Wednesday, January 27, 2010

PN: Owning Your Gear

A few months ago I got into a debate with my roommate about my gear. I had recently found a wonderful little Eddie Bauer 7x8' 3 man dome tent (pictured on right, review comming soon) for $20 (family selling it had recently given birth and needed a larger tent. Tent was in perfect condition) and my roommate's tent broke down on our annual road and camping trip to and in Colorado. When his broke he slept in mine and I offered to sleep in the car to escape his snores. He "reimbursed" me after we got back because he used it more than me. Recently he has started referring to it as "our tent". For some irrational reason this bothered me. I asked him about it and he said he helped pay for it, so it was partly his tent. I know this should have een the end of this, but I took pride in the knowlege that all my gear was "mine". We argued for a while and in the end it settled at he can use it but I have priority, and can refer to it as "my tent" in public without being contradicted. From this I learned not only how territorial I can be, but that there is something to be said for being able to say that you are the sole owner of all of your gear and that it is yours and yours alone. This is a rather irrevelant post, but I thought it needed to be said.


Ok, so. PN stands for Personal Note and will be posts about my own personal opinions and other things like that. It won't be crud about what I did last week or anything like that. It will still be completely related to the topic of this blog, but on a more personal note.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Philmont Guide

So you're going to Philmont? Well I've been there, and while I think what they tell you and provide is good, but I've got some tips. When your troop begins planning to go you should recieve some brochures and papers. One of these is a list of things to pack or buy. To begin with this guide I will go over some of the more prominent pieces of gear on that list.

Boots are essential on your trip to Philmont. For those of you buying your own gear this is one of those items that you don't want to skimp out on. You can choose your own boots, but I would recomend going to REI. They were very helpful when I was getting my boots. Some features I would consider essential are:
  • Gortex: This feature makes your boots nearly waterproof, and as you will be wading through streams this will mean the difference between wet and dry feet.
  • Make the boots moderate: There are three types of boots. Light, medium, and heavy. Going up the ranks the boots become sturdier, but also heavier. Moderate is made to last, but also isn't incredibly heavy.

Other than these two features, the type of boots you buy is up to you. I'd also recomend purchasin your socks from REI. I personally don't need the inner socks and the outer socks, just the outer ones, but I would strongly recomend buying 3-5 sets of both pairs of socks. Even if you don't end up using the inner socks they take up almost no space, and if you do end up needing them and don't have them you will never forgive yourself.


This is another peace of gear never to skimp out on. For those of you short on cash I strongly recomend becomming a member at the REI store. It's cheap, and they send you invaluable coupons. For example, when I was going to Philmont I got my $150 dollar pack for $70 because it was on sale and I had a coupon. And remember, just because it is a stores personal brand doesn't mean there is something wrong with it. I would consider having over 3500 sq. inches essential and I would never stand for less than 4000 sq. inches myself. Also, I would strongly recomend an internaly frame pack. It has a higher capacity for the space and money. I also love the feature of being able to externally lash something like a tent or sleeping pad on the external part of the pack, preferably near the bottom.

Other gear I consider essential:

  • Trekking poles: You can decide on how much shock you want, mine don't have shock
  • A book: You will have a LOT of down time at points
  • A film camera: Uses a lot less battery, and is much more dureable
  • extra film
  • For most other gear I recomend you just listen to your guide about

Now we move onto the fun section, my "nonessential" gear recomendations.


Before going to Philmont I was told "You don't need a knife, it won't be needed on your trip." But, being the person I am I compromised. I borught my swiss army knife. It is lightweight, and has many useful tools, this brand being specialy adapted to campers. I kept it in a special set of REI brand olive green zip-off pants (again, strongly recomended. I never removed the legs, but if you want they can convert to shorts and have lots of pockets). This was one of the best decisions I ever made. Bring a knife and keep it with you at all times. If you forget a knife and have time, pay the $5 shuttle ticket down into Cimmaron, and go to the pizza restaurant. They have wonderful pizza, but that's not the point. In the same yard as the restaurant there is a set of fold up tables with some displays on it. These people sell every kind of knife imagineable at very low prices. If for some reason they aren't there when you go try the surrounding stores. They also sold some knives. If any of you want to thank me for my work feel free to grab me a knife and send it to me! Just kidding.

Duct Tape:

This is another great thing to have. It can be used to repair gear, reseal things, you all know what duct tape is and how useful duct tape is. One tip I have is ram the roll into a flatter role with your knee and put tape around the flat roll to keep it compressed in your pack.


  • Commisaries (resuply points along the road) are your friend. They are all equipped with small stores where you can purchase gear you forgot. Thet also usually end up with massive surplus of foods, and give it away. They also have a tendancy to end up with fresh fruit that they don't want either. You can swap out meals, drop off trash, and many more things. They are your friend in every way.
  • Wear a hat. I, again, bought my hat from REI. Make sure it has a wide 360 degree brim, and I strongly recomend vents in the hat as well.
  • Be careful how you pack your bag. Put the things you will need most nearest to the opening(s) of the bag.
  • Gone to Philmont and feel like want something included in this guide? Just have comments or questions? Email me at