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Philmont gear selection..
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Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Philmont on 09/26/2008 14:21:38 MDT Print View

Our troop took a vote, and we're going to enjoy Philmont as we drive up Cimarron canyon to Eagle Nest, and on to Red River. I think we'll have just as much fun base camping at my vacation house, and spending a week to ten days in the Wheeler Peak / Latir Wilderness. Or maybe Valle Vidal. Growing up in the Texas Panhandle, we spent a ton of time at Philmont in the off season, and I just don't think I could adapt to the authoritarian attitude they have now.

Michael Danielson
(mcd57) - MLife

Locale: Middle TN
Philmont on 01/01/2009 08:54:44 MST Print View

I still enjoy reading this article after a year and a half of rereading it and its comments. I am extremely interested in your most recent gear list since I will be going again in 2010 and I am in the process of drastically lowering my gear weight. One thing that bothers me still is some of the negative attitudes about this camp. If you do not like it don't go again. Also the majority of the scouts do not have the Rockies, Tetons, etc in there back yard to enjoy and hike. This camp gets them an experience that they will never forget. That is why it is always booked up. Also the rules are due to liability issues that have come up due to poor decissions made out in the back country. One prime example was when I was there in 1972 and a youth took a shower and washed his hair before he went to bed. This help attract a bear to the camp site and he was seriously hurt. So leaders, where ever you go, you must have "rules" for safety and liability sake.
By the way I have camped under a tarp at Philmont numerous times without any problems. My son was there for three weeks in 2006 didn't even use a tarp or a tent for quite a few nights during the trip.
Keep up the good comments for I am enjoying them. I like all backpacking, and I still want to go back to Philmont!


robert hogrefe
(rhhrhh) - F
Re: BSA & Philmont rules on 02/15/2009 17:41:33 MST Print View

Hi, just joined, this is a test. I have more to say, if this succeeds, thanks, RHH

robert hogrefe
(rhhrhh) - F
Re: BSA & Philmont rules on 02/15/2009 17:58:17 MST Print View

Dear Mr. Prosser,

I have really enjoyed all you info and expertise, it is indeed the best. If you ever want a real challenge, go and see what the BSA Northern Tier program still uses. Last summer we carted 60-70 lb "kettle" and "elephant" packs on portages, along with 70lb aluminum canoes, sometimes carrying both together. It is, I was told, a tradition thing at NT to do things like the pioneer/voyagers of long ago. Needless to say, many sprains, near misses on bad steps resulting in broken bones and very sore bones and muscles were the norm. As the only adult with our crew (NT provided an 18 yr old guide also), I was shocked at not only the safety issues but what it was teaching the boys. Literally every boy but one got sick to a varying degree with a cold, cough, or sore throat by the end of the 9 day trek. It was just too much exertion on top of many hours of paddling every day. The entire NT program needs an overhaul in terms of today's light and ultra light options for every aspect of the program. We have heard it said that NT is the most demanding of the BSA High Adventure camps, and the present design guarantees it will continue to be, but only to the detriment of the campers, young and old. It would be wonderful to see the advantages of going light and efficient realized at NT, they just might get more people to return and enjoy the wonderful environment up there. YIS, RHH.

Patrick Starich
(pjstarich) - MLife

Locale: N. Rocky Mountains
Philmont Cooking Bags? on 05/16/2009 11:17:17 MDT Print View

In addition to oven bags, has anyone discovered a zip top cooking bag like those used by Backpacker's Pantry and Alpine Aire that could be used to repack and prep the Philmont meals? The Philmont meals include a lot of excess packaging and you can't cook in the meal pouch. Rehydrating meals does not require "cooking" them in a pot. BTW: It helps to stir the meal with a stick right after adding the hot water and before sealing the bag.

Our troop's outdoor program includes a lot of weekend backpacking. We earned to minimize food weight and maximize nutrition and variety by modeling our camp meals on old Philmont menus. Check out the web or see for one. You can easily find good (or better) substitutes for Philmont menu items at most grocery stores. We portion-out and repackage nearly everything in zip-locs, reducing excess packaging by about 4oz/meal for a crew of 10-12. We "cook" only water and use it to rehydrate cocoa, oatmeal, coffee, soup cups, and freeze dried meals (Backpacker's pantry and Alpine Aire most often). This strategy minimizes prep time, waste, and trash. Philmont food fits our model well, except for the dehydrated meals.

Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
Philmont cooking bags on 05/16/2009 12:06:38 MDT Print View

Patrick, we found that there was a mix of packaging for food at Philmont. I'm attaching 2 pictures. The first is a typical dinner. All the freeze dried food is in very thin, light mylar packaging. There isn't a lot of weight savings to be achieved here. We rehydrated all of these meals in other plastic bags, usually a turkey cooking bag.2008 Philmont dinner

The other meal shown here is a typical lunch. You might consider whether you want to carry all of the packaging or not. The benefits of the cardboard, for instance, are that it does protect the crackers going to be carried in packs.2008 Philmont lunch

Since you will usually pick up several meals at a time you can make some choices. You could strip out some packaging. You can also choose to eat any "heavy" meals first. Finally, you could choose not to worry about it. We pared back weight on the gear where where we reasonably could. We only carried a max of 3.5 days of food. The weight savings we might achieve would not be that great. We didn't give a second thought to food weight.

