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69RoadRunner

Philmont Gear Review

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19 minutes ago, Pale Horse said:

I like the Ursack, much more packable. That, and in Northern Michigan, while we do have black bears, we're much more likely to lose our food to raccoons and squirrels. 

I'd also recommend their opsack for sealing the odors.

https://www.ursack.com/product/opsak-odor-barrier-bag-2-pack/

The odorproof bags are, unfortunately, not odorproof to bears.  The Opsacks have a poor reputation for durability, too.

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, 69RoadRunner said:

The odorproof bags are, unfortunately, not odorproof to bears.  The Opsacks have a poor reputation for durability, too.

Nothing is "odorproof" but they do reduce the amount of odor significantly.  They're also designed to be semi-disposable. I've been using them in my ursack and get a season's worth of use out of them.

Edited by Pale Horse

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Pale Horse said:

I like the Ursack, much more packable. That, and in Northern Michigan, while we do have black bears, we're much more likely to lose our food to raccoons and squirrels. 

I'd also recommend their opsack for sealing the odors.

https://www.ursack.com/product/opsak-odor-barrier-bag-2-pack/

Just thought I'd mention that in locations requiring bear-proof food containment operated by National Park Service or US Forest Service, the Ursack is not an approved container. If you're using an Ursack in the back country, you can still get fined for not securing your food --- not sure why since the Ursack does seem effective against bears...

Edited by mrkstvns
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21 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

As others noted, bear tacos is one reason (though pretty unlikely).  Main reasons are tree damage, spreading sites out to the trees, also there are wandering deer etc that could get hung up on the hammocks.  Potentially a better shelter in a tent.

I have been hammocking for in scouts for 10 years now and teach safe hammocking at  the Council training expo. From my research there is no good evidence or study that shows using a strap to hang your hammock causes damage to the tree. I have camped many places where trees are used many times for hammocks and no damage - Sea Base Munson Island being one, Boundary Waters, SHT and Isle Royale. 

I agree adding hammocks would spread sites out and having a mix of tents and hammocks causes some issues when choosing the camp site. Dealing with scouts that bring hammocks but are not prepared (TQ, UQ, rain fly, straps, water break) or experienced would be a major hassle for the rangers. 

As for animals - if you have a proper rain fly/tarp its doubtful a deer could get under you. As for bear - I am sure more campers have a bear "open" their tent than bite into hammock.

Better shelter - not when you have a lot of rain pooling on the ground ;)

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2 hours ago, Eagledad said:

Well there ya go, we live in a world of contradictions. I guess that's why a scout should always be prepared. 

Barry

I think it boils down to two things:

  • When you don't urgently need shelter, neither does the bear. Hang first. (I use a dry-bag.)
  • If a bear can learn to associate tents with food, you're at the mercy of everyone who camped there before you.

Hammocks and backpacking tents do have the advantage low visual profile, but once a tarp is strung up, all bets are off. More importantly, the odds of a tarp holding smells. For you all who drink cocoa or coffee in your tent, turning your tent inside out and taking a hose to it on a sunny day is a good idea. Throwing your hammock in the wash ain't a bad idea either.

Of course, if you're like me, your hammoking when the temps plummet below dewpoint after a storm and the winds push all that moister up under my tarp and into that "hanging water trap".!

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I'm curious of how many scouts use hammocks. Most of the hammock users in our troop were adults. Scouts tried them out for an hour, but never got motivated to use them. 

Barry

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1 minute ago, Eagledad said:

I'm curious of how many scouts use hammocks. Most of the hammock users in our troop were adults. Scouts tried them out for an hour, but never got motivated to use them. 

Barry

Our troop and crew are almost 100% hangers

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7 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I'm curious of how many scouts use hammocks. Most of the hammock users in our troop were adults. Scouts tried them out for an hour, but never got motivated to use them. 

Barry

Not many full time in my Troop but about 25% use one for lounging at summer camp. Here in the midwest most youth campsites are cleared and flat so not many choices to hang from. Its a crap shoot if there are any trees so I use my turtledog stand half of the time.

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11 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I'm curious of how many scouts use hammocks. Most of the hammock users in our troop were adults. Scouts tried them out for an hour, but never got motivated to use them. 

Barry

We are about 90% Scouts in hammocks and 50% leaders

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Thanks, that puts the issue more in context. I would likely be a problem for Philmont if 90% of crews use a hammock. 

Barry

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We've had 0 my entire time with the troop.  It might be a peer pressure kind of thing.  Hey, all the cool kids are doing it.

I can rest in a hammock but can't sleep in one.  SYOS (Sleep Your Own Sleep)

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The hammock may be a climate or weather popular thing.  Growing up on the Canadian border, give me a tent and straw bottom layer in cold weather.  I can't imagine hanging in the cold between Oct -May.  I think summer months and warm temps its ok.  In L.A. (Lower Alabama), I see a lot of hammocks as the thing to catch any breeze, and stay away from fire ants and such.  Seems your gear is still exposed and you have to climb out to get dressed in the open, have to figure a way to keep a waterbottle and light nearby, and rig an awning.  I'm still a tent guy.      

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1 hour ago, Double Eagle said:

The hammock may be a climate or weather popular thing.  Growing up on the Canadian border, give me a tent and straw bottom layer in cold weather.  I can't imagine hanging in the cold between Oct -May.  I think summer months and warm temps its ok.  In L.A. (Lower Alabama), I see a lot of hammocks as the thing to catch any breeze, and stay away from fire ants and such.  Seems your gear is still exposed and you have to climb out to get dressed in the open, have to figure a way to keep a waterbottle and light nearby, and rig an awning.  I'm still a tent guy.      

Oh!   I need to pay more attention to accents.

Barry

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1 hour ago, Double Eagle said:

The hammock may be a climate or weather popular thing.  Growing up on the Canadian border, give me a tent and straw bottom layer in cold weather.  I can't imagine hanging in the cold between Oct -May.  I think summer months and warm temps its ok.  In L.A. (Lower Alabama), I see a lot of hammocks as the thing to catch any breeze, and stay away from fire ants and such.  Seems your gear is still exposed and you have to climb out to get dressed in the open, have to figure a way to keep a waterbottle and light nearby, and rig an awning.  I'm still a tent guy.      

It is all about the gear.  You should know that you have to insulate your underside, and equip yourself to do so.  I have been using a hammock as an adult leader since 2007, and I have missed few camp outs, either winter or summer.  For years I used my ground pad inside the hammock for insulation, with my 20 degree sleeping bag zipped open and draped over me.  This year I started using a DIY under quilt attached to the outside bottom of the hammock, and that keeps me warm down to the 30's. 

I had to conclude back then that my tired old body could not handle being a ground dweller any longer, and the options for getting off the ground; cot or air mattress, were just too heavy and only suitable to car camping.   Then I found this article by a Scoutmaster from the state of Maine (https://mormonsite.wordpress.com/camping-in-a-hammock/), and tried out a similar system.  I have not been on the ground since.  It can be as cheap or as pricey as you like.  You can spend hundreds on a backpacking tent, and hundreds on a high end hammock.  But the difference is stark.  You have to try it.

 

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