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Philmont gear selection..
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Joshua Gray
(coastalhiker) - MLife
Re: Re: Backpacking Chair on 06/23/2010 15:48:47 MDT Print View

Larry, looks like a good chair if you want to be off the ground. I'm just not a fan of anything with tubes or the like...seen way too many break out in the backcountry.

I should have been more specific in my post as well. The hexalite chair from crazy creek is 14.8oz, but you have to sit on the ground (there are plenty of logs and whatnot to sit on at philmont).

http://www.crazycreek.com/product/1/74/

Alan Richbourg
(arichbourg) - F
Rocky Trails at Philmont! on 07/25/2010 16:03:50 MDT Print View

Having just completed my 3rd trek, I feel compelled to point out that the statement in the original article that "almost all hiking is done on well-worn trails" is HIGHLY misleading and quite dangerous advice to present to people new to Philmont. At least a third of our last trek, for instance, was entirely along incredibly rocky terrain, requiring hours of careful and intense concentration to avoid bruised feet and/or sprained ankles. Bruised feet would have been impossible to avoid without thick-soled & broken-in boots. Not to mention the slippery effects of rain, which occurs nearly every day in the back country. Has the author hiked Tooth Ridge? Sturdy, ankle & sole protecting foot gear are a MUST for Philmont except perhaps the very most experienced backpackers. Most of our crew would have been walking wounded without good boots. While I'm a proponent of packing very light, people need to understand that Philmont has many extremely rocky trails, and prepare accordingly.

Edited by arichbourg on 07/25/2010 16:05:39 MDT.

tkkn c
(tkknc) - MLife

Locale: Desert Rat in the Southwest
Philmont gear selection on 07/25/2010 16:40:29 MDT Print View

We returned from Philmont in June 2010 (trek 32). We hiked in via the Tooth of Time. Only 2 of our 11 had boots. 9 of our crew had running shoes or trail runners. We did not have any feet issues.

I agree that some of the treks are very rocky and some even include some scree walking.

Edited by tkknc on 07/25/2010 16:42:28 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Rocky Trails at Philmont! on 07/25/2010 21:07:20 MDT Print View

Hi Alan

> requiring hours of careful and intense concentration to avoid bruised feet
> and/or sprained ankles. Bruised feet would have been impossible to avoid
> without thick-soled & broken-in boots.

It is to counter boot myths like these that BPL exists. MANY of our members cover terrain which is more rugged than that, and do so all the time in light joggers.

Wearing big heavy clumsy boots will not save you from spraining an ankle (or breaking it) if you are clumsy. It is much easier to place your feet delicately and correctly when they are not encumbered by huge weights. And that applies wet or dry.

That is not what they tell you in the gear shops - but they do have a vested interest in selling you expensive boots.

Cheers

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Rocky Trails at Philmont! on 07/25/2010 22:16:43 MDT Print View

Ditto what Roger said ... mostly

I returned from Philmont a few days ago and used Inov-8 Roclite 285's for the entire trek ... complete with wimpy soft soles, stock insoles and soft low top uppers that provide no protection from bashing your feet into bruised blobs nor did they provide any support of my ankles.

The hike over Baldy included tons of scree, hiking a rocky ridge that torqued my ankles in all directions followed by a stretch walking on a path "paved" by loose 2-3 inch pyramids seemingly designed to torture the bottoms of feet.

The hike along Ponil Creek from Copper Park to French Henry was a nasty rock strewn descent.

On the hike up and then down Wilson Mesa it was impossible to not step on baseball to rugby ball sized stones that wanted to roll whenever you landed on them.

I experienced no sole soreness that did not recover overnight and never once came close to rolling an ankle in spite of working at spending more time watching my surroundings rather than where I placed my feet (except on descents steep enough to roll if I fell). Oh ... and no blisters or even hot spots.

I attribute this "good luck" to toughening my feet and strengthening my ankles via walking several hundred miles before the trip and doing so on uneven ground as much as possible. Also doing the same each of the past 4 years, wearing out more than a few pairs of shoes.

Now had I followed my previous preparation of walking several dozens of miles mostly on pavement it would likely have been a different story.

