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Philmont Summer 2006 -
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E. H. Clemmons
(sclemmons) - MLife
Philmont Summer 2006 - on 04/21/2005 22:29:45 MDT Print View

Leading a crew of Boy Scouts with experienced adult leaders. Will do a lot of backpacking and hiking to get everybody in shape between now and then. If you have experience, resources, links or bright ideas, we would love to hear from you. Please post them here. skip

[BPL, this could be a subsection of the forums I hope! If this post is in the wrong place, please put me right. Thanks.]

Mike Storesund
(mikes) - F
Philmont on 04/22/2005 08:57:24 MDT Print View

Skip, Our troop has gone to Philmont 2 of the last 4 years, but the lottery number for 2006 was too high for us to consider going then.
Plan on rising early (2:30 - 3am) hike until sunrise, eat breakfast while enjoying the sight of another beautiful day, then hike until you get to the next stop shortly after noon. Enjoy a fun and restful afternoon, eat dinner and get to bed early. This way you beat hiking during most of the midday heat. The boys will also get more time to do the events at each of the stops. If you get in the pattern of rising later, eating at camp, then hiking, you will be hiking during the heat of the day and one of the last groups to arrive at the stop so they won't get the time to enjoy the events.

Edited by mikes on 04/22/2005 09:16:04 MDT.

Steven Hardy
(hardyhiker1) - F
Tarptent at Philmont on 04/22/2005 11:35:13 MDT Print View

I am also going to Philmont. I plan on taking my floorless tarptent. I am concerned about reports that the campsites are all hard packed and consequently I will need a bathtub floor to avoid getting soaked in a rain storm. I am debating between a) just taking my usual plastic painters cloth groundcloth and using treking poles and sticks to hold the edges up if it rains; b) plan A combined with an Oware Epic bivy that has a silnylon "bathtub" bottom; or c) constructing some kind of bathtub floor out of silnylon. I would prefer to go with plan A to save weight, and really do not have the skill to go with plan C. Does anyone have any thoughts on whether I will be okay leaving the bivy behind?

Mike Storesund
(mikes) - F
Hard packed campsites on 04/22/2005 12:57:21 MDT Print View

The reports of hardpacked campsites are correct. Our trip was lucky with no substantial rain, but being prepared, I'd opt for your Plan B. Have your painters tarp and bivy. You may find many nights just using the bivy.
REI has a new rig called "Gimme Shelter" It uses your treking poles for support and has a removable bathtub floor. 2 pounds 10 ounces (packed) may be more than you were planning, but the combination is there. If you share it with one of the other leaders, you split the weight and only need when it rains. Maybe your tarptent has a floor available...

Edited by mikes on 04/22/2005 14:16:40 MDT.

Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
keep this thread alive on 04/22/2005 17:48:27 MDT Print View

Thanks for the comments on Philmont. As Mike mentioned, we too did not get a 2006 slot in the lottery. Our next trip will be my first visit to Philmont with, hopefully, both of my sons. I hope we can keep some discussion alive regarding a successful lightweight approach to Philmont.

BTW, Henry Shires offers the Squall or Cloudburst as 2-man options. Both are available with a floor well suited to hard packed campsites. Where I live they also provide excellent protection from mosquitos, ticks, chiggers, scorpions, etc.

Edited by flyfast on 04/22/2005 17:49:24 MDT.

Mike Storesund
(mikes) - F
Plenty of room to roam on 04/22/2005 21:24:32 MDT Print View

With 263 square miles to hike and camp, there is plenty of room to wander. It is soon to double I hear, with the ranch to the north going to be donated, the Scout camp will then cross into Colorado.

David White
(davidw) - F

Locale: Midwest
Beware tarps at Philmont on 04/23/2005 06:53:34 MDT Print View

You might double-check this; but 3 years ago when we went to Philmont, they specifically prohibitted the use of tarps for sleeping. While no definition of tarp vs. tent was provided, my guess is they'll consider anything without a floor as a tarp.