Philmont is a great experience but it's not altogether a wilderness trip. We had opportunities to discard trash every day on last year's trek. Even if we weren't staying near a staffed camp we would always pass through one along the way. Since our guys chose a trek with a lot of program options we usually only walked 3-5 hours a day.

Hope you have a great time at Philmont. We are crew 624-E2 this year. See you in the Sangre de Cristo.

Edited by flyfast on 05/16/2009 12:08:11 MDT.

Patrick Starich
(pjstarich) - MLife

Locale: N. Rocky Mountains
Philmont "Cooking" on 05/16/2009 13:56:51 MDT Print View

I like the way commercially produced dehydrated meal packs are semi-rigid and stand up on their own. Turkey (oven) bags are thin and flimsy. Do you put the bag in an empty pot for support??? I guess you could use a small nylon stuff sack to support the turkey bag and avoid carrying an extra pot.

We also travel with crackers in box, but find rice crackers and mini pretzels more durable. The scouts inhale Pop Tarts (yeech!) but they crumble if carried out outside the box.

Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
Re: Philmont cooking on 05/17/2009 06:26:47 MDT Print View

Patrick, yes, the turkey roasting bags have to be supported once you've added food. I have to say that your mileage will vary. We have had good luck with this method. Others find it easier (fewer accidents) to just cook in the pot.

We dump our dried food in the turkey bag and add a little less water than the recipe requires. The boys stir mostly by squeezing the bag. A spoon helps too. More water can be added if needed.

Once the food is hydrated we place the turkey bag in a homemade cozy. The insulated cozy allows for the 10 minute rehydration and protects the turkey bag. The cozy is made of Reflectix material (shaped like a low-cut paper bag from the grocery store) and weighs about 2 oz. We've used a fleece jacket in the past. But someone ends up smelling like dinner.

We serve by cutting a corner off the turkey bag and squeezing as in a pastry bag.

John Myers
(dallas) - F - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Re: Re: Philmont cooking on 05/18/2009 13:49:55 MDT Print View

We basically did the same thing when we went last year, but instead of turkey bags we just used the plastic bags that the Philmont food came it, and we didn't use cozies. They would usually find a couple decent sized logs to put close together to hold the bags up and keep them from tipping over.

If you try this, make sure you check the bag, one side has air holes (I seem to remember it as the bottom) and you want that to be the side you open for the top.

Our boys really liked not having to KP the pots, plus using that method meant that we were able to use 13 oz Open Country 4 quart pots rather than the 2 pound 8 quart Philmont pots. A 4 quart pot is fine for boiling water but is really pushing the size limit if you cook in it.

paul buzzard
(troop208) - F
Philmont cooking on 05/19/2009 08:53:47 MDT Print View

I brought turkey bags last year. We tried to use them first two dinners, and boys being boys, they always put a hole in them "carefully" mixing the food with a spoon, lol. So we quit because the pot got dirty anyway. We just brought one of the big pots and cooked in it. The scraper they supplied was used by the hungriest one, and there was never very much to clean up at all. I brought a lite GSI 3 quart non stick as well that worked well for the meals that had two courses, and general water boiling. IMO, concentrate on your boys big 4 for weight savings, if they don't have good stuff. Get the parents to invest in equipment. The weight savings can be large, as well as the space, if they have big synthetic bags.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Cook in a cup on 05/20/2009 12:16:17 MDT Print View

I still like the method we used at Philmont. We heated 2 pots of water using canister stoves. When the water got to a boil we first sanitized our utensils and cups, then each kid transferred their meal into a cup for rehydrating/cooking.

No food was ever cooked in a pot and therefore we never cleaned a pot. The only item that got cleaned was the cup the boys cooked in and ate out of which they had to clean anyway. After the meal we just swished a bit of water around in the cup and drank it. No bits or pieces left. We would then pour a bit of hot water in the cup and clean. The "dirty" water can then be poured in the sump pit since there are no food bits.

We did not have to use the frisbee ever, except when the Ranger was showing us how to use it. It was funny because the Ranger was demonstrating the sump method and basically had nothing to strain or to put in the sump.

