November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
LIghtweight Philmont Experince
Display Avatars Sort By:
Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
LIghtweight Philmont Experince on 06/24/2008 21:16:41 MDT Print View

When you complete your trek, particularly with lightweight gear, please share your experience with the rest of us: What went well, but more importantly what didn't. Seems like I learn a lot more when things don't go as well as would have liked.

John Myers
(dallas) - F - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Re: LIghtweight Philmont Experince on 06/25/2008 11:55:46 MDT Print View

We returned last night. Our expedition was 612. Awesome trek.

My pack base weight was 19 lbs which included my video camera, GPS and some troop emergency items such as a sewing kit, extra boot laces, safety pins, eyeglass repair kit, extra rope, tent stakes, duct tape, super glue, etc.

Here are my thoughts:

Silnylon dining fly (18 oz). Saved about 4 lbs over the Philmont issue fly and poles. We had trekking poles but never used them, just tied the fly to trees.

Gossamer Gear Squall Classic tent (22 oz). Some light condensation 2 nights but worked awesome overall.

Tyvek ground cloth (7.5 oz). Worked great.

MSR Windpro stove (10 oz). Worked great, clean flame and easy to use. Backcountry commissaries had plenty of fuel.

MSR Whisperlite (13 oz). We much preferred the canister fuel stove. This liquid fuel stove was harder to light, sooty and don't adjust flame as well. It did perform it's intended function though.

4 quart Open Country pots (13 oz). Took 2. Worked well but will trade one for a 6 quart pot next time. Would have been better to have one bigger pot.

JRB Rocky Mountain Sniveler quilt (28 oz). Awesome. I much prefer a quilt to a bag, but YMMV.

Big Agnes insulated air core pad (23 oz). This is a heavier pad but I sure enjoyed the comfort on those hard rocky tent areas.

GoLite Pinacle pack (25 oz). Worked well with my gear, but shoulder straps hurt after about 5 hours of hiking with full load (food/water/troop gear).

Titanium Goat treking poles (6 oz). Worked great. Had never used poles before but came to like them as the trek progressed. I used one for the front pole of the tent.

SteriPen Adventurer (4 oz). Never used it. Troop had 2 Katadyn filters and the boys filtered all the water.

Vasque Breeze XCR boots (48 oz). Very good boot for me, they fit my feet well. I have heard of the use of trail runner shoes but the trails we took were extremely rocky and I was very glad to have some ankle support. I recommend boots there.

DriDucks raingear (12.5 oz top & bottom total). Only used the top once so I can't report on their effectiveness over extended use.

Slinglight chair (22 oz). Loved it. Bulky to strap to the back of pack, but didn't hinder me any and I sure did enjoy the comfort of a chair with a back and headrest. I would also consider some of the lighter 3 legged stools that are more practical for eating/cooking, etc.

Glad ForceFlex trash bag for pack liner (1 oz). Worked ok but added to the hassle of packing the pack. Will consider a few more ounces for an external pack cover next time.

Blue shop towels (2 oz). Came in really handy. I took 10 and used them all.

Rains Skinni Mini umbrella (4.5 oz) Never used it. I wanted to try this out for rain and sun protection, but didn't really have the chance. Would have used it for sun protection on the section from Tooth of Time to base camp but it was cloudy so I didn't need it.

Would have liked to have taken some lighter bear bag rope but ran out of time. The boys carried the ropes and it didn't seem to matter to them.

Well... hope that helps.



Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
Re: Re: LIghtweight Philmont Experince on 06/25/2008 20:46:03 MDT Print View

THANKS, John. Great report. I can't wait to go. Less than 2 weeks to go.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Pack Base Weight on 06/26/2008 08:41:30 MDT Print View


Thanks for the report.

Did your 19 lbs. include water?
How much weight do you think the food is on a typical resupply day?

Sounds like a great time.


