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Philmont Backpacks
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Ernie Delcher
(EFD57) - F

Locale: Northern New Jersey
Re: pack size - 'extra gear' on 02/09/2012 10:47:56 MST Print View


I agree that an equal share of crew gear is the goal and good for the morale of all (be part of the team). That is why I am trying to figure things 18 months in advance. My 2 crews have alot of learning/preparing to do and its not something you can leave to the last minute.

I also agree on the sbag being the worst offender in the bulk dept but I would put the tent as the #2 bulk offender.

What type of shelters did you carry with a 3800 ci pack and was it in the pack or attached outside the pack?



Sarah Kuhn
(SCKuhn) - MLife

Locale: Mountainous Ohio
Philmont Backpacks on 02/09/2012 11:57:12 MST Print View

In 2010 I carried a Tarptent Rainbow and this summer will carry a SMD Lunar duo. I carry my tent vertically in the side pocket of my Granite Gear Nimbus Meridian with poles and ground cloth all together. In 2010 we had a crew of only 8 people, so everyone had a large share of 'crew gear'. (5 youth, 3 adults all from different units, minimal shake down experience, we used mostly Philmont gear - pots, bear bags/ropes, 2 Phil tents) I carried the 'dining fly' (my own Kelty Noah tarp) on the opposite side of my pack to balance the weight. (also carried other crew gear.)
You could do similar with a Philmont tents by splitting tent body and poles/fly between tent partners.
Prior to my trek in 2010 I purchased a used Phil tent and still have it. For every Council Contingent meeting we have I set it up... that way everyone gets to see exactly what Philmont offers. I'll have a scout/parent curious about the weight/bulk take it down and pack it up, then they get to see and feel what they will be dealing with - BEST $40 I SPENT!!!
Here is the link to Philmont's surplus gear - give them a call and they'll fix you up with a Phil tent.

The point of my previous post was more so that as leaders on a high adventure trek we can't take all the extras - by the time a scout is 'mature' enough to go on a high adventrue trek they should be mature enough to pack and carry all of their gear, or make do with what they have.
Philmont is much more enjoyable if you don't haul all the 'just in case' gear.

Edited by SCKuhn on 02/09/2012 12:05:13 MST.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Re: pack size on 02/09/2012 17:28:02 MST Print View


You can add Granite Gear Virga, 3200ci to the list of packs mentioned here.

Your list of tips for lightening up is a good one.

Your questions:
1. Did the entire crew use packs of this size or were there a couple of packs that were much larger and carried more than their share of the bulk?

My pack was the smallest of the crew, easily 1000ci smaller than the next smallest.

It is not possible to divide the shared gear perfectly even, but we do our best. But I carried my share of shared gear volume. Also my share the food.

On my first trek I shared a TarpTent Rainshadow 2. The fabric portion of the tent is in a single piece and is much larger (and heavier) than the rest of the it (poles & stakes). I carried the larger part of that.

On my second trip we had three adults and did not want to squeeze us all in the Rainshadow 2 so I carried all of my shelter ... Jay Ham designed shaped tarp (plans available to BPL members and a SMD Meteor bivvy, plans freely available at SMD's website (I altered to have a bathtub floor). That is a relatively small volume shelter.

However, our 5 scouts shared a single shelter, Golite Shangri-la 4+ with MYOG silnylon floor. They split that three ways 1) canopy 2) floor 3) pole&stakes. very low volume for 5 people (don't try that with 5 adults). The canopy is a little larger volume than the floor and the poles&stakes, much smaller. The two scouts carrying no shelter carried larger heavier pieces of shared gear as did the one with pole&stakes.

The answers to your second question is imbedded in the answer to the first.

NOTE: The Golite shelter is not inexpensive. But we shopped sales and bought at about 1/2 of MSRP. We've since picked up a great deal on the 4+ floor with bug netting (on the BPL gear swap). That allows us to use the 4+ during skeeter season

You've started planning early and may be able to do the same.

packs on 02/09/2012 17:43:20 MST Print View

We are going in 2013 too.

My crew will be struggling with this too soon.

Eliminating the volume seems to be the goal, the wt will take care of itself.
The philmont gear IS heavy, but is still only ~3 lbs per person when split up, so the wt alone seems to be not an issue to me. ( unless you are the poor guy that gets stuck packing the "wet" 4 lb dining fly that now weighs 8 lbs.)

Some crews have successfully used light wt packs, so it seems it CAN be done.

On my Circuit, i put my down bag in first, then a 1 gal ziplock with a few spare clothing items (socks, beanie, glove liners, synthetic tshirt, longjohns), then puffy jacket and 100 wt fleece, then squeeze down and wrap up the liner. When compressed down the compartment is only maybe 1/3 full. I have easily 2/3 of my pack still available for food and a 2-3 lb share of crew gear, + room in outside pocket.

