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Bear Protocol for Sleeping
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Ellyn Wolfgram
( - F
Bear Protocol for Sleeping on 05/26/2011 12:40:33 MDT Print View

I know that it is possible to use a lighter weight bag along with insulated clothing and/or a vapor barrier to effectively lower the rating of the bag.

I am thinking of using a Western Mountaineering Summerlite bag with a light fleece layer and a Mont-bell Thermawrap layer (top and bottom) if needed. Doug Prosser says that he also uses his rain layer for sleepwear.

Since all of these layers are also needed if the weather is cold or rainy before bedtime how do you manage to keep them uncontaminated by food? If anyone can share their "system" I would appreciate it.


Jason Acker
Re: Bear Protocol for Sleeping on 05/26/2011 14:02:37 MDT Print View

The best system is to simply not spill food on yourself. Unless you spill a gatorade bottle or a lot of the slop du jour on yourself you will be fine. You can always wash off anything that gets more than a spoonful of food on it too. I had most of my clothes in the tent with me all nights on both treks through Philmont as did the rest of my crew. Nobody used sleep clothes either. This was 7 or 8 years ago so I dont know if the bears are any worse now.

Glenn Smith

Locale: Southern Arizona
Re: Bear Protocol for Sleeping on 05/26/2011 14:36:20 MDT Print View


I agree with Jason. Everyone needs to be cautious at mealtime. One of the most difficult things to eat out of will be the tuna pouch. If you're not careful, it will be on your shirt or pants quickly. However, you can always purchase these and practice on one of your shakedown hikes. Your crew should be looking over the 2011 meal choices now so they can get an idea of what to expect.

Your layering system seems appropriate. Remember, the sleeping clothing you choose can always be used as part of your layering system if you become cold while in the backcountry. A wind shirt like a GoLite Wisp or Montane Featherlite Smock is a great addition that will give you plenty of versatility with your hiking shirt, insulating layer, and rain coat.

Without knowing your trek # and which week you will be at Philmont, it is difficult to know what weather you may encounter. From mid-July into August you can expect more rain.

Edited by gosmithpa on 05/26/2011 15:01:16 MDT.

Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Minimize food on your clothes, then don't worry on 05/26/2011 20:33:20 MDT Print View

Over the years I've spilled food on my clothes hundreds of times and slept in those clothes or had them in my tent. I try to avoid spilling on clothes, for cleanliness if for no other reason, but it still happens. For packing light having cooking clothes isn't practical. I've never hiked or camped with anyone in any conditions that had separate cooking clothes, as a matter of fact.

The risk from bears is usually vastly overstated in any case. It makes sense to minimize the risk, but it doesn't pay to worry about bears.

Ellyn Wolfgram
( - F
Thank you on 05/27/2011 07:13:07 MDT Print View

We have a short trek starting in mid-August (8/14 - 8/21) so I think it will be wet. I've been wondering if I should expect lower temperatures as well. It can be pretty cool at night after mid August in New York.

I have a old Marmot windshirt that I use for winter running. I'm pretty sure it is less than 5 oz. I'll dig it out and weigh it and maybe add it to my gear. Other than that I guess I'll be super careful.

Thanks for the input!


Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Thank you on 05/27/2011 07:59:27 MDT Print View

"I have a old Marmot windshirt that I use for winter running. I'm pretty sure it is less than 5 oz".

My Marmot Driclime Windshirt is 8.6ozs, but it has a light fuzzy insulation backing so it's a little more than a windshirt.

Walter Underwood
(wunder) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Philmont Bear Rules on 05/27/2011 22:40:44 MDT Print View

Philmont has detailed and effective bear rules. They have more bears per square mile than most wild places and fewer incidents. Philmont is the only place where I have seen a bear on the trail, and she was a well-behaved wild animal, keeping a good distance from us.

The "sleep clothes" are clothes that have zero chance of having food on them. You can manage that however you want, maybe taking your insulating layers off before eating dinner. I used a top and bottom base layer as my sleep clothes and extra layer for evening and morning.

Temperature -- I've seen frost in the Pecos Wilderness in August. It was a morning at Truchas Lake, at 11,500. The Pecos is right next door to Philmont, I could see the Truchas peaks from Mt. Phillips.

Philmont is not the sort of hiking where you hop into bed while you are still warm from hiking. You may need some extra layers to be comfortable through the evening campfire programs. I even brought a chair (Crazy Creek Hexalite) and didn't regret it.

2010 Trek 624-X, Itinerary 4

Edited by wunder on 05/27/2011 22:46:44 MDT.