John Myers
(dallas) - F - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Pack Weight on 06/26/2008 15:19:54 MDT Print View

No, that weight was without food or water. Our maximum food supply was 4 days x 3 meals per day x 6 packages per meal (each package supplies 2 meals) = 72 packages. We had 11 in our crew so each took 6 or 7 meal packages. We didn't have a way to weigh them and each meal has slightly different weight. Lunches seemed to be the heaviest. I estimate the average weight to be around 1 to 1.5 lbs per package. That adds about 10 lbs max after resupply and diminishes with each meal.

I am now curious how much the food actually weighs. Maybe someone can 'weigh in' on that.


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Pack Weight on 06/26/2008 16:19:24 MDT Print View

> I am now curious how much the food actually weighs.
On a sustainable basis with carefully selected totally dry foods you need about 750 g (26.5 oz) per person per day. You can reduce this a little by swapping some carbos out in favour of fats, but that has problems for some.

On a non-sustainable basis ... I know one guy who runs on about 300 g per day (much cheese and salami), but he has a body weight loss (ie fat) each day of about 450 - 500 g!


Joe Johnstone
(entropy) - F
Some ideas on 06/30/2008 16:13:26 MDT Print View

After the first food pickup, we realized hardly anybody drank the gatorade, so on the next pickup, we put it all in the swap boxes, and anyone that wanted gatorade had to carry their own.

We used a Kelty Noah 12z12 tarp with the kely poles. Saved a good deal of weight over the Philmont. I'm suprised that your ranger let you tie off the tarp to trees.

If we would have been able to and afford it, using three man tents for the boys would have ben a good idea.

We also used 2 - 4qt pots, and while ok, having one 6 qt qould have been better.

Douglas Prosser
(daprosser) - MLife

Locale: Camarillo, California (SCAL)
Re: Some ideas on 07/02/2008 22:36:52 MDT Print View

Yes. We always get rid of the Gatorade out of our food.

I think our tarp is either 8X10 or 10X12 but we use our trekking poles to set it up. Philmont usually does not want you to tie off to trees.

An Yes again to the 6 liter pot. I also felt that 2-4 liter are too smaill unless using multiple food groups for your crew. We always cook as one crew.
Here is the link for the pot:

I had our troop purchase a number of the
Sierra Designs Origami 2 Ultralight Two-person, 3-season Tarp - 2007 Model ~2lbs!! for Philmont this year.
Our Price: $139.00
Sale: $79.95

Enjoy the trek.

Douglas Prosser
(daprosser) - MLife

Locale: Camarillo, California (SCAL)
Another Idea on Rain Gear for Philmont: on 07/02/2008 22:50:57 MDT Print View

I have tried Frogg Toggs, Dri-ducks, and last year Patagonia Spraymaster top & bottoms. The Patagonia worked the best but cost & weighed the most. This year something new.
Mountain Hardwear Stimulus jacket (no hood) size large 6.4 oz on my scale. Nice long tail, welded seams.
ULA Rain Wrap 3.0 oz on my scale for Med

With signing up for the Treking I course here ( we were able to get ProPricing from Mountain Hardwear & GoLite. This alone saved a bunch of the cost for the course. The Stimulus Jacket above was only 50% of retail.

Jeff S
(jds43) - F
Lightweight at Philmont on 07/12/2008 09:45:26 MDT Print View

Just returned from a lightweight Philmont trek.
38 lbs out of basecamp with water and 5 days food.

Key weight saving items:
8 x 10 siltarp
Golite Shangri La 3 Tent
Golite Pinnacle backpack
Big Agnes Clearview Sleeping Pad
JetBoil Cooking

We checked out one Philmont Tent,the Philmont Frisbee and 5 bear bags with ropes for our crew gear.

The tent was a sacrifice as it was not as waterproof, bugproof or rodent proof as we would have liked. It will not make the next trip (although it is really light).

The Big Agnes Clearview pad is great! 2.5 inches of inflatable, side sleeper comfort. I was worried about durability, but combined with the clearview pillow and I was sleeping comfortably all trip.

The GoLite Pinnacle backpack is perfect for Philmont, just don't get stuck carrying more than 40lbs because someone else has gone 'heavy'. Packing well takes some practice. We had 3 on our trek. A little hot due to the large contact area on your back, so take this into consideration.