Outside pockets hold water bottles, tent, raingear. hipbelts hold miscl small things. Of course the tent is pretty small.

I cant imagine not having enough room for even 6 days food. I could fit a bear can in there. It all depends on what else you are trying to bring , and how bulky your personal gear is. If you want a small UL pack, I think a highly compressible bag is a must, along with light and thin insulating gear. Things that cost $$$ unfortunately.

Another key I think, is to have the scouts tenting together in large multi-man floorless shelters(a groundsheet counts as a floor) instead of conventional double wall tents. That saves a tremendous amount of volume and weight. 4 people can sleep in single mid that weighs 25-30 oz including plastic grounsheet and stakes, for a wt of 7-8 oz each, compared to 2.5-3 lbs each for conventional 2 person tents. Only one guy needs to carry the tent though, making room for others to carry bulky gear. Or bulky food.

I second that no adult leader should be carrying a bunch of gear "just in case"
oreven because a kid doesnt have room. It is a crew trip, boy led. As in all scouting things, the adults are not there to carry the the boys, they are there to "advise" and facilitate, (and maybe keep a watchful eye on them.)

Edited by livingontheroad on 02/09/2012 18:26:33 MST.

Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
Re: Philmont Backpacks on 02/09/2012 18:45:56 MST Print View

One more experience - in our last 3 crews, our most frequent packs were the Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus (about 3,600 c.i.) and the ULA Circuit (about 4,200 c.i.). I've carried the GG. Space in our packs was just never a concern. But that requires attention to helping everyone slim down their gear to fit. Since our last trip to Philmont I have found a GoLite Pinnacle. It's also a similar volume, inexpensive, and carries well.

Philmont food is a lot of volume. We found it helps to discard what you will never eat. But 16-19 year old boys eat a lot. They can carry a lot too. Our older guys would often raid a swap box looking for more calories. We've never carried more than 4 days of food at a time that I can recall.

We've used canister stoves, MSR Windpro usually with 2L aluminum pots. We tried turkey bag cooking. Our experience is that it's easier to let everyone rehydrate meals in a bowl. We have never carried any of the Philmont issued cook gear.

Last, I've also carried a floorless tent twice. Philmont staff always asked questions about our tents and our gear selection. They were interested to see if we knew what we were doing. Our rangers have always complimented the boy on their skills and preparation. Being respectful and patient has always helped us get along with our rangers.

Philmont is a fantastic experience. Hope that your crew has a great trek.

Edited by flyfast on 02/09/2012 18:48:27 MST.

terrance guidetti
(Baloo) - F

Locale: calif
gear on 02/10/2012 00:21:16 MST Print View

In response to previous posts our crew was composed of 4 adults and 5 scouts. All of the scouts were 14 and most were of slight build. Although we had emphasized light gear for over a year, many of their packs ( with 6 days of food) exceeded the the recommendations for weight carried as % of body weight; hence, at times leaders carried more than their share.

Our tents varied greatly, but we did not carry any Phil tents. Most were in the 4 lb. range. I carried a MLD solomid (with a polycro floor velcroed to the perimeter netting; this worked very well at 19 oz. with stakes). We also had a lunar duo. My bag was a montbell ul #3, so my personal kit was very compact. Carried minimal clothes; cocoon hoody for insulation. As I said my personal kit was compact and ul, the volume of the food was what overwhelmed my Mariposa plus.

I have read Phil's good info on Philmont and found it quite helpful with preparing for our first trip to Philmont. I took note of their use of floor less tents (in spite of the official Philmont policy). With that in mind I velcroed the edges of my polycro ground sheet to the perimeter netting of my solomid before going to Philmont, just in case. I was glad I did because there was no way our ranger would allow us to use floor less tents. So it seems to depend on the ranger you have. Roll of the dice.

Tony Ronco
(tr-browsing) - MLife
Philmont Backpacks and Misc Info on 02/13/2012 00:45:48 MST Print View

Went to Philmont last summer, with two sister crews. Here is some of what we did:

The backpack I used was a Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus - it was plenty big enough. Members of our crew also used the Gossamer Gear Gorilla - on the initial day of a 4 day food carry its capacity was bit tight, but worked.

You'll get good at getting the food packs smaller (crushing the corners of the boxes, getting excess air out, etc.)

Most popular sleeping bag in our crews was Eureka Silver City (30 degrees). A few made the bag into a quilt (which was relatively easy enough, and also provided a extra measure of pride in being self sufficient with lightening up their gear)

We avoided using Philmont issued gear (too heavy & bulky).

