Aug 27, 2020 at 1:16 pm #3673348
I was a Philmont Ranger back in the 90’s and now, through the Philmont Staff Association (PSA) as well as private treks, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to typically head out on a Philmont trek once or twice a year.
Obviously, this year has been a little different. I was supposed to head out in March and again in July. Both of those were canceled. Still have a reservation for an October trek, but it will be up to the State of New Mexico if we can actually do that one. We shall see.
However, I assume many are starting to plan for their trips next summer.
I wanted to offer up my adult advisor packing list for those that are interested. I call it an adult advisor packing list as there are some pricey items on here that would be out of reach for most youth. However, this list can still be used by youth as a general guide for what to take, or more importantly, what not to take.
This list works for a 7, 9, or 12 day trek. You may just have to do a little trail laundry on the longer treks. Super easy with a ziploc bag and a little camp suds. :)
There are online packing list sites, but I still prefer to use excel. Seems to work out OK with our youth as well. I provide them with a blank excel template and they start filling it in as they prep. I am sure the online packing list sites would also work just fine.
I have found that my list strikes a nice balance between weight and comfort. I could go lighter, and have, but find that I start sacrificing comfort over a few ounces. I did the magical sub-10 pound thing once, but found that it wasn’t worth it in my humble opinion.
As with any gear list, this is all subjective. What works for me may not work for you. For example, I am skinny with little natural insulation and padding, so I must prioritize warmth and padding with my sleep system. Others may be able to get away with a lighter, thinner sleeping pad with a lower R value or a less robust sleeping bag. All depends on the person.
Also, you may have a completely different opinion on brands, types of products, etc. The purpose of this post isn’t to get into long debates on what is better than what. It was more to give people a starting point of how to comply with what Philmont wants you to have, while minimizing weight without sacrificing comfort.
Some pieces of advice I will offer:
1. Make sure you have good rain gear. Depending on where you go on the ranch (north=more rain, south=less rain, typically) and time of year (wet season starts late July/early August), your experience with rain will obviously differ from others. That said, having a good set of rain gear is key.
2. Philmont requires that each crew do 3 hours of conservation work. This work requires long pants. I use my rain pants as long pants. Saves having to take another pair of long pants, or even a set of zip-offs.
3. Ditch the heavy plastic Nalgene bottles and go with something collapsible or disposable (i.e. smartwater sport bottles). Saves weight and space.
4. Think about hiking in a good pair of trail runners vs. heavy hiking boots. The trails at Philmont are great, so you aren’t going to be doing bushwhacking (or at least you shouldn’t be). One pound on your feet equals Five pounds on your back.
5. Trekking poles! These are amazing things and once people try them, they are usually hooked. I find these to be indispensable, especially on uphill/downhill sections. Helps save the old knees.
Anyway, here is the list. If you would like me to email you an excel version of this list, feel free to send me a PM.Aug 27, 2020 at 1:20 pm #3673349
FYI – If you right click on the above packing list image and select “open image in new tab” it will be much easier to read.Aug 27, 2020 at 1:34 pm #3673350H WBPL Member
Nice list. Agree about shoes. I dumped my heavy Vasque shoes this year for TopoAthletics. As I’ve aged trail comfort vs weight has come into play more, e.g. Helinox 1 lb chair is in my pack now.Aug 27, 2020 at 7:42 pm #3673401
Yeah, I had our whole crew use Smartwater bottles. Adult leaders from other troop commented on how it was a good idea.
Lots of people are still stuck in olden times and think you need heavy boots. I love the comfort of my Altras, but I might try Topos to see if they’re more durable.
At Ponil, they fill your mug with root beer. Larger mug, more root beer.
The bulk of Philmont gear and food is worse than the weight.Aug 27, 2020 at 7:48 pm #3673404idesterBPL Member
@doug-iLocale: The Cascades
“but I might try Topos to see if they’re more durable.”