And yes, the camping areas are typically hard packed.

Enjoy it; Philmont was one of the most fun and worthwhile experiences of my life. I WANNA GO BACK TO PHILMONT!

Mike Storesund
(mikes) - F
Tarps at Philmont on 04/23/2005 21:31:36 MDT Print View

Last year they just said to bring your shelter... nothing was said about no tarps. Besides those BSA wall tents are just glorified tarps with no floors.

Edited by mikes on 04/23/2005 21:33:11 MDT.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Philmont & Tarps on 04/25/2005 02:45:09 MDT Print View

I haven't been to Philmont since 1986 but we used our own tarps then - actually, solo sized tarps made of 2.4 oz nylon that of course, served as ponchos!

I don't know if they will let that fly today or not, given their requirements for waterproof raingear.

Mike Storesund
(mikes) - F
Tarps at Philmont on 04/25/2005 10:30:53 MDT Print View

From the 2005 Philmont Guide to Adventure, it reads
"Philmont provides a 2-man A-frame tent for checkout at base camp. Called the Philmont Backpacker, it has a 5'6" x 7'6" rectangular footprint, 3 short poles, and requires 14 stakes (not free standing). If you have your own tent that you want to take, please discuss it with your Expedition Leader. He will want to see it and discuss with you its appropriateness, size, weight, previous usage, etc."
It does state that hammocks are not allowed. They also say bivy's are not allowed, I suspect because of the bear safety issue, where they desire 2 people per tent. However Adult Leaders may be excluded from this, as all events I have been on the adult leaders had their own sleeping accomodations.
I guess this is one you actually need to verify from Philmont Staff.

Edited by mikes on 04/25/2005 10:33:55 MDT.

paul schnoes
Lightweight at Philmont on 04/28/2005 00:29:48 MDT Print View

From talking to scouts who have been to Philmont in the recent past, the lightweight methods are NOT part of the program...Canned food, multiple pots, heavy tents and a Dining fly all seem to be required! I hope this is not true but considering the state of scout camping I am not shocked! A hike in a National Forest or even a National Park would save clashing with a culture set 20 year in the past!

Edited by pauls on 04/28/2005 00:32:04 MDT.

Mike Storesund
(mikes) - F
Lightweight at Philmont = oxymoron on 04/28/2005 08:27:47 MDT Print View

They do advise you to plan on adding 25 pounds of gear, food and water to each of your 13 crew memebers' packs. If your crew is less than 13, plan on carrying even more than the added 25 pounds.
You are also required to carry at least one hard water bottle (Nalgene/Lexan type), 5-7 liters of water, your complete Class A / Field Uniform and your 10 essentials. The rain gear is suggested to be a rain suit and to leave the poncho at home.
We had some boys that actually carried up to 80 pounds of gear when helping out others that were struggling.
I guess they figure 'the boys are young and it toughens them up'. Myself... they would probably be air lifting me out due to a myocardial infarction if I carried 60 pounds on a 70 mile hike.

Edited by mikes on 04/28/2005 08:29:52 MDT.

Travis Songer
(tsonger1979) - F
UL @ Philmont. I wish I was going. on 04/28/2005 12:24:56 MDT Print View

You may not be able to got Ultralight in Philmont in the respect that your base pack weight won't be under 8.5lbs, but that doesn't mean that you can't make intelligent decesions regarding your other gear choices. I don't have the gear list, but I imagine many choices would be the same for any hike. For raingear instead of a traditional 2lb rain set you could get Golite Reed pants and a Golite Phantom Jacket. For a sleeping bag you have a Marmot Hydrogen instead of a REI kilo bag. You get the idea.

One of my memorie from Philmont (1994) was that the scouts, including me, used issued "pup" tents from philmont while the scoutmasters/leaders used a personal tent. The issue tents just plain sucked. It was a good thing it wasn't monsoon season (we missed it by a week) or we really would have been miserable. My point being that we should have used our own personal tents, but we where worried that they would be appropriate for philmont.