I'll differ from Roger in that I have in the past owned boots which I am certain would not allow a twisted or sprained ankle ... stiff and strong well above the ankle and heavier than the down hill ski boots I owned 4 decades ago. But "breaking in" said boot was really a matter of breaking in my feet to the boots and no combo of socks seemed to prevent blisters and 10 mile days felt like death marches. That's no longer a trade off I'm willing to make.

It took me 7 years of working on going light before I was willing to discard my boots but having done so I am convinced that that for the distances and terrain like encountered at Philmont there is nothing that can be done to help your feet other than choosing proper fitting footwear, decent socks and acquiring adequate foot physical fitness. Andrew Skurka level treks almost certainly require also being constantly conscious of foot wear and tear but few people do that kind of mileage day in and day out, certainly none a Philmont do.

Edited by jcolten on 07/25/2010 22:20:20 MDT.

Alan Richbourg
(arichbourg) - F
rocky trails and boots on 07/26/2010 09:33:12 MDT Print View

I had both light shoes and sturdy boots on the trek I described above. I tried a little walking on some rocks in the light shoes, and felt every painful rock edge. My point is and was that while light shoes might be good for experienced hikers, most of the general population will much prefer a better barrier between their feet (not to mention ankles) and the rocks. This is my experience, not a myth.

Edited by arichbourg on 07/26/2010 09:36:23 MDT.

Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
re: rocky trails and boots on 07/26/2010 10:00:49 MDT Print View

Well, I have to add that light trail running shoes can be an extremely comfortable and effective solution for Philmont even with the sometimes rocky trails and rough scree (like at the Tooth of Time).

My experience it's not just Philmont either. Lightweight shoes are a great solution for hiking on a wide range of terrain. We just finished a UL hike with Montana BSA in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Everyone in our patrol - Scouts and adults - wore light shoes. We crossed streams, walked trails, climbed scree slopes, hiked off trail on rocky surfaces. All worked extremely well with trail runners for all.

Boots might be comfortable for some. But I do encourage you to give lightweight trail running shoes a try with carrying a lightweight pack.

Mathias Gillum
(MattyG) - F

Locale: Midwest
Shoes Vs Boots on 07/31/2010 06:32:20 MDT Print View

We just finished 75 miles incuding Baldy and lots of time in the Valle Vidal.

My son and I had the lightest packs at under 20 lbs including crew gear but w/o food and water. The rest were 30-40 lbs (not by my choice and not reccomended).

You can see in the pic not a pair of heavy duty boots among us. Merrells were very popular. Must have been on sale at DSW.
Philmont shoes/Boots

No ankle, sole, bruise issues what so ever. Maybe a few minor blisters but thats it.

IMHO if you keep your pack weight down you'll only need those heavy sturdy boots to .........well ........ support those heavy sturdy boots.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
style and salesmanship on 07/31/2010 08:58:46 MDT Print View

I think the question of boots vs. running shoes is similar to the question of trekking poles vs. no trekking poles. There are rational arguments to be made on each side, and there are specific cases where one is clearly better than the other, but I suspect that for 90% of people it's a choice that's made based on factors that are objectively unjustifiable, e.g., skillful salesmanship for the more expensive option, or a perception that one looks more "pro" than the other.

The claim that you need boots for rocky terrain is pure bunk. Many of us here hike on rocky terrain using running shoes, with no problems.

IMO some of the valid arguments are as follows:

In favor of running shoes:
-They're much lighter than boots, and weight on your feet causes much more exertion than weight anywhere else on your body. The figure I've heard (dunno if it's scientifically supported) is that a pound on your feet is equivalent to 3 lb on your back. If this 3:1 ratio is correct, then replacing a 48-oz pair of boots with a 25-oz pair of running shoes is equivalent to dropping 4 lb of pack weight. What's a huge amount of weight!
-A ton of people get out on the trail in boots and find that they haven't quite broken them in well enough. This is less likely to happen with running shoes, because you can wear running shoes while running, shopping, at work, etc.
-Boots have more surface area in contact with your skin. That's more opportunities for blisters.

