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Choosing my Philmont equipment, could use some advice
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Henry Shackleton
(asportking) - F
Choosing my Philmont equipment, could use some advice on 02/06/2012 18:20:41 MST Print View

Hello! This is my first (but definitely not my last) post here, and I'd like some suggestions on the gear I'll be bringing to Philmont this summer. While I've gone on dozens of backpacking trips, I'm far from an expert gear-wise. I usually just grabbed the first sleeping bag or flashlight that I came across without much consideration to how good it is, but I think I'd like to be more careful choosing my gear this time. Here's the list of what I've been suggested to bring and all the information I've gathered.

pack with padded hip belt
capacity: external frame-4000 cu in +/-
internal frame-4800 cu in +/-
pack cover-waterproof nylon

I haven't really gotten to thinking about the pack yet; I think it would be better to get all the stuff that I'm putting in the pack first, then worry about the pack.

sleeping bag in stuff sack lined with plastic bag

I've got a Lafuma sleeping bag rated to 30 degrees, about 14.9" x 8.3", and 3 lbs 3 oz. However, I'm not sure how good this is compared to other sleeping bags.

sleep clothes-worn only in sleeping bag (T-shirt and gym shorts)


*straps to hold sleeping bag on pack

Pretty self-explanatoroy

*foam sleeping pad (closed cell or Therma-Rest)

All I know about these are to not get the eggcrate kinds. Other than that, I don't know too much.

*hiking boots-well broken in

I already have a pair lying around, but I'm not sure if they're the right type for Philmont. Here's a link to them:

*lightweight sneakers or tennis shoes

*3 changes of underwear

*3 pairs heavy socks

SmartWool has been what most people have recommended so far.

*2 short sleeve shirts (not nylon)

Polypropylene, Under Armour or something similar.

*1 hat or cap-flexible, with brim

I was planning on just bringing whatever hat I could find, but maybe there's a certain kind I should be looking for?

*1 long sleeve shirt (wool or synthetic) pants, cotton or nylon (not heavy jeans)
*1 pair insulated underwear
*1 sweater or jacket (wool or polar fleece)
*1 sturdy rain suit (A)

*deep bowl (small, plastic)

One person suggested a coolwhip bowl. Another suggested Any thoughts?

*cup (measuring style)
*3 or 4 - one qt. water bottles (BB, A)
*soap, biodegradable (BB, S)

*toothbrush/toothpaste (BB, S)

I've heard breath mints instead of toothbrush/toothpaste will work well, but I'm not sure.

*small camp towel

Shamwow or something like that?

Not much to go by, sorry about that, but I'd really like some advice. You don't need to revise the whole list and write a whole page or anything, but just a few suggestions here and there would be very much appreciated.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Choosing my Philmont equipment, could use some advice on 02/06/2012 19:59:04 MST Print View

Read these articles

Philmont Scout Gear List

How Light Can You Go?

Philmont Redux

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Choosing my Philmont equipment, could use some advice on 02/06/2012 21:08:59 MST Print View

Ditto Mike's recommended reading list!

Additional comments from someone who's been there just twice:

I think it would be better to get all the stuff that I'm putting in the pack first, then worry about the pack.


Lafuma sleeping bag rated to 30 degrees, about 14.9" x 8.3", and 3 lbs 3 oz

There are much lighter and more compact possibilities but if it'll keep you warm at 30*F then it'll handle the coldest temps you are likely to encounter. I don't think I've encountered anything less than 40*F but know folks who experienced PM hail storms where the hail had not melted by the next morning so 30 is a real possibility.

sleep clothes-worn only in sleeping bag ... Meh.

I like getting out of trail clothed at night. This "requirement" (very strong suggestion, really) is part of Philmont's bear avoidance practices.

sleeping pad

whatever is comfortable enough for you to get a good night's sleep ... that's a Thermarest NeoAir for me, your mileage may vary (YMMV)

*3 changes of underwear ... *3 pairs heavy socks

two of each is plenty (one worn, one in pack) ... see laundry suggestion below

*hiking boots-well broken in

I don't advise on specific footwear. Hike a lot in them before you leave for Philmont (start now!). I like low cut shoes but the important thing is how the shoe/boot FITS ... lots of variability in foot shapes and also in shoe make/model.

*2 short sleeve shirts (not nylon)

I've been very happy with one shirt ... see laundry suggestion below

*1 hat or cap-flexible, with brim

I like wide brim hats, you'll get plenty of sun. Some folks like hats with a "skirt" that covers the neck/ears

*1 long sleeve shirt (wool or synthetic)
* pants, cotton or nylon (not heavy jeans)
*1 pair insulated underwear
*1 sweater or jacket (wool or polar fleece)
*1 sturdy rain suit (A)

Yes, but no cotton.

