What kind of training do you do?

Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Home Forums Scouting Philmont What kind of training do you do?

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • Author
  • #3585544
    David Y
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mid Tenn

    What kind of training for Philmont are you doing with your crews? How many times do you take them backpacking? Are you using the Backpacking MB as a guide and Requirement #10?
    Using Leave No Trace principles, participate in at least three backpacking treks of at least three days each and at least 15 miles each, and using at least two different campsites on each trek. Carry everything you will need throughout the trek.

    Brad P


    Trying to, but schedules keep failing us.  We’re committed to doing this, but I’m resigned to the fact that we won’t be as prepared as I’d like.  Physically, I think we can handle it.  Skill-wise, we’ll be learning and having some failures (not dangerous ones) that will require more time than a perfect crew.

    I’ve also told the crew and parents to get out and hike a local trail after school in their backpacks.  This has been a mostly car camping troop and we’re a younger crew.

    We lost a lot of older scouts at one point. That required adults to be more involved than ideal.  But now we’re getting some of our 14-15 year olds at a point where they are taking over.

    Still, we have a lot of work and not enough time.  Weather has killed us and we just had a weekend of mulch delivery for the troop (over 14,000 bags, 8 Ryder trucks and 2 forklifts).

    David Y
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mid Tenn

    Brad P

    There no substitute for backpacking trips practicing all your skills.

    But you can show up at Philmont with no skills (many crews do) and have a great trek if you are in good physical condition and have the right gear (few crews do).

    Hiking rough and steep trails with a full pack every other day is very good conditioning. Climbing regular stairs without a pack or stadium stairs with a pack every other day is very good too.

    View Philmont’s videos on all their techniques.

    Do some pack shake downs at your troop meetings to fine tune everyone’s gear. You can practice one-pot cooking & clean-up skills there too. Get creative and get cracking.

    Brad P


    I sent out the videos to the crew.  I had them bring their current gear to our December lock-in and we went over some things.  I sent them the Philmont guide and from that, I sent links to specific gear that I think would work well for scouts.

    We are scheduling at least a day hike VERY soon that will be another gear shakedown, too.  I’ve ordered some crew gear that arrived recently.  Fozzils Bowls, Voile straps to combine trekking poles for the dining fly we have, and a Deuce of Spades.  I got a box of compactor bags for them to line their packs and polycryo window kits to cut up into ground sheets.

    We’ll be OK.  They’ll have fun and learn.  They’re skinny and several, like my son, are not athletic, but they were hauling wet mulch bags that weighed about 40 pounds all weekend.

    Brad P


    Here are samples from the document I sent.

    Here are places I use and others have suggested. Buying at the end of a season is usually a good way to
    find clearance sales.

    1. Thrift Stores – you never know what you might find.
    2. REI – I love REI, but do not buy things at full price! Get a membership and shop the sales. Big
    discounts are on their garage web site at They also sell
    returned items at Anniversary sale starts May 18.
    3. Used Patagonia Gear – Patagonia is a brand with excellent quality, but at a high price. Even
    used, it is not exactly cheap, but you might find something
    Their lightweight synthetic and down puffy jackets and fleece shirts are something to consider if
    you find a bargain.
    4. eBay – I bought a nice synthetic insulating jacket (from Ukraine!) and my rain jacket at big
    discounts. You need to know what specific item you want. Browsing is very time consuming.
    5. – many discounts, 20% off your first item (look for that coupon on
    the top of the page).
    6. – everything is discounted.
    7. – many sale items available.
    8. – many sale items available.
    9. This is a unique site. They work with manufacturers to offer
    quality items at a discount. If enough people commit to buying the item, the discount is greater.
    I purchased socks and a titanium coffee mug here. The downside is that it can take a month or
    more for the items to arrive.
    10. – not always the cheapest, but I have found deals here. I also like
    reading the reviews. Use the “smile” version of the site and pick a charity. It costs nothing to do
    it and you help a charity.
    11. I bought my son’s pack here. Keep in mind the Backpacking Light 70 is
    frameless. This means you can’t overload it. I also bought a rain jacket, rain pants and other
    items at good prices.

    Brad P


    Lightweight Insulating layer from that document:

    Insulating Layer
    This item might not leave the backpack, but we need to have it available, depending on the trek chosen
    and weather conditions. These can be either down or synthetic. Down is lighter and warmer by weight,
    but typically more expensive and loses more insulating ability if it gets soaking wet. This should not be
    worn as an outer layer during rain, so It shouldn’t get soaking wet. This should weigh a pound or less.
    A relatively inexpensive, light down jacket is available at Uniqlo. Jason and I each have
    one and it weighs around 10 ounces! Keep an eye out for sales and clearance items.
    Uniqlo light down jacket

    This layer is more critical depending on the Philmont Trek the crew chooses. There are synthetic options too, but keep it light and pack small!

    Insulating Layer 2 – Fleece
    Old Navy has a good, lightweight fleece hoodie at a good price. This works well with a wind jacket since
    fleece does not block wind well.
    Old Navy fleece hoodie

    Adam A
    BPL Member


    Short answer is “Not Enough”. I’ve got them started on the Backpacking & Hiking MB’s. would like for them to do the Orienteering MB as well but doubt that that will happen.  Twice a month we will do an 8-10 mile hike with full packs and on our monthly campout we cover that same distance as well.  We did get most of them out to Colorado last summer for a long weekend trip into the mountains and were in South Dakota on a backpacking trip the summer before that.

