- Jan 29, 2018 at 12:40 pm #3515429
Our troop does mostly car camping and scouts provide their own tents. Few have tents that are good for backpacking We have a 2019 Philmont trek and need to start doing some backpacking training trips.
While Philmont can provide somewhat heavy tents, we need tents for a our training trips. The scoutmaster and I were talking about it, and we’re considering purchasing troop backpacking tents.
Dyneema tents are too expensive to give to scouts. Even though we teach them to take care of equipment, reality is that not all scouts will care for the gear like an adult would, particularly an adult who paid for the equipment.
In my research, the Six Moons Design Lunar Duo Outfitter looks like a great option.
It’s lighter than the Philmont Thunder Ridge tents and made of stronger fabric than the silnylon tents out there. It also provide ample interior room for a 2 person tent. At $170 plus poles and seam sealant, he price is great, too. Not many scouts have trekking poles yet, so we’d need that flexibility.
I like that it can be set up in the rain without getting the interior soaking wet, too.
Thoughts?Jan 29, 2018 at 1:56 pm #3515435
I think you are on the right track. The Lunar Duo Outfitter is an under appreciated tent. We had a tent fail on the trail this year and ended up carrying 1 of the Philmont tents for most of our trek. They are good tents, but won’t help you during your shakedowns.Jan 29, 2018 at 5:54 pm #3515463Jeffrey PetersBPL Member
Get something that is similar to the Thunder Ridge tent. Our troop uses Alps Mountaineering Taurus tents. When you split the load between two scouts it’s about three pound per scout. They currently sell for $90 dollars thru Hiker Direct.Jan 29, 2018 at 6:04 pm #3515465Jay LBPL Member
I bought a Lunar Duo Outfitter for our trek in 2012. I love the weight and the room of the tent but I find it to be “fiddley” to get setup well. To the point where I dont always take it – often opting for something a bit heavier that is less hassle.
If your shakedowns are not actually overnights then you dont really need a tent – just something that represents the weight and bulk of a tent. That could be parts of your existing tents, or it could be something like jugs of water.Jan 29, 2018 at 6:44 pm #3515474
We’ll need to do some overnights considering how little backpacking experience there is in the troop.
I’m also looking at more traditional tents, which might be an easier sell on the committee and scoutmaster.
For instance, the Kelty TrailLogic.Jan 29, 2018 at 10:33 pm #3515511
The most popular tent in our troop for scouts and ASMs is the REI Half Dome 2 or 2 plus. I picked up one for my son a year ago when REI had a sale and coupon. It was reasonably priced and has been super durable. There are lighter tents, but I think this is a direct correlation between weight and durability, and would lean towards durability for scouts. It’s also a free-standing tent, and doesn’t require excellent staking (or staking at all), which is good for those new to backpacking tents. If the scouts don’t stake out the rainfly they might get some moisture inside, but it won’t collapse in normal weather.
I think Kelty comes up as another good option, and I’m sure there are others. REI will stand by their product (at least for a year). You might find something cheaper at a sporting goods store, but you won’t get the warranty or support you would at REI. Depending on where you live there maybe other outdoor stores that give a similar level of service.
I’m using a Tarptent Notch, and may take that to Philmont for me – I also have an MLD DuoMidXL with innernet. I know others that take Zpacks duplex tents to Philmont, but not for scouts. If I’m buddying up with another ASM we’ll use their Thunder Ridge tents for multiple reasons. I’ve never had a SMD tent – love their Fusion pack, which my son has been using for a couple of years of backpacking.
I would not go for trekking pole shelters for beginning backpackers (or the troop) at home or at Philmont. Pick a good 2 person free-standing tent with full rainfly coverage and it will serve the range of backpack options, and get the scouts going to Philmont used to sharing the weight by splitting up the tent, fly, stakes, poles and groundcloth.Jan 29, 2018 at 11:05 pm #3515520Tim PBPL Member
I am planning on splitting the weight on our big 4-person tents. One person will get stuck with a big load, but others will need to pick up some of his extra weight, just like you would expect. The volumes may be off, but the weights should be good.Jan 29, 2018 at 11:45 pm #3515533
Rangers were pretty adamant at the workshop that they only allow 2 person tents – and a one person tent for the odd man out. No 3 or 4 person tents at Philmont. YMMV.