For Shelter, Our crews used sil-nylon pyramids (Oware & Black Diamond). One with sil-nylon floor, the others polycro (taped into bath tub configuration)

We used 2L aluminum pots

We used Sil-Nylon Dining Fly (8 x 10)

Bear Ropes -AmSteel-Blue w/carabiners

Average carry weight across the crews = 25.3 lbs
Measured just before we left base camp (with 3 days of food + 3 liters of water for each Scout, the distributed crew gear, and plus a few scouts were carrying the fuel)

Distributed base weight (fuel bottles empty) of our crew gear (including shelter)= 1.3 lbs each
(The heavier things went to the bigger boys, the lightest went the to the smallest.)

Edited by tr-browsing on 03/16/2012 11:45:14 MDT.

Wesley Witt

Locale: Northwest
Philmont Backpacks on 02/25/2012 20:47:06 MST Print View

If you go with ultralight gear you can get away with a pretty small pack. I took a small GoLite pack when I went and I had plenty of room for gear and food. You'll find that you discard much of the food they give you because it is simply inedible junk food. I think I took about half of the breakfast / lunch food that I was given. I really recommend bringing some of your own food, it will be a life saver.

cookpots on 02/26/2012 11:15:53 MST Print View

confused by a couple of posts.

remember that pots dont take up any significant room, IF you have your other gear INSIDE of them.

Cant see how this becomes an issue at all.

Sean Breen
(Scout22) - F
Pack questions on 03/06/2012 17:25:14 MST Print View

Hey Guys, i've been doing allot of research lately on your forums, and love all of the personable replies people give. Anyway I am going to be going to Philmont this summer with a bunch of guys from my troop (14 I think) and am currently looking for a pack. I read on this thread that many of you guys were taking a ul approach and using packs that were 60L and under. However I have been looking at the osprey aether 70L, and after going to REI I looked and researched a bit about the flash 65L. Do you guys think that these are grosely large, and willl make me want to pack too much, and have to end up leaving it at base camp? Thanks for letting me post on your thread!

Mark Rash
(markrvp) - M

Locale: North Texas
Flash 65 on 03/06/2012 21:00:35 MST Print View

My son is taking a Flash 65 to Philmont this summer. It has sufficient room to hold the bulky Philmont food. I think it's a great choice for a pack if you are going lightweight and not Ultra Light. My son's base weight is 14 lbs before food and water.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Philmont Backpacks on 03/06/2012 21:22:42 MST Print View

REI-Outlet has some packs on sale in the general weight and volume mentioned here:

I listed the women's packs only b/c the might fit a boy better in the torso than a men's pack.

Tony Ronco
(tr-browsing) - MLife
REI Flash backpack on 03/16/2012 11:57:33 MDT Print View

Last summer, one of our crew members took a REI Flash 50 to Philmont. Worked great for him, plenty of room without any issues. The Scout was 14 years old and had a 11.8 lb base weight.

Walter Underwood
(wunder) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Room for food on 03/21/2012 21:54:09 MDT Print View

Do NOT assume that you can get leave food behind. Our crew was 15 and 16 year olds and we ate everything they supplied, plus everyting they grabbed from swap boxes. One evening, we cooked meals for 18 for a crew of 10, with no leftovers.

We did cooking official Philmont style, with everything in the pot. This allowed us to add corn to most meals. Many crews assumed the corn needed to be cooked separately, and left it in the swap box. Not true! It goes with almost everything. Our cooks got creative -- yes, refried beans are tasty added to mac and cheese.

Sorting four days of food at base camp:

Adding refried beans to mac and cheese:

Also, don't decide that Larabars and Probars are bleah and skip them. Those are one of the main sources of fiber and will help avoid intestinal discomfort later in the trip. This is a point where the Advisor can "advise" firmly.

"As a leader ( with the additional gear we sometimes carry)" -- wrong. You are an advisor. The Crew Leader is the leader. If there is extra crew gear, that is a crew responsibility. If it is "just in case" gear, go back and plan more.

Edited by wunder on 03/21/2012 21:56:36 MDT.

Douglas Prosser
(daprosser) - MLife

Locale: Camarillo, California (SCAL)
Packs on 04/04/2012 00:11:56 MDT Print View

Last time I went I used GossamerGear Mariposa Plus but I was carrying home made synthetic quilt that took up half the pack.

Next year when I go I will be taking the Gossamer Gear Gorilla. On my section hikes of the PCT the Gorilla will fit my Bearikade Expedition which is approximately what the space the Philmont food will take. In a lot of Philmont treks I never had more than 4.5-5 days of food.