Philmont Dish Cleaning

As posted to rec.scouting.usa

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Note: these articles have been edited to remove text quoted among them.

From: (cab)
Newsgroups: rec.scouting.usa
Subject: Philmont dish cleaning
Date: Fri, 09 Oct 1998 00:50:41 GMT
Organization: CSRlink
Lines: 7
Message-ID: <>

I have a crew going in 1999 and I wanted to know what the crews did on the trail this year for dish/pots cleaning.Also any personal cleaning methods would be good.Any products not accepted. Want them to try it out on a few backpack trips. Thank you craig
From: "Adam J. Scott" <> Newsgroups: rec.scouting.usa Subject: Re: Philmont dish cleaning Date: Fri, 09 Oct 1998 00:32:16 -0500 Organization: Purdue University Lines: 42 Message-ID: <> References: <>
I took a trek this year and also in the summer of 1996. I will first tell you what is tought by the rangers, then I will give you another suggestion. Rangers: Heat water while eating (doesn't have to boil.) Split between two pots. You can pour the wash water into one of the pots you cooked dinner in, just make sure the rinse pot is a clean pot. Philmont provides Camp Suds to clean with. Only a couple of drops are necessary, it is rumored that Camp Suds are so concentrated that one bottle could clean an entire '747.' Wash the dishes in the dish water, rinse them in the rinse water. Sump the water from the pots, either store your pots and dishes in the bear bags, or just leave everything (clean) piled around the sump. Before you have breakfast the next morning, bring your oatmeal/cocoa water or dinner water (whichever applies) to a rolling boil. Sterilize your dishes in this water before using them! Pretty simple procedure eh! We heard of one crew trying this: Each crew member carries a frisbee and a plastic bag to cover the frisbee for each meal. After the meal is eaten, the bag is turned inside out and sealed, then disposed of in the trash. This doesn't totally eliminate dishes, but only personal bowls. It also carries negative aspects such as increased trash. Remember that it is often difficult to get a backcountry camp to take a lot of trash since their trash pickup normally comes about once a week or so. So, if you use this method....compact, compact, compact! Well, hope this helped. Let me know if you have any questions or if I was unclear. Adam J. Scott Crew Chief - 702K2, 1998 Itinerary #13
Newsgroups: rec.scouting.usa From: Subject: Re: Philmont dish cleaning Reply-To: References: <> <> Message-ID: <> Date: 10 Oct 1998 23:41:27 -0600 Lines: 24
Re camp suds, a little hint: If you take your own, before you pack it up open the spout and squeeze some of the air out of the bottle so there is a slight vacuum in there. Otherwise, as you climb in altitude the bottle will pressurize and the contents will "tend" to want to come out. Dan Hicks Hey!! My advice is free -- take it for what it's worth!
From: Richard Edgar <> Newsgroups: rec.scouting.usa, Subject: Re: Philmont dish cleaning Date: Sun, 11 Oct 1998 02:18:01 -0400 Organization: CyberComm Online Services Lines: 94 Message-ID: <> References: <> <>
I was a ranger about ten years ago. Adam's description sounds exactly like what we taught then. The procedures have changed over the years. The key is that in each site they have a specified area where dishes are cleaned. This area has a hole in the ground with a 5 gallon bucket with a hole at each end buried so the top sticks out. The bucket has a screen over the top through which you pour your waste water and collect any solids for disposal. For your prehikes I think you want to teach your troop the concepts of low impact or even no trace camping. At Philmont we get something like 100,000+ campers through a season and low impact camping is essential for the continued beauty of Philmont. The following method can be used when a sump is not available. Use the two container method as described by Adam. Cook only as much food as your crew will eat. Encourage all to scrape their plates clean (consuming all of the scrapings). I often make a tea or coffee right in my dirty dish. It makes for an interesting beverage, but makes dish cleaning much easier. Bring along a frisbee with many holes punched in it. Fill a small plastic bag (that was used to carry food that you have eaten) with leaves and pine needles. Punch many holes in this bag. Place this bag on top of your frisbee and pour your wastewater through the bag. The bag of leaves may now be burned in your fire. If a fire is not available, the bag of leaves may be ommited, but always pack out all solid food wastes. All dish washing must be done far from camp and water sources as possible. Low impact camping must be encouraged in all activities. There are many good books on the subject. A good one (with an