Philmont Council Contingents

Medical Considerations

The following information is copied from the 2012 Council & Unit Planning Guide and the 2012 BSA Annual Health and Medical Record form that must be used by all participants at Philmont.  There is more advisory information in the form but this has been reproduced to provide important guidelines for participants.

Health and Medical Record

Every camper and advisor is required to have a medical examination within (12) months of their participation date by a physician licensed to practice medicine.  An examination conducted by a physician's assistant or nurse practitioner will be recognized for states where they may perform physical examinations to students enrolled in public school systems.  The BSA Annual Health and Medical Record must be used.  It may be downloaded from the Philmont website at www.PhilmontScoutRanch.orgAdvisors are to collect and hold the forms to be turned in at the Health Lodge upon arrival at Philmont.  Review each participant's medical form to be familiar with any health restrictions, check for parental and physician's signatures, and that a copy of participants insurance card is attached.

An individual should always contact the family physician first and call Philmont at (575) 376-2281 if there is a question about the advisability of participation.  Philmont's chief medical officer and other medical staff of the Health Lodge reserve the right to make medical decisions regarding the participation of individuals at Philmont.

Participants will be charged for medications dispensed at the Health Lodge.  Each crew must bring a first aid kit.  The 2012 Guidebook to Adventure will contain a recommended first aid kit supply list.  Many "over the counter" medications are available at the Tooth of Time Traders.


Verification is required that adequate Tetanus Immunization has been given within the last 10 years prior to arrival at Philmont.  If this service must be performed at Philmont, you will be charged accordingly.


Each participant at Philmont who has a condition requiring medication should bring an appropriate supply.  The pharmacy at the Health Lodge is limited and the identical medications may not be available.  In certain circumstances duplicate or even triplicate supplies of vital medications are appropriate.  People with an allergy to bee, wasp, or hornet sting must bring an EpiPen or equivalent with them to Philmont.

First Aid and CPR Certification Required

Philmont requires that at least one person, preferably two, (either an advisor or youth participant) in each crew be currently certified in American Red Cross Wilderness First Aid or the equivalent*  and CPR from the American Heart Association, the American  Red Cross or the equivalent.  Several hours may be required for Philmont staff to reach a remote backcountry location after a message is delivered to the nearest staffed camp.  First aid and CPR training will result in proper attention being given to injuries and/or illnesses.  You must present current certification cards upon check in to verify this requirement.

* Equivalent training can be obtained from a number of organizations.  These are listed in the 2012 Philmont TREKS Itinerary Guide book.

Risk Advisory

Philmont has an excellent health and safety record with over 950,000 adults and young people having attended since 1938.  Philmont strives to minimize risks to participants and advisors by emphasizing proper safety precautions.  Most participants in Philmont programs do not experience injuries because they are prepared, are conscious of risks, and take safety precautions.  If you decide to attend Philmont, you should be physically fit, have proper clothing and equipment, be willing to follow instructions and work as a team with your crew, and take responsibility for your own health and safety.  For further information please thoroughly read the Guidebook to Adventure which will be mailed in mid-March.  Like other wilderness areas, Philmont is not risk free and you should be prepared to listen to safety instructions carefully, follow directions and take appropriate steps to safeguard yourself and others.

Parents, guardians and potential participants in Philmont programs are advised that journeying to and from Philmont, and one's stay at Philmont, can involve exposure to accident, illness and/or injury associated with a high elevation, physically demanding, high adventure program in a remote mountainous area.  Campers may b exposed to occasional severe weather conditions such as lightning, hail, flash floods and heat.  Other potential problems include:  injuries from tripping and falling, motor vehicle accidents, worsening of underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or asthma, heart attacks, heat exhaustion and falls from horses.

Philmont's trails are steep and rocky.  Wild animals such as bears, rattlesnakes, and mountain lions are native and usually present little danger if proper precautions are taken.  Please refer to the Guidebook to Adventure, speak with previous Philmont participants, or call Philmont for further information concerning risks and measures which can be taken to avoid accidents.

Philmont has a staff trained in first aid, CPR, and accident prevention, and is prepared to assist in recognizing, reacting, and responding to accidents, injuries and illnesses.  Each crew is also required to have at least one member trained in Wilderness First Aid and CPR.  Medical and search and rescue services are provided by Philmont in response to an accident or emergency.  However, response times can be affected by location, weather, or other emergencies and could be delayed six (6) or more hours.

Philmont Weight Limits for Backpacking & Hiking

Each participant in a Philmont trek must not exceed the maximum acceptable limit in the weight for height chart shown below.  The right hand column shows the maximum acceptable weight for a person's height in order to participate in a Philmont trek.   Those who fall within the limits are more likely to have an enjoyable trek and avoid incurring health risks.  Every Philmont trek involves hiking with a 35-50 lb. backpack between 6,500 and 12,500 ft. elevations.  Philmont recommends that participants carry a pack weighing no more than 25-30% of their body weight.

Participants 21 years and older who exceed the maximum acceptable weight limit for their height at the Philmont medical recheck, will not be permitted to backpack or hike at Philmont.  For example, a person 5'10" cannot weigh more than 226 lbs. 

For participants under 21 years of age who exceed the maximum acceptable weight for height, the Philmont physicians will use their best professional judgment in determining participation in a Philmont trek.  Participants under 21 years of age are strongly encouraged to meet the weight limit for their height.  Exceptions are not made automatically and the maximum allowable exception will be 20 lbs.  Discussion in advance with Philmont regarding any exception to the weight limit for persons under 21 years of age is required, whether it is over or under.

Under no circumstance will any individual over 295 lbs. be allowed to participate regardless of height or age.  This limit is necessary due to limitations of rescue equipment and for the safety of Philmont personnel.  The maximum weight for any participant in a Cavalcade Trek and for horse rides is 200 lbs.

  Height  Recommended Weight (lbs.) Maximum Acceptance


    Height  Recommended Weight (lbs.) Maximum Acceptance
5' 0" 97 - 138 166 5' 10" 132 - 188 226
5' 1" 101 -143 172 5' 11" 136 - 194 233
5' 2" 104 - 148 178 6' 0" 140 - 199 239
5' 3" 107 - 152 183 6' 1" 144 - 205 246*
5' 4" 111 - 157 189 6' 2" 148 - 210 252
5' 5" 114 - 162 195 6' 3" 152 - 216 260
5' 6" 118 - 167 201 6' 4" 156 - 222 267
5' 7" 121 -172 207 6' 5" 160 - 228 274
5' 8" 125 - 178 214 6' 6" 164 - 234 281
5' 9" 129 - 185 220 6' 7" & over 170 - 240 295

    Under no circumstances will any individual over 295 pounds be allowed to participate in backcountry program.

* Typo in table that is included with 2007 Health and Medical Record form.  This is the correct maximum acceptable weight for a 6'1" tall participant.

This table is based on the revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Dept. of Health & Human Services.