Boy Scout Gear List: Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico, Summer

Philmont Guidebook to Adventure: "Remember, the key to successful backpacking is to go lightly."

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by Doug Prosser | 2006-04-19 03:00:00-06

Introduction

Boy Scout Gear List: Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico, Summer - 1
Rock climbing at Cow Camp, Philmont 2004.
Courtesy of Larry Keil, ASM, Troop 815, Danville, CA

Whenever you walk around base camp at Philmont Scout Ranch during the summer you will see the "cripples": Boy Scouts, mostly adult leaders, who have broken down on the trail and had to be removed from their crew and evacuated from the backcountry. They are almost always limping but quite often you will find them hobbling around with crutches. For each one you see in the base camp there are many more on the trails that are just barely making it and regretting their decision to come to Philmont. Why is this happening when Philmont is one of the great adventures in Scouting? The two most common errors are insufficient training and carrying too much weight. When these two errors happen simultaneously that person has created a dangerous situation for himself, and his crew.

Philmont publishes a pamphlet, Philmont Guidebook to Adventure, which gives Scouts information on the Philmont experience, the training, and equipment needed to hike its trails. The equipment list is extensive (read "heavy"), with lots of gear and multiple sets of clothing. Most people who read this pamphlet assume that this is the recommended list of equipment to bring to Philmont. It is not! There is one paragraph in this pamphlet that is the key to your success at Philmont that most people miss:

Gathering Your Equipment

Backpacking requires proper equipment just as any outdoor sport. Without suitable equipment you will face unnecessary hardships. Take only what you need. After several overnight camps you should be able to conduct your own shakedown to eliminate items you didn't need. Remember, the key to successful backpacking is to go lightly. Check your equipment against the recommended lists on page 12 and 13. This is the maximum. All backpackers can reduce this list and still be comfortable, clean, and safe.

Philmont Guidebook to Adventure 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006

The above paragraph sounds like something Ray Jardine wrote instead of the Boy Scouts of America. Statements like "take only what you need," "eliminate items you don't need," and "the key to successful backpacking is to go lightly" have been heard for years throughout the lightweight backpacking community.

This article will show you a reasonable list of gear and techniques that will allow you to carry a lighter pack and truly enjoy the wonders Philmont has to offer.

When I asked my 18-year-old son (Philmont trek 2002, Rayado 2003) how others or I could lighten our packs, his immediate response was, "Bring your 18-year-old son and give him all your gear." He was joking, of course, but there's a lot of wisdom in this statement. At Philmont you function as a "crew" or team. You succeed or fail as this team. If you have immensely strong Scouts they can and should carry more of the group gear than the weaker ones, whether boys or leaders. This allows the whole crew to move the most efficiently around Philmont.

Philmont assigns a Ranger to your crew for the intake process and to hike with you for a few days. The Ranger will get your crew through the intake process, ensure that you bring the appropriate gear, and train the crew on Philmont techniques. Your particular Ranger is the one you need to convince concerning the clothing and equipment you bring. Many people who frequent Backpacking Light will know a bit more about backpacking than your average 18-22 year old Ranger, but please do not harass them. Just take the time to explain yourself and your choices and most of the time they will go along with your choices. I recommend that you not challenge them on anything to do with bear protection. In 2002 we wanted to bring lighter ropes and bags, but our Ranger disagreed. We took the Philmont ropes and bags. In 2005 we had a similar event. I cannot see them approving the Bozeman Mountain Works AirCore Pro URSA Dyneema Bear Bag Hanging Rope even though it may be a better and lighter choice.

Philmont does a really good job of having thousands of Scouts camping in close proximity to lots of bears with very few problems and needs to be congratulated for their efforts to keep everyone safe.

Context

The gear on the list below was selected specifically to meet the requirements of Philmont Scout Ranch while being as light as possible. Although the list was compiled for Boy Scouts and Scout Leaders attending Philmont, it will work equally well for others interested in a lighter pack.

  • Seasons: Summer - lows to the 40s F, high 80s to 90s F, short afternoon showers common
  • Length: Four days between resupply
  • Where: Philmont Scout Ranch, Sangre de Christo mountains, New Mexico

Boy Scout Gear List: Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico, Summer - 2
Equipment check on day one, Philmont 2004.
Courtesy of Larry Keil, ASM, Troop 815, Danville, CA

Rationale for Selected Gear

The gear you carry is broken into five sections: Personal Equipment: Clothing; Personal Equipment: Gear; Personal Equipment: Sleep Systems; Crew Equipment Issued at Philmont; and Crew Equipment Provided by Your Crew.

1. Personal Equipment: Clothing

Philmont sets some standards that influence your clothing choices. They require completely separate sleep clothing, full rain suits (no ponchos), and long pants for various activities. These requirements dictate some of your choices, but still allow you to go fairly light.

Philmont requires long pants for some of the activities (spar pole climbing, horseback riding, conservation projects). These activities could conceivably be done in your rain pants. I tried this during my 2002 trek, but now my rain pants have numerous pieces of duct tape covering the holes I put in them at Philmont doing these activities. Since most people prefer to hike in shorts, a better solution would be a long pair of pants with zip-off legs. A good choice is the Ex-Officio Amphi Convertible Pant. In addition to zip-off legs, it has a built-in brief so that you do not need to bring underwear. For a shirt, I recommend one with an SPF-30 rating and sleeves you can roll up or down. RailRiders, Ex-Officio, and REI make nice shirts, among others. Another advantage of these shirts over T-shirts is that the fabric weave is much tighter making it hard for mosquitoes to bite through the shirt. Remember to treat your clothing with Permethrin prior to coming to Philmont. All you need to take is the one pair of zip-off pants and one hiking shirt for the whole trek. When you get a chance to shower at one of the staff camps wash your shirt, pants, and socks; put them back on and they will be dry usually in less than an hour. I take two pairs of hiking socks, one to wear and the other to change into part way though the day or when getting into camp.

Boots are not necessary since almost all hiking is done on well-worn trails, and your pack weight should be below 30 pounds. Running shoes with good tread will do fine, especially if they are trail runners. Make sure they are broken in before going. A wide brim hat finishes off your hiking clothing.

I have used Frogg Toggs at Philmont for rainwear. I combined them with an umbrella to keep the rain off my face. The umbrella also functions to keep my pack fairly dry. The Gossamer Gear Micropore Rain suit costs $25 versus $70 for Frogg Toggs and weighs less (10.3 oz vs. 16.2 oz). Several people in our crew tried the Micropore Rain Suit on my 2005 trek with mixed results. Some of the suits were really trashed after a 10-day trek. The consensus of our group was that the Frogg Toggs were a better choice, but for Scouts it's hard to overlook the low cost of the Micropore Rain suit.

You will also need to bring a warm sweater and/or jacket/vest. I found that a lightweight fleece or wool sweater works OK but adding a lightweight vest really keeps you toasty socializing with other groups at night. If you find you are getting cold due to wind, just wear your rain suit to act as a wind barrier. Don't use down exclusively for your insulation, in case it gets wet. Mix some wool, fleece, or high loft synthetics into your clothing line. I use a PossumDown (wool) sweater, Patagonia synthetic vest, and a down sleeping bag.

