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Patricia Deutsch
(pdeutsch) - F
water system on 05/19/2011 07:01:58 MDT Print View

Leaving for Philmont in 1 month and was looking for some best practices for water.

My original plan was to carry a 750ml camelback and replace the bite valve with the $10 replacement tube you can buy so that I can drink w/o removing the bottle. That would be the only bottle I would actually drink from. In addition I have three 1L platypus bottles to hold my water supply. All this water (~8 lbs) was going to go into the two side pockets on my pack.

However, I have found that those 8 lbs are actually the heaviest stuff I have and when placed in the side pockets the pack does not sit well. The recommendation is the heaviest stuff should be in the center back area ... that becomes a water bladder.

I'm not a big fan of water bladders ... hard to fill, how much did I drink? hard to pour out to another container ... etc. But looks like I need to go in that direction. (Note: I did try simply putting the 3 platypus bottles in the hydration sleeve of my pack but they do not fit well and cause the back of the pack to bulge out against my body)

SO ... there has to be at least one of you that can give me a water system that worked well at Philmont. Ideas? Recommendations?

Yes ... probably am worrying too much about small details :-)

Glenn Smith

Locale: Southern Arizona
Re: water system on 05/19/2011 09:43:59 MDT Print View


This is what we do. Each person carries a 1L bottle. It can be as simple as a Gatorade or Powerade bottle. Then each person carries 5 liters worth of collapsible bottles like the Evernew or Platypus. Typically, there are three of these which total 5 liters. This gives us a lot of flexibility to vary the amount we carry based on the amount of hiking we are doing in a given day. Only your personal bottle is used to drink out of by yourself. The other 5 liters can be used by anyone in the crew if needed. Also, the 1L bottle lets the crew advisor monitor water consumption at a glance as opposed to drinking out of a bladder which is hidden in a pack.

This system has worked excellent on two prior treks and we are using it again this July.

Patricia Deutsch
(pdeutsch) - F
Where to put bottles on 05/20/2011 05:21:59 MDT Print View


Your method sounds consistent with my original plan of only drinking from one visible bottle and using the others as storage. But where do you put the filled bottles in your pack? The side pockets aren't working for me. Do you just put them in the pack? In the hydration sleeve? I was thinking of getting a platypus Big Zip 3L bladder (I think you can pour from that vs. a camelback)


PS. Always enjoy reading your posts ... and took your advice on another thread regarding the Patagonia thermals as sleeping clothes.

In your multiple treks have you done Clear Creek to Phillips? That is on our itinerary and I've heard it is one of the hardest parts of Philmont since you are ascending with pack to a dry camp.

Glenn Smith

Locale: Southern Arizona
Re: Where to put bottles on 05/20/2011 09:12:07 MDT Print View


I would caution using any of the zip-type bladder bottles. All it takes is forgetting to close one properly to ruin an afternoon. The 3L zip is a large bottle regardless if it is filled completely or only partially. My guess is your tendency will be to fill that bottle all the time to help out your crew. So the question becomes is that really necessary meaning you get stuck carrying more weight than necessary ~ my thoughts only.

I normally keep the extra water in my pack distributing it in a way that works best for me while allowing me access to the water when we break on the trail to resupply. I recommend you practice this on one of your shakedown hikes.

Also, I highly recommend these bottles ~ I carry a 2L and (2) - 1.5L bottles. We purify water with the Philmont supplied Micropur with an extra 1/2 sleeve we bring with us in our first aid kit. We also carry the SteriPEN Adventurer Opti purifier which allows us to quickly purify one of the individual wide-mouth liter bottles when passing through places like French Henry which has a running stream but no potable water. Planning your water resupply strategy is truly important.

In 2009, my 2nd crew did the Clear Creek to Phillips hike. It is difficult but gratifying and you will need to plan your water accordingly.

Hope this helps.

Patricia Deutsch
(pdeutsch) - F
thanks! on 05/20/2011 15:38:49 MDT Print View

Thanks! I do appreciate your advice!!

I like that those bottles have an attached lid and replacing my current platypus 1L bottles (3x0.9 = 2.7) with a 2L + 1.5L would provide an extra 1/2L capacity at the same weight. I'll give a try at just distributing the water in my pack at the next prep hike.

I was planning to review our itinerary in detail in regards to water (were it is available, what (potable or not) is available, how much should be carried each day, etc.) ... particularly for the "challenging" ascent to Phillips. Any other resources for that besides what can be found on

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: water system on 05/20/2011 17:14:20 MDT Print View


What's your itinerary number? Reason I ask is that I'm not seeing one in the 2011 guide that has a day from Clear Creek to Phillips but it's entirely possible I missed one. Number 10 goes from Crooked Creek to Phillips though, as does 12.

In two treks I have not camped at Phillips. But we did go from Clear Creek over Phillips to Red Hills.

One tactic for dealing with dry camps is to cook the evening meal for breakfast or lunch ... which ever mealtime finds you at a campsite with a water source. That would probably be Clear Creek in your case. Then drink up and treat enough water to get you to Phillips and through the night. Look at the map, I'm pretty confident you'll pass a water source within a few miles the next morning.

Glenn Smith

Locale: Southern Arizona
Re: Re: water system on 05/20/2011 18:18:39 MDT Print View


Post your question on with Trek #. Ton of advice available on this site.

Patricia Deutsch
(pdeutsch) - F
Trek #10 on 05/21/2011 05:54:14 MDT Print View

It is indeed trek #10. We go from Crooked Creek to Mt. Phillips but stop at Clear Creek for black powder shooting AND water before heading up to Mt. Phillips.

Hoping to be physically fit enough to make that journey! (fear == motivation)

Thanks for the link to the philmont forum!

Walter Underwood
(wunder) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Water and dry camps at Philmont on 05/27/2011 22:21:04 MDT Print View

We went had itinerary #4, with a night on Mt. Phillips, approaching from the south (Crooked Creek) and ending up at Cypher's Mine.

That is a long, dry two days. There is no water until very close to Cypher's Mine. We cooked dinner for lunch at Crooked Creek and ate lunch for dinner on Mt. Phillips. We carried 6 liters of water each starting from Crooked Creek and we were dry when we got to the next water source. Our sister (same itinerary, same start date) crew took 3 liters each and lost a crew member with dehydration the next day. Even with an IV at Cimmaroncito, he had to be evac'ed to base camp.

You'll need a one liter bottle to mix Gatorade. That is a smellable, so it is a dedicated bottle. I used a plastic Gatorade bottle. Duh.

You'll need to take three liters of water to your conservation project. This is a rule. Three hours, three liters.

One of our crew had a wide-mouth Nalgene canteen that held three liters. This was perfect. It was the extra for the dry camp, the water for the cons project, and great for fetching water all the way across the meadow at Apache Springs. I highly recommend each crew member having one of these. $11, 2.25 oz.

I had a pair of 2 liter Platypus folding bottles for extra water. Nice, but not as convenient to carry around as the above Nalgene canteen.

I also had a 2+ liter bladder (Camelback Omega, heavy but reliable). I also carried a one liter Calistoga bottle. That serves as my night-time water bottle and a handy way to treat an extra liter on the trail.

The careful reader will count 8 liters of water carrying capacity. I loaned out one of the Platys to a crewmember who didn't have as much capacity.

If everyone has a 3 liter Nalgene canteen, a Gatorade bottle, and either a water bladder or a 2 liter Platy, they are set for the trek, including cons and dry camps.

2010 Trek 624-X