Philmont Council Contingents

Personal Equipment

This list of personal equipment is very carefully developed.  While at Camping HQ before leaving on your trek, your crew's Philmont Ranger will lead the crew in an equipment "shakedown."  In this shakedown, the Ranger will not permit you to take things that are not on this list.  The reality is that you really don't even need all of this!  Remember that you will be carrying this for 12 days -- watch those ounces.

The lists below are from the 2006 Philmont Guidebook to Adventure Comments in blue are those of the Contingent Advisor.

The most critical items of personal equipment are the backpack, boots, and rain gear.  Next would be sleeping bag and pad.  If you protect your feet, stay dry, sleep well, and can carry what you need in (relative) comfort, everything else works out pretty well.  If you don't accomplish any one of these four basic things, it can be a really long 11 days.



  • backpack with padded hip belt (rental available at Philmont for ~$18.00) -- NOTE: be sure your pack fits and is comfortable.
             Capacity:  external frame ~4,000 cubic inches
                             internal frame ~4,800 cubic inches

  • *pack cover-waterproof nylon (do not try to get by with garbage bags)

  • *6-12 plastic bags-1 gallon Zip Lock bags to pack clothes (pack everything in Zip Lock bags-sit on them to eliminate air)



  • sleeping bag in stuff sack lined with plastic bag (be certain sleeping bag will stay dry)

  • sleep clothes-worn only in sleeping bag (i.e., T-shirt and gym shorts) -- leave in sleeping bag

  • *straps to hold sleeping bag on pack (depends on pack)

  • *foam sleeping pad (closed cell or Therma-Rest) (not only for comfort but mainly for insulation)



Class A Uniform (see below)

Layer A (Hiking Clothes)

  • hiking boots—well broken in -- over-the-ankle

  • lightweight sneakers or tennis shoes -- no open-toed shoes -- you will use these around campsites, for rock climbing, & horseback riding

  • *3 pairs heavy wool socks -- wash & recycle as needed -- since they aren't in contact with your skin, they can be rough.

  • *3 pairs lighter inner socks (polypro) -- may want more inner socks

  • 3 changes underwear -- don't take cotton underwear!  A blend of polypro will wick the moisture away from your skin.

  • *2 hiking shorts -- Contingent Advisor recommends taking 1 pair of long pants with zip-off legs

  • *2 short sleeve shirts (not nylon) -- crew tee-shirts are usually all that's needed

  • *1 hat or cap—flexible, with brim


Layer B (Cool Evening)

  • 1 long sleeve shirt (wool or flannel) -- be sure it doesn't weigh too much.

  • *1 long pants, cotton or nylon (not heavy jeans) -- Contingent Advisor recommends taking 1 pair of long pants with zip-off legs -see the shorts

  • *1 pair insulated underwear (polypro) -- probably not needed -- go to bed if you get that cold!


Layer C (Cold)

  • *1 sweater or jacket (wool or polar fleece) -- probably not needed -- may want to take a lightweight jacket or vest & use as a pillow

  • *1 stocking cap (wool or polypro) -- probably not needed -- go to bed if you get that cold!

  • *1 glove liners or mittens (wool or polypro) -- probably not needed -- go to bed if you get that cold!  It is good to have a pair of work gloves in the crew for handling hot stoves, etc.


Layer D (Cold, Wet, Windy)

  • *1 sturdy rain suit (A) -- this is important -- use as outer layer of clothing for warmth.  Do not try to get by with a poncho.  You don't need to spend a fortune but get something better than the plastic ones -- look at Frog Togs or similar reasonably priced products.



  • deep bowl (small, plastic) -- not too deep -- it helps if you can lick it clean!

  • *cup (measuring style)

  • *spoon or spork -- you won't need a knife or fork

  • *3 or 4 one qt. water bottles (BB, A) (Nalgene widemouth recommended)


Personal and Miscellaneous

  • *small pocketknife (A)

  • *matches and lighter in waterproof container (BB, A)

  • *flashlight (small with extra batteries & bulb) -- some people like headlamps, they are useful for cooking.  Generally, Contingent Advisor takes a Mini Maglight or small LED flashlight.