2. Personal Equipment: Gear

When I was in Philmont in 2002 I used a Gossamer Gear G4 pack with a trash compactor bag inside as waterproofing. The G4 worked well at Philmont but it seemed a bit too big even with the bulky food that you get issued. The Ranger was skeptical, but accepted my setup when I showed him I had everything on his list, and then some. In 2005 I used a Gossamer Gear G5 pack (silnylon version). This pack has a smaller volume than the G4, but my gear has also gotten a bit lighter and smaller. The Ranger never questioned me about the pack. Some members of our trek used a GoLite Gust pack (20 oz), and some the Granite Gear Virga (21 oz). The Virga has compression straps to secure the contents better than the Gust, but all the adults and Scouts were happy with their selections. Some of the others took heavier packs that they have owned for a while but are cutting down on other weighty items. Most lightweight packs will work at Philmont if you get total weights to less than 25 pounds with food and water. You need to keep a big enough area in the pack to carry about four days of food, which is usually the most they issue at any one time. Plan on the space for this food to be approximately the size of a bear canister but made up of numerous smaller packages. When the food is issued, go through the food bags and remove items that you and your food group will not use.

Take your water containers of preference. A bladder system, such as Platypus or CamelBak, helps you easily stay hydrated. Bring enough water containers to hold at least 4 liters so that the nights you are in a dry camp you will have water for the morning. If everyone has an extra 2-3 liters of water you do not need to carry the Philmont extra water containers, thus saving a little bit of weight. One other suggestion when going into a dry camp: eat your dinner for lunch near a water source, since dinners require water, whereas lunches and breakfasts are usually dry.

I carry my small pocketknife, whistle, and a couple of photon lights on a necklace so I know where everything is when I need it. The other personal gear you will need are a plastic bowl, cup for hot liquids and a spoon for eating. Some other items are a small propane lighter, personal first aid kit, medicines, sunglasses, and a "stash" of coffee if you are a big coffee drinker. If you really need your caffeine, chocolate-coated coffee beans were really popular on our 2002 and 2005 treks. Remember to bring two cotton bandanas, one for cooking with and one for personal needs.

Boy Scout Gear List: Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico, Summer - 5
Troop 257 group photo after arriving back at base camp at the conclusion of their 2005 trek. Tent City, where everyone spends their first and last night at Philmont, is in the background.
Courtesy of Doug Prosser, ASM, Troop 257, Ventura County Council, CA

3. Personal Equipment: Sleep Systems

Philmont requires separate sleeping clothes from the clothing you wear during the day. This is because your hiking clothes could be contaminated with spilled food, thus leaving odors on your clothing that bears might be attracted to while you sleep. Philmont is very serious about bear avoidance. They spend a lot of time teaching your crew the "Philmont" way to prevent bear attraction. Please do not challenge them on these issues, just go with the flow. They have been very successful in preventing most bear attacks with thousands of Scouts going through the Ranch, always camping in the same fixed locations. Your sleep clothing choices depend on a) whether you sleep warm or cold, and b) the rest of your sleep system. Night temperatures are rarely colder than the low 40s. I sleep cold, so I wear lightweight fleece pants with a long sleeve synthetic shirt and sleep socks that double as shoulder pads on the G5 pack. I add, as needed, a lightweight beanie, wool sweater, and vest.

Philmont requires a tent; no tarps or bivies are allowed. They do not require that a tent have an integrated floor, so many lightweight options are available. The Scouts in 2002 and 2005 used the Mountain Hardwear Kiva, which holds up to four Scouts. Our Scoutmaster and I used the Betamid in 2002, and this year we purchased a Betamid Light to save even more weight. Some people use bathtub-type ground cloths, because the campgrounds are all very hard and flat, thus allowing water to pool around the tents. A flat ground sheet will work fine, however, if you pay attention when setting up your camp, just like you would on any other camping trip.

As I've aged I have migrated to thicker and thicker sleeping pads, to increase the quality of my sleep on the hard ground at Philmont. I am currently using the Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Pad at 25 ounces. In 2005, three of our crew slept on the Big Agnes pads.

In 2002, I used a three-quarter length thin Therm-a-Rest combined with my Therm-a-Rest Ridge Rest closed cell foam pad and a Western Mountaineering MityLite sleeping bag. In a tent, a 30-40 degree bag will work well when combined with some of your insulation layers and a hat. In 2005, I used a Pertex Quantum Arc X down bag, which is both warmer and lighter than the MityLite. I was much warmer sleeping with the Arc X and I may need to lighten my sleep clothing for the next Philmont trek. One other topic that concerns people at night is bugs. We really had no problems with bugs in 2002 and 2005; I never even had to use any Deet or my head net.

Boy Scout Gear List: Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico, Summer - 4
Fish Camp just after Troop 257 has finished setting up camp in the rain. The Scouts under the 8'x10' silnylon dining fly are breaking out the food packets for dinner and getting the cooking started. Note the Micropore Rainsuits, two Mountain Hardwear Kiva shelters, Black Diamond Betamid (purple/white), and Black Diamond Beta Light (blue/gray silnylon). Philmont, 2005.
Courtesy of Doug Prosser, ASM, Troop 257, Ventura County Council, CA

4. Crew Equipment Issued at Philmont

Philmont will issue gear to your crew if you do not bring your own. The Philmont gear is heavy and designed to take the constant abuse that Scouts can deliver. If you plan well you will not have to take much of Philmont's heavy gear. Below is a discussion of the gear listed in "Philmont 2005 Guidebook to Adventure."

The first item is a nylon dining fly (12'x12') weighing about 4 pounds. Its two collapsible poles weigh about 1 pound. Instead, have your crew take a silnylon tarp at least 8'x10' along with extra titanium stakes and lightweight line. In place of the dining fly poles, our crew used two hiking poles velcroed together to give them added height, just single poles if we wanted to keep the tarp low. For whatever reason, our Ranger did not want us to tie our dining fly to trees.

Do not use the Philmont tents, since they weigh about 5.5 pounds for two people. There are many current lightweight options under 2 pounds per Scout (see above). The cook kits Philmont provides range from 4-6 pounds per cook group and cutlery kits weigh 0.5 pound. Each cook group needs a 6-8 liter pot (4 liters is a bit small), and a 2-liter pot for some desserts. Another option for desserts is to mix them in plastic bags. We did this in 2005 with good success; only one dessert bag blew up on a Scout who was too rough with it. Leave the fry pan at home. The whole crew will need one other 6-8 liter pot to boil water for sterilizing eating utensils and for washing. Philmont is really big on regularly sterilizing your eating and cooking gear. The only cutlery item you need is a large spoon and a serving cup with a handle. Leave the spatula at home.

