Philmont Council Contingents


Tents must be carried and used while at Philmont.  Sudden downpours and gusty winds require appropriate shelter.  Every member of your crew should know how to pitch, strike, and fold a backpacking tent.  Philmont used to issue the BSA Backpacker tent (approximate weight 5.6 pounds not including ground cloth or stakes). 

Beginning in 2012, the new MSR "Thunder Ridge" tent began being phased in to replace the BSA Backpacker tent.  The new tents are faster to set up, have stronger poles, and more headroom than the older tent.  This tent is made exclusively for Philmont.  There were some "issues" with the 2012 version of the Thunder Ridge tent -- these were corrected with the 2013 version.  The Thunder Ridge tent weighs 5 pounds, 13 ounces, requires 4 to 6 stakes, and can use a maximum of 15 to be fully staked out.  A 5'6" x 7'6" nylon or plastic ground cloth must be used under your tent.  Tent mates share the ground cloth.

If you bring your own tent, it must be a 2-person tent.  Philmont will allow a single person tent in the event of an odd numbered crew (no bivy sacks).

It is required that everyone sleep in a tent.  The use of tents provides protection from weather and also is part of Philmont's Bear and Wildlife safety practice.  No food or smellables should ever be allowed inside a tent.


Sid's comments:

Use the Philmont tent and share tents whenever Youth Protection rules permit.  It saves wear and tear on your personal tent!  The Philmont tents are perfectly adequate.  You won't spend much time (and very little of that awake) in the tent.  Using the Philmont tent is one less thing to have to deal with between Austin and Philmont and back (this is particularly important if it rains on the last day you are on the trail).

The only reason for taking an individual tent is if Youth Protection policies require a person to not share a tent.  Philmont's tents are too heavy for one person to take by themselves and single-person tents are a better alternative.

Crews should make tent sharing assignments and stick to them throughout the trek.  When duty roster assignments are made, try to avoid having tentmates have duties at the same time.  In that way, one tentmate can work on the assigned duty while the other one sets up/strikes the tent.

The BSA Backpacker (old version of Philmont tent) tent requires 14 stakes.  The two front tent stakes MAY be omitted if absolutely necessary.

Bring a second stuff sack so the tent can be more conveniently divided between the people sharing the tent.


Click on the button on the right for information on how to determine the number of tents needed to accommodate the participants in a crew.  The two cartoons below illustrate why Philmont doesn't allow either "meadow crashing" or bivy sacks -- everyone must be in something that looks like a tent!

Age Examples