Re: Philmont equipment
Scott Begin (sbegin@MCS.NET)
Mon, 22 Dec 1997 19:45:41 -0600
At 09:55 AM 12/22/97 -0500, Keith Wood wrote:
>Some of the Philmont staffers will also tell you of meadow crashing. Near
>some campsites, open grassy areas are conducive to sleeping under the stars
>with just ground pad and sleeping bag.
At the time I worked at Philmont, this was a problem. The policy of
requiring tents was relatively new (possibly new in 1988, but I can't say).
I do remember that in 1988, that was the first year that officially, the
Rangers (and other staff) were required to carry tents and were supposed to
set them up, as an example for the crew.
There was a lot of Rangers unhappy with this, many ignored it, but I think
it has become less of an issue as more staff "grew up with the idea." Many
Rangers would either "meadow crash" or would sleep under the crew dining
fly, but still not carry a tent. Some carried just the fly (cutting the
weight by about 50%, to 2.5-3 pounds), but it seemed to be just as much
work and I could carry the extra weight of a full tent. This last
technique was considered a compromise, since the Ranger had shelter that
was set up away from crew cooking/eating areas.
I agree with Keith that SOME campsites are conducive to sleeping under the
stars, but they are few. The ones conducive to meadow crashing have large
grassy areas with much open cover. Many campsites have lots of cover and
after a couple weeks into the camping season, little grass or other cover,
and lots of dirt. The dirt isn't a problem when it is dry, but when it
rains, it is difficult to keep stuff clean (even with a ground cloth). I
remember seeing a fellow ranger under his tent fly the night after a
rainstorm and seeing the dirt splashed up his sleeping bag 4" around. I'd
rather carry the extra weight of a tent than deal with cleaning this
(especially if the potential of having 9 more nights on the trail before I
could reasonably do something about it).
I didn't like the idea of meadow crashing without something to move under
if the weather changed, and I REALLY didn't like the idea of sleeping
anywhere near where campers had food (campers+food=spillage=>bears
attracted to the area where food has been spilled).
I'm not completely against meadow crashing. At Philmont or anywhere I
would try it, I would want to have shelter close at hand. When I was at
Philmont on the Staff Association Trek in 1994, we took tents and when we
stayed at Crooked Creek (good meadow crashing camp), we set up the tents,
but started by meadow crashing (it was beautifully clear that night). In
the middle of the night, someone awoke, noticed cloud cover, thought he
felt a raindrop, and we moved to our tents. It was noted that we got the
benefits of both: falling asleep under the stars and waking with a dry
sleeping bag in the morning (dew when meadow crashing. In a tent, the dew
forms on the outside of the tent and the moisture should vent from the
tent. Move inside the tent and you have enough heat to dry the bag).
When I traveled to Philmont, when I was on staff, as well as when I was
there in 1994, I meadow crashed when traveling. I'd pull into a state park
campground, rent a site ($2-10 total), roll out the bag / thermarest and
crash. The next morning, I was up and gone quickly. If I had a picnic
table available, I'd sleep on that. I've meadow crashed on a couple troop
campouts. At OA fellowships, I've often meadow crashed, usually when
arriving at 9:30 on Friday after stopping at my parent's place for
tools/supplies (I do this more often when I don't plan to stay Saturday
night). In both cases, I'm sleeping 15-20 feet from where my truck is
parked and I do have a tent available (yes, I can set the thing up quickly
I WANT TO GO BACK TO PHILMONT!!!!!!
Scott A. Begin Philmont Ranger 1988-89, Logistics 1990
firstname.lastname@example.org Philmont Staff Association Member
Oak Forest, IL
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City