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Backpacking Light @ Philmont
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Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Backpacking Light @ Philmont on 05/03/2008 21:21:25 MDT Print View

More Scouts and Scouters attend the Philmont Scout Ranch in their Scouting careers than any other BSA High Adventure Base.

The purpose of this forum is to serve the needs of those attending Philmont who are interested in backpacking gear, technique, and lightweight style.

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
IWGBTP! on 05/03/2008 21:37:19 MDT Print View

Thanks Ryan for making this forum available.
Hopefully, we can provide a great Message Forum for those that have questions about Philmont.

Thanks again,

Edited by eaglemb on 05/03/2008 22:06:00 MDT.

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
2 Philmont slots open July 5 - 19 on 05/05/2008 19:32:44 MDT Print View

If a father son combination are interested, there are 2 slots open July 5 - 19, Trek 19. $770 each. PM me and I'll put you in contact with the crew.


Kyle Hetzer
(Ghost93) - F

Locale: Western MD
Re: Backpacking Light @ Philmont on 05/08/2008 09:10:48 MDT Print View

Sometimes I wonder about the scouting community (at least in my area) when it comes to lightweight backpacking. I gave a backpacking demo at a BSLOT (Boy Scout Leader Outdoor Tranning) tranning class last fall, and had various types of shelters setup. I had a 8x10 silnylon tarp pitched in bomber mode, a DIY tarp tent, a Single wall Eureka, and a Double wall Kelty and a DIY hammock(too show what each was, and what was available). Most of the guys laughed at the tarp and said that they didn't like the no floor aspcet of the shelter or no bug protection. Some also said that a tent is much warmer. Although when I asked what was lighter, a few extra ounces of Insulation and a few pounds of uneed nylon, I got some; Oh yea I guess that makes sense.

On the flip side, last October, While on three day trip with my Troop, we shared a campsite with another troop, and some of the leaders were carrying ULA Catylists and another a SMD Comet. So I guess it all comes with experience.

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Re: Re: Backpacking Light @ Philmont on 05/09/2008 18:50:29 MDT Print View

Hi Kyle,
good post. I think there is enough old school still in BSA that lightweight hasn't fully taken hold yet, or maybe "we" haven't done as good of a job as we could on showing why it's a very viable option.

After seeing several scouts last year with 60 - 80 lb packs, (and they were proud of it the first day) I had to wonder what they looked like day 10...

Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
Philmont to stock canister fuel on 05/10/2008 16:56:43 MDT Print View

News from Philmont is that in 2008 they will carry fuel canisters first time (isopro/butane). For our crews this means we just might not have to carry all of our fuel for the entire 10 days. The Tooth of Time Traders website says that a few of the backcountry trading posts will carry fuel canisters. In the past they have only carried white gas and Coleman specific canisters.

More good news about carrying a light pack at Philmont.

Joe Westing
(pedro87) - F
Re: Philmont to stock canister fuel on 05/10/2008 17:30:00 MDT Print View

At the Tooth of Time Traders website they claim that canister stoves are less fuel efficient than liquid fuel stoves. They say that it takes 3 8-oz canisters to boil the same amount of water as 1 22-oz fuel bottle. I had always heard that canister stoves were actually more efficient than liquid fuel stoves.

At the bottom of the page they list burn times and boil times for many common canister and liquid fuel stoves.

MSR Whisperlite (very efficient white gas stove) - 136 min burn time per 20-oz bottle - 3.9 min boil time for 1 L -
20/136 = 0.147 oz per minute - 3.9(0.147) = 0.574 oz per L

MSR Pocket Rocket (efficient canister stove) - 60 min burn time per 8-oz canister - 3.5 min boil time for 1 L
8/60 = 0.133 oz per minute - 3.5(0.133) = 0.466 oz per L

According to my calculations, the MSR Pocket Rocket (canister stove) would be more efficient than the liquid fuel MSR Whisperlite. In addition, the Pocket Rocket would be lighter (3 oz. vs 11 oz.), more reliable, cheaper, and simpler to use. I am very glad that Philmont is carrying canisters, and I wish they stocked canisters when I went to Philmont :( If I messed up my calculations please let me know.

edit: another factor that I just thought of is canister weight vs fuel bottle weight. You could possibly be carrying more dead weight with used canisters but I don't think it would not be significant if large canisters were used.

Edited by pedro87 on 05/11/2008 11:23:02 MDT.

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Re: Re: Philmont to stock canister fuel on 05/10/2008 23:25:30 MDT Print View

Hi Phil and Peter,
I tried to do an analysis a couple of years ago, it's below. The only consideration is that the isopropane may have greater difficulties at altitude.
Here's the analysis, any feedback is appreciated.
(I've updated the chart as a gif so it is easier to read)
Feedback appreciated.

Stove Comparison

Edited by eaglemb on 05/11/2008 10:48:19 MDT.

Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
Re: Philmont to stock canister fuel on 05/11/2008 05:55:57 MDT Print View

Hi Mike. You've done a little more detail work than I have on the weight comparison. But your calculations are convincing to me. A canister stove and fuel could be half the weight of a white gas alternative.

We'll have one night at about 11,000' elevation. We probably won't be cooking at that dry camp anyway. (We'll have our hot meal for lunch that day where we have better access to water).

At the Tooth of Time Traders website I sense an assumption around boiling gallons of water for a meal. Our crews of 9 each plan to boil 2 x 2 quart pots for cooking and cleaning at our one hot meal each day. We might have to heat one more pot for cleaning. Since all our cooking will be boil, soak, and set our hot water requirements are significantly reduced. Each crew will use 2 x MSR Windpro stoves with a well fitting foil windscreen.

Even if the canisters suffer some lost efficiency with altitude do these assumptions make sense?
- Lower average weight for canister stoves vs. white gas
- Adequate stove output with canister stoves
- Simpler operation & no maintenance hassle for canister stoves vs. white gas

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Re: Re: Philmont to stock canister fuel on 05/11/2008 10:32:11 MDT Print View

Yes they make sense Phil.

My primary concern with canisters would be availability at the back country trading posts. I expect they will have them, but..... If you depend upon that and are down to your last canister and they're out.... Cold hawaiian chicken doesn't sound so great.

As another plus for canisters, I have a minor concern about the carrying of liquid fuel: If it leaks out it may cause an interesting delima if carried inside someone's pack. If a canister leaks (ala dirt was allowed to get in the valve the last time it was used), you lose the gas but it disperses pretty quickly.

Edited by eaglemb on 05/11/2008 14:21:59 MDT.

Joe Westing
(pedro87) - F
Re: Re: Re: Philmont to stock canister fuel on 05/11/2008 11:22:18 MDT Print View

Mike - great analysis (much better than mine)

Phil - I don't think canister stove efficiency would be noticeably decreased at only 11,000 feet. From what I have read, I am pretty sure altitude only becomes a serious factor until you get much higher (greater than 14000 feet) but please correct me if I am wrong.

Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
Re: Philmont to stock canister fuel on 05/11/2008 13:13:57 MDT Print View

Peter, I think you're right. I've used canisters at about 10K elevation before. Any loss in efficiency is negligible for the amount of time we'll be at altitude.

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Turkey Baggin on 05/11/2008 14:27:38 MDT Print View

Phil (and others)
are you guys turkey bagging?

Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
Re: Turkey Baggin on 05/11/2008 14:50:28 MDT Print View

Mike, we will be cooking in a turkey bag (those mylar film cooking bags that you find at the grocery store). At the least we will use a plastic bag of some sort to cook everything. As we've discussed before the huge benefit is to eliminate dishwashing. Next, you gain fuel efficiency by never simmering food on the stove.

My last decision is whether to cobble together an envelope from Reflectix. Our shakedown hikes have been warm weather. Even though Reflectix isn't the most amazing insulation it works well for the application. Only a couple of ounces of material should be enough to cook dinner for 9.

What is everyone's experience with turkey baggin'? Do you use insulation?

Curt Ward
(cward508) - F
Re: Turkey Baggin on 05/11/2008 15:38:50 MDT Print View

In 2006 we cooked all our dinners in turkey bags and will do the same again in 2008. We use the heavy duty Reynolds bags without any tears or spills. We pack one for each meal and do not try to reuse them. We use them during our training treks and the Scouts get very comfortable using them and they love the cleanup.
If you want to practice on a smaller scale, use a heavy duty freezer bag. There are some great posts on this subject on the philmontforum and freezerbagcooking.
Have fun,
2008 Trek 705K

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Philmont to stock canister fuel on 05/11/2008 16:26:22 MDT Print View

> The only consideration is that the isopropane may have greater difficulties at altitude.
If anything, the canisters will work better at altitude, all other things being equal. In reality, altitude has very little effect on a canister stove BY ITSELF.

But with altitude comes cold, and upright canister stoves do have a problem when the temperature gets near freezing. The butane stops boiling at -0.5 C. That's when you switch to a remote canister stove and use the canister inverted (or use a Powermax).

Yes, canister stoves are more fuel-efficient than liquid fuel stoves. That has been proven time and again.

The chance of getting dirt in the valve is miniscule, especially if you keep the little plastic cap which comes with the canister, and always put it back on.

John Myers
(dallas) - F - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Lighter Gear on 05/13/2008 14:52:48 MDT Print View

We are going to Philmont this year and all of our participants have been working to get their pack weights down. This site is one of the resources that they have been using to learn about new gear and ways to reduce weight.

While some Scouts in the past may not have paid much attention to pack weight, that philosophy is changing. Doug Prosser and others have helped spread the word on the benefits of lighter gear. Having more fun on a trek because your pack is much lighter is certainly a major benefit.

Thanks for making a special area for us to share specifics.

29 days and counting

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Re: Lighter Gear on 05/13/2008 18:17:09 MDT Print View

Hey John, let us know how it is, and what trek you're on.


Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
Re: Lighter Gear on 05/13/2008 19:31:50 MDT Print View

John, that is great to hear. Please fill us in on the trek.
8 weeks to go for us.
Go light. Have more fun.
710-B2 trek 23

Edited by flyfast on 05/13/2008 19:33:37 MDT.

David Hohl
(dahohl) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern PA
Bag Cooking on 05/14/2008 06:30:05 MDT Print View

We've used "cooking" (if that's what you call re-hydrating with hot water) in Ziploc bags in '99 and '05 with great success.
Everyone eats all of their food, finger-washes their bowls with their drinking water and chugs the "wash" water from their bowls (not as bad as it sounds). One of the youth licks the serving spoon clean. Washing dishes then was next to no work at all, with the result of a little soapy grey water down the sump.
The net result though was that we've carried the yum-yum Frisbee for no reason. No use for the yum-yum bag, because any left over food particles are left in the Ziploc. No use for the scrubbie because no pots to scrub.
We did double bag each bag in case of a puncture or leak (which never happened), but re-used the outer bag.
Some are concerned about freezer bags giving off harmful chemicals, but the Ziploc site says otherwise: (see their #1 FAQ).

Bottom line: Can’t beat the fast clean-up, we save the weight of the extra fuel that we would have needed to boil all of the wash water, the extra weight of the bags was negligible, the time savings was great, everyone in the crews loved the system (or got used to it), and it worked VERY well on both treks.

Now all we need to do is convince the Ranger that we don’t need to carry the yum-yum Frisbee…