Due to the Philmont logistics, we always use two stoves, when in theory we could get by with only one. Many of the memorable activities at Philmont happen in late afternoon and early evening. The Scouts want to get out there for those activities as fast as possible. One stove for cooking and another stove to boil water means our crew can finish their meals and get out to the activities much faster. In my opinion this is worth the added weight of a second stove.

The next item from the Philmont cook kit is hot-pot tongs (two pairs), weighing about 0.5 pounds. I never saw a use for these since we bring a cooking bandana (our only cotton item) that works great for grabbing hot items.

The next item on the list is a camp shovel, weighing about 1 pound. This is a relic of early days when latrines were dug at each camp. Today every campsite has an outhouse, so we leave this behind.

The next items are plastic trash bags, salt, and pepper. The packets in which you carry your food provide sufficient space to stuff your trash, but trash bags may come in handy as emergency rain wear if a Scout's rain gear gets lost. The salt and pepper are in small individual packets, which generate a lot of small pieces of trash. A better option is to bring a small container of each, along with some additional spices for your trail meals.

Philmont provides scrub pads, toilet paper, and small containers of both dishwashing soap and hand sanitizer. We also bring additional hand sanitizer bottles with us so that we have them readily available when cooking, eating, or returning from the outhouse. We think this is one of the most important aspects of avoiding sickness on the trail.

Philmont also provides Katadyn Micropur water purification tablets, a variety of other cleaning equipment, and bear bags and ropes. Philmont uses a plastic strainer to filter food particles out of wash water and drain it into an underground sump. A spatula is used to scoop the larger food particles from the strainer to be thrown in your trash. I feel a fine mesh screen circle, 6-8 inches in diameter, could accomplish the same function as the plastic strainer, and the spatula could be replaced with a small thin flat piece of plastic like a credit card. I'll be doing this next trip to Philmont.

5. Equipment Provided by Your Crew

This section addresses those miscellaneous gear items that your crew may bring with them that will not be supplied by Philmont.

Philmont recommends a sewing kit with heavy thread and needle. During our past treks we brought a "hotel" sewing kit but we never used it for anything other than draining blisters.

Bring enough tent stakes to put up all your tents, plus the dining fly (in windy conditions) instead of the recommended 10 per person.

Two to three collapsible water containers, 2.5 gallons each are recommended so that when you go to dry camps your crew can bring extra water. In 2002, a number of us brought extra Platypus 2.5 liter containers and in 2005 a few of the crew brought 2.5 gallon containers that they could inflate and use as pillows at night. Either way works fine but it is convenient having some larger containers. I also recommend that you have the crew fill all their water containers and purify them prior to going to bed so you can hit the trail immediately in the morning. You usually need to remind the Scouts to make sure this happens.

Two or three backpacking stoves are recommended. We brought two MSR Simmerlight stoves. Since we had two stoves, we did not bring a repair kit, but we did bring two, 33-ounce and one, 12-ounce fuel containers. We ended up with way too much fuel. I think that a 33-ounce fuel container per stove will provide adequate fuel in between food/fuel pick-ups.

One crew first aid kit is required but the list of items in the kit Philmont suggests is a bit much. Our first aid kit was not any different than we take on a weekend trek. Every Ranger staffed camp has extensive first aid supplies, trained first-aid providers, and the ability to transport people out of the backcountry, so you will not need to provide care for multiple days.

Our crew brought along duct tape wrapped around each of our hiking poles. The duct tape was used for a number of things during the trek but the most important was to patch holes and tears in Micropore Rain suits.

One waterproof ground cloth (5'6" x 7'6") per tent is recommended, but we only brought the ground cloth that came with our tents and did not bring this item. Three 50-foot lengths of 1/8 inch nylon cord are recommended but we only brought two 50-foot lengths that we mainly used for tying up the dining fly. We could have saved some weight here by using the AirCore line to tie up our dining fly.

One adult in 2005 brought along a picture guide to plants which some of the boys found interesting. Our crew brought one 4-ounce bottle of sunscreen, one 2.5-ounce tube of 3M Ultrathon insect repellant, and no shampoo. In three treks to Philmont I have never felt a need to use insect repellant so this may be another area to save a little weight. We do bring a small bar of soap for showers and/or use a little Camp Suds.

Conclusion

Boy Scout Gear List: Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico, Summer - 3
Untangling bear bagging ropes, Philmont 2004.
Courtesy of Larry Keil, ASM, Troop 815, Danville, CA

I have shown you a way to solve one of the two reasons for failure at Philmont: carrying too much weight. The other reason for failure is lack of training before going to Philmont. The people who walk regularly had no real problems hiking around Philmont while those who did no real training were hard pressed at times to complete the day's hike. All adults and any Scouts who are not playing sports in high school need to get out and walk five to seven days per week. Everyone who has not done this has slowed down our crew whether adult or Scout. When walking, carry a daypack or the backpack that you will be taking to Philmont. Each week you are walking, increase the weight in your pack by 3-5 pounds until it is a little above what you will carry at Philmont. In 2002, my training route took me past a supermarket where I would stop every other day and buy a bag of dried beans or peas and throw them in my pack until I had 30 pounds to carry. Each week, increase the distance that you are walking until you are doing 3-5+ miles daily. Try to plan your route such that you include some hills. Have your crew plan weekend treks twice a month for a few months before going to Philmont so that you all can learn to work as a team. Refine your gear list until you have it optimized.

With the steps described above you and your Scouts will enjoy the trip of a lifetime, and just maybe get to come back one day with you children and even possibly your grandchildren.

My gear list for Philmont follows. It includes specific brands and models/styles of gear for reference only. This list neither represents an endorsement of any particular product nor suggests that any product listed is the best choice in the context of any particular situation. The list is easily adaptable for Scouts and Leaders and each person's specific needs.

