Philmont-approved: MSR Thunder Ridge tent now available for purchase

If you or your Scouts have pitched a tent at Philmont Scout Ranch in the past three years, it’s likely you slept under the stars in a brand-new MSR Thunder Ridge tent. PhilmontThunderRidge2

With the help of outdoor-industry leader MSR, the high-adventure base created its very own backpacking shelter designed specifically for heavy use and high-altitude conditions.

And it’s this durability that makes Thunder Ridge appealing for active troops and crews across the country, which is why Philmont now offers the tent ($449.99) for purchase through Tooth of Time Traders, the official Philmont Scout Ranch store.

Before you balk at the price, think about this: Wouldn’t it be nice to know whether a critical piece of your unit’s camping gear has the Scouting world’s seal of approval?

The Thunder Ridge tent went through five years of development and testing, resulting in structural and design changes to improve the original prototype. “The average consumer tent that may go out for 8 to 15 nights a year is not used nearly as much as the Philmont Thunder Ridge tent that has to go out on the trail for up to 50 to 60 nights a summer for five years,” says Bryan Hayek, Philmont marketing manager.

Compared to the cumbersome shelters that housed Philmont visitors since the 1970s, the most notable change is the tent’s weight. Thunder Ridge — named after a Philmont camp notorious for its extreme weather — is built for two campers, suitable for three-season use and weighs in at 6 pounds, 3 ounces when packed.

During years of testing, MSR listened to feedback from Philmont staffers tasked with improving the tent’s quality and design. Recommendations included swapping out plastic hubs on the tent poles (these frequently broke when under stress) and adding more length to the tent for tall campers. Plus, the chosen tent fabric is significantly more durable than a consumer-grade tent, Hayek says.

So the next time your unit is looking to invest in new backpacking tents, consider this one “tried and tested,” achieving to the standards of one of the BSA’s busiest high-adventure bases.

Featured image (at top) by Michael Roytek/BSA File.

About Aaron Derr 436 Articles
Aaron Derr is the senior editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines, and also a former Cubmaster and Scouts BSA volunteer.