*cup (measuring style)
*3 or 4 - one qt. water bottles (BB, A)
*soap, biodegradable (BB, S)
*toothbrush/toothpaste (BB, S)
*small camp towel


Unless you are on one of the more strenuous treks you'll have time to do laundry every couple days ... use a 2 gallon ziplock bag and bring about 2 oz of powdered laundry detergent or some extra campsuds. That is how you can get by with 1 shirt and 1 or 2 pair of underwear. Just wear your rainsuit while waiting for your laundry to dry ... or "wear it dry". Water evaporates very very well in New Mexico!

Regarding camp shoes ... if you are on a trek with a number <10 then you'll have a LOT of down time ... can be worthwhile to have a change of shoes. If on a trek number >30 them you might have very little time in camp. I like camp shoes, have used and liked crocs and also these. I also like croc liners (without the crocs).

Have a good trek!

Edited by jcolten on 02/06/2012 21:12:19 MST.

Walter Underwood
(wunder) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
What I carried at Philmont on 02/06/2012 22:14:54 MST Print View

My pack was a Six Moon Designs Starlight, two pounds, 65 liters. The Philmont food is bulky, so a decent volume pack is useful.

I took a NeoAir air mattress that I got used from an REI used gear sale. Try your pad/mattress on shakedowns. If you can't sleep comfortably, you will not have a good trek.

In fact, try all your gear on shakedowns.

I hiked Philmont in Gore-Tex trail runners, Vasque Blur GTX.

Hats? I love my Tilley hat. Expensive, but great. Cover your ears. Second-degree sunburn on the ears is quite possible.

Breath mints are not toothpaste. Take a travel/trial size tube.

Sleep clothes are a Philmont rule. Period. Primarily, these are clothes that have had no exposure to food or smellables. They can be your long johns as long as you put them on after dinner and take them off before breakfast.

Again, shakedown, shakedown, shakedown. Do not take any equipment you have not used on the trail.

I'm glad to share our crew's packing list and my own spreadsheet of gear. PM me.

Philmont 2010 624-X

Henry Shackleton
(asportking) - F
Re: Choosing my Philmont equipment, could use some advice on 02/07/2012 07:13:49 MST Print View

Thanks! All the information's been really helpful; I think I'm starting to get a better idea on what to bring. I just have two more questions:

For the sleeping pad (By the way, I checked out the NeoAir one, it looks good), I've heard that you can cut it in half, since you only really need the cushioning for your upper body. Is this suggested? Of course, it might not be a good idea to do this on a really expensive one, but still...

Also, are my hiking boots any good for Philmont? I've gotten plenty of suggestions on boots, but I'd like to know whether I'd be alright with mine or if I need to get new ones. They fit quite well, but they're not exactly very lightweight or breathable.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Choosing my Philmont equipment, could use some advice on 02/07/2012 08:06:20 MST Print View

further details:

regarding cutting a neoair in half: Several people report success dong that. I lean towards MYOG projects but, like you, am timid about risking a pricey pad. I have not (yet, anyway) tried sleeping on a 1/2 length pad but have been comfy on 3/4 length pads, including the neoair, for temperatures like you'll see at Philmont. I always bring a CCF sit pad and put that under my feet at night ... very useful on the colder nights. In addition to comfort, the neoair packs down quite small.

Regarding pack size: I use a Granite Gear Virga ... 3200ci. Water bottles, raingear and pack cover go into the side pockets and the sit pad under the top straps, everything else fits inside ... but my quilt plus neoair plus shelter (tarptent rainshadow 2) need only slightly more volume than the sleeping bag you mentioned. Hearing that PhilFood is high volume I bought a somewhat larger pack (GG VaporTrail) before our first Philmont trek but returned it to REI (unused with tags still attached) when I saw how much space I had left when my entire kit was in the Virga. I would plan on about 1000ci for the largest bundle of PhilFood you'll carry (typically 4 2/3 days of food)

John Myers
(dallas) - F - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Re: Re: Choosing my Philmont equipment, could use some advice on 02/07/2012 08:32:07 MST Print View

You can get a NeoAir in small. I'd recommend that over cutting one in half.

Those boots look like they would work, but I would definitely look at other options.
Lightweight and breathable are 2 things you want in your footwear. But whatever you wear does need to fit well to avoid blisters.