We thought of using Turkey bags but to us they seemed more messy. I know a lot of people use them and I think it's a better way of cooking than using the pot to cook in. I just don't like to haul around trash bags with cooked food in them.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Philmont gear selection on 05/20/2009 17:20:50 MDT Print View

Briefly I have used various types of "freezer" bags to re-hydrate my meals, they all leaked after 1 to 3 uses except for the type used for vacuum food storage , but those are more expensive. (however they seemed to retain heat better)
Recently I have started to experiment with the Decor branded microwave containers. The lid stays in place very firmly (liquids won't spill if turned over) and they do seal the heat in. There is a steam valve. With the valve closed the lid will puff up but returns to the original shape once it cools down. Very easy to clean.
I do detect a bit of a plastic taste but not more than with most bags.
The 20 oz mug is 2 and 3/4 oz, the 27 oz bowl is 3oz.
Decor containers

Fareez Chowdhury
(Fareez) - F
Philmont cooking on 05/20/2009 20:33:10 MDT Print View

My crew's heading to Philmont at the end of June. We bought a large amount of Philmont dinner packets for our shakedowns. The easiest and least messy way we got our dinners cooked was to put the boiling water in the packet directly, and that hand shaking the pouch. No mess, no pot cleaning.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Plastic Cookware on 05/22/2009 14:41:11 MDT Print View


Those are nice cups. We had a few of the boys at Philmont use Glad containers. They come round, square or rectangular and in many sizes. We just heat water and each kid rehydrates in his own bowl with a lid. No bags, no pot to clean. Each kid just "sumps" his own.

Remember, this is for Philmont.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Decor on 05/22/2009 19:55:09 MDT Print View

I'm not sure this will help members in the US, since Decor is an Australian brand, but I also use them, although I like their more generic models. They're also polypropylene, like the GSI Cascadian line. Fine for temps up to about 150 celcius (Boiling water is 100 celcius)

Decore bowl and cup

Nesting bowl cup

The 800ml bowl and lid weigh 63g and the cozy is 17g for both pieces.

The 350ml cup and modified, drink thru lid are 37g and the bottom cozy is 12g. The extra lid is also 12g

{Now in Americanese :^)
The 27oz bowl and lid weigh 2.22oz and the cozy is 0.60oz for both pieces.

The 12oz cup and modified, drink thru lid are 1.30oz and the bottom cozy is 0.42oz. The extra lid is also 0.42oz}

The extra lid allows me to shake a drink mix or mix milk powder or store something without spills.

Bruce Prickett
(brucepr) - F
Weight of consumables = 10 lbs? on 10/04/2009 10:26:21 MDT Print View

Doug: your table shows the weight of "consumables" at 10 lbs per person. Does this include water? 3 liters is 6.6 lbs (not including the bottle or bladder), leaves about 3 lbs for four days of food.

My son is going in 2010, and he's quite small for his age, though an experienced packer. Bottom line is he will be counting the ounces.

Our Scoutmaster worked at Philmont for a summer, and the other leader has organized or helped lead all our recent backpacking trips, so I'm focussing on getting my kid ready to keep up.

Jack Kaufman
(Bsatroop85) - F
Hiking Poles/ Tents on 11/11/2009 21:00:59 MST Print View

A. My Troop takes tarps to put on the ground
b. the Hiking poles with Duct Tape isn't a great idea. the Duct Tape is a smellable and personally i dont like to put my whole pack in a tree at night or wake up to a bear...

Larry Huff
(profsparrow) - F
Backpacking Chair on 06/17/2010 16:20:45 MDT Print View

There was a comment earlier about backpacking chairs. I am successfully using a chair I found on "" The chair weighs about a pound. It's kind of hard to describe but there is a heavy duty nylon seat with a pocket in each of the four corners for the titanium rods. It sits on two legs when put together, which only takes a few moments. You balance with your legs. I can fall asleep in it, but don't when there are scouts around with cameras (they like to push a person over and then take their picture for laughs later). Anyway, it's VERY comfortable, almost like sitting in an easy chair. The seat when disassembled fits in a small sack that fits easily in my backpack.

Joshua Gray
(coastalhiker) - MLife
Re: Backpacking Chair on 06/21/2010 20:20:08 MDT Print View

Just stumbled across this thread. I was actually a ranger at Philmont a couple of years ago, so if anyone wants any specific questions answered, I will answer them as soon as I can (still have many contacts that are Ranger Trainers, ACRs and the chief ranger is a good friend of mine).

Anyways, 2 ideas for camp chairs. 1. You will pretty much see every ranger with a crazy creek. Very comfortable and I just used mine as my sleeping pad (maybe better for the young kids and then the adults). 2. My bunkmate my last year out there used his therm-a-rest and some climbing webbing; sat on the edge of the thermarest, bent it up his back, then wrapped the webbing around his shoulders and his knees. Thought that was pretty genious and only "cost" him around 2 oz worth of webbing.

Good luck to all those going to Philmont and enjoy it.


Larry Huff
(profsparrow) - F
Re: Backpacking Chair on 06/23/2010 15:24:43 MDT Print View

By the way, I should have posted a link to the chair I was talking about...It's 19 oz. Here's the address...