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Question about dry camps at Philmot


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#1 CB in Texas

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 03:16 PM

Hi everyone,

 

Our crew is heading to Philmont this summer in late June. We are very excited and it is the first time for most of us (myself included).

 

Can someone explain how these dry camps work?

 

Our crew will be taking Trek 5, and we finish by hiking from Cimarroncito to Ponderosa Park (dry camp). After overnighting at Ponderosa Park, we hike on over the Tooth of Time. I'm concerned about having enough water on hand for the last day, given the we are starting a a dry camp the night before.

 

We can (and are planning to) haul extra water from Cimarroncito to use on the last day.

 

But here's the thing: Ponderosa Park (again - a dry camp) offers Western Lore, Horse Rides and a Chuckwagon at Clark's fork. How can all that happen without water there? Are the activities (like the Chuckwagon) just not in the camp? If so, there must be water wherever they are. So are Scouts just not allowed to fill up in these places? Or are they trucking in water for horses, etc..?

 

I always imagined a "dry camp" to be a lonely isolated place. This one seems like Times Square.

 

Thanks for the help.


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#2 Col. Flagg

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 03:59 PM

Can someone explain how these dry camps work?


Dry camps mean they have no water source. So you will need to pack all water you need until you reach your next water source. In some cases you need drinking water for the day you are hiking in, water for cooking/cleaning that night, and then MORE water for hiking out the next day. If you are not carrying 4-6 liters person (in some cases) you will need to bring a 2 gallon carrier with you to fill up on your way in.

 

Our crew will be taking Trek 5, and we finish by hiking from Cimarroncito to Ponderosa Park (dry camp). After overnighting at Ponderosa Park, we hike on over the Tooth of Time. I'm concerned about having enough water on hand for the last day, given the we are starting a a dry camp the night before.


You should be good. While Ponderosa Park is a dry camp, Clark's Fork is not. You can water up in Clark's and carry your 2 gallon carrier to Ponderosa. We did the reverse of this trek last summer. Here's what I suggest:

  • Confirm during the planning session at HQ if Shaefer's Pass has water. Last year the spring there was dry. The closest water was North Fork Urraca (in the river if it is running, if not Miner's Park) or Clark's Fork. You will need LOTS of water to get over the Tooth.
  • If there is water at Schaefers Pass:
    • Get water at Clark's Fork BEFORE you head to Ponderosa Park. Have everyone fill up (4-5 ltrs per person) AND fill up your 2 gallon crew water jug. Make sure everyone has a minimum 3 liters for your hike to Schaefers Pass. Leave early in the AM so you have time to get to Schaefers.
    • Water up at Schaefers. Make sure everyone has ALL water bottles filled. Bring your water carrier filled too.
  • If there is NO water at Schaefers Pass:
    • Get water at Clark's Fork BEFORE you head to Ponderosa Park. Have everyone fill up (4-5 ltrs per person) AND fill up your 2 gallon crew water jug. Make sure everyone has a minimum 3 liters for your hike to Schaefers Pass. Leave early in the AM so you have time to get to Schaefers.
    • Water up at Miner's Park. Make sure everyone has ALL water bottles filled. Bring your water carrier filled too. CONSERVE WATER. You will need a MINIMUM of 3 liters EACH to hike the Tooth ridge line. If it is sunny and hot I'd even add another liter per person.

We did a day hike from Schaefers to the Tooth and back with 3 liters per person and still had an issue with one crew member. Carrying full pack is going to be tough...but doable. Leave early and plan for breaks. Lots of breaks.

 

EDIT: Clark's Fork is the "hub" with all the action. Ponderosa Park is a few miles away (trail distance). It is located off a side trail. See the map link above. It is nice, quiet and somewhat remote, but it is a decent distance from Clark's that you will need to time get there. I would recommend calling an "audible" and camping at North Clark's. It is closer to the trail and less of a hike out the next morning. 


Edited by Col. Flagg, 18 May 2017 - 04:03 PM.

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#3 CB in Texas

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:34 PM

Thanks everyone.

For toting water, do you recommend a few larger (say 10 liter) containers, or smaller (4l) individual containers? The former weigh 20 lbs and that seems like an awful lot of extra weight for a scout to carry to our 2 dry camps. The latter would be easier for the scouts to carry, but adds to gear and expense.

Thanks again for your help.

Cb
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#4 NealOnWheels

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 08:30 PM

Not at Philmont but elsewere we did exactly that with a large 2.5 gallon container (about 10 liters).  The Scout only needed to carry it 2 miles to where we ended up camping for the night.  That scout (a good sized 17 year old) struggled with that.  Decided then that was not the way to carry water while backpacking.  It does not seem like much until you carry it a while.