I know your talking about the shakedown hikes, but their reasoning is also true for many backpacking trips. It’s a lot harder to find flat ground for a 4 person tent than flat ground for 2x 2 person tents.Jan 30, 2018 at 1:06 am #3515550
We’d definitely want 2 person tents. I’m now starting to agree that a more traditional tent might be better for scouts.
I have a Zpacks Duplex, but I can see how a freestanding tent requires less fiddling. I should reevaluate this.Jan 30, 2018 at 2:04 am #3515561Mike BBPL Member
Check out Steep and Cheap and Gear Trade. They have a lot of options for 2 person tents under $160.00. They may not be the lightest out there but it will give you something to work with. Steep and Cheap will be new product and Gear Trade could be used or returns to Back Country dot com.Jan 30, 2018 at 12:40 pm #3515629
Thanks for the web site info! I share discount options with our troop and I’m sure they’ll appreciate it, too.Jan 31, 2018 at 4:16 pm #3515847
Brad – I shared a Zpacks Triplex with my son on our trip last year. I didn’t have any issues finding a flat spot for it and would definitely take it again. The only issue I had was when we spent 2 nights @ Miranda — I wanted my trekking poles for the climb up/down Baldy and I had to find sticks to keep the tent up while we were out of camp for the day.Jan 31, 2018 at 4:22 pm #3515851
The more I’ve thought about this, the more I’m leaning toward conventional tents. For one thing, it’s what they’re used to. Even with freestanding tents, we’ve had them set up the tents in some pretty funky ways.
While it’s not ultralight, I’m thinking the MSR Hubba Hubba NX might be a good combination of light and durable. It’s certainly lighter than Philmont’s Thuder Ridge. It’s been a very, very popular tent for a long time. Hopefully REI will have a sale, soon.Jan 31, 2018 at 4:47 pm #3515857Matt DirksenBPL Member
@namelesswayLocale: Mid Atlantic
The MSR Hubba Hubba NX is a great tent, and should certainly work well for Philmont.
(If I recall, the Thunder Ridge tent was originally derived from MSR’s Hubba line – just a much more durable variation.)Feb 1, 2018 at 7:29 pm #3516027Phillip MBPL Member
Our troop tent of choice is the REI Half Dome 4 plus and 2 plus. Simple, relatively inexpensive, and will shrug off most of the weather we can expect on camps around here.
We used both at Philmont 2016 as we had a odd number of youth.
Not light weight but durable.
-PhilFeb 2, 2018 at 1:31 am #3516106
My son uses a Quarter Dome 3 (used to be mine) and it’s been a good tent. The Quarter Dome 2 is a consideration. I hadn’t considered the half dome due to the weight, but I could check it out in person.Feb 7, 2018 at 7:51 pm #3517113Tony RoncoBPL Member
We’ve sent four crews to Philmont over the past few years, and for each trek we’ve used pyramid tents in conjunction with their attachable bathtub floors. (Pyramid tents such as Black Diamond Megalights or Oware Mids). We started off with the manufacturer’s bathtub floor but evolved to homemade (MYOG) versions of them to save weight.
4 Scouts per pyramid tent (since their packs are kept under the dining fly, there’s more than enough room). Can’t beat the shelter weight per Scout.
Lightweight, stormproof, and never a issue with Rangers.
Our crews averaged little over 25lbs carry weight per Scout, starting out of base camp (with 3 liters of water, 3 days of food and a share of crew gear per Scout)Feb 7, 2018 at 10:19 pm #3517137
Are you saying you used Mids with a separate floor? I thought it was a hard rule that you have an enclosed tent, i.e. floor attached or a traditional double wall setup (or mid with inner). The rangers at the workshop specifically said a mid with an inner would pass muster, but a tarp (mid or otherwise) with a ground sheet only would not.
Curious also on the size of the tents. They repeatedly said only 2-man tents because some camps don’t have space for more.
I’m steering our guys to the MSR tents they provide. It’s the adults that would seem to benefit more with a lighter load (I’ll speak for myself).
