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Nalgene vs BYOB (and Bears)
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Bill Rose
(BRnPA) - F

Locale: Philly suburbs
Nalgene vs BYOB (and Bears) on 07/22/2012 06:11:05 MDT Print View

I've been consistently lightening my load, ditching my heavy 1L Nalgenes for a couple of 32 ounce Powerade bottles, which I was planning on taking to Philmont next year.
Yesterday I was having a conversation with some of the guys in our Troop who went to Philmont in '09 and they said that Philmont is against bringing water containers that have held anything but water due to potential scents attracting bears and all water containers brought to Philmont from the outside must be stored in the bear bags as a bear security measure. In reading over the suggested packing list (, the "3 or 4 - one qt. water bottles (BB, A)" note that they must be stored in the bear bags at night, so I would think that it really shouldn't matter what you keep your clean water in since it all goes in the bear bags. Thoughts?

david richardson
(drichi) - MLife

Locale: midwest
water bottles on 07/22/2012 06:53:31 MDT Print View

I would suggest 1 Liter aquafina water bottles, and one wide mouth power-aid or gator-aid bottle. The wide mouth aquafina bottles were perfict in my opinion, but are not around anymore. If you plan on drinking gator-aid then the power-aid or gator-aid wide mouth bottle works well. There are times when a wide mouth bottle makes it much easier to fill from a spring or creek. But you can always dip with a cup and pour to your bottle. Any bottle that has ever had anything besides water in it will need to be bear-bagged at night. Soft sided Patypus bottles also work well. But do include one wide mouth bottle of some kind. Nalgene bottles are very heavy. dave

Stephen Everson
(mrevets) - F
Interesting on 07/22/2012 06:54:39 MDT Print View

It will be interesting to hear from those that went to Philmont this year on this subject. In reading what you posted, it seems as if nearly everything is going into the bear bag....I had not thought that I needed to put my bottle in the bear bag...

Sean Breen
(Scout22) - F
Reply on 07/22/2012 12:12:54 MDT Print View

I will give you guys feedback on the new philmont policy towards using a gatorade, or other bottle for water. I leave next saturday, so i will give you the information in three weeks. (super excited haha)

bottles on 07/22/2012 17:46:40 MDT Print View

"Philmont in '09 and they said that Philmont is against bringing water containers that have held anything but water due to potential scents attracting bears and all water containers brought to Philmont from the outside must be stored in the bear bags as a bear security measure"

Yes, anything that has EVER had anything besides water in it needs to be bear bagged.

But, the above sounds questionable. Philmont gives you tons of gatorade powder, which they intend for you to use, so why would they care what you put that in? Its all getting hung anyway, duh.

Use lightweight water bottles.

Peter Griffith
(petergriffith) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Re: Nalgene vs BYOB (and Bears) on 07/22/2012 23:54:48 MDT Print View

Our ranger instructed us this year to put any bottles used for Gatorade in the bear bag. All other bottles go in the fire pit. Why in the fire pit? I couldn't figure that one out.

Most of our crew used 1L size disposable water bottles. 1L size is important because the water treatment tablets are designed for 1L. We also carried 2L platys for water storage.

I thought I'd offer that potable water is available from spigots at most campsites. We brought water filters but left them at base camp and just took the tablets. I don't recall ever having to get water from a stream. We did have to treat the water at a couple of the camps.

Sarah Kuhn
(SCKuhn) - MLife

Locale: Mountainous Ohio
Nalgene vs BYOB on 07/23/2012 09:51:54 MDT Print View

+1 for taking lightweight alternatives - be they whatever brand collapsible bottles or 'recycled' bottles.

+1 for taking 1L 'bottles' - as mentions micropur tablets are designed to treat 1L and easier to track consumption/capacity/reserve.... no 1/2L or 3/4L to figure in.

+1 for taking ONE rigid bottle - be it Nalgene or 'recycled' bottle, easiest way to track your 'smellable' bottle and easier to mix assorted drink mixes in.

Philmont's thought process and handling of 'water bottles' hasn't changed - ANY 'smellable' bottle must go up in the bearbag (advice - empty them first.... one alway leaks!!) and all remaining water 'bottles' go into the fire ring.

On my previous 2 treks I have taken a combination of Platypus bags or similar off-brand bags and 1 Nalgene type bottle - this has worked well for me. We encourage all participants to have the ability to carry 6-7L each (rarely carry that much, but this eliminates need to carry the 2 1/2gallon jug/man killer full of water to a dry camp)

We did have to pull water from several streams/rivers on our trek in June.... some water was filtered other was simply micropurred... depended on the source and the time available. We took a gravity filter and a hiker pro for our crew of 13.