Philmont Gear List
CLOTHING WORN WHILE HIKING
FUNCTIONSTYLE/RationaleEXAMPLEOuncesGrams
hat with brimwide-brimmed hatDorfman Pacific4.3120
hiking shirtshort sleeve wicking shirtTroop Cool-max shirt5.0140
hiking pantslong zip-off pants with built-in briefsEx Offficio Amphi Convertible 12.8364
hiking sockslightweight merino wool or Coolmax trail running socksThorlo Lite Walking Level 2 Mini-crew Socks2.982
hiking shoesbreathable, lightweight trail shoesLowa Vento II, size 1346.41316
Total71.42022
OTHER ITEMS WORN OR CARRIED
FUNCTIONSTYLE/RationaleEXAMPLEOuncesGrams
bandanacottonSurvival Bandana x 2 (one for cooking; one for everything else)3.288
watchmultifunction: compass, altimeter and timeSuunto Vector1.954
neck cordnylon line - holds light, whistle, knife, can-openerKelty Triptease line - reflects light at night, easier to find2.570
lightersmall butane lighter, without child lockscheapest on the market0.514
eye glasses casecombination glasses case and retainerBackpacking Light Hides TechnoSkin Sunglass Case/Retainers0.615
eye glassesprescription-0.720
sun glassesclip-on sun glasses and case-1.438
hiking polesadjustable poles with duct tape wrapped on Komperdell Pro Series AS 21.2600
Total32.0899
OTHER CLOTHING
FUNCTIONSTYLE/RationaleEXAMPLEOuncesGrams
insulation layerwool shirtPossumDown Sweater, XL10.3390
insulation vestsynthetic vestPatagonia Micro Puff6.0170
rain/wind suitjacket and pantsGossamer Gear Micropore Rainsuit (pants XL 4.2 oz, jacket XL 5.5 oz)9.7460
warm hatwool or fleece beanie/watch capgeneric lightweight beanie1.234
sleep pantsfleece pantsREI Polartec 100 Teton Pants, large10.3290
sleep shirtnylon short or long sleeve t-shirtLL Bean synthetic shirt8.0226
sleep sockwarm socks/used as pads on pack's shoulder strapsunknown brand3.7106
extra hiking socklightweight merino wool or Coolmax trail running socksThorlo Lite Walking Level 2 Mini-crew Socks2.982
Total52.11758
SLEEP SYSTEMS
FUNCTIONSTYLE/RationaleEXAMPLEOuncesGrams
overhead shelterlightweight tentBlack Diamond Beta Light ($140)22.0622
overhead shelterlightweight flooring for tentBlack Diamond Betamid Floor ($55, 20 oz, partner carries)0.00
tent stakesstandard, shaped like shepherd's crooktitanium stakes (6) (2 oz, partner carries)0.00
sleeping baglightweight downPertex Quantum Arc X Variable Girth Down Sleeping Bag16.4466
sleeping padthick inflatable pad (my one comfort!)Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Pad Mummy, extra-long25.0710
Total63.41798
PACKING
FUNCTIONSTYLE/RationaleEXAMPLEOuncesGrams
backpacklightweightGossamer Gear G5 Ultralight Backpack, silnylon version, size small7.7216
waterproof linertrash bag to protect clothing from water and for emergenciestrash compactor bag with two extras6.9198
sleeping padclosed cell foam cut down to use as frame for packTherm-a-Rest Ridge Rest 3/4 length closed cell pad-cut down 7.0196
Total17.0478
COOKING AND WATER
FUNCTIONSTYLE/RationaleEXAMPLEOuncesGrams
utensilspoonLexan soup spoon0.38
dishplastic margarine container, smallany brand1.850
spicespersonal usehot pepper0.926
cupplastic 8-12 oz cup able to take boiling waterfree plastic cup from Family Fun Cuts that fits in cook kit0.824
water bottles3 liter sipper w/ tubeCamelBak insulated 100 oz Unbottle9.5272
extra water bottle2.5 liter, empty except for dry campsPlatypus 3 liter1.028
Total14.3408
OTHER ESSENTIALS
FUNCTIONSTYLE/RationaleEXAMPLEOuncesGrams
mapswax coatedPhilmont official map and plastic bag5.3150
first aid/medicationsminor wound care assorted wound and blister care items, antimicrobial ointment2.057
hand sanitizer2 oz bottle for pre-cooking/eating and post-bathroomleast expensive available3.085
toilet papernon-scented toilet papersmall amount in plastic zip-lock bag6.0168
personal hygieneteeth and body cleaning kit small toothbrush, small toothpaste, small soap in zip-lock bags2.057
lip balmSPF 15 or higher-0.38
bug barrierhead netCampmor Backpacker No-See-Um Head net0.822
umbrellalightweight umbrella folds smallMontBell umbrella5.7160
money--0.14
Total25.2711
CONSUMABLES
FUNCTIONSTYLE/RationaleEXAMPLEOuncesGrams
foodPhilmont provided 3lbs/day/personAverage 2 days carried (Best Guess!!!)96.0454
wateraverage carried - 2 liters2 L64.01814
water treatmentchlorine dioxide based treatmentKatadyn Micropur Purification tablets 0.38
Total160.31879
TREK SHARED GEAR (split between 10 people on trek)
FUNCTIONSTYLE/RationaleEXAMPLEOuncesGrams
stove and windscreenlightweight White GasMSR SimmerLite stove and windscreen x 2 (13.8 oz each)27.6773
fuel bottles and fuelwhite gasMSR 33 oz bottle x 2 (estimate 2 lbs each)64.01792
cookpotlightweight aluminum or titanium, 4-6 quart4 liter aluminum pots x 3 (10.8 oz each)32.4907
guylines100 feet nylon rope 1/8 inch or lessREI Braided Nylon Cord, 1/8 inch, 100 ft5.6160
dining fly10' x10' lightweight tarpsilnylon 10' x 8' + 4 titanium stakes16.0454
first aid kitexpedition size kit with common medicationsAdventure Medical Kit Weekender with some additions23.0650
spices-salt and pepper4.0113
cooking utensilsspoon and spatulaMSR folding large spoons x 2 and 1 spatula2.776
bear bags and ropePhilmont provided3 bags (0.5 lb each) and 1-150 ft, 1/4 inch rope (2.5 lbs)64.01811
sunscreenSPF 30 or higher4 oz bottle5.4152
insect repellantDeet based3M UltraThon insect repellant2.572
sewing kitsmallhotel kit0.12
repair kitminimalnylon ties, pins, clevis pins (if needed), stick of hot glue2.056
plastic strainerFrisbee styleprovided by Philmont8.0224
dish soapbiodegradable3 oz Camp Suds3.496
scrub padssmall2 cut down scrub pads0.612
hand sanitizeralcohol based4 oz Purell x210.0283
camera digital camera and extra batteriesPentax Optio S 509.0255
Total280.37888

 

WEIGHT SUMMARY
PoundsKilograms
(1) Total Weight Worn or Carried6.52.9
(2) Total Base Weight in Pack11.05.0
(3) Total Weight of Consumables10.04.5
(4) Total weight of Trek Shared Gear1.80.8
(5) Total Initial Pack Weight (2) + (3) + (4)22.810.4
(6) Full Skin Out Weight (1) + (2) + (3) + (4)29.313.3

New Boy Scouts Gear List for Three-Season Mild Conditions - 3

About the Author

Doug Prosser is an Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 257 in the Ventura County Council, California with 11 years experience. He lives in Camarillo, which is located on the coast in southern California between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. He has participated in numerous hikes in the local mountains and has planned many treks into the High Sierras for his Troop. He attended Philmont Scout Ranch as a Scout and as a leader, most recently in 2005. He started out with 50+ pound packs and continues to lighten his load, always looking for a better way of backpacking. His friends have dubbed his garage "Doug's Camping World." Doug has a strong interest in teaching both kids and adults how to enjoy backpacking. He continues to train and gear up for an extended trek on the Pacific Crest Trail within the next few years. Doug can be contacted at DougProsser@verizon.net


Citation

"Boy Scout Gear List: Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico, Summer," by Doug Prosser. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/boy_scout_gear_list_philmont.html, 2006-04-19 03:00:00-06.

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Joshua Gray
(coastalhiker) - MLife
Re: Re: Backpacking Chair on 06/23/2010 15:48:47 MDT Print View

Larry, looks like a good chair if you want to be off the ground. I'm just not a fan of anything with tubes or the like...seen way too many break out in the backcountry.