+2 on the shakedown, shakedown, shakedown.


612-P8 2008
609S 2012

Edited by dallas on 02/07/2012 08:34:02 MST.

Carl Zimmerman
(CarlZ993) - MLife
Philmont Equipment & Clothing on 02/07/2012 21:03:51 MST Print View

Philmont experience: 2 treks (07 & 08) and one Cavalcade (2010; different pants and foot gear on Cavalcade).

For packed clothing, I took my standard list of gear that I take on every 3 season trip:
Knit cap, lt wt long underwear tops & bottoms (sleep gear), Montbell Thermawrap Jacket, liner gloves, GoreTex Lobster claw mitts, pair of running shorts (instead of underwear), two pairs of wools socks (Lt Hiker weight), and rain jacket & pants.

Hiking clothes: nylon convertible pants, running shorts (underwear), synthetic short sleeve shirt, long-sleeve nylon hiking shirt, wool socks, gaiters, Hi-tek 3/4 height boots, bandana around neck or draped over head (covering ears), and wide-rim hat. If it's hot, I'll ditch one of the shirts (usually the undershirt; I like to keep the sun off of me as much as possible).

Take as much light stuff as you can to replace the Philmont issued crew gear. Their stuff is HEAVY! We saved over two pounds in taking a sil-nylong tarp (same size as theirs). You'd probably save 3 pounds if you could afford a cuben fiber tarp.

As noted earlier, Philmont food is bulky. I used a Golite Pinnacle pack (frame-less) to carry my gear in on both of my treks. It worked okay. Sufficient volume.

Have fun. I hope we make the cut for a 2013 trek. We're high enough on the wait list that we'll probably get a trek.

Walter Underwood
(wunder) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
NeoAir, Boots on 03/21/2012 23:07:11 MDT Print View

Do not try to cut a NeoAir in half! That is an air mattress -- one leak and you won't sleep. Maybe that advice is for the Z-rest, a closed cell foam pad.

My NeoAir is a medium, five and half feet long. It works for me, and I'm 6' 3". But don't take my word for it, try it on a shakedown.

My "boots" are trail runners with Super Feet insoles. I wear them to work every day.

I strongly recommend getting a copy of "Lighten Up!" by Don Ladigan. Great advice and a process for getting lighter. My regular weekend base weight is down to 12 pounds and I'm not doing any weird super-ultralight stuff, just planning and making smart choices.

Douglas Prosser
(daprosser) - MLife

Locale: Camarillo, California (SCAL)
Big Three & the stuff you do not bring on 04/03/2012 23:33:14 MDT Print View

Focus on the items that weigh the most.
First: Find a lightweight tent less than 2-3 pounds. Do not use Philmont tents or any gear if possible except water purification tabs, TP, camp suds, and bear bags.

Second: Find a sleeping bag less than 2-3 pounds.

Third: Find a backpack less than 2-3 pounds.

Then don't bring all the extra items that may seem necessary but do not add anything to your hike except frustration carrying that extra weight.

You can keep the big three less than 5-6 pounds with a little studying.

After reading my Philmont articles on BPL look at this web site to get an idea what is out there at the low weights.

Michael Danielson
(mcd57) - MLife

Locale: Middle TN
Philmont Equipment on 05/15/2012 11:37:56 MDT Print View

The list that Philmont gives you in the booklet has not changed since 1972 when I first went there. It is obsolete. Use this site. Fantastic information located here.

Use the thing between your ears. Find what works for you. Hit the sales of the backpacking stores. There is usually no excuse to pay full price for almost any of the items you actually need and will be using at Philmont. Teach the boys and adults how to do it as cheap as possible. Teach the boys how to go lighter so that they have fun. It is all about them.

That is what I am doing for my 2013 trek (fifth time going out to Philmont). Teach it. Demostrate it. Be the example. Help where needed.

I am using a G4 purchased in 2008, using trail runners, and focusing on the weight of each item I plan to bring. Also, we have already started training for the hike next year.

bill berklich

Locale: Northern Mid-West
GoLite! on 05/15/2012 20:18:58 MDT Print View

There are a lot of great suggestions here. My current base weight is 9.5lbs. As far as packs I'm sold on my GoLite Pinacle 72L (33oz from GoLite) which is now the Jam70 (on sale now). It will hold everything. Using a Montbell #3 sleeping bag (19oz from Bear River Outfitters) (the Golite version is on sale too), NeoAir pad (12oz from REI) and an Equinox Ultralight 8x10 tarp with line and stakes (15oz from Base Gear). This stuff works time after time.

