Scott Begin (0005555440@MCIMAIL.COM)
Mon, 2 Nov 1992 01:48:00 GMT
Yes, the types of equipment used at Philmont has changed with the times.
However, it doesn't mean that everyone is using them. The following are
observations based on what I saw during 3 summers working at Philmont.
Hiking Boots: A majority of campers now wear the lighter weight hiking boots.
There are still those who wear the heavier leather ones, but I would say that
even those have been improved a little in the past several years.
Backpacks: Although internal frame packs seem to be all the rage, I didn't
see all that many. I suspect this is due to several reasons. First of all,
the external frames are usually more inexpensive than a comparable internal
frame pack. Second, with the type of hiking done at Philmont, always on a
"pretty good" trail, a external frame is more suited. Internals are more
suited to hiking where maximum movement is necessary, such as cross-country
hiking (not following a trail), rock climbing, cross country skiing,
etc... (for those who want to complain about the trails at Philmont, I had
a group with experience Backpacking on the Long Trail in Vermont tell me that
the worst stretches of trails at Philmont were better than some of the best
sections of the Long trail). I did see some people using the plastic framed
Peak 1 backpacks, but those were also somewhat rare. Very few backpacks do not
have a hip belt, even if it is one that was added to a frame that didn't have
Stoves: This is one thing that is used by almost everybody. Not only does it
eliminate the building of as many fires, but it saves water used to extinguish
fires, doesn't use up scarse firewood, or litter the woods with half burned
logs. I can say that almost every type of concievable stove gets used each
year. I carried a small EPI Gas Butane stove; Most crews use a Peak 1 stove
or MSR Whisperlite (both burn White Gas). However, there are those who have
Optimus stoves. Occasionally, I have met a crew that carried stoves that used
propane bottles or even a 2 burner coleman stove (Green, briefcase sized
model). I also ran in to one or two crews who didn't have any stove. I am of
the opinion one doesn't take stove either due to inexperience or because they
are a sadomasochistic.
Other: Depending upon resources, many campers have very good sleeping bags.
Many campers carry good sleeping pads such as the Ridge Rest or the self
inflating foam/air Therma-Rest. Not everyone uses these, and I didn't for my
first two years. Some crews bring their own backpacking tents, which in some
cases may be better than the Philmont ones (which are a pretty good 2 man tent
for 5.25 lbs). I don't think I saw anyone using a canvas tent on the trail.
Gore-Tex rain gear is popular with those who can afford it, although I still
carry a PVC rainsuit. I have found that the crews with extensive backpacking
experience were the best equipped, followed by those with leaders with a lot
of Philmont Experience (spot bad gear early to replace).
As I said before, these are my experiences. They do not reflect any
scientific survey. In some cases, much of what is said has been said is my
Scott A. Begin Asst. SM, T-348, Calumet Council
SBEGIN@mcimail.com Philmont Staff Association
Philmont Staff, 1988-90
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City