I should have been more specific in my post as well. The hexalite chair from crazy creek is 14.8oz, but you have to sit on the ground (there are plenty of logs and whatnot to sit on at philmont).

http://www.crazycreek.com/product/1/74/

Alan Richbourg
(arichbourg) - F
Rocky Trails at Philmont! on 07/25/2010 16:03:50 MDT Print View

Having just completed my 3rd trek, I feel compelled to point out that the statement in the original article that "almost all hiking is done on well-worn trails" is HIGHLY misleading and quite dangerous advice to present to people new to Philmont. At least a third of our last trek, for instance, was entirely along incredibly rocky terrain, requiring hours of careful and intense concentration to avoid bruised feet and/or sprained ankles. Bruised feet would have been impossible to avoid without thick-soled & broken-in boots. Not to mention the slippery effects of rain, which occurs nearly every day in the back country. Has the author hiked Tooth Ridge? Sturdy, ankle & sole protecting foot gear are a MUST for Philmont except perhaps the very most experienced backpackers. Most of our crew would have been walking wounded without good boots. While I'm a proponent of packing very light, people need to understand that Philmont has many extremely rocky trails, and prepare accordingly.

Edited by arichbourg on 07/25/2010 16:05:39 MDT.

tkkn c
(tkknc) - MLife

Locale: Desert Rat in the Southwest
Philmont gear selection on 07/25/2010 16:40:29 MDT Print View

We returned from Philmont in June 2010 (trek 32). We hiked in via the Tooth of Time. Only 2 of our 11 had boots. 9 of our crew had running shoes or trail runners. We did not have any feet issues.

I agree that some of the treks are very rocky and some even include some scree walking.

Edited by tkknc on 07/25/2010 16:42:28 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Rocky Trails at Philmont! on 07/25/2010 21:07:20 MDT Print View

Hi Alan

> requiring hours of careful and intense concentration to avoid bruised feet
> and/or sprained ankles. Bruised feet would have been impossible to avoid
> without thick-soled & broken-in boots.

It is to counter boot myths like these that BPL exists. MANY of our members cover terrain which is more rugged than that, and do so all the time in light joggers.

Wearing big heavy clumsy boots will not save you from spraining an ankle (or breaking it) if you are clumsy. It is much easier to place your feet delicately and correctly when they are not encumbered by huge weights. And that applies wet or dry.

That is not what they tell you in the gear shops - but they do have a vested interest in selling you expensive boots.

Cheers

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Rocky Trails at Philmont! on 07/25/2010 22:16:43 MDT Print View

Ditto what Roger said ... mostly

I returned from Philmont a few days ago and used Inov-8 Roclite 285's for the entire trek ... complete with wimpy soft soles, stock insoles and soft low top uppers that provide no protection from bashing your feet into bruised blobs nor did they provide any support of my ankles.

The hike over Baldy included tons of scree, hiking a rocky ridge that torqued my ankles in all directions followed by a stretch walking on a path "paved" by loose 2-3 inch pyramids seemingly designed to torture the bottoms of feet.

The hike along Ponil Creek from Copper Park to French Henry was a nasty rock strewn descent.

On the hike up and then down Wilson Mesa it was impossible to not step on baseball to rugby ball sized stones that wanted to roll whenever you landed on them.

I experienced no sole soreness that did not recover overnight and never once came close to rolling an ankle in spite of working at spending more time watching my surroundings rather than where I placed my feet (except on descents steep enough to roll if I fell). Oh ... and no blisters or even hot spots.

I attribute this "good luck" to toughening my feet and strengthening my ankles via walking several hundred miles before the trip and doing so on uneven ground as much as possible. Also doing the same each of the past 4 years, wearing out more than a few pairs of shoes.

Now had I followed my previous preparation of walking several dozens of miles mostly on pavement it would likely have been a different story.

I'll differ from Roger in that I have in the past owned boots which I am certain would not allow a twisted or sprained ankle ... stiff and strong well above the ankle and heavier than the down hill ski boots I owned 4 decades ago. But "breaking in" said boot was really a matter of breaking in my feet to the boots and no combo of socks seemed to prevent blisters and 10 mile days felt like death marches. That's no longer a trade off I'm willing to make.

It took me 7 years of working on going light before I was willing to discard my boots but having done so I am convinced that that for the distances and terrain like encountered at Philmont there is nothing that can be done to help your feet other than choosing proper fitting footwear, decent socks and acquiring adequate foot physical fitness. Andrew Skurka level treks almost certainly require also being constantly conscious of foot wear and tear but few people do that kind of mileage day in and day out, certainly none a Philmont do.

Edited by jcolten on 07/25/2010 22:20:20 MDT.

Alan Richbourg
(arichbourg) - F
rocky trails and boots on 07/26/2010 09:33:12 MDT Print View

I had both light shoes and sturdy boots on the trek I described above. I tried a little walking on some rocks in the light shoes, and felt every painful rock edge. My point is and was that while light shoes might be good for experienced hikers, most of the general population will much prefer a better barrier between their feet (not to mention ankles) and the rocks. This is my experience, not a myth.

Edited by arichbourg on 07/26/2010 09:36:23 MDT.

Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
re: rocky trails and boots on 07/26/2010 10:00:49 MDT Print View

Well, I have to add that light trail running shoes can be an extremely comfortable and effective solution for Philmont even with the sometimes rocky trails and rough scree (like at the Tooth of Time).

My experience it's not just Philmont either. Lightweight shoes are a great solution for hiking on a wide range of terrain. We just finished a UL hike with Montana BSA in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Everyone in our patrol - Scouts and adults - wore light shoes. We crossed streams, walked trails, climbed scree slopes, hiked off trail on rocky surfaces. All worked extremely well with trail runners for all.

Boots might be comfortable for some. But I do encourage you to give lightweight trail running shoes a try with carrying a lightweight pack.

Mathias Gillum
(MattyG) - F

Locale: Midwest
Shoes Vs Boots on 07/31/2010 06:32:20 MDT Print View

We just finished 75 miles incuding Baldy and lots of time in the Valle Vidal.

My son and I had the lightest packs at under 20 lbs including crew gear but w/o food and water. The rest were 30-40 lbs (not by my choice and not reccomended).

You can see in the pic not a pair of heavy duty boots among us. Merrells were very popular. Must have been on sale at DSW.
Philmont shoes/Boots

No ankle, sole, bruise issues what so ever. Maybe a few minor blisters but thats it.

IMHO if you keep your pack weight down you'll only need those heavy sturdy boots to .........well ........ support those heavy sturdy boots.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
style and salesmanship on 07/31/2010 08:58:46 MDT Print View

I think the question of boots vs. running shoes is similar to the question of trekking poles vs. no trekking poles. There are rational arguments to be made on each side, and there are specific cases where one is clearly better than the other, but I suspect that for 90% of people it's a choice that's made based on factors that are objectively unjustifiable, e.g., skillful salesmanship for the more expensive option, or a perception that one looks more "pro" than the other.

