- Jul 1, 2019 at 6:36 pm #3600196Tim PBPL Member
Are there any issues with condensation with the single-walled tents? My guess is no, based on the low humidity at PSR, but I have to ask.Jul 1, 2019 at 7:07 pm #3600206Matt DirksenBPL Member
@namelesswayLocale: Mid Atlantic
” My guess is no, based on the low humidity at PSR, but I have to ask.”
Unless a crew were camping in a moist, grassy open meadow close to a stream, and it happened to approach temps below 50 at night, than the answer is definitely “no”.
While there might be a few sites that fit that description at Philmont, sleeping in sub-50 degree temps from late June thru early August may only happen a few times over the course of the summer.
Sure, there are the weather “exceptions” out there, but they are few and far between.
So I’d never worry about a single walled tent there at all. And always have a small towel nearby anyway.Jul 1, 2019 at 7:09 pm #3600207
Yes, there are issues with condensation. We learned very quickly that there are tons of micro-climates. Certain canyons reflect heat during the day (near Metacalf Station for example) and the temps there are 10+ degrees warmer as a result. Other places, the air settles at night, it gets cooler and the resulting condensation appears on tents and gear in the morning. I would venture to say that 4 of my 10 mornings on the trail I woke to a moist tent (although proper venting greatly reduces this). In fact, the morning of 6/24 we awoke at Ponil with condensation on the inside of our tents and frost covering the outside of our tents and pack covers. Personally, I would not bring a single walled tent. Aside from the condensation issue, I remember one night in Upper Greenwood trail camp we camped near three streams because it is was one of the few water sources available in the area. Unfortunately, the area was also a breeding ground for lots of no seeums, gnats and lots of other little flying insects which I found in the morning between my rainfly and inner tent. Had I had a single wall tent, that night would have been pretty miserable.Jul 1, 2019 at 7:41 pm #3600217Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
@ Michael F. Most if not all single-walled tents from TarpTent, Zpack etc have mosquito netting.
@ Tim P. the answer is yes but no more than any other mountain range where you might take your single-walled tent.
For Philmont our trek was scheduled in late August, the monsoon season. I used a single-walled Lunar Solo from SixMoons Designs (the original edition which has been redesigned twice now.) I had to pitch in out correctly so it had as much ventilation as possible. There was one very long night of rain where I the front vestibule totally closed had to use a very small pack towel to wipe it down in the morning. Most nights I slept with the front vestibule wide open (but netted door closed) and had not problems with condensation.
But my worst nights with the Lunar Solo have been camping in the California Coast Ranges when the fog comes in at night. But even double walled tents have issues in those conditions.Jul 1, 2019 at 8:24 pm #3600231Matt DirksenBPL Member
@namelesswayLocale: Mid Atlantic
I suppose I’ll slightly amend my opinion from “no” to “not really”, based on @Michael F’s recent experiences.
Back in 2014, I used my TT Rainshadow 2 with another ASM, and had zero issues with condensation. But since it’s been a few years, it’s entirely possible I had a little bit of condensation in the mornings, but it was so minor it was never an issue.
And since I’m primary acclimated to the oppressive heat and humidity of summertime in the mid-Atlantic, Philmont’s weather was a very welcome relief.
So, I’d still recommend a “single walled” shelter without hesitation – as long as it’s a netted shelter and if one always has a towel handy.Jul 2, 2019 at 7:28 pm #3600376
Condensation on the inside and dew on the outside.
Your breath and skin give off a lot of moisture all night long and it condenses on the cooler tent walls and outside of your sleeping bag. The best solution is to pitch your tent on a rise where it can benefit from any breeze and to ventilate it as much as possible by opening any vents, doors and windows.
Dew on the outside is different camp to camp. But pitching your tent on a rise where it can benefit from any breeze is you only solution.
We strike and pack our dining fly before bedtime while it is still dry rather than in the morning when it will surely be soaked.
“Philmont should be enjoyed, not endured.” MoonshineJul 2, 2019 at 8:16 pm #3600377
Pitching your tent on a rise is going to be potluck at best and I wouldn’t rely on being able to do it. We did trek 23 and just concluded last week. Half of our camps were trail camp and half were staff camps. Any staff camp we spent the night at, we were assigned our campsite and given no choice. With 27,000 people coming through this year, every single site is in use and you get what you get. Further, at trail camps they tell you to leave the first and last campsites empty for wayward crews that may come in late from either direction. Depending on when you arrive at the trail camp, selection can be limited there too.