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#5 Back Pack

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:09 AM

Thanks everyone.
For toting water, do you recommend a few larger (say 10 liter) containers, or smaller (4l) individual containers? The former weigh 20 lbs and that seems like an awful lot of extra weight for a scout to carry to our 2 dry camps. The latter would be easier for the scouts to carry, but adds to gear and expense.
Thanks again for your help.
Cb


It's a matter of preference. Fact is you need the water, so either everyone carries more (6-8 liters each) or you carry a few half filled 2 gallon bags.

I would recommend everyone have those folding water bottles and at least one nalgen. Saves on weight and space.

https://www.rei.com/...xxoCGH0QAvD_BwE
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#6 CB in Texas

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:41 AM

Thanks again for the help everyone. Feeling much better about the water situation now after reading your comments and squinting at the trail map a bit.

I think we will go with the individual 70 oz bottles (1 per person) that Back Pack mentioned. That will give each of us a total of 6L of water (filled up over in Clarks Fork) when we depart Ponderosa Park for Shaefers Peak.

Our other dry camp is Commanche Peak (coming from Wild Horse over Mt Phillips. We can fill up at Clear Creek and should be able to get over Phillips to Commanche Peak with at least that 2L per person left over to get us overnight and to Whistle Punk the next morning.

Any thoughts or comments?
Thanks again.
CB
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#7 Stosh

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:56 AM

When I did Philmont, I carried 2 flat water containers besides my Nalgene water bottle.  I also carried Polar Pure.  On the days we were anticipating a dry camp, I filled up with all the water I could carry.  Otherwise I just measured it out for the day's hike.  Also on the hike to dry camp, every water source we came to was used to refill all my containers.  I always carried more water into the dry camp than expected or used.  But my extras also helped a few of the scouts out that weren't planning as well.

 

Be prepared to take on some pretty sad-news water on some of the sources.  Sources that were not that good went into my third container to be used only if necessary.  I used my necker to clean up debris as much as I could (it did work well) and didn't have to tap into that container very often.  The three container system worked well.  I wouldn't "treat" the third container until about an hour before I knew I would use it and if I hit a cleaner source than the last stop, I'd dump it and fill with the better water and then treat it only if necessary.

 

Water wasn't a problem for me.


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Stosh

 

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#8 CB in Texas

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:10 AM

Thanks Stosh.

I think our issue with finding more water is that once we leave Clear Creek for Phillips, the trail is going to be bone dry until we hit Whistle Punk the next day. I'll have our crew chug as much as they can hold before we depart Clear Creek for Phillips and also fill up at the water containers. My hope is that will leave 3L or so for the overnight and hike out the next day. I might throw an extra 70 oz collapsible bottle into our gear just to be on the safe side.
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#9 qwazse

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:17 AM

It's a matter of preference. Fact is you need the water, so either everyone carries more (6-8 liters each) or you carry a few half filled 2 gallon bags.

I would recommend everyone have those folding water bottles and at least one nalgen. Saves on weight and space.

Not a Philmont traveler, but I have come to agree that everyone in the crew should have the capacity for 8 liters, only half of which is necessarily kept full while trekking. I.e., if one person is down to his last liter, the nearest stream or spring is time for a refill to get everyone back up to at least 4 L. Even if you are camping beside a glorious spring or stream in a mile or two, there might be enough of dry terrain and heat to make that last hump tortuous.

 

Obviously, if you are approaching a dry camp, everyone fills to the max and balances their loads. I prefer nalgene wide-mouth 96 oz. collapsible. I filter/fill one of those and, once purified, dispense into three smaller canteens, then fill it again.

 

(Note to self: remind crew president to add water management to his scoring rubric for next month's wilderness hike.)


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#10 Stosh

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:18 AM

My trek was all 5 of the major peaks of Philmont, 110 miles.  If I remember correctly, we had 3 dry camps.  Knowing the route is, of course, important, but it's doable. 

 

My 2 extra containers were those camel bags, rubberized cloth that lays flat except for the plastic ring and cap.  Mine held about a 1/2 gal apiece.

 

You are correct, overwater the boys in the morning before leaving camp.  They hate this process, but it works.  And by the way, do this at every water source one finds and make sure everyone has all containers full.  We would also soak our shirts and neckers as well to slow the overheating and extra water loss from perspiration.


Edited by Stosh, 19 May 2017 - 08:21 AM.

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#11 CB in Texas

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 10:11 AM

I think in going to go with 2 of the 70 oz collapsible bottles per scout. It's only $7 more than a 96 oz nalgene and they weigh 2.6 oz together when empty. That will give us an extra 4L of capacity per person. We will probably only use 3L of that, but it's good to have the option to carry more.

Thanks,
CB
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#12 Back Pack

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 10:18 AM

I think in going to go with 2 of the 70 oz collapsible bottles per scout. It's only $7 more than a 96 oz nalgene and they weigh 2.6 oz together when empty. That will give us an extra 4L of capacity per person. We will probably only use 3L of that, but it's good to have the option to carry more.
Thanks,
CB


Sorry if I confused you with my response. I'd go with

- 6-7 x1 liter foldable water bottles per person
- 1 x 1 liter nalgen per person
- 1-2 x 2-2.5 gallon foldable water carriers per crew

I would avoid camelbacks and one-size personal water containers. When they leak you're done. If you have the one liter containers you have back ups.
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#13 Stosh

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 10:30 AM

I would avoid camelbacks and one-size personal water containers. When they leak you're done. If you have the one liter containers you have back ups.