The claim that you need boots for rocky terrain is pure bunk. Many of us here hike on rocky terrain using running shoes, with no problems.

IMO some of the valid arguments are as follows:

In favor of running shoes:
-They're much lighter than boots, and weight on your feet causes much more exertion than weight anywhere else on your body. The figure I've heard (dunno if it's scientifically supported) is that a pound on your feet is equivalent to 3 lb on your back. If this 3:1 ratio is correct, then replacing a 48-oz pair of boots with a 25-oz pair of running shoes is equivalent to dropping 4 lb of pack weight. What's a huge amount of weight!
-A ton of people get out on the trail in boots and find that they haven't quite broken them in well enough. This is less likely to happen with running shoes, because you can wear running shoes while running, shopping, at work, etc.
-Boots have more surface area in contact with your skin. That's more opportunities for blisters.

In favor of boots:
-Running shoes have a relatively short period of time during which they're sufficiently broken in to be comfortable, but have not yet seriously deteriorated. This window is probably only about 100 mi. The window for boots is much, much longer. On a long through-hike, this is a significant win for boots.
-Let's consider a person who's not doing an UL style in general. He's carrying a 50-lb pack, and he wants to make a long leap from one rock to another. With boots, he probably does significantly reduce the chances of getting a twisted ankle. Of course the solution to this is not to carry a 50-lb pack.
-For a certain type of hike, where you're basically tromping through muck and ankle-deep water all day, I can definitely see the advantages of a waterproof boot. On the other hand, if you're also passing through a significant amount of deeper water every day, then you're just going to have wet feet no matter what, and the boots lose their advantage.

-Ben

Edited by bcrowell on 07/31/2010 09:05:30 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: style and salesmanship on 07/31/2010 17:29:50 MDT Print View

Hi Benjamin

Sorry, I can't resist...

> skillful salesmanship for the more expensive option,
You got it. More profit.

> a pound on your feet is equivalent to 3 lb on your back.
Believed to come from a military study, and the figure is higher than that. At least 5x, possibly up to 7x.

> Running shoes have a relatively short period of time during which they're
> sufficiently broken in to be comfortable, but have not yet seriously deteriorated.
> This window is probably only about 100 mi.
Several comments. *Good* joggers do not need breaking in at all IF you have got the fit right. They are soft enough out of the box. Deterioration and life depends on the shoe, but I would suggest that *good* joggers should last many hundreds of miles. The joggers I took to Europe a year ago lasted for two months continuous hard walking.

> he wants to make a long leap from one rock to another. With boots, he probably
> does significantly reduce the chances of getting a twisted ankle.
We do that hopping through scree fields. I am willing to do it with light joggers, but I would not be willing to risk it with heavy boots, Far too clumsy: sprain an ankle for sure imho.

> tromping through muck and ankle-deep water all day, I can definitely see
> the advantages of a waterproof boot
Ahhh ... what advantage? You are going to end up with a boot full of water. Don't even bother pretending otherwise. It's OK by me if someone wants to carry around a heavy boot full of water, but I do wonder why.

My 2c
Cheers

Steve Rogers
(srogers) - F
Philmont and Blue steel Rope => No Go on 08/05/2010 22:52:36 MDT Print View

Got back from my 2nd trip to philmont in the last four years. This time was an 85 mile trek #21 that we added a few extra miles by sidehiking up to Cyphers mine during our layover day at Cito. Our crew packweights were 33-40lbs. Our sister crew was 50-65lbs, unfortunatly they said that as "Rich Californians" we had the money to spend on expensive light weight gear. We politly diagreed that it was lots of searching for and learning to use less and lighter gear. An easy example was the numerous nalgenes that they all carried while I carried a 2L platapus for water and a 1L plastic gatorade bottle for my water and powdered gatorate solution.

A few items that people may want to know.

The Frog Togs are warn by quite a few people in the backcountry, they work ok but you have to be gentle with them or they rip out (especially the pants in the crotch area). We encounter a full day of rain one of the days from Santa Clause to Deer Lake Mesa that was 11 miles. Everyones rain gear failed at this amount of rain, even the Frog Togs.

I was turned down by our ranger and her-boss'-boss for using Blue Steel rope in the backcountry. We could take it but not use it as "it's small size creates too much damage to the trees that it is tied to". I asked why we couldn't put sticks between the bark and the blue steel as that was an acceptable practice in 2007 and was still told "NO". I was told that Philmont was only allowing their ropes in the backcounty, no ifs, ands or buts.

The backcounty stores carry fuel at 10cents/oz. We took a couple of 22oz MSR fuel bottles and re-filled at our second food pick-up and got $2.00 more. When we got back to base camp we had a few oz extra and gave it to a trail bound crew.

Our goals were pretty simple. Keep your personal gear and pack weight to less than 20lbs. 2L of water is 4.4lbs, crew gear divided up with the 10 of us was 5.0 lbs (tents, cooking, repair kit, spices, first aid...) this leaves you with Philmont food of 6-9.0 lbs and you are on your way to a backpack that is less than 40lbs and a very manageble value.

I have to highly disagree on one aspect of your article and that is the drinking of a liter of water in the morning and only carry 500mL is a safety issue. If you want to do this on treks in the Sierra's or California coast go ahead. But this sets a poor and unsafe example to the scouts on the trip. Except for this we enjoyed the article and used (and tried to use)several of its ideas.

Dan Stelluto
(dstelluto) - F

Locale: NE Ohio
MSR ZING / TWING on 03/27/2011 17:42:40 MDT Print View

My first post! My first Philmont trek will be August 2012. I am the equipment coordinator for out troop and for the high adventure troop contingents. That said, so far we plan on buying 12 Alps Mountaineering Zephyr 2's and 4-6 MSR Whisperlite stoves. The one thing I am stuck on is the dining flys. I have been researching on the internet for a few days and have learned many insightful things, but still need insight from ppl that have been there. I hear that early August is the rainy season in northern NM. I've been looking at smaller tarps (6x8 or so) to primarily store our pack under while we sleep. What I have not considered is the need to "chill out" under the tarp during a hiking break, or while at one of the camps when it's raining. The best thing I've found is the MSR Zing for a grup of 12 to rest under. They're heavy though, and although you can have someone else carry the poles and stakes, I am wondering if this awesome tarp is overkill. And while I have your attention, what do you think about gravity water filters for Philmont? Thanks in advance!!!
Dan

Larry M
(Maethros) - MLife

Locale: Mid South
Dining Fly on 03/27/2011 21:19:58 MDT Print View

This is what you want:

http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/cb.aspx?a=254694

CJ Taylor
(kitkos) - F
ATTENTION Scouter and Scouts on 06/09/2011 09:18:14 MDT Print View

ATTENTION Scouters and Scouts that are going to Philmont and found this thread because you Googled “Philmont Tips” need to understand that this website is for extremist that focus on the lightest possible backpacks.
While Mr. Prosser, and some of the responders, do have some valid points they are a professionals, please don’t try this yourself. ;-)

I do not mean this as an attack on Mr. Prosser but rather an explanation to Scouters and Scouts that this article was written on BackpackingLight.com and that they need to understand that his description is one that is EXTREME at the very least and should not be practiced by everyone.

