I don’t want to put my handles on the ground if it’s wet – especially a cork handle when I use them. I often use 120cm z-poles and Tarptents says poles should be set to 113 cm (FWIW). with tips down you will make up that difference and also have a stable pole position on the ground. It looks like the adapter is a hood and some cordage – maybe a good DIY project if they don’t some in stock. The Zpacks are designed for tip down and they want 122 cm, but my Solplex worked fine with 120 and the tip in the ground. Frankly it’s doesn’t seem putting the handles up in the Notch would be much of a problem, but the adapters would better if it was windy.
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