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Philmont Gear Review

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Thanks for the review,  we just received our date for next year and I am now in GEAR MODE.  Pretty much made up my mind on pack (Osprey 60) so its the other stuff I am thinking about.  You mention your sleeping bag and I guess I didn't realize how much the temp dropped, I was just going to use my small compact summer bag but it sounds like I need to be looking for a 30 degree bag.  Is that what you're telling me?   

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On 8/22/2019 at 5:22 PM, JasonG172 said:

Thanks for the review,  we just received our date for next year and I am now in GEAR MODE.  Pretty much made up my mind on pack (Osprey 60) so its the other stuff I am thinking about.  You mention your sleeping bag and I guess I didn't realize how much the temp dropped, I was just going to use my small compact summer bag but it sounds like I need to be looking for a 30 degree bag.  Is that what you're telling me?   

Yes, you really do need to be prepared for chilly nights.  Maybe it won't be as cold when you go, but it could be.

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On 8/22/2019 at 5:22 PM, JasonG172 said:

Thanks for the review,  we just received our date for next year and I am now in GEAR MODE.  Pretty much made up my mind on pack (Osprey 60) so its the other stuff I am thinking about.  You mention your sleeping bag and I guess I didn't realize how much the temp dropped, I was just going to use my small compact summer bag but it sounds like I need to be looking for a 30 degree bag.  Is that what you're telling me?   

My son went with his troop in early July.  He had a sleeping bag that supposedly had a 20-degree rating, but in my research I saw several comments that it was really a 30-degree bag that would keep you alive at 20 degrees.  It was perfect for him.  He said he was never cold.  Speaking of cold -- be sure to bring little things like a stocking cap and light gloves.  My son moaned when I suggested he take them, but they don't weigh anything and he ended up wearing them a lot in the morning.

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We had a snowball fight on Baldy on 4th of July in 1982.  Back then cotton sweatshirts were common.  We  muscled through with all our gear and only carried two (at most) water bottles/canteens.  Those old red 1 1/2 qt BSA canteens had a cap that was a pain to fill sometimes due to location.  A beanie and gloves would have been nice.  Gear has improved so much.  Now boot types at Philmont, heavy or lightweight trailrunners, are always an issue and you can't find two scouts that agree.  I've see heavy climbing, military jungle boots (worked great), to almost sneakers.  Between loose rock and frequent rain/hail storms, you get the best of nature.   

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2 minutes ago, Double Eagle said:

We had a snowball fight on Baldy on 4th of July in 1982.  Back then cotton sweatshirts were common.  We  muscled through with all our gear and only carried two (at most) water bottles/canteens.  Those old red 1 1/2 qt BSA canteens had a cap that was a pain to fill sometimes due to location.  A beanie and gloves would have been nice.  Gear has improved so much.  Now boot types at Philmont, heavy or lightweight trailrunners, are always an issue and you can't find two scouts that agree.  I've see heavy climbing, military jungle boots (worked great), to almost sneakers.  Between loose rock and frequent rain/hail storms, you get the best of nature.   

There were patches of snow on Baldy this year while my son was there.  I'm not sure what day they made the trip up the mountain, but their trek started on July 4.

We had a couple of leaders on that trek go with trail running shoes.  They said since the trails are all very well defined, they didn't feel the need to have boots.  The trail runners aren't waterproof, but they dry quickly.  They said it was a strategy that worked well for them.  I suggested it to my son, but he's a traditionalist and wanted boots for the ankle support.

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5 minutes ago, JasonG172 said:

Again new to this!  Philmont provided tents? Opinions anyone.

Yes.  You can bring your own tent, but they insist that you certify that no food has ever been inside the tent.  Because ... you know ... bears and mountain lions.  They also discourage one-man tents.  If you choose not to bring your own tent, they will provide them for you.  

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7 hours ago, SteveMM said:

There were patches of snow on Baldy this year while my son was there.  I'm not sure what day they made the trip up the mountain, but their trek started on July 4.