My MLD DuoMid XL (with the inner) is overkill for 1 and the inner is really small for 2 adults that aren’t related. I would take it with an MLD bug bivy but I got the impression the rangers would not allow it. It would frankly be a nice solution if another adult also had a bivy, and I think the mid would be really good in a pinch as a place for a few to sit around as needed in a storm.Feb 8, 2018 at 12:42 pm #3517260
Philmont does require an enclosed shelter, which can be an innernet with integrated floor.
The Nemo Dagger 2p is one I’m strongly considering. It gets great reviews and is several inches longer than the Hubba at the same weight.Feb 9, 2018 at 11:39 pm #3517542Tony RoncoBPL Member
RE: 2-Person Tent Capacity –
Here’s the quote from Philmont:
“ Two-person tents are highly recommended, as it is often difficult to find a spot to set up a larger tent in forested campsites.”
So, a 2-person tent is “highly recommended”, but that does NOT mean a 4-person is forbidden.
RE: Difficult to find a spot for a larger tent –
For a ‘Mid that’s at best, an exaggeration (… to be kind).
Here’s some actual trail data: With a total of 40 accumulative crew nights in Philmont’s backcountry with at least 20 of nights in a trail camp, we have never experienced not being able to find a spot to set-up a ‘Mid. (Most of those campsites, if not all, were forested campsites).
Foot Print Comparison –
The Philmont Thunder Ridge foot print is 88 in x 54 in. (2-person)
The BD Megalight foot print is 86 in x 86 in. (4-person)
The Thunder Ridge is 102% of the Megalight length and 63% of its widthFeb 10, 2018 at 3:09 am #3517593Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
The irony here is that on our Philmont trek, I saw at least one Philmont work crew lounging under a BD Megalight.Mar 14, 2018 at 1:58 pm #3524453Michael FBPL Member
I’m an ASM and co-leading a trek to PSR next June (2019) and we’re in the exact same boat as your troop. We are very much leaning toward the Nemo Dagger 2 for our 8 scouts. It seems to be a good compromise between durability, ease of setup, weight, floor space and headroom. We especially like that there is 2 entrances and vestibules.
For what it’s worth, I think we’re going to buck the general trend stove-wise and go with the MSR WhisperLife Universal so we can use the inverted canisters which eliminate the issue of fuel bottle leakage and are cleaner burning. We called PSR and they have caches of canisters in the backcountry for refills.
It looks like the PSR-issued dining fly and poles are extremely heavy (5 lbs total weight) and ripe for replacement with a silnylon tarp and using our own trekking poles. We’ve found an 27 oz. (10′ x 12′) option complete with dyneema line, stakes and carry bag on Amazon for $90.
I’ll be interested to see where you land with respect to gear choices. Good luck!
MichaelMar 14, 2018 at 4:00 pm #3524494
Stoves – I’m not sure you are really bucking the trend going with a canister stove. On the trail last year, only 1 crew that we talked with was using white gas. Everyone else was using canisters. I think that any stove that has a remote canister will work well at Philmont. We used the Kovea Spider, that supports inverted canisters also, and it worked great for our crew. We only used 2.5 of the 8oz canisters.
Tarp – yes, this is an easy win. The Philmont tarps are good, but heavier than you’d really like. As with most Philmont gear, they value survivability over lightweight.Mar 14, 2018 at 5:34 pm #3524516
I presented options to our scoutmaster and the other ASMs. They decided they’d prefer to use Philtents when we go next year.
So, to best simulate the weight of Philtents without paying the insane price of the MSR Thunder Ridge, I bought 1 REI Half Dome Plus 2. It’s close to the same dimensions and weight as the Thunder Ridge but much, much less money.
We’ll evaluate it and then likely buy several more that backpacking scouts can check out from the quartermaster.
Currently, scouts supply their own tents, but since we mostly car camp, most of the tents are 3 person tents but only 2 scouts per tent.
My personal preference was to get the Dagger and take them with us. They asked if we needed a tent or 2 for adults, but I said I’m using my Duplex. It weighs about 22 ounces. :)Mar 14, 2018 at 5:37 pm #3524519
We plan to use these XCELERATOR TITANIUM STOVES
They can’t use an inverted fuel canister, but we don’t plan on using them in super cold temps.
After watching scouts use our white gas stoves and factoring the risk of spilled fuel, we felt that canister stoves were a better idea.
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