 

Back Pack There's this marvelous invention called duct tape.  Works well on leaky water containers.  I've even used it on my canoes.  Works wonders!  :)

 

The guy that taught me this showed me how to make the repair.  Cut the leak big enough to put the duct tape on the inside of the bladder, then another over the outside.  He did this and then filled with water.  When he stepped on the bladder it ruptured a leak, but not at the duct tape place. 


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Stosh

 

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#14 qwazse

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 10:49 AM

I think in going to go with 2 of the 70 oz collapsible bottles per scout. It's only $7 more than a 96 oz nalgene and they weigh 2.6 oz together when empty. That will give us an extra 4L of capacity per person. We will probably only use 3L of that, but it's good to have the option to carry more.

Thanks,
CB

 

Practice with your gear is really important. Some techniques are listed here:

http://www.princeton...ual/water.shtml

 

One that isn't mentioned, but is related to hose contamination is forward dilution. There was a sick hiker incident in Dolly Sods, WV that was traced back to not rinsing the bottle mouth and lid with some of the purified water.


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#15 Stosh

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 10:54 AM

I had a scout pick up Giardia in the BWCA.  He went snorkeling.


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Stosh

 

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#16 Col. Flagg

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 02:07 PM

Back Pack There's this marvelous invention called duct tape.  Works well on leaky water containers.  I've even used it on my canoes.  Works wonders!  :)

 

Didn't work last summer for us. Tried several times.

 

His point is well taken, you can lose it, tear it, rip it, puncture it and then what? Never have a single point of failure when it comes to something as important as water. The smaller 1 litre bottles are easier to get to, pack and store as well. The larger ones are more cumbersome.

 

One thing not mentioned is pack size. This plays a big role in how much water you can carry, especially if a few guys have 65l packs and others have 80l. I'd make sure guys have at least 70l packs. Also, make sure they know how to pack for space (compression sacks).


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#17 Stosh

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 02:57 PM

Didn't work last summer for us. Tried several times.

 

His point is well taken, you can lose it, tear it, rip it, puncture it and then what? Never have a single point of failure when it comes to something as important as water. The smaller 1 litre bottles are easier to get to, pack and store as well. The larger ones are more cumbersome.

 

One thing not mentioned is pack size. This plays a big role in how much water you can carry, especially if a few guys have 65l packs and others have 80l. I'd make sure guys have at least 70l packs. Also, make sure they know how to pack for space (compression sacks).

 

One has to also remember that there is, or at least was, a pack weigh-in and the boys weren't allowed on the trek until they lightened the load to where they were capable of handling the weight.  I lightened my load to where I could carry it, but my two extra camel canteens were empty.  My pack was not full.  As soon as I could, I filled my extra water containers and figured if I had problems with too much weight I could always adjust the water weight.  On days I anticipated with dry campsites, I just struggled a bit more knowing it would be worth it.


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Stosh

 

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#18 Col. Flagg

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 03:42 PM

One has to also remember that there is, or at least was, a pack weigh-in and the boys weren't allowed on the trek until they lightened the load to where they were capable of handling the weight.

 

There are scales there, and crews do weigh their packs, but there's nothing to stop anyone from hitting the trail with a pack weight they can't handle. That's done by the crew leaders...and far in advance of ever getting to Philmont.

 

The suggestion of not carrying a single-size water vessel that is more than 1 litre is a sound one; even with repair possibilities. You benefit from redundancy in the event that a container is lost, stolen or damaged. Cannot do that with a single large water bag. The individual ones take up less space, so they are easier to organize around other gear.

 

As far as pack volume, our guys are trained to store all personal gear in 1 x 20l compression sack. Sleeping bag goes in a 10l compression sack. That leaves more than half the volume for crew gear. We left our 8qt and 6qt pots at base camp. We boiled water in our 4 qt and simply ate out of the bag. The other half of the crew ate out of sierra cups.

 

After six trips out to Philmont, you find ways to "cheat the system" and reduce weight.


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#19 Petey091

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 01:59 PM

Our crew has decided that each crew member will carry an extra 2lt soft platypus bottle to deal with dry camps. We found that it is a manageable  weight to carry.  On our shakedown hike we also found that they were useful for hauling water when the shelters water source was a distance from the campsite.


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#20 Stosh

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 02:45 PM

I was having a senior moment before, Yes, I carried 2 - 2lt soft Platypus bottles on my trek.  Those extra 3-4 oz weren't noticeable unless filled for dry camp that night.


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Stosh

 

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