In favor of boots:
-Running shoes have a relatively short period of time during which they're sufficiently broken in to be comfortable, but have not yet seriously deteriorated. This window is probably only about 100 mi. The window for boots is much, much longer. On a long through-hike, this is a significant win for boots.
-Let's consider a person who's not doing an UL style in general. He's carrying a 50-lb pack, and he wants to make a long leap from one rock to another. With boots, he probably does significantly reduce the chances of getting a twisted ankle. Of course the solution to this is not to carry a 50-lb pack.
-For a certain type of hike, where you're basically tromping through muck and ankle-deep water all day, I can definitely see the advantages of a waterproof boot. On the other hand, if you're also passing through a significant amount of deeper water every day, then you're just going to have wet feet no matter what, and the boots lose their advantage.

-Ben

Edited by bcrowell on 07/31/2010 09:05:30 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: style and salesmanship on 07/31/2010 17:29:50 MDT Print View

Hi Benjamin

Sorry, I can't resist...

> skillful salesmanship for the more expensive option,
You got it. More profit.

> a pound on your feet is equivalent to 3 lb on your back.
Believed to come from a military study, and the figure is higher than that. At least 5x, possibly up to 7x.

> Running shoes have a relatively short period of time during which they're
> sufficiently broken in to be comfortable, but have not yet seriously deteriorated.
> This window is probably only about 100 mi.
Several comments. *Good* joggers do not need breaking in at all IF you have got the fit right. They are soft enough out of the box. Deterioration and life depends on the shoe, but I would suggest that *good* joggers should last many hundreds of miles. The joggers I took to Europe a year ago lasted for two months continuous hard walking.

> he wants to make a long leap from one rock to another. With boots, he probably
> does significantly reduce the chances of getting a twisted ankle.
We do that hopping through scree fields. I am willing to do it with light joggers, but I would not be willing to risk it with heavy boots, Far too clumsy: sprain an ankle for sure imho.

> tromping through muck and ankle-deep water all day, I can definitely see
> the advantages of a waterproof boot
Ahhh ... what advantage? You are going to end up with a boot full of water. Don't even bother pretending otherwise. It's OK by me if someone wants to carry around a heavy boot full of water, but I do wonder why.

My 2c
Cheers

Steve Rogers
(srogers) - F
Philmont and Blue steel Rope => No Go on 08/05/2010 22:52:36 MDT Print View

Got back from my 2nd trip to philmont in the last four years. This time was an 85 mile trek #21 that we added a few extra miles by sidehiking up to Cyphers mine during our layover day at Cito. Our crew packweights were 33-40lbs. Our sister crew was 50-65lbs, unfortunatly they said that as "Rich Californians" we had the money to spend on expensive light weight gear. We politly diagreed that it was lots of searching for and learning to use less and lighter gear. An easy example was the numerous nalgenes that they all carried while I carried a 2L platapus for water and a 1L plastic gatorade bottle for my water and powdered gatorate solution.

A few items that people may want to know.

The Frog Togs are warn by quite a few people in the backcountry, they work ok but you have to be gentle with them or they rip out (especially the pants in the crotch area). We encounter a full day of rain one of the days from Santa Clause to Deer Lake Mesa that was 11 miles. Everyones rain gear failed at this amount of rain, even the Frog Togs.

I was turned down by our ranger and her-boss'-boss for using Blue Steel rope in the backcountry. We could take it but not use it as "it's small size creates too much damage to the trees that it is tied to". I asked why we couldn't put sticks between the bark and the blue steel as that was an acceptable practice in 2007 and was still told "NO". I was told that Philmont was only allowing their ropes in the backcounty, no ifs, ands or buts.

The backcounty stores carry fuel at 10cents/oz. We took a couple of 22oz MSR fuel bottles and re-filled at our second food pick-up and got $2.00 more. When we got back to base camp we had a few oz extra and gave it to a trail bound crew.