Marmot Precip raingear was great. My advise is NOT to skimp on raingear as being soaked can severely impact your enjoyment!

I carried a Crazy Creek chair as my one luxury item, and I'm glad I did. It's nice to have a cushioned place to sit and to have some back support while out on the trail. I'd to it again.

Go lite at Philmont!

Blevin Davis
(pinger) - MLife

Locale: Florida
Re: LIghtweight Philmont Experince on 07/12/2008 19:03:47 MDT Print View

We returned a couple of days ago. Our expedition was 627-F2. Trek 27; it was an awesome trek.

My pack weight trail bound was 31 lbs on the Philmont scales. This included my camera, crew gear, 4 days of food and 3 liters of water. My pack, quilt and tent were MYO items. I weighed my pack again when we returned to base camp. With a little food left over from breakfast and lunch and about ½ liter of water it weighed 17 lbs. Here's my report:

MYO Mariposa style pack. I made this pack based on a friend's GG Mariposa. It worked great. The only complaint I had was my belt would roll in the belt pocket for some reason. The real GG packs didn't do this; I am still trying to determine what caused this.

MYO Climashield Combat quilt. I was pleased with the quilt overall, however I was cold several nights. My watch indicated it was in the low 40s (upper 30's one night at Ute Meadows). The 32-degree rating for the insulation was very optimistic. With a silk weight base layer, 100-weight fleece and my Frogg Toggs I did OK. If I did it over again I would make the quilt out of 7.5 oz insulation! And bring mid-weight base layers to sleep in.

MYO Bigley style tarp tent w/ tyvek ground cloth. Several nights we had some light condensation but it worked great overall.

Big Agnes insulated air core pad. I was able to use the mid length mummy size pad. It was great for the comfort on those hard rocky tent areas.

Montrail Hardrock Trail Runners. These shoes were great. They gave me plenty of support and held up well. Don't fall for the "you must wear boots at Philmont" line.

Frogg Toggs raingear. We had heavy thunderstorms on 3 afternoons. The rain suits held up well. I also wore it to sleep and in the mornings as we were breaking camp. It's showing some wear but has no holes and has not wet through yet.

REI Traverse treking poles. These worked great. Got them on sale and a customer discount too so I can't complain about the weight. I used one for the front pole of the tent.

I used trash compactor bags to waterproof my pack. This worked well. I only put my quilt and clothes in the bag.

For our crew gear:

MSR Whisperlite. The stove worked well. One of our sister crews had MSR canister stoves; we seemed to be boiling water at the same rate as them. Our fuel seemed to last longer. I think they had some issues with fuel re-supplies, canisters were limited. Backcountry commissaries had plenty of liquid fuel.

10-quart Open Country pots. Took 2. Worked well, crews that only took the 4-quart pots had to boil water twice. We used one to boil the water and "cooked" the meals in turkey roasting bags in the second pot. On the nights when we had 2 hot items they both fit in the bigger pot while they rehydrated. This helped to keep the food warm.

Silnylon dining fly (18 oz). We used treking poles to set it up along with Ti stakes. This was much better than the issue 4-5 lbs tarp.

Safe trek to those of you on your way. Watch out for the Mini Bears, they are vicious!


Timothy Akin

Locale: Northern California
our Philmont gear on 07/13/2008 16:15:22 MDT Print View

We’re recently returned from Philmont, trek 619-M. Had thundershowers almost everyday. Marmot rain pants worked great. They kept me dry and they were very easy to don quickly with the large zips up and down the outside of each leg. I love my rain jacket: REI’s Elements. It may be a bit heavy (15oz.), but it kept me dry, and is very durable.

Used two trash compactor bags (3oz. each); one for my sleeping bag compartment liner, and the other for the main compartment liner. Also used an REI silnylon pack cover that performed very well. Everything stayed dry, even in heavy rain.

Our ranger allowed us to use trees to run the rain-fly ridgeline, but we were not allowed to use rocks to hammer in tent stakes. Said it put scratches on the rocks. Had to use deadwood branches to hammer stakes. We used the issued 5 lb. fly, (should have brought our own silnylon rain-fly).