  • *Philmont map (A) -- NOTE: maps are provided to all Contingent participants, crews only need two or three sets on the trail.

  • *compass—liquid-filled (A)

  • *2 bandannas or handkerchiefs (BB)

  • money ($10-$20 in small bills for backcountry purchases)

  • *lip balm (BB, A) (with SPF of 25) Chapstick

  • *soap, biodegradable (BB) (Philmont provides Campsuds)

  • *toothbrush/toothpaste (BB)

  • *small towel

  • *tampons/sanitary napkins (BB)

  • *sunglasses (inexpensive)

  • *ditty bag (small stuff sack for personal items to go in bear bag, marked so you can recognize yours quickly)

  • *1 trowel -- used to dig catholes or latrine's.  You can bring the plastic backpacking type but may want to go to a garden shop and find one that is more heavy duty (you don't need to get a steel one).



  • *camera and film (BB) -- suggest one roll of film (30-36 exposures) (or equivalent if using digital camera) per day -- take lots of pictures! 

  • *whistle

  • watch, inexpensive (countdown timer is really helpful for hiking and timing when to take breaks)

  • *fishing equipment/licenses -- equipment is not really needed, Philmont will supply for fishing program -- purchase fishing license at Philmont (base camp or backcountry) if needed

  • *postcards, pre-stamped -- you can send mail at Camping HQ and some staffed camps -- neat!

  • rubber bands (large for packing)

  • *foot powder (BB, S)

  • *note pad and pen (Sharpie is useful)

  • *daypack for sidehikes (S)



  • lightweight aluminum stool or chair is really nice -- particularly one with a back!

  • *Spices -- Take extra spices to liven up the meals.  The Tooth of Time Traders has "rounds" that contain multiple spices in one container.  You may just want to take salt, pepper, Tabasco, etc.




    * Available at Philmont's Tooth of Time Traders
  (BB)  Packed together in plastic bag to be placed in bear bag at night
  (S) Share with buddy
  (A) Easily accessible in pack or carried on person
    Comments of Contingent Advisor



In addition to the personal clothing and equipment listed above, each participant (youth and adult) is required to have a complete Class-A uniform for the Capitol Area Council contingent.  Guidelines for the Class-A uniform are:

Arrive at the bus meeting location wearing a full summer “Class A” uniform.  This includes:

Primary Registration is with a Boy Scout Troop/Team: Primary Registration is with a Venturing Crew:
  • Tan uniform shirt (with Contingent Council patch)     

  • Official Scout shorts (or Scout long pants)

  • Official Scout socks (if wearing Scout shorts)

  • Scout belt (web or leather)

  • Green uniform shirt (with Contingent Council patch)

  • Crew's "official" pant

  • Crew's "official" socks (if official pant is shorts)

  • Crew's "official" belt

Each participant should pack their base camp clothing in the contingent issued duffle bag and wear their crew's T-shirt under the Class-A uniform shirt on the bus. 

You will wear this “Class A” uniform at all times while we are in public from the time you arrive at the bus until we reach Philmont and then again from the time we leave Philmont until you leave the bus in Austin upon your return.  On the bus while traveling, you will be able to remove your uniform shirt.  We may have occasions on which we will allow you to leave the bus in a “Class B” uniform which means that the uniform shirt is removed and you will wear your crew's T-shirt.

It is strongly recommended that you wear your boots on the bus instead of packing them -- this insures that you really remember to bring them and takes less luggage space. 

Once we reach Philmont you will only need to be in Class-A uniform for certain meals, chapel services, and campfires.  At other times you can wear whatever you choose as long as it is not objectionable and is appropriate for a Scouting setting.  Your crew tee shirt is preferred.

Those making trips into Cimarron before or after their trek should be in full Class-A uniform.


You should pack all of your trail equipment and clothing in your backpack and all of your base camp needs and clothing in your contingent supplied duffle bag.  You will store the duffle bags in lockers at Camping HQ while you are on the trail.  Your backpacks will travel in the bus luggage compartment and will not be available during the bus ride.