    David Y
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mid Tenn

    Brad P,

    You don’t need to strap your trekking poles together. The ridgeline of a Philmont dining fly is barely more than 4 feet high and most trekking poles are longer than that.

    Coghlan’s Backpackers (orange plastic) Trowel @ $9.60 will work just as well and probably lighter for a lot less money.

    Adam A,

    The Orienteering MB has more to do with the game than navigating with map and compass. You won’t be bushwhacking at Philmont, just planning which trails to hike to get where you want to go and deciding which way to turn at intersections. Being proficient at the map and compass section of the BSA Handbook is all you Scouts will need at Philmont.

    You’re backpacking in Colorado and South Dakota gives your Scouts a big edge over us low landers. Here in the south we have to look hard just to find steep hills above 500 feet elevation, LOL. We’re envious.

    Brad P


    David Y,

    We have our own dining fly.  Setting it up high is nice in warm, sunny weather for 6’3″ people like myself.  We’d have the option to use single poles at each end for windy rain.

    I already bought the Deuce.  It did cost more, but is more durable for hard ground.

    James A


    It’s very tough to get a 12-man crew together all at once! So far it has only happened at our twice-monthly indoor training sessions, not on the trail.
    I have been offering a couple 8-10 mile full-pack hikes a month. We did an overnighter in February (down to 6 degrees at night!). We have a backpack trip locally in May.

    The good news is we got everybody to commit to a five-night trip to the Great Smoky Mountains for Spring Break. We plan to hike Mt. LeConte and Mt. Cammerer (11-ish miles each, with elevation gains over 2-3K ft), plus a couple others in the 8-mile range. We will practice group cooking and cleaning, breaking camp quickly, etc. Can’t do bear bags since we’ll be front-country camping. The group is too big for backcountry, and I didn’t want to split us up because group dynamics are as important as any skill.

    We are part of a council contingent, and they have a weekend training at the local Scout Camp where they teach all the skills needed (bear bags, cooking, cleaning, etc.). Unfortunately, not all can attend, but most of us will be there.

    A lot is going to come down to personal training. We are pushing that a lot. We check progress every time we meet. Ultimately each Crew member needs to take responsibility for their own conditioning. Nobody is “out of shape,” which is good. From the hikes we’ve done, speed and conditioning seem pretty good.

    chris whitmoyer
    BPL Member


    I have been working with a few of the boys from my Troop that make up half of our crew for a year and a half. They have nearly completed Hiking Merit Badge. We did a 16.5 mile hike last Sunday and will do the 20 miler on April 7. I did get 3 of the 4 boys that aren’t part of my Troop to join us and hopefully they all will come on the 7th. We did get a few of the boys together in October to do a weekend backpacking trip. We have kids from 4 different Troops and it is difficult to get everyone to commit but have made our April and May trips mandatory. We have a 25 mile trip planned for the end of April followed by the Council’s mandatory Shakedown in early May and we wrap up with our Super Shakedown of 32 miles over Memorial Day weekend. We had planned a backpack weekend for early March but it got snowed out. The kids from my Troop will have completed Hiking and Backpacking by time we complete our Philmont Trek.

    I would rather just deal with kids from my own Troop but we have a very small Troop so we need to attend with the Council Contingent. It is much easier to schedule weekend trips when dealing with only 1 or 2 school district schedules than 5. Between band, chorus, musicals, and sports we had a hard time getting everyone to be able to commit to the scheduled trips.

    Bruce Tolley
    BPL Member


    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    @ Brad. re the Deuce.  I found the tool rather un- ergonomic and had to add some duck tape to make it easier to hold.   These days most of the time i just use a dedicated MSR ground hog.

    Jeffrey Peters
    BPL Member


    For crew training we did five day hikes and five weekend backpacking trips.  Since we knew we had several older scouts that would not participate in any of the hikes unless we had a mandatory participation requirement. The scoutmasters staff decided that you needed to attend three day hikes and three backpacking trips.   The schedule for the hikes was given out at the first crew meeting and commitment letters that needed scout and parents signatures was given out. The letter described what was expected of each person attending the trip.  Only had issue with one scout not wanting to fulfill his minimum commitment.



    Locale: Washington DC

    Not enough, we have many scouts in good shape (cardio wise), but scouts showing up with day backs that weigh ~10 lbs with others carrying their full load out ~40ish lbs. We have done 3 ten milers, with one overnight, but then we planned to break camp (my son and I did), but others didn’t and left their tents and gear at base camp. It’s a bit frustrating, but in the end I think it will work out. We have practiced with the dining fly but haven’t done a group cooking event, we have all been using our personal freeze dried meals and crew stoves (mostly Kovea Spiders) Our Venture crew just went out for the first time, and they haven’t been out at all this year, but they are older with leadership that has been to Philmont numerous times. I worry about our “break camp” skills and cooking skills, we have also never done a bear bag, but that looks very simple, and with only six scouts it shouldn’t be a show stopper. We still have many months to go and will have our first gear shakedown in April for a July trek. Adults just completed a 1 year update of WFA and CPR and we couldn’t even get all three leaders to show up. I guess 2 out of 3 is good enough, but we have no safety net if something happens to one our leaders. (Example: injury, flu, national emergency, family emergency, etc) We did get a couple of the scouts to take both WFA and CPR, but I would like to get all of them “carded”, cause they will most likely be working on us old guys. I’m looking forward to it, wish I could get my son excited about it, he just started reading “Into the Wild” about a kid from our town here in Virginia. Hopefully that will spark some independence measured with learning on the dangers of the outdoors.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!