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Philmont bearbagging
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Mark Rash
(markrvp) - M

Locale: North Texas
Food Bag on 04/12/2012 20:31:04 MDT Print View

Our crew is using the Sea-to-Summit Ultra-Sil 20L dry bags for our food/bear bags. This was based on a recommendation by Al Geist in his information about Philmont.

Gordon Forrest
Sea to Summit on 04/13/2012 06:08:39 MDT Print View

Mark, have you found a good source for those 20L bags? has a good price but they don't appear to have enough in stock.

Mark Rash
(markrvp) - M

Locale: North Texas
Re: Sea to Summit on 04/13/2012 23:20:47 MDT Print View

We get them at REI and Backwoods locally in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Donald Howard
(DonH) - F
Bear Bagging Rope on 04/14/2012 16:36:39 MDT Print View

If the Amsteel 7/16" rope is going to be an issue what is the lightest 1/4 rope you can buy?

Walter Underwood
(wunder) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Ultra-sil bags on 04/23/2012 21:33:34 MDT Print View

My son took a 20 liter ultrasil bag on a week-long trip in the Sierras and tore holes in it. Those are great bags, but not really built for hauling big loads of food.

Take the Philmont bags, take the Philmont ropes. They aren't that heavy and they work.

If you have 50 feet of lightweight line, you might use that and a rock bag to get the ropes over the bear bag cables. Some of those suckers are really high.

Each meal is already in a sealed plastic bag. That is protection against casual water exposure. Most of our crew carried a stuff sack as a food bag for ease of organization, but it certainly doesn't need to be a dry sack.

Here are a couple of photos of a four-day load of food for a crew of ten. We'd had lunch, this was bear-bag hanging training with our Ranger before dinner. It is heavy. We have six people pulling on the rope and two people pushing on the bags.

Mimi Hatch
(theturtlebear) - M

Locale: Baltimore
Heads up about bringing your own bear bags on 04/25/2012 09:57:31 MDT Print View

Every year I get input/updates from advisors for the annual revision to The Philmont Advisor's Guide ( Sometimes my reviewers report "policy changes" that I question as just opinions or actions from their specific ranger and not Philmont policy. When that happens, I check with Mark Anderson's office. Last year, one of my reviewers told me that Philmont did not allow people to bring their own food bags, but the crew in point had specifically brought their own stuff sacks and not feed bags. Since my own crews normally bring new feed bags(@ 50 cents each), i.e. same thing that Philmont uses except they aren't worn out or raveling and are more water resistant when new, I was curious to see if this was true. Mark Anderson wrote back to me personally and said he had no problem with crews bringing their own feed bags instead of the Philmont-issued feed bags, but that the Philmont staff "are hesitant with the variety of other bags that some people try to bring" (aka validating that you might find your stuff sacks vetoed by your ranger when you get to Philmont). We too just use the Philmont-issued ropes btw, as I don't see spending money on any rope that is going to be dragged across a metal cable repeatedly, and never useful for any serious rope purpose again.

Donald Howard
(DonH) - F
Bear Bags on 04/27/2012 06:18:29 MDT Print View

Why would the rangers care what type of bear bag a crew uses as long as it can do the job intended? I can see them vetoing a crew using plastic grocery bags but vetoing UL dry bags?

Same with a crew's rope choice. If a crew wants to buy light weight rope as long as it meets a standard, say 1000# tensile strength, than why should that be an issue?

What I'm hearing is that there's different standards depending on what ranger you get. That just adds to confusion and makes planning difficult for crews.

I was talking with someone who went last year and his crew left brand new lightweight gear behind because their ranger insisted on the Philmont way in every respect.

Tony Ronco
(tr-browsing) - MLife
RE: Heads up about bringing your own bear bags on 06/08/2012 09:00:40 MDT Print View

Individual Bear Bags -

Last summer our troop sent two crews to Philmont ... both crews brought and used their own individual bear bags - it worked well for us (as mentioned in an earlier post).

During that experience and seeing the bear bagging set-ups from other crews around the various camps, I would "guesstimate" about 20% of the crews were using this method during the time and the camps we visited.

So, this is the first time I've heard that there may be a problem with Ranger approval.
Up to this point, I was not aware of it being a problem from our own experiences, from within our council nor I have I read it being a problem from the participants from on-line forums.
Learning some "new" possibilities.

I wonder if this was an unfortunate case of pushing the Ranger's "buttons". They have a job to do and expect to be respected. Diplomacy skills and the Scout Law are important in our actions.

Alternative Amsteel Blue Rope -

On the other hand, as other threads have indicated, this IS a "luck of the draw" in terms of Ranger approval. Although those ropes work great (using the appropriate techniques), and are much lighter and more durable than their Philmont issued counterparts, there is NO guarantee of their acceptance of use.
"Luck of the draw" and diplomacy skills rule here.

Edited by tr-browsing on 06/18/2012 00:30:37 MDT.

Mike bievenour
(mrbieven) - F
process on 06/11/2012 04:45:18 MDT Print View

Can some on explain the philmont way of hanging bags and the oops bag. I would like to give my crew some training before we go.

George Geist
(geist) - M

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: Philmont Way of hanging bags on 06/11/2012 22:36:02 MDT Print View

Hi Mike,

You can find a description of the Philmont way of hanging bags at

You can ignore the parts about the lightweight Amsteel rope and
just focus on teaching your boys the hanging method described.


Mimi Hatch
(theturtlebear) - M

Locale: Baltimore
Re: Heads up about bringing your own bear bags on 04/24/2013 13:10:33 MDT Print View

The URL for the Philmont Advisor's Guide has changed. The new web address is: