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Philmont Summer 2006 -
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Gerry Brucia
(taedawood) - MLife

Locale: Louisiana, USA
Lightweight Gear Issues on 05/04/2005 07:44:29 MDT Print View

I led a group to Philmont in 2003. Other than prohibiting hammocks and bivies, we were able to limit our weight to 35 - 40 lbs. per person which included food and 3 -4 litres of water per person.
The guides assigned to each crew for the shakedown are college-age young men who take their jobs seriously but seem to appreciate the value of lightening the load. I brought my Tarptent Squall. One evening my adult partner and I had to get up and re-orient the tent because the wind had changed direction but other than that, it worked great. I also brought my own silnylon tarp to replace their dining fly (highly recommended). If your troop has good backpacking tents, by all means, bring your own...theirs weigh in at 7 + lbs as I recall. With proper planning and distribution of gear, all of your boys should be able to handle their loads comfortably. After all, thousands do it every year.
Have a great time; it is a trip of a lifetime.

paul schnoes
Lightweight at Philmont on 05/05/2005 00:11:14 MDT Print View

What about the 25 lbs of "crew" gear I have read about on the web pages you cite?

Dennis Horwitz
(dennishorwitz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Hints for Philmont on 05/22/2005 18:48:08 MDT Print View

I went to Philmont in 2003 as an adult co-leader. Here are my best advice:
1. SHELTER. I had an OR Advanced Bivy as my co-leader had a solo tent and didn't want to share a larger tent. (Eveyone does need their space when you are together 24/7 for 11 days.) So I went with the bivy for pure weight reasons. For someone who had claustrophobia as a kid, my bivy and I co-existed just fine. Rain or shine, we survived together. So to respond to the tarp tent question - YES if only if you have the bath tub floor option.
2. BACKPACK. I had a Gregory Forester which is optimum for 40 lbs but inadequate for 50-60 lbs. You do really get loaded down with crew gear and food (repack in base camp if you can). I would have preferred a larger pack that could handle the extra bulk and weight more comfortably.
3. FOOD. Don't eat the strawberry cheesecake desert. It made everyone either queasy or sick (like me). The Philmont food wasn't bad but it could be repacked into ZipLOC bags for bulk and weight savings. They give you too many peanut butter and cheese packets. Consider leaving about 10% behind at base camp. I also thought the dry granola in some of the breakfasts was hard to eat. Consider bringing a few extra pouches of oatmeal - mix with either cold or hot water as convenient.

Tom Oldham
(twoldham) - F
Tents weights on 06/05/2005 16:04:11 MDT Print View

Hi. we're headed to Philmont in a couple of weeks. I have seen the description of the Philmont tests but wonder about the weight. Can anyone give an estimate of experience with them? Thanks.

Mike Storesund
(mikes) - F
Tent weight on 06/08/2005 06:28:57 MDT Print View

Tom... read Gerard's post above from 5/4/05... He said his best recollection was 7+ pounds. From what I remember that is about right.

paul schnoes
Lightweight List on 06/08/2005 08:03:13 MDT Print View

Has everyone read the article on this site "Boy Scout Gear list"?

Many of the ideas there could be used on a Philmont trek.

Steven Hardy
(hardyhiker1) - F
Philmont 2005 on 07/01/2005 15:52:49 MDT Print View

I just got back from Philmont. Frankly, I was very impressed with the program they have. They do some things that make pack weights go up, but many of them are driven by concerns about bears, hypothermia and keeping a bunch of finicky teenagers from bonking on the trail from lack of food. I carried about a 45 pound pack out of base camp that included a 21 pound base weight (including a large crew first aid kit) and 24 pounds of food (8 two-person meals), water and a 33 oz. bottle of white gas.

The crew gear for our crew consisted of a four-pound, Philmont issue tarp, 8 plastic burlap sacks to use as bear bags, two ropes for the bear bags (one pound each), two large aluminum pots (8-quart), and one pot lid. The total was no more than 10 pounds, or about one extra pound for each member of our crew. I don't think the crew gear is the source of the weight problem. Here are a couple of observations:

1. The large tarp they issue to each crew serves primarily as a central location to keep packs at night away from the tents. It is pitched with trekking poles, making it virtually useless to cook under if it is raining. They do not allow you to use trees to hold up the tarp to avoid damaging the trees. I thought it was a lot of weight for not much function. If I go again, I would probably leave it behind, or bring some taller poles (Philmont has them) to make it more functional. Others have suggested bringing a siltarp, which is also a good idea but a little pricey. Because the tarp seems to function as part of Philmont's bear protection program, they may insist upon you having one with you if you are not going to use there tarp.

2. I am very ambivalent about the clothing recommendations. On the one hand, I think Philmont recommends way too much clothing. On the on other hand, it gets very cold in some of the camps, especially when it rains, and the typical Philmont camper is not as experienced as the people reading this website. I carried only the clothes I hiked in (long pants from Cloudveil and Railriders long-sleeve shirt), one additional set of clothes (nylon shorts and a short-sleeved shirt), a silponcho, a windshirt and a fleece top. If I go again, I will bring some silnylon rainpants for camp, consider bringing a Marmot Precip, a Packa or other rain jacket (instead of the poncho), and also consider bringing some lightweight long underwear. Frankly, I don't know how people like Ryan Jordan make it in the northern Rockies with the lightweight gear they carry.

2. We did not use the Philmont issue tents. I slept in a floorless tarpent and an Oware Epic bivy. My only problem was that we slept in some meadows where there were lots of bugs in the grass. My two sons and one other boy slept in a Sierra Designs Clip 3.

3. I think the big area where we could have saved weight was the food. They give you way to much of it. You resupply every three or four days. Often, we would eat only about two-thirds of the food they would issue. While the food is heavy, I understand why they do what they do: Many of the kids on the trail are on their first multi-day backpacking trip, and Philmont wants to make sure they will have something they will eat. Hence, you get a lot of variety. If I go again, I will be much more aggressive about getting rid of food before I leave the resupply point.

4. I was traveling as the guest of another unit and did not have much say in what others brought. One key to going light is to very strictly look at what everyone is bringing. Otherwise, when you plan to go light, you just end up with more food or crew gear. With good planning, there is no reason why you cannot keep total pack weights under 35 pounds per person, including food and water.

michael a. walker
(mawalker1) - F
Philmont 2005 on 07/20/2005 08:30:42 MDT Print View

I just got back from philmont and our crew of 7 had a great time. Starting out with 4.5 days of food and 2.5 liters of water my pack weighed 32 lbs.
We brought all our own gear and used almost none of philmonts heavy gear. For our crew we used 2 stoves (one canister type) 2 4 qt and 2 2 qt Al and Ti pots, silnylon gear tarp, our own 2 man tents (my HS squall tarptent worked well.) I used platypus water bladders of 1, 2, and 6 liter sizes and when they developed leaks we patched them with duct tape. We used the Philmont heavy bear bag rope because it was easier on hands when hauling 60+lbs up on the cable than my spectra cord. Everything with a smell or been in contact with food goes up in the bear bags every nite.

If you have specific gear questions,
mail me.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Philmont 2005 & "bear bagging" on 07/20/2005 09:48:33 MDT Print View


I still have questions about how well "bear bagging", canisters, sacks, or boxes really protect us. I'm NOT saying we shouldn't do these things, but I just wonder. I only bring it up here in this Thread since it has been prev. mentioned, though only in passing.

Here's what I mean.

If "Everything with a smell or been in contact with food goes up in bear bags every nite", then the only thing left with any food odor on is is me (and my trekkin' mates) & clothing. The sensitivity of a bear's sense of smell is probably at least 3x better than a bloodhound's sense of smell.

Can we really clean our hands, mouth, breath, skin glands exuding food odors hours later, & our clothes (a stray greasy 'paw' might have contacted pants or shirt, or some other gear, e.g. tent/tarp or sleeping bag)?

Is it just that a bear is NOT near enough to be attracted by our odor & we would be the only thing w/i easy reach of eatin'? I don't know. I just wonder about this. Did you see any bears, any recent evidence of bears, or hear any bears? Were any other critters attracted to either the 'bagged' food or the campers? This might indicate an odor. So, if no bears also showed up, is that an indication that they weren't in the area?

Any thoughts anyone?

Edited by pj on 07/20/2005 10:29:52 MDT.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
Proportion, maybe? on 07/20/2005 13:55:15 MDT Print View

While you probably will have some food smells in your tent, I would be willing to bet it is significantly weaker than what is drifting out of the bear bag. So, the bears are more likly to check out the bag. Discover they can't reach it and move on.

Think of it like this. If you heard something screaming from say a half a mile way would you check out the source of the scream? Or go looking for the crickets 100 yds away? For that mater, would you even hear the crickets?

Edited by tlbj6142 on 07/20/2005 13:56:13 MDT.

michael a. walker
(mawalker1) - F
Philmont bear bags on 07/21/2005 09:36:57 MDT Print View

Tents were kept 50 ft away from backpacks, cooking area, and bear bags. You only entered tents wearing sleeping clothes that were never worn while eating. We didn't see any bears or even hear about any bear siteings but with 21,000 campers going thru this ranch every summer BSA is going to extremes to avoid bear encounters. At first I thought they gave us too much food but by late in the trek we were eating everything they provided plus more food we collected from food swap boxes in the camps.

Steven Hardy
(hardyhiker1) - F
Re: Philmont 2005 on 07/27/2005 06:15:06 MDT Print View

Michael: Can you post your gear list, and also tell us what kind of tents the others in your group were carrying? I thought I was pretty good about getting my pack weight down but you beat my by at least 12 pounds. However, I am sure that one difference is that it sounds like the others in your crew were committed to going ultra light. I ended up carrying a lot of crew gear to lighten the load of others who had equipment that was too heavy.

michael a. walker
(mawalker1) - F
Re: Re: Philmont 2005 on 07/27/2005 12:02:20 MDT Print View

Henry shires Squall tarp tent on one trekking pole 2 lb

6 moons starlite pack 23 oz

10 x 12 silnylon tarp with kelty triptease cord and 12 Al gutter nails

2, 6 liter one 2 liter and one 1 liter plattypus bladders
2 lb marmot down bag
10 oz BMW torsolite pad
4 nylon mesh laundry bags from REI

silnylon poncho instead of pack cover and rain suit

I had one change of clothes plus long sleeve poly pro shirt and REI "one" softshell jacket. also REI softshell pants

others in our group who did not invest in light wt stuff carried up to 65 lbs, one guy brought 5 lbs of gorp!!!

others carried 4 and 1.8 liter Ti pots
and 4 and 2 qt Al pots. We never used all 4 pots for a meal so the 2 qt pot was unnecessary

the 10 oz MSR windpro stove worked well with the big pots and used for about half the cooking/cleaning needs we consumed about 16 oz of fuel Cannister fuel NOT available at base or remote camp stores

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Philmont Fuel Used on 09/20/2005 21:57:37 MDT Print View

Michael A Walker said" ...the 10 oz MSR windpro stove worked well with the big pots and used for about half the cooking/cleaning needs we consumed about 16 oz of fuel"

If we were only taking the 355 gm canisters of Isobutane then (same as what your MSR stove used), how many would we likely need for the entire trek for a crew of 12?


Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Philmont bear bags on 09/21/2005 11:23:36 MDT Print View

At first I thought they gave us too much food but by late in the trek we were eating everything they provided plus more food we collected from food swap boxes in the camps.

Even the chili-mac? ;-)

michael a. walker
(mawalker1) - F
Re: Philmont Fuel Used on 09/22/2005 07:47:20 MDT Print View

The food is packaged per 2 persons so our group of 7 carried food for 8 and ate all of it. For a crew of 12 I would bring 3 kitchens, that is 3 stoves, 3 4l pots 3 2l pots, and 16 oz of iso fuel for each stove. This gives you triple redundancy in case of equipment failure. you'll need to ship your stoves and fuel to Philmont.
White gas is available at some staffed camps but isobutane is not. the Al pots were the same or lighter than the Evernew Ti pots and alot less $$ but less convienient to use (pot holders required, clean-up) the Ti pots were "dead sexy" compared to the giant wash tubs Philmont issues to cook in. For personal bowls some of us used the lightweight food storeage containers with tight fitting lids. Easy clean-up by adding hot water and shaking with lid on, then pour into sump. Prior to meal dip bowls and sporks in boiling water to sanitize. That water is later reheated for washing.

Only food provided that was universally dispised was cherry gorp. Several breakfasts included dry granola and no powered milk!! Bring your own or learn to choke down dry gorp like a snack right out of the bag.

hope you enjoy Philmont as much as I did.

CJ Lett
(ralfe1) - F
Re: Philmont gear on 04/11/2006 10:17:11 MDT Print View

You mentioned philmont gear lists on the web. Can you provide any links,

david richardson
(drichi) - MLife

Locale: midwest
Re: Re: Philmont gear on 04/11/2006 17:28:25 MDT Print View

I think that there is a lot of information here.

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Philmont Gear List on 04/14/2006 10:13:49 MDT Print View

We'll be publishing a Philmont gear list next week.