Our goals were pretty simple. Keep your personal gear and pack weight to less than 20lbs. 2L of water is 4.4lbs, crew gear divided up with the 10 of us was 5.0 lbs (tents, cooking, repair kit, spices, first aid...) this leaves you with Philmont food of 6-9.0 lbs and you are on your way to a backpack that is less than 40lbs and a very manageble value.

I have to highly disagree on one aspect of your article and that is the drinking of a liter of water in the morning and only carry 500mL is a safety issue. If you want to do this on treks in the Sierra's or California coast go ahead. But this sets a poor and unsafe example to the scouts on the trip. Except for this we enjoyed the article and used (and tried to use)several of its ideas.

Dan Stelluto
(dstelluto) - F

Locale: NE Ohio
MSR ZING / TWING on 03/27/2011 17:42:40 MDT Print View

My first post! My first Philmont trek will be August 2012. I am the equipment coordinator for out troop and for the high adventure troop contingents. That said, so far we plan on buying 12 Alps Mountaineering Zephyr 2's and 4-6 MSR Whisperlite stoves. The one thing I am stuck on is the dining flys. I have been researching on the internet for a few days and have learned many insightful things, but still need insight from ppl that have been there. I hear that early August is the rainy season in northern NM. I've been looking at smaller tarps (6x8 or so) to primarily store our pack under while we sleep. What I have not considered is the need to "chill out" under the tarp during a hiking break, or while at one of the camps when it's raining. The best thing I've found is the MSR Zing for a grup of 12 to rest under. They're heavy though, and although you can have someone else carry the poles and stakes, I am wondering if this awesome tarp is overkill. And while I have your attention, what do you think about gravity water filters for Philmont? Thanks in advance!!!
Dan

Larry M
(Maethros) - MLife

Locale: Mid South
Dining Fly on 03/27/2011 21:19:58 MDT Print View

This is what you want:

http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/cb.aspx?a=254694

CJ Taylor
(kitkos) - F
ATTENTION Scouter and Scouts on 06/09/2011 09:18:14 MDT Print View

ATTENTION Scouters and Scouts that are going to Philmont and found this thread because you Googled “Philmont Tips” need to understand that this website is for extremist that focus on the lightest possible backpacks.
While Mr. Prosser, and some of the responders, do have some valid points they are a professionals, please don’t try this yourself. ;-)

I do not mean this as an attack on Mr. Prosser but rather an explanation to Scouters and Scouts that this article was written on BackpackingLight.com and that they need to understand that his description is one that is EXTREME at the very least and should not be practiced by everyone.

I have been a Scoutmaster for 20+ years and have been backpacking for 40+ years. I practice lightweight backpacking and use this website on a regular basis, but Mr. Prosser’s list, to me, is more appropriate for a 3-5 day trip not one that lasts 12 days.

I will only focus on the clothing that Mr. Prosser says he takes….

If you look closely at his list the ONLY clothing that he takes are the clothes he wears on his back and one pair of backup hiking socks.
Hiking Shirt, Hiking pants, hiking socks, extra hiking sock.

He also carries one wool shirt, a vest and a rain suit (top and bottom) and his sleeping outfit which consist of a top, bottom and socks. Keep in mind that sleeping gear is ONLY to be used for sleeping, you should not wear this while eating dinner or during any other activity because you might get smells on it.

I wonder what his explanation is when asked what happens when he gets caught in one of Philmont’s torrential downpours and his clothes get completely soaked before he has a chance to put on his rain suit?
Does he risk hypothermia because he did not bring anything dry?
And what if one of these items became destroyed beyond repair? What then? Does he now need to wear his rain suit the rest of the trip?
To me the more important aspect of his lack of clothing is his underwear. For his hiking pants he describes them as “long zip-off pants with built-in briefs”
So he is going 12 days with the same underwear on the whole time? I don’t care how careful you are and how clean you think you keep yourself after using the restroom, but there is NO POSSIBLE way to stay clean enough with one pair of underwear for 12 days without causing chaffing, a terrible rash or worse.
OK, we all know you can wash your clothes (in zip-lock baggies) from time to time but what does he wear when his pants and underwear are drying?