Its been too long (and i'm a much different hiker now)since I went to make any real suggestions. If someone has the list of gear that Philmont requires along with what gear it suggests we may be able to help a lot more with gear suggestions.

T Songer

Travis Songer
(tsonger1979) - F
:) Philmont Gear List on 04/28/2005 12:37:34 MDT Print View

There seems to be a fairly comprehensive gear list here. If anyone has anything more current that would also be helpful.

Steven Hardy
(hardyhiker1) - F
Philmont gear on 04/28/2005 14:55:56 MDT Print View

I have seen several lightweight philmont gear lists on the web that are much more sensible than the list on the referenced website. Also, the group I am going with is planning to limit crew gear to a dining fly, a stove, a cooking pot, a couple of collapsible water bottles and bear bags. It is hard to see how that much gear could add 6 to 9 pounds to each of 12 crew members.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Philmont Gear List @ BPL on 04/28/2005 19:47:50 MDT Print View

We have it on our editorial calendar to release a Philmont Gear list here as well. It's been tentatively scheduled for publication during the last week of May/first week of June.

paul schnoes
Gear List on 04/28/2005 21:37:19 MDT Print View

Wow...These guys going to Antartica? or Climbing a 8000m moutain?
I am suprised they do not have a heavy filter instead of the Polar Pure!

As far as leaving "suggested" gear behind, remember that this equipment may not be optional! This is a BSA camp and they do things by the book. (I bet you need to carry the book as well!)

Edited by pauls on 04/28/2005 21:44:59 MDT.

Steven Hardy
(hardyhiker1) - F
Philmont by the book on 04/29/2005 11:30:17 MDT Print View

Actually, I think the minimum requirements are pretty limited, and appear to be driven by concerns about bears. You have to use bear bags, you have to sleep in approved tents, and boys have to sleep two to a tent. I suppose they don't allow hiking in sandals, but that is not a restriction for 99% of us. You don't have to eat their food, although you get to pay for it whether you eat it or not.

My comments above are from information I have gathered on the web and not from any official Philmont sources. I assume that any gear list BPL releases will be vetted by somebody on the Philmont staff.

paul schnoes
"official" list on 04/29/2005 22:19:05 MDT Print View

The BSA philmont site is nearly devoid of any useful information. Web based information varies from resonable to super heavy! I have seen a "minimum" list on several sites that looks workable. I guess more research is in order. Add this to the crew gear it still seems like a lot to carry!

Anyone taking a Trek this year and have the "official" list?

Edited by pauls on 04/29/2005 22:19:37 MDT.

Ched Hudson
(chedhudson) - F
Backpacking Light at Philmont on 05/04/2005 07:40:11 MDT Print View

Reading through the earlier posts, I have to address some mistaken perceptions. It is entirely possible to embrace ultralight backpacking on a Philmont trek. Some crews do, many do not. Remember we're talking about teenagers, many of whom may not have the time, money, or interest to tweak every last ounce from their kit. Priorities are different at that age.

Philmont has equipment available for use, usually expedition-weight, but does not require its use. Our crew brought all of our own equipment on our trek last year. Philmont has a few specific requirements, like use of bear bags, no open-toed shoes on the trail or while cooking, and fully enclosed tents - not floorless - to avoid safety issues like waking up with a rattler in your sleeping bag (found one under my ground cloth one morning). Scout uniforms are required for travel to/from Philmont, but are not required and almost never worn on the trail.

Some extra weight is also due to insurance - adult advisors are responsible for health and safety of the teen crew, and many coach a few extra pounds of clothing and equipment for unexpected circumstances that inexperienced backpackers frequently don't sub-freezing morning temperatures at Copper Park on occasion.

For those looking for lists, here's a link to Selden Ball's Philmont website, the comprehensive index of all things Philmont.

Section, entitled "Lightweight Packing" has a half-dozen links to equipment lists from a number of adult advisors (and the first link in the list is to!) I used Dr. Bob's list as a jumping-off point last year and it served me well. (

Ched Hudson