This contains various general information you may find helpful in planning
your Philmont trek.
to the Philmont Trail menu page for various tips on food and dining on the trail
at Philmont. Take spices!
ON EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING
sturdy pack and frame are essential for backpacking at Philmont.
All of your personal gear, plus your share of food and crew equipment,
must fit inside your pack. Although
a good pack and frame may be expensive cheap models tend to tear at the seams
and crack at the welded joints. If
you already own a pack and frame, be certain that there are no cracks in the
welded joints or unraveling seams on your pack.
padded hip strap is essential for your pack.
A hip strap allows you to take the weight from your shoulders and put it
on your hips-which can support more weight than your shoulders.
Either a good quality internal or external frame pack with hip strap may
keep your pack dry at night and while hiking in the rain, a nylon cover is
recommended -- do not try to get by with a trash bag -- it won't work!
items in your pack should be neatly organized and packed in plastic bags.
Additional bags may be used to carry small packages of food or to
organize miscellaneous items.
deciding what equipment to bring to Philmont, always consider each item's
usefulness, durability, weight, and bulk. Remember
that you are only packing for 10 days on the trail. It has been said that
"An ounce in the morning is a pound at night."
you do not have a good pack and frame with padded hip strap, or do not expect to
use them after your trek, you are encouraged to rent Kelty Tioga pack
and frame at Philmont for ~$18 per trek.
Tents must be carried and used while at
Philmont. Sudden downpours and gusty winds require appropriate shelter.
Every member of your crew should know hope to pitch, strike, and fold a
backpacking tent. Philmont issues the BSA Philmont Backpacker tent.
If you bring your own tent, it must be a 2-person tent (approximate weight 5-1/2
A 5'6" x 7'6" nylon or plastic ground cloth must
be used under your tent. Tent mates can share the ground cloth.
It is required that everyone sleep in a tent.
Map and Compass
trails on Philmont are marked at intersections, but they are not so well marked
that you can put your map and compass away and forget them.
Philmont trail signs often point to geographic features such as
mountains, canyons, and streams.
to use a map and compass well. This
ability is a reassuring comfort. You
will be able to know where you are at all times and where you are headed.
Look at a map. Do you know what the symbols mean? What do the colors-black, brown, blue, green, white, and
brown contour lines are particularly significant. Depending upon the map, each brown line represents a 20-foot
or 40-foot climb; the more lines you cross on an upward route, the tougher the
climb. Steep downhill climbs are
you orient a map? Compass
declination at Philmont is ~10 degrees east.
Do you know what that means? Are
you able to determine the exact direction from one point to another on a map by
using your compass? The scale of
Philmont section maps is 1 to 24,000. Do
you understand the significance of a map's scale?
If you have answered no to any of these questions, read chapter 3 on
backcountry navigation in the BSA Fieldbook.
your itinerary takes you into the Valle Vidal, you will not be using trails at
all but will be navigating cross-country using your map and compass (or bring a
GPS). This is where your skills become really important!
Prepared for Extremes of Weather
prepared for extremes of weather at Philmont.
Afternoon temperatures in low valleys can be hot as blazes (100 degrees
or more), and night temperatures high in the mountains may be cold enough to
freeze a thin crust of ice on water.
can be dry as a desert and then a sudden downpour will soak everything.
Prolonged periods of rain lasting several days occur frequently.
Fortunately, New Mexico's low humidity allows wet clothing and gear to
dry quickly after the rain stops. Rain
occurs most frequently in the afternoon and may last an hour, all night, or
several days. Small hail or
sleet often accompanies rain. Mountain
weather is fickle—anything can happen and often does.
Snow is possible, even during the summer. Weather conditions vary from one area of the ranch to another
depending upon elevation, terrain and irregular weather patterns.
You should be prepared for all of the above weather conditions.
cold periods it is especially important to stay dry since wet clothing loses
much of its insulating value (90 percent or more). Several light layers of clothing are better than one heavy
layer since air trapped between layers of clothing provides a high degree of
insulation. As the atmosphere warms
you can remove one layer of clothing at a time for proper body heat management.
in mind that wool and Polypropylene insulate when wet.
Down and cotton lose most insulating value when wet.
Cotton layers such as sweatshirts and sweatpants drain body heat when wet
and dry very slowly.
the official BSA uniform is highly recommended for use when traveling to and
from Philmont and wearing at base camp, you may choose to wear other clothing on
the trail. Long pants are
recommended for cold nights and are required for horseback riding and pole
climbing at logging camps. Shorts
and short-sleeved shirts will generally be sufficient during the day; however, a
sweater or warm jacket is necessary for cold mornings and evenings and frequent
downpours of rain or hail.
be comfortable and dry during rain, a good quality rain suit is essential.
rain suits or ponchos will not hold up under extended use.
Lightweight shoes are recommended
for use around camp and occasionally when hiking. These shoes will also be used
when rock climbing and riding horses.
Be sure to label
all of your clothing and equipment with your name and expedition number so you
con readily identify what is yours and so any of your belongings lost and found
can be returned.
Glass and Aerosol
containers or aerosol cans should be carried on the trail.
Glass breaks easily and aerosol cans are bulky and may spew forth in
Campers spend an
average of $100 each in Philmont trading posts.
If major items such as jackets are desired, more money will be needed.
About $20 should
cover most expenses on the trail. Money
taken to the backcountry should be in small bills. These expenses may include:
rifle shooting-three shots free; shotgun shooting-three shots free;
additional shots must be purchased.
10-day fishing license, ages 13-17, cost determined by the state of New
Mexico—about $1.50, applies only to Philmont property.
fishing license; 1-day, 5-day, or annual—cost determined by the state of
New Mexico — about $12.00, $24.00, $56.00 (non-resident).
Healthy snacks, root beer, film,
replacements for damaged equipment, etc.
for stoves. Bring enough fuel for the first three to four days on the
trail. Fuel may be purchased at a number of the backcountry staffed
camps but you should carry extra in the event they are out when you arrive.
Backpacking -- setting the pace
If you pack properly, backpacking
will be much easier. Practice hikes will help. Your pace is the key
to good backpacking. It should be slow enough to allow everyone to keep
together without bunching up. Single file is the rule. A steady,
constant pace is best. When climbing steep grades, your pace should be
slower, but still consistent.
Always keep your crew together.
medical emergency is the only reason to separate from your crew.
Rest stops should be short and
frequent. Any member of the crew can call for a rest stop at any time.
Sixty second rests will let you catch your breath. Learn to rest without
removing your pack; if you bend over and loosen your hip strap, you can remove
the weight from your shoulders. Deep breathing works best for high
altitude backpacking on Philmont.
Last but certainly not least is the topic of Scout Manners.
There are almost 200 of us traveling together. Any Scout (or adult leader)
causing a serious problem will be sent home. There will be no refunds and
any additional costs of sending the Scout (or adult leader) home will be the responsibility of his
family. There will be plenty of time for fun but since we will be in areas
where many other Scout groups will be traveling to Philmont, we must insist upon
excellent behavior. Be aware that we must maintain two-deep leadership at
all times -- being sent home could result in your entire crew being sent home as
well! Let's have fun and behave like Scouts in the purest sense of the