And what about that pair of sleep socks he is bringing? One of the reasons we bring sleep clothes is so we have a completely dry outfit to sleep in. Mr. Prosser states that his “sleep socks that double as shoulder pads on the G5 pack”. Using a pair of socks as shoulder strap pads equals one pair of sweaty, smelly socks to wear to bed each night. What if he accidently, unknowingly, gets food from lunch on this pair of socks? He now has a bear issue.

Once again, my comments are not to provoke an argument but rather to make people that were looking for Philmont Tips to understand that they landed in a website that is known for its extreme methods of packing light and that Philmont Rangers are not going to let you get on trail with this lack of gear.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: ATTENTION Scouter and Scouts on 06/09/2011 10:50:09 MDT Print View

CJ's comments feel like a troll and I usually work hard at avoiding the feeding of trolls but since he's claiming to not be a troll ... I'll bite.

But first let me start that I also work hard at not telling anyone to make wholesale packing changes on longer outings unless they've actually tested the ideas on shorter trips to see how they work for them.

Also, I'm a former scoutmaster and have been involved with the same troop for 25 years (and till counting) so I hope I have some sense of what boys do and don't do.

One last caveat (promise!), I have done two Philmont treks (itinerary numbers in the low-mid 20's). We did experience icewater rain and hail on each trip and camped above 10,000ft and I've been to the top of Phillips (on a warm day) and Baldy on a beastly cold and windy day. OH, and I regularly backpack where we have cold weather (unlike Philmont) without backup clothing, occasionally I get uncomfortable but not (yet, anyway) hypotheric. I don't go as light as Doug P but that is more due to not spending the $$ needed for the lightest possible options than from carrying more things that he carries.

Point by point response follows ...

If you look closely at his list the ONLY clothing that he takes are the clothes he wears on his back and one pair of backup hiking socks.
Hiking Shirt, Hiking pants, hiking socks, extra hiking sock.

He also carries one wool shirt, a vest and a rain suit (top and bottom) and his sleeping outfit which consist of a top, bottom and socks. Keep in mind that sleeping gear is ONLY to be used for sleeping, you should not wear this while eating dinner or during any other activity because you might get smells on it.


I was just fine on both treks with about the same amount of clothing. A micro-fleece pullover instead of wool shirt but no vest. I do use underwear and bring one spare (might not bring the spare if I go again).

I wonder what his explanation is when asked what happens when he gets caught in one of Philmont’s torrential downpours and his clothes get completely soaked before he has a chance to put on his rain suit?
Does he risk hypothermia because he did not bring anything dry?


My raingear is carried in an exterior pack pocket and I don't wander more than a moment's walk from the pack without taking the raingear with me. I have gotten damp but not soaked. If I get chilled I increase my exertion, ordinary synthetic fabrics dry quickly that way.

And what if one of these items became destroyed beyond repair? What then? Does he now need to wear his rain suit the rest of the trip?

While "destroyed beyond repair" is not impossible, I've known some pretty mindless scouts who have yet to accomplish that. I carry a small sewing kit and we've repaired clothing and packs on trail (they were not lightweight packs either).

To me the more important aspect of his lack of clothing is his underwear. ... there is NO POSSIBLE way to stay clean enough with one pair of underwear for 12 days without causing chaffing, a terrible rash or worse.
OK, we all know you can wash your clothes (in zip-lock baggies) from time to time but what does he wear when his pants and underwear are drying?


I agree that I (for one) would be miserable (and hurting) with one pair of undies for 12 days. I do laundry every couple days and wear my raingear while washing my pants. I've also tried putting on newly washed shirt/undies/pants while wet when we have downtime in a campsite and there's no hint of rain coming ... they dry very very fast.

And what about that pair of sleep socks he is bringing? One of the reasons we bring sleep clothes is so we have a completely dry outfit to sleep in. Mr. Prosser states that his “sleep socks that double as shoulder pads on the G5 pack”. Using a pair of socks as shoulder strap pads equals one pair of sweaty, smelly socks to wear to bed each night. What if he accidently, unknowingly, gets food from lunch on this pair of socks? He now has a bear issue.