As if to emphasize just how over-booked Philmont is this summer, they’ve run out of canvas platform tents at camping HQ. I saw trail bound crews spending the night before going into the backcountry in their MSR Thunderridge or tents brought from home pitched in open areas between the canvas tents.Jul 2, 2019 at 9:06 pm #3600381
As far as staff assigning sites at Staffed Camps, we found some staffers seem to enjoy sticking crews in the worst sites. Often, they would hike us back to the farthest camp on a hill side the way we came in. Miss directed power issues.
We have full crews of 12 so we started picking our own best choice sites on the way in and notified the staff where we were camped. Sometimes they protested but we argued “who were they saving them for?” We paid our money same as everyone else and their job was to serve the customer, not their own egos.
And Trail Camps. If other crews get up late, sleep-in, cook breakfast, hike in the heat all day or are carrying too heavy packs then they don’t deserve the best, first or last camps. They deserve what is left, first come first served. Maybe it will encourage them to hike smarter in the future.
Like I’ve said before, we rise very early, hike in the cool and are at our next camp before noon most days so we get the best pick of sites and deserve them. Is that wrong?
“Philmont should be enjoyed, not endured.” MoonshineJul 3, 2019 at 2:23 pm #3600450
David, it sounds like you’ve had different experiences in prior years than what we had a few weeks ago. Some of which makes what you did in the past more difficult or not possible. At the busier staff camps we found numerous crews with layover days which meant if we were hiking in, the layover crew had already either gotten the best sites the night before or asked to be moved to the preferential ones first thing the next morning – long before we arrived. We also discovered that at the more organized staff camps they now have a chalkboard on the porch with all the camp sites and crew numbers in most cases pre-assigned based on length of stay, direction of travel or some other factor. In another case when we got to Miranda we were told that three days earlier they’d had a one year-old bear come visit a few of the sites so they were directing crews away from those sites. All this is to say, that your strategy of waking very early and getting to the next camp before noon to stake a claim on the choicest spot would not have worked well.
As far how other crews hike, whether they sleep in, what’s in their packs, when and what they eat, that is up to the crew leader and the crew, not the adult advisors (remember is *their* trek, it’s our vacation). If they want to stay up late, play cards and socialize, that is their prerogative. Philmont provides two cooked trail breakfasts this year. If they want to stick around camp to cook them, that’s up to them. As you say, “Philmont should be enjoyed” and I have yet to find a teenager who willingly likes to get up very early every single morning (maybe a few mornings, like to summit Baldy, but not all of them, for sure). We told our boys the ramifications of late starts – that it would mean hiking in the hotter part of the day or a suboptimal camp site but they shrugged it off…they prioritized sleep.
As I’ve written in other posts, Philmont is over booked this year which means programming at every camp is at a premium. Program counselors are doing their best but still only operate 8a-5p. During advisor coffee I heard repeatedly from other adults about how their crews were told that the first slots available for activities were at 8a or 9a the next morning not matter how early in the day they arrived. It’s been like a domino effect all summer with everyone getting pushed back.
Finally, our itinerary had a burro (the boys named him Frank). Frank was awesome but Frank moves at his own speed. Sure we wanted to get to Pueblano and Ponil faster but that just wasn’t happening – he’d kick or stop completely or generally move much slower than the boys. Keep in mind that all 8 boys on our crew are entering their junior year in high school and 5 of 8 are on the cross country and track team. Even with 40+ pound packs our guys could motor up a hill doing 16 minute miles zipping past the adults saying, “Every day is leg day!”
Anyway, I appreciate you have strategies for securing good camp sites and in some cases those will work. It is my experience from this year and from what I’ve heard both from other advisors and staffers, some of whom had many years of experience under their belts, that this year things are different.Jul 3, 2019 at 3:48 pm #3600464
Michael, thanks for sharing you’re your experiences.
The fires at Philmont have changed a lot of things and it may not be the same experience for some years.
Apparently, they are accepting more crews than usual to compensate those that got cancelled last year and have fewer camps because some were burned. It’s going to be crowded this summer.
In the past on higher numbered itineraries we seldom saw other crews except at commissaries, program camps and landmark features.