We had a couple of leaders on that trek go with trail running shoes.  They said since the trails are all very well defined, they didn't feel the need to have boots.  The trail runners aren't waterproof, but they dry quickly.  They said it was a strategy that worked well for them.  I suggested it to my son, but he's a traditionalist and wanted boots for the ankle support.

I used trail runners.  I think the support from boots is dubious.  Waterproof boots are waterproof in both directions. Once they're wet, they take forever to dry.  Boots are also heavier.  Every step lifting more weight is not joyful.

45 minutes ago, JasonG172 said:

Again new to this!  Philmont provided tents? Opinions anyone.

Only take your own tents if you have something significantly better than the Philtents.  They're easy to set up, so it's not like knowing your own tent is any kind of issue.  If you have a much lighter, high quality backpacking tent, consider bringing it.  Otherwise, use the Philtents.  If you have any problem, they can replace it.  

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16 hours ago, 69RoadRunner said:

I used trail runners.  I think the support from boots is dubious.  Waterproof boots are waterproof in both directions. Once they're wet, they take forever to dry.  Boots are also heavier.  Every step lifting more weight is not joyful.

We picked up a pair of Oboz boots for my son.  They were remarkably light, and he said he was very comfortable other than a couple of minor blisters while his feet got used to the trail.  I think the boots vs trail runners debate is one of personal preference.  I didn't make the trip with the troop, but if I did I probably would have worn trail runners.  I use them for my everyday shoes anyhow.

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I'm more in favor using their tents.  You don't have buy them.  Really, you can treat them rough...sorry.  If damaged on the trail, a staffed camp may help replace it.  They don't take up room while you are traveling to and from the center.  I'm not in favor of all the solo tents.  How about doubling up, reduce footprints, and when adults demo solo tents, every scout then wants the same.  And please don't suggest Philmont allow hammocks. 

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1 minute ago, Double Eagle said:

I'm more in favor using their tents.  You don't have buy them.  Really, you can treat them rough...sorry.  If damaged on the trail, a staffed camp may help replace it.  They don't take up room while you are traveling to and from the center.  I'm not in favor of all the solo tents.  How about doubling up, reduce footprints, and when adults demo solo tents, every scout then wants the same.  And please don't suggest Philmont allow hammocks. 

Why not?

Barry

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4 minutes ago, Double Eagle said:

I'm not in favor of all the solo tents. 

My son has a brand new (read: no food ever inside it) solo tent that the'd planned to take to Philmont, but he was told that they only want participants to use two-person ones because it reduces the amount of space in camps taken up by tents.

3 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Why not?

Barry

Bears think hammocks are tacos.

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4 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Why not?

Many reasons.  Banning hammocks is a good idea (and practiced in some of those National Parks you might like visiting).

The problem is that hammocks damage trees and if you've got some place that's an established trail site, then you're not just exposing a tree to dynamic stress and friction damage to the bark on a 1-time basis, but rather repeatedly as many crews come along the trail and use the same perfect tree over and over.

Some of the damage to bark can be mitigated by using pads (aka, "tree huggers") on the ropes to reduce friction, but the basic laws of physics will still apply and the trees can still suffer stress damage (not dissimilar to repeated exposure to high wind speeds).

Outdoor ethics is kind of a fluid concept. The idea isn't always to completely eliminate damage (or "traces"), but to at least be aware of our recreational impacts on the environment so that we can make better decisions. With hammocks, I might use one if I were well off trail in a dense forest with millions of trees, each of which can easily bear the relatively small impact of a hammock, but I would avoid it (and support hammock bans) where there are fewer trees and higher recreational impact.  

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Hammocks have their place per scouter.  Some of the campsites in our council have metal poles with rings just for them.  Campsites at Philmont get so much use, they are well groomed for tents and to sustain the size of a crew.  On a somewhat funny note, bear bags and hammocks may look the same to mini-bears and large bears.

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