I don't use a G5 pack, my pack has it's own padding in the shoulder straps (nowhere else). But the G5's straps are made of waterproof fabric so I don't know that the socks would get sweaty. If they stay inside the straps until bedtime the packstraps fabric will keep food off them.

Once again, my comments are not to provoke an argument but rather to make people that were looking for Philmont Tips to understand that they landed in a website that is known for its extreme methods of packing light and that Philmont Rangers are not going to let you get on trail with this lack of gear.

There IS variability in Philmont rangers and I know scouters who have had hardnosed rangers, but Doug P has been allowed on trail with the gear described in each of his Philmont light articles. I've been allowed on trail twice and I've had many many more positive ranger reactions to my kit than negative.

One more comment. There are very few scouts I'd allow to take a silnylon pack on a long trek (much less a spinnaker G5!) Just too fragile. But I'll use a carefully and smartly made silnylon pack if I return to Philmont again and save a pound compared to my dearly beloved GraniteGear Virga (but that's beyond the scope of CJ's comments).

Edited by jcolten on 06/09/2011 11:00:48 MDT.

Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
Re: ATTENTION Scouter and Scouts on 06/09/2011 11:59:31 MDT Print View

I too am a scouter with decades of traditional backpacking experience. After a couple back surgeries, I found this site while looking for ways to lighten my load so I could survive Philmont and keep up with my boys.

I agree with many of your points... Some of the techniques on these forums do not work well for large groups (like alcohol stoves), inexperienced scouts (lots of down bags/clothing), or within the confines of BSA/Philmont rules (tarps). On the other hand, the overall goal of this forum is to lighten your load as much as you can while still being safe about it. When I arrived at this forum, I thought many of these ideas were extreme, but after letting them sink in, then actually trying some of them, I'm starting to see that maybe they're not as extreme as I had originally thought.

Regarding some of your assertions about Mr. Prosers gear... Would one set of briefs work if they were washed and dried every day or every other day? How about socks? If you have two pair PLUS a sleeping pair, could you get by? If it came right down to it, could he wear the sleeping gear as an extra layer if it got unseasonably cold or his primary clothes got damaged? If he's careful about keeping his rain gear handy, how likely is it that he'll get completely soaked before getting it on? If it's wool, won't it keep him reasonably warm anyway? And so what if an item did get destroyed? Should he carry an extra of everything just in case? At Philmont are you ever more than a day from a staffed camp?

For Mr. Prosser, his setup works because he knows his gear, knows it's limits, knows how to care for it, and is careful with it. Even if you're not willing to go to these extremes (and I'm not), many of Mr. Prossers (and others) suggestions can be incorporated into a Philmont trek (or any Scout trek) to a lesser extent.

Case in point: I went backpacking last weekend with a few boys last weekend... A 1-night 10-mile trek with no rain in sight and temps ranging from 98 in the afternoon to 72 at night. One boy brought two pairs of shorts AND two pairs of jeans. That boy NEEDS some of the advice of this forum lest he hurt himself!

Someone on this forum wrote that you pack your insecurities. I couldn't agree more. I used to pack a lot of stuff in order to "be prepared", but this forum has reminded me what scouting taught me int eh first place... That the best tools in my gear kit are knowledge, courage, and a can-do attitude. I'll probably never get to Mr. Prossers level of sacrifice (I do like clean drawers, fresh socks, and overly thick sleeping bags), but a lot of these ideas will go with me on every scouting trek I take.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: ATTENTION Scouter and Scouts on 06/09/2011 14:35:56 MDT Print View

Someone on this forum wrote that you pack your insecurities.

That someone would be Roman Dial and that saying is a guiding light for me. Challenging my insecurities and testing them has done more to lighten my pack than any other single factor.

CJ Taylor
(kitkos) - F
No Troll Here on 06/10/2011 05:56:41 MDT Print View

Jim et.al.-
For the record, I do not live under a bridge. ;-)

The point I am trying to make is simple.

Thousands of men, young and old alike, visit Philmont each year. 90% of them have done minimal backpacking in the past and don’t have the experience needed to make qualified decisions about the gear they take. They talk to others and hear horror stories about the weight they carry so they go on the internet and search Google for suggestions on how to pack lighter.

