Philmont Trip and Gear: Expedition 708-B2, 2001

Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001 17:29:49 -0700
From: Jimmie White <>
Subject: [Philmont] Trip and Gear Report
First, I would like to thank everyone who has posted to these lists. You have all contributed to a great hike. This is the first hike longer than three day's for me. Hopefully there will be many more.

Our trip started July 6 from Fayetteville AR. We drove to Palo Duro Canyon TX, for the Chuck wagon dinner and outdoor theater, which was great. We camped there for the night. Our group consisted of two Crews for Philmont, one crew of 5 scouts and 3 advisors and the other of 4 scouts and 3 advisors.

All went well until were run off the road about 11 miles south of Texline TX, by an oncoming motorist that had fallen asleep and crossed the centerline. I was driving the Troop van with my wife and 9 boy's in it. I was able to swerve off the highway in time to avoid being hit by inches. The Ford dually with 4 advisors and our Troop trailer behind me weren't as lucky. Both were struck and badly damaged (probably totaled). The truck and trailer jackknifed, the trailer broke loose and rolled over a couple a times. Fortunately our gear was mostly unharmed.

The sleeping driver in the Saturn was the only one injured, he only had scratches on his arm from crawling out the broken window.

Let me say that everyone that stopped to help or worked the accident was really nice, I couldn't have imagined it any better given the circumstances.

We rented a U-Haul in Dalhart, transferred our gear from one trailer to the other, we all piled in the van and were off to Philmont via Sugarite State park, close to Raton. For one more night of camping an altitude acclimatization.

Arrived in base camp early AM on 7/08, went through the usual check in stuff. We were given a 2:00 bus schedule for the next day so we used the time to tour the villa. Somehow we missed the bear in the tree that day, didn't hear about it until I returned and read my email. (We had sister crews for Itinerary #6, 708-B1 and B2, if you're keeping score at home...)

Ranger training was short and to the point. We (B2) were not instructed to change to our sleep clothes under the crew tarp (tents were ok with our ranger).

One thing I didn't figure out until it was too late is that your sleep clothes should be presentable for camp wear! I got around this problem by rotating one set of shirt and shorts. each night I would put on a clean set to sleep in and they would become the next days hiking clothes. The dirty set would be washed and dried that day to be put on that evening after eating. this way I made the whole trek with only one change of clothes. I also had a set of long underwear top and bottoms I used the top to sleep in on two nights in our higher camps.

Other gear used was a MEC Northern Lite jacket for the cooler evenings along with Lowe Rain pants. The MEC jacket served as my pillow also.

Footwear! I wore a pair of Salomon RaidRace adventure racing shoes as my main hiking shoes. I loved them. I have a hard foot to fit so I had a custom pair of Super feet made to go in them. I had no foot pain or blisters from this combination.

Trekking poles: I used a set of Masters with shock in the grips, I am happy with these poles. My wife's Komperdell's didn't hold up as well as I had hoped. One of the adjuster's locked up and stripped out on day 6. These proved to be real knee savers on the last day when we decided to descend the Stockade trail from the Tooth. This trail is VERY steep! And hard on your knees! We did save well over an hour in hiking time, by using this route, instead of going down Tooth ridge. This was necessary to meet a time schedule, one of our boys had to catch a plane.

I took a WM Mity Lite 40 deg bag with a silk bag liner, which was plenty warm enough for the weather we had. I used The Mt. Washington foam pad to sleep on. After the third night I was tired enough that I started getting a full nights sleep. I can't blame it all on the pad, part of it was just getting used to not listening for bears...

Stuff sacks: I found that Zip Locks don't hold up very well, but I used Reynolds Oven roasting bags in the Turkey and Large sizes. These held up much better. I used the same turkey bag for my sleeping bag for the whole trek.

These bags are made of Mylar and will stretch be fore they split or puncture. Just squeeze all the air out and twist the tail 3 or 4 times and fold the tail over, place the bag in your pack so that it rest's on the tail and it will stay in place. You can fold the tail in a U shape and use a hair tie or rubber band for more security.

My Kelty Flight 60 pack is a keeper, loads veried, from 27 to 45 lbs., depending on how much food and water I had. It carried well with all loads. I left the side pockets and gear loops off but kept the shovel and top pockets along with the cushy hip belt. The shovel pocket is hard to get used to although the more I use it the better I like it. I think that the stretch cord that cinches the opening should be separated form the one that zigzags across the back of the pocket. It always seams to be hard to open the pocket because of the shock cord.

As verstiable as the pack is, I found a short coming when I needed a day bag to do cons work on the Fish Camp trail. Kelty didn't figure out a way to turn the top pocket in to a fanny pack. The hip belt and top pocket are both removable, so I guess this can be my next project for the sewing machine. The coating on the inside of the pack is a little clingy or sticky, things wouldn't slide in and out very well so I used a trash bag to line the pack with and this took care of that problem (baby powder might also work). This also gave me a little more piece of mind, when I carried my water n the top of the pack I would roll down the top of the trash bag as with the oven roasting bags and set my Platypus bladders on the out side of the trash bag. This way If I had a leak It wouldn't soak everything in the pack .