Mine developed holes at the sides of the big toe pretty easily. Still using them though.Aug 27, 2020 at 9:13 pm #3673415James ArriolaBPL Member
@ravs4funLocale: Desert Southwest
What would be your suggestions on cutting the weight and bulk on Philmont crew gear? A lot of the crew gear is heavy and bulky including the cooking/dish washing pots. I am planning on bringing a silnylon tarp(s) instead of the Philmont issued version for example.
Our Scout Troop/Venture Crew have a Philmont trek scheduled for next June.
We can’t really do much about the Philmont food besides reducing the plastic bags that the food comes in. Suggestions or ideas?
Thank you very much.Aug 28, 2020 at 6:21 am #3673445
There are many good threads here in the Philmont section with ideas on how to cut down bulk and weight. Here is my review of out gear from last year that might help.
The Philpots are the biggest offenders in the bulk category. If you look through this site, you’ll find some people manage with just one pot. This will require both that your crew comes in fully ready and practiced in doing it and a ranger willing to let you. Remember that it’s their place and their rules. You’re a guest.
If you have a full crew and lots of rain, that tarp I mentioned is a bit small. For us, it was fine.
Fozzils Bowls make great crew gear rather than having each person with his own bowl. They’re light, cheap and pack flat. You can easily lick them “clean” which makes the cleanup process quicker.
Philmont’s requirements make it tough to go compact and light with crew gear. You’ll find a lot can be done with personal gear, primarily not bringing duplicate, unnecessary stuff. Many scouts have very bulky sleeping bags. It’s understandable that parents don’t want to buy an expensive down bag. Shop the sales and you can find good options. My problem was that parents wouldn’t do that. Even when I’d email them the sales, most ignored it.
Check this site for some thrifty options.Aug 28, 2020 at 7:57 am #3673450
Crew gear is a whole other monster, but here are our thoughts/suggestions.
Food – Just accept that Philmont food is bulky. Some crews take the time to immediately sit down and go through all the bags they get issued at base camp and take out what they know they won’t want and then re-seal each bag. This is an option, but it is generally frowned upon by Philmont. This is a quick way to tick off your ranger. :)
Dining Fly & Poles – Pass on the Philmont issued one. Bring your own one that uses trekking poles. We use a large (10’x10’) Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp (15.5 oz) and a couple of trekking poles. This has worked very well for us over the past couple seasons.
Cooking Pots – Just take the two 8 qt cooking pots that Philmont provides. Leave all the other stuff in your locker at base camp. One pot for cooking and one for washing. Yes, these are bulky, but the newer ones they have now are not all that heavy. Yes, there are lighter ways to do crew cooking, but this is the Philmont method and often it is just easier to go along with it than try to argue and fight about it.
1 Large Cooking Spoon – Use what Philmont provides. It works.
Hot Pot Tongs – Use what Philmont provides. These are actually really good hot pot tongs. The BSA used to make great ones that they stopped making for some reason.
Plastic Trash Bags – Use what Philmont provides.
Salt Pepper – We usually skip these and bring whatever spices the crew wants.
Water Purifier Tablets (Micropur) – Use what Philmont provides. Micropur works great. No need to bring any other water purifiers.
Bear Rope & Bear Bags – Use what Philmont provides. Not the lightest way to do things, but Philmont has been cracking down on people trying to come up with other options. Just easier to go along with what they want and use what they provide.
Plastic Strainer / Rubber Scraper – Use what Philmont provides. They work.
Camp Suds – Use what Philmont provides. Maybe bring a smaller squeeze container to put some in. You won’t need all that Philmont provides, or at least, you shouldn’t need it all.
Matches – Just bring a couple lighters instead.
Toilet Paper – Use what Philmont provides. Don’t take your own as what you bring may be scented.
CREW BRINGS WITH THEM:
Sewing Kit – We take a Zpacks sewing repair kit (0.35 oz). It has worked well for us.