Because this is a popular post it comes to the top of Google’s list and these same individuals could end up taking Mr. Prossers packing list as the Holy Grail of backpacking lists.

Where it is informative I feel it needs to be stated for these people that this is an EXTREME list and there are holes in it that they should consider BEFORE they leave for Philmont, not after they are 2 days and 15 miles into their trek and realize they should have brought some more underwear.

BTW - We begin our latest trek next week. My crew is taking Trek 21. Pack weight is 24lb including 3 liters of water. This is an excellent weight considering the fact that I am taking a change of clothes and 2 extra pairs of underwear.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
philmont on 06/16/2011 19:16:35 MDT Print View

It is my understanding that most people come off the trail at Philmont because they are in poor shape and carrying too much, rather than get into trouble because they carried too little.

You are right. People with no training or abilities need idiot-proof gear. They need a tent that will keep them dry that they can pitch easily, not one that they must get up twice in the night and re-tension. They need bags that keep them warm even if damp, not one that becomes useless. They need a pack that can carry all the heavy, idiot-proof gear they need, not an uberlight rucksack.

However, the smarter and more prepared you are, the lighter you can go. It doesnt take experience (which is only learned thru failure), it takes knowledge. But at the same time, there is A LOT of crap most people can leave behind.

I think Mr. Prosser did a pretty good job of getting that point across. What he espoused was normal ultralight backpacking philosophy. Take only what you need, nothing you dont, and you will move faster, and be more comfortable, and have a more enjoyable time.

THe point was impart knowledge to people to change their way of thinking about what they needed to take with them. Not to say "take only this".

A 24 lb pack with 3L water =6.6 lbs, and 4 days food = 8 lbs , means you have a 10 lb baseweight. Admirable, but definitely hard to achieve if you bring a bunch of xs gear. Unless your 24 lbs did not include any food?

Joshua Gray
(coastalhiker) - MLife
Re: Re: ATTENTION Scouter and Scouts on 06/16/2011 23:40:59 MDT Print View

"Philmont Rangers are not going to let you get on trail with this lack of gear."

...This comment is a broad generalization that I dislike and find completely untrue during my summers as a ranger. There were times I was skeptical of some crews' gear during shake down and would voice my opinions and sometimes gave the party line; BUT if they could explain their methodology and prove to me they knew their gear (I would usually ask some questions about gear failure or adaptation), I would almost always allow them on the trail. To the underwear comment: I knew rangers that didn't wear underwear on the trail for the entire 3 months we were out there. I always took an extra pair, but HYOH.

That "there IS variability in Philmont rangers" and the fact that many have made it on the trail with light weight is key. The vast majority of the time I took about 4-6 pounds, if not more, of gear off of scouters packs during shakedown. Most (not all) rangers are pretty well educated. And if you can really get them to think about your gear and can prove you have the cerebral knowledge to utilize the gear you bring, they usually will let you go. Although the crew's safety is the responsibility of the ranger and when you have that on your shoulders as an 18 year old, the first couple crews you are a little more strict with.

I never had any trouble letting people on the trail if they could talk to me about it. Rangers are gear heads after all. And no one ever took too little. (well there was one, but that's a whole different story involving an army ranger...) I always did issue a challenge that if any crew member with a lighter pack than I had when we left basecamp got a special treat during their hike. Never happened, but one day an scout came within a pound or so and so I hiked them out a watermelon as a treat. They were a great crew from Colorado that was in good enough shape they even gave me a run for my money in hiking speed.

There's always trouble that happens during the trek and its not always extra gear that helps out. One small example is I had a crew member's tent fly get ripped off in a pretty bad storm (wind clocked about 70mph at the staff cabin) and I demonstrated the old tried and true put a rock into the edge of the fly, tie a line around it and re-anchor the fly, it worked just like new. And the adults laughed and said they couldn't believe the scouts didn't remember that from the scout handbook. The ideas on this site are not extreme, but they make you think, test your gear, and know your boundaries. Knowledge is power in everything, especially backpacking!