Dan Lee
(scoutbuff) - MLife

Locale: Colorado
WATER BOTTLES, FIRE RINGS AND BEAR BAGGING... on 07/23/2012 11:21:46 MDT Print View

In our crew of 12, we had a combination of used Aquafina, Gatorade, Nalgene, Camelbak bladders and Platypus bottles. The guidance from our ranger was, as previously stated, any bottle that has previously had ANY drink other than water, would go in the BB. All other water bottles go in the fire ring as some of Philmont's bears have grown to associate Nalgenes (and the like) with sweet drinks.

We encouraged all of the crew to use only one of their bottles for Gatorade and keep the others for water only. We may have cut corners a bit but old Gatorade/Powerade bottles that had been washed at home and used only for water on the trek simply went into the fire ring. Bottles that had been used for Gatorade or the other Acclimate drink mix always went into the BB.

On capacity... Requiring everyone to have 6-7 L seems a bit overkill even for dry camps. We used our Gravity Works bladder (4L) with each person in the crew carrying 3L for our dry camp on Shaeffer's Pass and had no problems with a lack of water. This also included a hike out to the Tooth. We also ate our dinner for lunch prior as many suggest for dry camps as another water conservation technique.

Hope this helps!

Mark Rash

Locale: North Texas
Bottles on 07/25/2012 14:06:23 MDT Print View

+1 on what Dan said. Make sure that each crew member marks ONE bottle for mixing Gatorade and other mixes. That bottle goes up in the Bear Bag. Keep all other bottles water only and they can go in the fire ring.

Our Ranger said that if a Gatorade bottle had been washed out with soap and water prior to coming to Philmont it could be treated as a clean water bottle and go in the fire ring.

George Geist
(geist) - M

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: Why the fire pit on 07/25/2012 15:04:27 MDT Print View

> All other bottles go in the fire pit. Why in the fire pit? I couldn't figure that one out.

Hi Peter,

To answer your question. There are few reasons they want the water bottles in the fire pit.

First, is because the pile of bottles in the fire pit does not look like a water bottle to a bear. As others have already said, some bears have started to associate a Gatorade bottle with a sweet drink, even if it doesn't smell like it.

Second, the fire pit is not near the tents in case a bear finds a smellable bottle accidentally left out of the bear bag.

Third, just as an extra safety precaution the rule keeps your boys from keeping a water bottle in their tent, where a bear might then want to it check out.

Edited by geist on 07/25/2012 15:06:04 MDT.

Bill Rose
(BRnPA) - F

Locale: Philly suburbs
Polyethylene terephthalate not safe to reuse? on 08/11/2012 15:16:55 MDT Print View

So, I was all set to use my left-over PowerAid bottles for hiking until I started reading about the recommended non-reuse of Polyethylene terephthalate bottles, commonly referenced by the number 1 recycle emblem. Seems that these bottles are not made to be reused because they are manufactured to break down faster for recycling and do not react well to heat (can leach chemicals into your liquid). I'm thinking about moving into some sort of light-weight stainless steel container...

contaminants on 08/11/2012 15:31:47 MDT Print View

Im not sure "stainless steel" and "lightweight" should be used in the same sentence.

So powerade can sit in the bottle for up to a year before being sold, and you have no problem drinking it.

But you are not willing to put your water into the same bottle for maybe a few hours to a day at a time and drink out of it?

Yes very minute trace compounds leach out of plastics into our foods. They also leach out of everything we have in our homes, and that we touch. That is simply that hazard of man-made items.

Many studies have been done on blood levels of chemicals that are found in foam cushions, carpets, electronics, etc. Your body is literally already carrying dozens of chemicals from your household environment and industrial environment.

At the low levels most exist at, they dont seem to do us much harm. Every now and then one is made a "poster child" because it turns up in high conc. , esp in breast milk. Whether it was actually harmful, is moot. It gets legislated out, and another new, supposedly better chemical takes it place. Some yrs down the road, the cycle repeats.

My point is, I wouldnt worry about drinking out of a powerade bottle for a few days. Its small pickings.

David Ebert

Locale: Midwest
Reusing sport drink bottles at Philmont on 10/08/2012 10:45:38 MDT Print View

In base camp or just before you get there, purchase a 1L sport drink bottle and use into mix your Gatorade mix or drink powder. Then recycle it in base camp when you get off the trail. No fuss, no muss. Nothing extra to carry home. That's what several of us did this year on my crew. And I will do it again.

Bears also like to play with the nalgenes and will bat them around. Consolidating in the fire ring makes them a little more work to get and keeps them in the bearmuda triangle too.