interesting title) is "How to Shit in the Woods" by Kathleen Meyer. If latrine facilities are not available the crew should carry a small lightweight trowel. All waste should be buried 4-6 inches below the ground. This leaves everything still in the biologically active part of the soil, but deep enough that animals might not find it. Toilet paper can be burned (carefully so as not to start a fire), packed out, or buried in the hole (uhg!). For no trace camping ALL wastes should be carried out. (I've never been inclined to try this, but I find the idea commendable). Cooking with fire is enjoyable, but is not a low impact method of cooking. Your crew should be encouraged to use a stove as often as possible. Fires should be kept to a minimum. Your crew will never forget their memories of Philmont. It is a magical place. I hope to someday soon get back! Have fun Rich
From: "Jason A. Cotting" <jac3@Ra.MsState.Edu> Newsgroups: rec.scouting.usa Subject: Re: Philmont dish cleaning Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 23:47:47 -0500 Organization: Mississippi State University Lines: 100 Message-ID: <>
Hmmm.. The boiling of water is the "Official recomended" method that we as Rangers are required to teach. The best method by far is the human sump method, although we are not allowed to teach that method (or say the word). Personally I used it for the past 3 summers on my own dishes and I haven't gotten sick or had problems w/ it. This method consists of scraping out all the food in your bowl and licking your bowl and the pot (someone gets to lick the pot each night). Then add some water (gatoraid works best), scrape the sides of the bowl somemore with your spoon and drink up. It doesn't taste bad (its just the stuff that you ate) . Each person does this for their own bowl. before the next meal you boilwater sterilize the dishes. If this doesn't get everything clean, then use the pot method. I never really understood what getting the water warm does, it isn't hot enough to kill any germs and it doesn't make it easier to clean, and the soap, well what does soap do? Breaks grease and how much grease is in dehydrated food? not much that I've seen ;-) Never the less, the human sump method HAS to be done correctly or someone might get sick. Some kids (and adults) find the method disgusting and don't put the effort into making sure they do it correctly and thus get sick. Needless to say, it is Philmont, its fun, you don't shower everyday and you do many more disgusting things than that, so lighten up. Many have called doing this hazing, unsanitary and other crazy things. I have to disagree. But to Cover my self I'll tell you that the 2 pot method that Philmont teaches and I allways teach my crews, does work well. It just takes more time and is less fun. And to correct the other Ranger (sorry dude don't mean to step on your toes) the sumps have changed since he worked out there. The 5 gallon buckets are what we refer to as the generation 2 sumps. The newest sumps are the genteration 4B sumps. These are PVC pipe that goes vertical into the ground about 3ft and then turns 90 degrees and runs horizontal w/ the ground, usually in the downhill direction and goes about 20 ft. It has holes in it to allow the waste water to run out and soak into the ground. And the 100,000 scouts is a little bit big a number. I know its been a while and the numbers sometimes fade (they still do for me) but last summer, we had our record attendance of about 20,000 scouts that were on the 10 day treks. If you want to learn about No trace and low impact stuff, check out: Leave no trace is an excellent source for info on this stuff. Also, a great book I highly recomend is called "Soft Paths" There's a second edition out now. Tells you everything you need to know about impact and how to decrease it. Great book. You can get that by going to the NOLS sight: Hope this helps. Later, PSL^3 Jason ><> A Philmont Ranger's Guide to Backpacking "Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day" - W. Earl Hall "People say I'm strange, does that make me a stranger, that my best friend was born in a manger."- DC Talk "If you don't like baseball, then move to Norway!" - Nike My homepage:
From JOHN HOLLADAY <> Organization Texas Instruments Date Mon, 19 Oct 1998 08:31:15 -0500 Newsgroups rec.scouting.usa Message-ID <>
I have been using the human sump method for about 10 years. To include two Philmont treks and a few week long trips here and there. Mothers don't care for nor do wives when you lick your plate clean after dinner. By the way, one way you know if been in Scout for a while (not, never too long) is when you do lickyou plate clean at home. O well, at my age it's my plate and I can clean it any way I like. JNH

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