I managed to finish sewing my new tent just in time for this trip! This proved to be a real weight saver, weighing in at just under 2 lbs. with stakes and ground cloth. It is a two person modified pup design that uses trekking poles to hold it up. Two at the door in an inverted V with a piece of rubber hose for a connector for the poles and a single pole in back just like the Phil tents. This design has a sloping ridgeline with beaks in the front and rear. It has ventilation along the sides with 5" of no-see-um between the bathtub floor and the silnylon roof, which has a 6" eve that over hangs the floor. Both ends have netting for ventilation but I did have condensation one morning. I think this is to be expected. We encountered strong wind and rain with no problems, although I did have some noise from the wind, after a slight rework of the guy lines it was cured.

I recommend using the OOP'S bear bag, It proved to be very handy. We checked out 2 bear ropes and 5 bear bags and used all of them plus another rope and small pulley for the Oop's bag. We could have gotten by with one rope but it is much easier to haul up when you split the weight in halve.

We didn't use the Polar Pure after the second day. Most of our camps had treated water, I used my SWA inline gravity filter when ever I had creek water because it tasted better than most Philmont treated water. We also had a MSR pump that was used by most of the crew.

Water at Devils Wash Basin is not as bad as we were told, logistics told us to treat it like a dry camp, there is a great pond with lots of clear water in it, you have to get out past the edges though. I suggested that they build a pier so that crews could get water without damaging the shore ecology.

We took a silnylon tarp instead of the Philmont issue 4 pounder. We took only one 8qt pot and one 5qt pot which was more that enough for our crew of 7. Most of our boys were small so we had more food than we could eat we were always giving it away to lighten our loads. It wasn't any problem finding takers.

We welcomed the apples and oranges at Ute Gulch and the oranges at Phillips Jct. (I really missed salads)

We found that you can repack two four person meal packs into one bag and use duct tape to reclose it. This took up less space in our small packs and made it easier to keep up with, when it was time to eat only one meal pack had to be located. For crews of 12 this will require that you have larger bags!

Cyper's mine was great (you'll will love the cots in the cabins <G>), the Stomp was a lot of fun. The Hunting lodge program was well very done, took me back about 80 years.

I could go on and on and on... oops. I welcome any comments, suggestions or questions.


Date: Wed, 01 Aug 2001 16:09:28 -0700
From: Jimmie White <>
Subject: [Philmont] Trip and Gear Report
I will respond to several of you at once...

> Your tent really intrigued me. Do you have the capability of sending me a
> picture of it. I'm always looking for new ideas to lighten the load.

I will try to take some pictures and post them.... it'll be a few days.

> Will you be publishing your trip report on a Web site
> that I could link to, or may I include it on mine?
> ( )
> Selden

You have my permission to post it on your site...I'd be honored Would you include my troop# and home town in the sig.

> Baby powder would be a smellable. Not a good thing to sprinkle all over the
> inside of your pack!

You're right, guess I wasn't thinkin' too good <g>

> Maybe some fine powdery
> dirt!
> You have mention silnylong several times, both for your tent & tarp.
> What is this fabric & where do you purchase it?

Silnylon is 1.1 oz per sq. yard ripstop nylon with a sicilone coating that makes it waterproof and much stronger. This is much like the zero porosity cloth that is used in high tech parachutes. It is not breathable. Contact Dave at

He offers tarps and raw materials, there are several other sources for fabrics online, they may have more color options. Let me know if Dave doesn't have what you want.

>Would like to know details of
> your tent construction & what you used for a ground cloth?
> Signe Rogers

It's two person, 33 sq. ft inside, kinda a cross between a tarp and a pup tent. It uses the same pole configuration as the Philmont tents (I had never seen one when I designed it though). I use a rubber hose to stick the tips of two trekking poles into to form an inverted "V" for the entrance. and a single pole in the foot. The ridge line sloops 10" to the foot end. The bath tub floor hangs from the roof buy No-see-um netting, this gives the max ventilation.The floor is about a foot narrower than the roof, so that gives 6"-7" eves (overhangs) sown each side. these can be staked close to the ground (2"-3") for bad weather (blowing rain) or staked out wider for more air movement in good weather.

The head and foot of the tent have what Ray Jardine calls beaks, like awnings to keep blowing rain out. There is a picture of beaks on a tarp at:

< a href="">

I only put doors at the head and left a large opening at the top of the V (diamond shaped) under the beak to allow air to circulate even with the doors closed in hopes of keeping condensation to a minimum. All I used for a ground cloth is a $2.oo space blanket from Wal-Mart, I didn't need the ground cloth at all, and could have left it behind. The bathtub floor of the tent is made from nylon taffeta with a urethane coating, this material isn't as slippery as the silicone coating.

> While we were sitting in the lawn at the welcome center my son put
> his pack down on chewing gum that someone had spit there. No amount
> of scrubbing with camp suds and white gas could get it completely out
> and we ended up hanging his pack up with the bear bags every night.

I'm not a bear expert, but I would guess that the white gas smell would more that mask the gum smell. Better safe that sorry though.

Jimmie White
Troop 142
Fayetteville AR

See also:

The content of this Web page was provided by Jimmie White. Please contact him at <> for more information.

This Web page is maintained by Selden Ball at Wilson Lab.
Please send any comments or corrections to