For shelter, I used my silnylon Contrail Tarptent (20 oz.). This worked great and I would use it again. Full bathtub floor kept us (son and I) dry during an overnight heavy rainstorm. My groundsheet worked fine as well (Gossamer Gear polypro). Could not get groundsheet to stay under my tent on one windy day, but the Contrail does not really require a groundsheet.

For a sleep pad, I used Gossamer Gear’s, closed cell, Nightlight (7 oz.). This worked great as I don’t require much padding. It seemed a bit too long for me, so I cut about 14 inches off one end and folded the small piece in two to be used as a sit pad. My son had a Thermarest Trekker chair (10 oz.) rolled up in his Thermarest Prolite 4R pad (26 oz.). We used the chair maybe twice, so I would not bring it again.

I have become very dependent on my trekking poles (Black Dia. Alpine CF). The FlickLocks are awesome. Simple, quick, and held tight all day. I never had to mess around with my poles like others in my crew did with the friction locks on their Leki poles. I was very happy to have poles for the steep descent off the NW side of Mt. Phillips and another steep descent along Bonito Creek approaching Abreu.

For eating, I purchased the $9 Philmont 18 fl oz. Glacier Stainless Steel mug from the trading post (5 oz. weight). It was all I needed for meals and worked great for evening Advisors Coffee on the porches. I also used a Ti spork, but a spoon would have worked much better. It was difficult to really do a good job scraping out my cup with the toothy spork.

Enjoy your trek,

Edited by tj on 07/14/2008 16:34:09 MDT.

paul buzzard
(troop208) - F
Philmont 630 H3 trek responses on 07/14/2008 10:05:02 MDT Print View

Just got back as well. Some feedback:

As crew advisor, the constant harp for lightweight preparation went somewhere between nowhere and listened to.

My pack weighed 35# with 4 days food, 1/3 tent, 3+ liters of water, and my share crew gear when leaving first day. Fine for me. Others in our crew ranged from high 30's to more like mid 40's, including 44 for a 98 pound scout. Highest was 49 for another advisor. We had a large group, 13 people.
What worked: Amsteel rope, noted in other post. Great purchase, although almost didn't make the trek. We had a brand new ranger, 5th trip out, and her position was no substitute ropes. Had to go over her head to get cleared up. Loved it and the weight savings was over 3#. Silnylon 12 x 12 shelter with hiking poles, weight savings over 5# if you count using separate poles. We had rain a few times, and we could rig this a number of ways, using rubber innertubes to securely hold the poles together. 100% great. We took one 12 quart pot and one 4 quart pot with al. pie pans for lids. This was just right for our group. Coffee and/or second dinner item in the smaller pot, dinner in the big one. Micropur was very easy to use and really didn't have any taste, at least to me. Way easier than filtering.
What didn't work/couldn't use: Had to bring sump frisbee, couldn't persuade ranger to use paint strainers. Didn't make my day, but after the bear bag rope issue, I really didn't want to push anymore on the first day. Turkey bags: We brought them, used them the first couple days, then stopped. Boys will be boys, and mixing the dinner to avoid lumps always punctured the bags, even when taking care. So the pot had to be cleaned anyway, although only liquids were in there. And getting all the goods out of the bags was messy. So we just used the big pot and the scraper. We had pot cleaner hungry scouts who learned to use the scraper very well, LOL. We used Zip loc or turkey bags for pudding and potatoes and they did work well.
Stoves: We have very nice Optimus Nova stoves. The white gas at Philmont, basically sucked. We have never had a problem with these stoves at altitude or anywhere, using Coleman fuel. I made sure the fuel was filtered with my filers, but stove performance was frustrating. We cleaned them pretrip and had performance issues. Had to be the fuel. They did work, just not the way they should have. That being said, our fuel consumption was very low. Coffee every day for 3, and dinner every night. We brought 2 20 ounce bottles and one liter bottle filled to the lines for cooking at base camp, meaning not filled to the brim, probably 4/5ths. We never refilled and had about 1/2 liter left over. That's about it on equipment.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Bear Bag Rope on 07/15/2008 14:54:23 MDT Print View

I am wondering what type of rope they do give out.