I have been a Scoutmaster for 20+ years and have been backpacking for 40+ years. I practice lightweight backpacking and use this website on a regular basis, but Mr. Prosser’s list, to me, is more appropriate for a 3-5 day trip not one that lasts 12 days.

I will only focus on the clothing that Mr. Prosser says he takes….

If you look closely at his list the ONLY clothing that he takes are the clothes he wears on his back and one pair of backup hiking socks.
Hiking Shirt, Hiking pants, hiking socks, extra hiking sock.

He also carries one wool shirt, a vest and a rain suit (top and bottom) and his sleeping outfit which consist of a top, bottom and socks. Keep in mind that sleeping gear is ONLY to be used for sleeping, you should not wear this while eating dinner or during any other activity because you might get smells on it.

I wonder what his explanation is when asked what happens when he gets caught in one of Philmont’s torrential downpours and his clothes get completely soaked before he has a chance to put on his rain suit?
Does he risk hypothermia because he did not bring anything dry?
And what if one of these items became destroyed beyond repair? What then? Does he now need to wear his rain suit the rest of the trip?
To me the more important aspect of his lack of clothing is his underwear. For his hiking pants he describes them as “long zip-off pants with built-in briefs”
So he is going 12 days with the same underwear on the whole time? I don’t care how careful you are and how clean you think you keep yourself after using the restroom, but there is NO POSSIBLE way to stay clean enough with one pair of underwear for 12 days without causing chaffing, a terrible rash or worse.
OK, we all know you can wash your clothes (in zip-lock baggies) from time to time but what does he wear when his pants and underwear are drying?

And what about that pair of sleep socks he is bringing? One of the reasons we bring sleep clothes is so we have a completely dry outfit to sleep in. Mr. Prosser states that his “sleep socks that double as shoulder pads on the G5 pack”. Using a pair of socks as shoulder strap pads equals one pair of sweaty, smelly socks to wear to bed each night. What if he accidently, unknowingly, gets food from lunch on this pair of socks? He now has a bear issue.

Once again, my comments are not to provoke an argument but rather to make people that were looking for Philmont Tips to understand that they landed in a website that is known for its extreme methods of packing light and that Philmont Rangers are not going to let you get on trail with this lack of gear.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: ATTENTION Scouter and Scouts on 06/09/2011 10:50:09 MDT Print View

CJ's comments feel like a troll and I usually work hard at avoiding the feeding of trolls but since he's claiming to not be a troll ... I'll bite.

But first let me start that I also work hard at not telling anyone to make wholesale packing changes on longer outings unless they've actually tested the ideas on shorter trips to see how they work for them.

Also, I'm a former scoutmaster and have been involved with the same troop for 25 years (and till counting) so I hope I have some sense of what boys do and don't do.

One last caveat (promise!), I have done two Philmont treks (itinerary numbers in the low-mid 20's). We did experience icewater rain and hail on each trip and camped above 10,000ft and I've been to the top of Phillips (on a warm day) and Baldy on a beastly cold and windy day. OH, and I regularly backpack where we have cold weather (unlike Philmont) without backup clothing, occasionally I get uncomfortable but not (yet, anyway) hypotheric. I don't go as light as Doug P but that is more due to not spending the $$ needed for the lightest possible options than from carrying more things that he carries.

Point by point response follows ...

If you look closely at his list the ONLY clothing that he takes are the clothes he wears on his back and one pair of backup hiking socks.
Hiking Shirt, Hiking pants, hiking socks, extra hiking sock.

He also carries one wool shirt, a vest and a rain suit (top and bottom) and his sleeping outfit which consist of a top, bottom and socks. Keep in mind that sleeping gear is ONLY to be used for sleeping, you should not wear this while eating dinner or during any other activity because you might get smells on it.


I was just fine on both treks with about the same amount of clothing. A micro-fleece pullover instead of wool shirt but no vest. I do use underwear and bring one spare (might not bring the spare if I go again).

I wonder what his explanation is when asked what happens when he gets caught in one of Philmont’s torrential downpours and his clothes get completely soaked before he has a chance to put on his rain suit?
Does he risk hypothermia because he did not bring anything dry?


My raingear is carried in an exterior pack pocket and I don't wander more than a moment's walk from the pack without taking the raingear with me. I have gotten damp but not soaked. If I get chilled I increase my exertion, ordinary synthetic fabrics dry quickly that way.

And what if one of these items became destroyed beyond repair? What then? Does he now need to wear his rain suit the rest of the trip?

While "destroyed beyond repair" is not impossible, I've known some pretty mindless scouts who have yet to accomplish that. I carry a small sewing kit and we've repaired clothing and packs on trail (they were not lightweight packs either).

To me the more important aspect of his lack of clothing is his underwear. ... there is NO POSSIBLE way to stay clean enough with one pair of underwear for 12 days without causing chaffing, a terrible rash or worse.
OK, we all know you can wash your clothes (in zip-lock baggies) from time to time but what does he wear when his pants and underwear are drying?


I agree that I (for one) would be miserable (and hurting) with one pair of undies for 12 days. I do laundry every couple days and wear my raingear while washing my pants. I've also tried putting on newly washed shirt/undies/pants while wet when we have downtime in a campsite and there's no hint of rain coming ... they dry very very fast.

And what about that pair of sleep socks he is bringing? One of the reasons we bring sleep clothes is so we have a completely dry outfit to sleep in. Mr. Prosser states that his “sleep socks that double as shoulder pads on the G5 pack”. Using a pair of socks as shoulder strap pads equals one pair of sweaty, smelly socks to wear to bed each night. What if he accidently, unknowingly, gets food from lunch on this pair of socks? He now has a bear issue.

I don't use a G5 pack, my pack has it's own padding in the shoulder straps (nowhere else). But the G5's straps are made of waterproof fabric so I don't know that the socks would get sweaty. If they stay inside the straps until bedtime the packstraps fabric will keep food off them.

Once again, my comments are not to provoke an argument but rather to make people that were looking for Philmont Tips to understand that they landed in a website that is known for its extreme methods of packing light and that Philmont Rangers are not going to let you get on trail with this lack of gear.

There IS variability in Philmont rangers and I know scouters who have had hardnosed rangers, but Doug P has been allowed on trail with the gear described in each of his Philmont light articles. I've been allowed on trail twice and I've had many many more positive ranger reactions to my kit than negative.

One more comment. There are very few scouts I'd allow to take a silnylon pack on a long trek (much less a spinnaker G5!) Just too fragile. But I'll use a carefully and smartly made silnylon pack if I return to Philmont again and save a pound compared to my dearly beloved GraniteGear Virga (but that's beyond the scope of CJ's comments).

Edited by jcolten on 06/09/2011 11:00:48 MDT.

Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
Re: ATTENTION Scouter and Scouts on 06/09/2011 11:59:31 MDT Print View

I too am a scouter with decades of traditional backpacking experience. After a couple back surgeries, I found this site while looking for ways to lighten my load so I could survive Philmont and keep up with my boys.

I agree with many of your points... Some of the techniques on these forums do not work well for large groups (like alcohol stoves), inexperienced scouts (lots of down bags/clothing), or within the confines of BSA/Philmont rules (tarps). On the other hand, the overall goal of this forum is to lighten your load as much as you can while still being safe about it. When I arrived at this forum, I thought many of these ideas were extreme, but after letting them sink in, then actually trying some of them, I'm starting to see that maybe they're not as extreme as I had originally thought.

Regarding some of your assertions about Mr. Prosers gear... Would one set of briefs work if they were washed and dried every day or every other day? How about socks? If you have two pair PLUS a sleeping pair, could you get by? If it came right down to it, could he wear the sleeping gear as an extra layer if it got unseasonably cold or his primary clothes got damaged? If he's careful about keeping his rain gear handy, how likely is it that he'll get completely soaked before getting it on? If it's wool, won't it keep him reasonably warm anyway? And so what if an item did get destroyed? Should he carry an extra of everything just in case? At Philmont are you ever more than a day from a staffed camp?

For Mr. Prosser, his setup works because he knows his gear, knows it's limits, knows how to care for it, and is careful with it. Even if you're not willing to go to these extremes (and I'm not), many of Mr. Prossers (and others) suggestions can be incorporated into a Philmont trek (or any Scout trek) to a lesser extent.

Case in point: I went backpacking last weekend with a few boys last weekend... A 1-night 10-mile trek with no rain in sight and temps ranging from 98 in the afternoon to 72 at night. One boy brought two pairs of shorts AND two pairs of jeans. That boy NEEDS some of the advice of this forum lest he hurt himself!

Someone on this forum wrote that you pack your insecurities. I couldn't agree more. I used to pack a lot of stuff in order to "be prepared", but this forum has reminded me what scouting taught me int eh first place... That the best tools in my gear kit are knowledge, courage, and a can-do attitude. I'll probably never get to Mr. Prossers level of sacrifice (I do like clean drawers, fresh socks, and overly thick sleeping bags), but a lot of these ideas will go with me on every scouting trek I take.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: ATTENTION Scouter and Scouts on 06/09/2011 14:35:56 MDT Print View

Someone on this forum wrote that you pack your insecurities.

That someone would be Roman Dial and that saying is a guiding light for me. Challenging my insecurities and testing them has done more to lighten my pack than any other single factor.

CJ Taylor
(kitkos) - F
No Troll Here on 06/10/2011 05:56:41 MDT Print View

Jim et.al.-
For the record, I do not live under a bridge. ;-)

The point I am trying to make is simple.

Thousands of men, young and old alike, visit Philmont each year. 90% of them have done minimal backpacking in the past and don’t have the experience needed to make qualified decisions about the gear they take. They talk to others and hear horror stories about the weight they carry so they go on the internet and search Google for suggestions on how to pack lighter.

Because this is a popular post it comes to the top of Google’s list and these same individuals could end up taking Mr. Prossers packing list as the Holy Grail of backpacking lists.

Where it is informative I feel it needs to be stated for these people that this is an EXTREME list and there are holes in it that they should consider BEFORE they leave for Philmont, not after they are 2 days and 15 miles into their trek and realize they should have brought some more underwear.

BTW - We begin our latest trek next week. My crew is taking Trek 21. Pack weight is 24lb including 3 liters of water. This is an excellent weight considering the fact that I am taking a change of clothes and 2 extra pairs of underwear.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
philmont on 06/16/2011 19:16:35 MDT Print View

It is my understanding that most people come off the trail at Philmont because they are in poor shape and carrying too much, rather than get into trouble because they carried too little.

You are right. People with no training or abilities need idiot-proof gear. They need a tent that will keep them dry that they can pitch easily, not one that they must get up twice in the night and re-tension. They need bags that keep them warm even if damp, not one that becomes useless. They need a pack that can carry all the heavy, idiot-proof gear they need, not an uberlight rucksack.

However, the smarter and more prepared you are, the lighter you can go. It doesnt take experience (which is only learned thru failure), it takes knowledge. But at the same time, there is A LOT of crap most people can leave behind.

I think Mr. Prosser did a pretty good job of getting that point across. What he espoused was normal ultralight backpacking philosophy. Take only what you need, nothing you dont, and you will move faster, and be more comfortable, and have a more enjoyable time.

THe point was impart knowledge to people to change their way of thinking about what they needed to take with them. Not to say "take only this".

A 24 lb pack with 3L water =6.6 lbs, and 4 days food = 8 lbs , means you have a 10 lb baseweight. Admirable, but definitely hard to achieve if you bring a bunch of xs gear. Unless your 24 lbs did not include any food?

Joshua Gray
(coastalhiker) - MLife
Re: Re: ATTENTION Scouter and Scouts on 06/16/2011 23:40:59 MDT Print View

"Philmont Rangers are not going to let you get on trail with this lack of gear."

...This comment is a broad generalization that I dislike and find completely untrue during my summers as a ranger. There were times I was skeptical of some crews' gear during shake down and would voice my opinions and sometimes gave the party line; BUT if they could explain their methodology and prove to me they knew their gear (I would usually ask some questions about gear failure or adaptation), I would almost always allow them on the trail. To the underwear comment: I knew rangers that didn't wear underwear on the trail for the entire 3 months we were out there. I always took an extra pair, but HYOH.

That "there IS variability in Philmont rangers" and the fact that many have made it on the trail with light weight is key. The vast majority of the time I took about 4-6 pounds, if not more, of gear off of scouters packs during shakedown. Most (not all) rangers are pretty well educated. And if you can really get them to think about your gear and can prove you have the cerebral knowledge to utilize the gear you bring, they usually will let you go. Although the crew's safety is the responsibility of the ranger and when you have that on your shoulders as an 18 year old, the first couple crews you are a little more strict with.

I never had any trouble letting people on the trail if they could talk to me about it. Rangers are gear heads after all. And no one ever took too little. (well there was one, but that's a whole different story involving an army ranger...) I always did issue a challenge that if any crew member with a lighter pack than I had when we left basecamp got a special treat during their hike. Never happened, but one day an scout came within a pound or so and so I hiked them out a watermelon as a treat. They were a great crew from Colorado that was in good enough shape they even gave me a run for my money in hiking speed.

There's always trouble that happens during the trek and its not always extra gear that helps out. One small example is I had a crew member's tent fly get ripped off in a pretty bad storm (wind clocked about 70mph at the staff cabin) and I demonstrated the old tried and true put a rock into the edge of the fly, tie a line around it and re-anchor the fly, it worked just like new. And the adults laughed and said they couldn't believe the scouts didn't remember that from the scout handbook. The ideas on this site are not extreme, but they make you think, test your gear, and know your boundaries. Knowledge is power in everything, especially backpacking!