Compass – You only need 2 or 3 compasses for the crew. No need for each person to have one.
Maps – Have at least two. You can just buy the latest version of North or South country when you arrive.
Rope – We bring 100 feet (two 50ft sections) of Zpacks 1.3mm Dyneema Z-line cord. Each 50-foot section only weighs 0.74 oz. It is strong cord that can be used for a variety of things. It has a high strength to weight ratio, grips well, and doesn’t stretch. It is also a bright high-viz yellow, so easy to see even at night.
Water Container – We take two 6-liter MSR DromLite bags. Each one weighs about 6 ounces, but they are tough and work well. Also, easy to purify water in if your crew decides to do that method. I personally prefer to purify in individual water containers though. That way each person takes responsibility for their own water supply and water purification.
Backpacking stove – Either canister or white gas stoves will work. Personal preference. We take two MSR Whisprerlites. Having two of the same stove is important, not only so you have a backup, but also you can cannibalize parts to make one functional one if they both go down for some reason.
Fuel Bottle – We bring two 20 oz MSR fuel bottles.
First Aid Kit – Make your own kit. The store-bought ones are heavy and have many things you don’t need and usually don’t have enough of the stuff you do need. Having enough Imodium is key. Philmont food can mess some people up. :)
Duct Tape – Just pick up a pack of the SOL duct tape. Package comes with two small compact rolls. We usually only take one of them. Weighs very little.
Spices – Up to the crew. Some don’t want any, some need lots.
Suncreen – We don’t consider this crew gear. Each person brings what works for them. Everyone is different in what their skin needs.
Insect Repellent – Don’t usually need any, however we bring a very small bottle (1 fl oz) of Natrapel just in case.
Water Purifiers/Filters – Don’t need. Use the micropur tablets provided by Philmont.
Multi-Tool – Leatherman Style CS Multitool. Light (1.5 ounces), tough, and has scissors which is nice to have.
Trowel/Shovel – We carry “The Duece” backcountry trowel. I think it is made my The Tent Lab. It weighs next to nothing (0.5 ounces) and works well. One per crew.
Carabiner – We use the Petzl Attache 3D Screw-Lock Carabiner. Light and strong. We carry two just in case one gets lost or damaged.Aug 28, 2020 at 4:28 pm #3673566
We chose to spread out the water capacity over the whole crew rather than make 2 crew members have to carry a heavy water load. We all had five 1 liter Smartwater bottles and were never short on water. Fortunately, we had no dry camps.
Our 6 quart pots saved space over Philmont’s 8 quart and worked fine.Aug 30, 2020 at 8:04 am #3673838
Brad – After reading your post I realized that I had typed the wrong info under cooking pots. Sadly can’t edit it. I asked some of my previous fellow trekkers and it turns out we have used one 8qt and one 6qt the last few times (not two 8qts as I typed in my post above). Both were Philmont issue. If we do end up heading out on our private trek this October, I am going to request two of their 6qt pots to see how that works out. As it is the off season and a private trek, they are much more easy going about crew stuff. I’ll see what we can dig up in their store room.Aug 30, 2020 at 2:50 pm #3673920Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I find the list hard to read but appears that there is no shelter on it.
My packing style is to not use stuff sacks or dry bags but just stuff everything into my pack lined with a nylofume pack liner. Sometimes in winter when I expect very wet snow, I might put my sleeping bag into a large mylar turkey basting bag. You have 5 or 6 dry bags for various items plus a pack cover which seems overly redundant..
CheersAug 30, 2020 at 3:01 pm #3673928
Bruce – If you right click on the packing list, which is an image, and select “open image in new tab” it will be much easier to read. There are unfortunate limitations on this forum for attaching things.
My shelter is the first line item. I use a Zpacks Altaplex.
I have used both a pack liner and dry bags. For organizational purposes I prefer to use the dry bags. Just a personal preference. The weight the dry bags add is pretty negligible.
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