We have decided to use a method using 3 caribiners to make a 2/1 mechanical pulley. We are using parachute cord. Will they let us use that rope.

Ideally, I would like to use Amsteel, however, I cannot locate it at a decent price.

Any ideas?


paul buzzard
(troop208) - F
rope on 07/16/2008 07:06:00 MDT Print View

The Philmont rope is some very large 1/2" diameter nylon. Two 150' lengths. Big and heavy, but works. We got the Amsteel from the same place as mentioned in, I think this thread, Redden Marine Supply, Bellingham WA. 360-733-0250
or google it. 7/64ths inch size was .14 per foot. We used 1 150' length for main bag, and 1 100' piece for the oops bag. They were about the right length. We got hassled, but proved the rope was tougher than the nylon one. I would print out specs for both and bring, if you buy, to prove your point. Cost was $49 delivered. Parachute cord isn't allowed, and believe me, the bags are very heavy with initial food load. I am not sure that is strong enough. Any way I doubt that will pass muster.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
7/64 Amsteel on 07/16/2008 12:17:41 MDT Print View


I wish I had seen your post sooner. I ordered 150' of rope. I had heard that 75' would do. We are planning on using a 3 caribiner method.

My question is would 75' be long enough to tie the main rope? With that method you tie 2 biners together, throw them over the wire and lower. Pass rope from upper biner, down to bag attched with another biner, and then through the biner at the top. It's a 2-1 mechanical advantage. You can see it on Gossamer Gear's website. I should have bought more but I paid a bit more than I wanted. I found it for 6 cents a foot cheaper later in the day. At least I didn't get it at West Marine or the like for .73 cents a foot.


te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
lightweight line on 07/16/2008 12:39:58 MDT Print View

this stuff is high quality
dont know if they'll allow it, but man it sure would work a bunch of other places... fwiw

Edited by mikeinfhaz on 07/16/2008 14:23:59 MDT.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Samson Twine on 07/16/2008 12:44:54 MDT Print View

I could just imagine showing up with "twine" to hang the bear bag. If they have problems with the 7/64 stuff could you imagine if you said, "Hey, we'll just use this twine". Looks like strong stuff.


paul buzzard
(troop208) - F
amsteel/hanging methods on 07/18/2008 06:51:24 MDT Print View


I didn't want to fight our ranger on hanging methods. Good luck with using another non philmont way, depends on the ranger, no doubt. Make sure you test your biners for weight holding capacity. If they are climbing ones, no problems, but any other style, make sure they can hold at least 75#. Practice hang would be my adivse at least once with that much weight. We already had enough disagreements, so I didn't care. So we used the regular Philmont method, which is simple and relatively easy to do. And it has double safety, meaning if one rope breaks, or is chewed by a bear, or whatever, the main bag{s} will still stay up, given the single rope can hold the weight. The oops bag is held by a single rope only. But all your food is on the main rope, the double one. Our 150' main rope worked everywhere, double tied to two trees, meaning 75' each "side". Close a couple of camps, but no problems. The oops rope was 100', overkill all but one place. We used a pulley for the oops rope, worked great, but 'biner would be fine as well.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Thanks for the Reports/I'm Out on 07/18/2008 11:54:52 MDT Print View

Hey all,

Thanks for all of the reports and especially to those that have been posting on this site since its inception (thanks BPL!). I'm on the train Sunday on my way to Trek 23.

These last posts have reminded me of what it is like to deal with scouting leaders. I've done all I can do so I will just go along with what they say as long as I can use my Sil-Nylon tarp, amsteel rope, paint strainers and not cooking in a big pot. We'll see what happens.

The biggest part of our preparations is to have taught the kids how to go out safely without having a ton of extra stuff. We had our last shakedown hike last week and it was impressive to see all of the packs tight, light and compact, without any extraneous items hanging off. We've been working on our packs for a long time and I think we did a great job.

What am I looking forward to? Getting to camp and taking a nap!

See you on the return.

Thanks again!