Sarah Kuhn
(SCKuhn) - MLife

Locale: Mountainous Ohio
RE: Choosing my Philmont equipment, could use some advice" on 05/16/2012 08:54:49 MDT Print View

A couple of notes on comments above -
You will need a TENT for Philmont - using a Equinox Ultralite tarp or similar shelter is not allowed.
The list hasn't changed since 1972 - and much of it shouldn't change, but what you take to use as that item is up to you and has changed since 1972. The list is a guide, not a mandate - start with the list and work through your gear from there..... tent, pack, sleeping bag, pad - these don't change, what you use is up to you though.
Use your head and practice with your stuff.
30 days til I hop on the train!!!!! Woo hoo!!

bill berklich

Locale: Northern Mid-West
Rainshadow2 on 05/16/2012 11:44:09 MDT Print View

Lol Very true but... I'm not carrying it but I have and am bringing a HS Rainshadow2 (46oz Henry Shire) for the three of us Advisors. Those two are spliting it and I have the Equinox for the "Advisor Porch". The alternative was a 3 man 7.5lb monster the troop has. I think it would work to at least halfway up Everest ;-)

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: RE: Choosing my Philmont equipment, could use some advice" on 05/16/2012 12:02:12 MDT Print View

You will need a TENT for Philmont - using a Equinox Ultralite tarp or similar shelter is not allowed.

True .... they'll not let you on trail with a flat tarp as a shelter.

The difficulty is .... "what constitutes a tent?" There's variation among the ranger staff. I've known crews who've gotten very hard core "by the book" rangers ... not fun ... hasn't happened to me though and that seems to be relatively rare.

Our Tarptent Rainshadow 2 gathered a fair amount of interest from the ranger staff (2 different trips) ... all of a positive nature. I received no grief about using an MYOG beaked tarp (Jay Ham's design, available to members here on BPL) plus an MYOG Six Moon Designs (SMD) Meteor bivy (adapted to have a bathtub floor.

Our scouts have been allowed on trail with a Golite Shangri-la 4+ amd detached bathtub floor.

I've encountered (and spoken with) folks using SMD Haven tarp plus the optional nettent inner as well as SMD Lunar Solos and Duos.

Doug P's crews have been allowed on trail with Black Diamond mids with some sort of detached floor.

When I asked what a shelter needed to provide I got a multi part answer: 1) must not look like the dining tarp (bears can associate them with food) 2) must provide some separation from Philmont's dusty soil (reduced chance of exposure to Hanta virus) and 3) must provide some barrier against water pooling on or flowing over the hard packed soil found in many of the campsites.

Walter Underwood
(wunder) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Enclosed tents no longer required on 05/17/2012 15:27:30 MDT Print View

Formerly, the Guidebook to Adventure specified an enclosed tent. The current edition says "Use tents with floors or good ground cloths." This is in the section on hantavirus.

In 2010, two of our tents were mids with groundcloths, a Betamid and an MLD Speedmid.

Mike bievenour
(mrbieven) - F
Tent on 05/21/2012 06:19:00 MDT Print View

Would a mountain Hardware lightpath 2 with their ground cloth and the fly be considered a tent at Philmont.

Dan Lee
(scoutbuff) - MLife

Locale: Colorado
GEAR SELECTION AND PROTECTION... on 05/21/2012 16:24:23 MDT Print View

I had an opportunity to meet with Andrew Skurka (see recent Scouting Magazine) a few weeks ago. Very interesting discussion but one point that I took is save money and weight... SKIP the pack cover. It's $30+ that our boys don't need to spend. Much better idea to get a pack liner from Gossamer Gear or UNSCENTED trash compactor bags. (Read the labels carefully... I didn't. :-0 )

Rain gear... Dry Ducks... Cheap and light.

On gear, he categorizes folks into "hikers", "campers" and "campers by default." By this, he is saying folks are generally out to cover ground (hikers) or out to get to a destination so they can relax in comfort (campers). The third are folks that really want to cover ground (hike) but because they don't know what they really need or don't know how to prepare for the conditions, they end up carrying too much/wrong gear. He also spent quite a bit of time talking about UL v. Lightweight. Bottom line is creating an acceptable balance of what's between your ears and what's in your pack.

If anyone is wondering, my skin out weight is 30 lbs with crew gear, food and water...

Tony Ronco
(tr-browsing) - MLife
Other Threads with Similar Information on 05/21/2012 18:43:50 MDT Print View

Here is the link to another thread with similar information:




Edited by tr-browsing on 05/21/2012 18:52:24 MDT.