Staffed Camps have always been crowded so we always bid on itineraries with fewer Staffed Camps and more Trail Camps which is a much more wilderness experience. Their difficulty and mileage discourage many non-backpacking crews, so they are a more solitude experience.
Our troop got cancelled last year but is going again next year. I hope things will start to improve by then. Maybe the number of crews will be adjusted back to more normal numbers and maybe some new camps will be started easing congestion.
Our troop backpacks a lot so rising early, packing quickly and hiking when it is still cool is normal for our Scouts. Apparently, they would rather do fun things than sleep-in.
“Philmont should be enjoyed, not endured.” MoonshineJul 3, 2019 at 4:53 pm #3600484Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
<p style=”text-align: center;”>”If they want to stay up late, play cards and socialize, that is their prerogative. shrugged it off…they prioritized sleep.”</p>
i am not sure the method I have used will work with all crews.
But whether backpacking in California or at Philmont, the conversation I have facilitated with the Scouts goes like this.
What time to you want to arrive at the shotgun shooting event (or the fishing lake or the cars). Do you want to be the first in line for the black powder rifle shooting? After missing one shooting event at Philmont, my crew decided they always wanted to get to the events early. Following that decision point it is simple arithmetic (2.5 miles per hour plus one hour for every 1000 feet of climbing) to determine what time they had decided to get up. Of course 2 or 3 out of 8 or 9 will still try to sleep in as late as possible but the critical mass of the crew remembers the reason for getting up early.Jul 3, 2019 at 7:24 pm #3600508
David, I hate to discourage you but I think next year will be just as busy as this summer as they continue to work through the last of the backlog. My impression is that in the summer of 2021, attendance levels will fall back to pre-fire levels. For what it’s worth, our troop had a crew that got burned out last year too and will be going in 2020. The crew will have 3 adult advisors and 9 boys – all Eagles, 7 of whom will be 19 years old and returning from their freshman years in college (the other two will be high school juniors or seniors).
Here’s another anecdote. As the lead advisor I was the person who entered our trek preferences into the Philmont system. I specifically checked (or unchecked?) the option to have a sister crew – in other words we didn’t want one. When our crew chief and I got to logistics the guy across the table looked at us and told us that our sister crew was running late. I scratched my head and said, “I didn’t ask for a sister crew.” The guy disappeared, came back and said, “You are correct but in order to accommodate as many crews as possible you’ve been given one.” He continued by telling us that on 613, though there are 35 itineraries, they had 43 crews scheduled so basically one-third of crews were paired with a sister crew. As it turned out, our sister crew and their advisors were really great but it goes to show you the length to which Philmont is going, to get as many people in the back country as possible.Jul 4, 2019 at 3:44 am #3600568Phillip MBPL Member
In my previous three Philmont experiences, 1980, 2012, and 2016 we had a Philmont assigned sister crew each time and each time we had a great experience,
PhilJul 4, 2019 at 2:14 pm #3600592
The times we had sister crews we seldom saw them, even our own second crew. Even Trail Camps have enough separate sites that you won’t see or hear each other. Crews hike at different speeds so you only see each other when coming into or leaving camp or at activities.
So, they aren’t really a distraction. It’s the crowded Staffed Camps that are a distraction to the wilderness experience.Jul 7, 2019 at 11:24 pm #3601026
David, I’m not sure if you follow Philmont Scout Ranch on Facebook but they just posted the following message, “Today we set a base camp record: roughly 54 crews scheduled to arrive in a single day.” With north of 500 people entering the backcountry tomorrow alone you can bet the wilderness experience is pretty crowded (actually I’m sure it’s overflowing). For your crew’s sake (and others), I hope next summer you can find the wilderness experience you’re after.Jul 26, 2019 at 4:22 pm #3603552James ABPL Member
We just got back on July 8th. For the most part, we packed up dry in the mornings. However, at Fish Camp you are in a canyon next to a stream and everything was soaked in the morning, even with no rain. And at Clarks Fork it rained well into the night (our last night) so we brought everything base to base camp soaking wet.
As far as picking the best campsites, we found that if you ask staff what their favorite site is, they will usually hook you up with something nice. Our guys started off looking at the map on the way into camp and trying to decide which was the “best” site, but you really need to have somebody who knows the camp if you want to get a good one (or spend some time walking the entire camp yourself).
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