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Philmont Scout Ranch, 5 Tips to a Great Trek

crew In summer of 2007 I was very fortunate to be the adult leader of Seattle Boy Scout Troop 15s Trek, (route #26) to the Philmont Scout Ranch. As Crews heading for Philmont this summer step into the final training and planning stages, here are top 5 learning’s from our Trek.

1: Go Light
We worked very hard to keep pack weights to a minimum. Our equipment list is available here:Troop 15 Philmont Equipment List . With four days of food and four liters of water all our crew member packs weighed out under 44 pounds, except one dad pack at 50lb. In our experience going light is much more important the going overboard on training. Our Dad’s trained hard, 25 to 50 miles of day hikes with lots of elevation, the crew members joined us on some of our training hikes, we weren’t hard core on this. We did a challenging 50 miler the summer before with 7 of our 8 crew members so we were confident in their hiking ability.

2: Use Philmont Tents for Crew, Rotate Tent Mates every night. Tents
The number one suggestion for crew cohesion, is to eliminate all the “who is bunking with who” drama. The crew leader set up a random bunking rotation before the trek. Using Philmont tents made managing dividing up the gear simple. We started the rotation first night at base camp and carried it through the last night of base camp. Such a simple idea, don’t remember where we found it, but this completely worked.

3: Carry One Good Camera, No Electronics
We included in our common gear one digital SLR, my Nikon D50 and a couple of pocket digital cameras, we got great shots and were very glad we had the “big camera”. Philmont prohibits MP3 Players etc. we also prohibited cell phones except for one adult only outbound emergency phone. We sent word out of our progress with exiting crews for relay to a designated Mom who would then email status to crew families. Being offline for two weeks was hard for the kids and their parents, but this is part of the point. This generation is never unplugged, it is good for them to try it.

4: Get Good Pack Covers
Being from the Northwest we are used to rain, Philmont rain, like everything at Philmont it is larger than life, when it rains at Philmont it really rains. A dry crew is a happy crew or at least a crew with dry items to change into at camp is a happier crew.

5: Stop over at the NRA Shooting Center in RatonNRA
If your crew is into shooting, and you are transporting yourself. Spend the night before you arrive up the road at the NRA National Shooting Center see: NRA Whittington Center. Pre-arrange a skeet shooting session for the morning you are going to arrive at camp. The trainers were great, and the boys got to shoot as much as they wanted (not something that happens at Philmont given the numbers of scouts).

If you haven’t found it, here is one of the best lists of Philmont links on the web: Selden’s List of Philmont Links

Trek trail memories, the top of Baldy and the Tooth of Time will be moments to be savored forever.

Enjoy your trek,


1 Cameron Keener { 07.11.08 at 4:15 pm }

Thanks so much!
I fly out to Philmont this coming Monday.
I really appreciate your tips!
Sounds like it’s going to be a great trek.
Cameron Keener
Maiden, NC

2 Flats Flanders { 03.18.09 at 4:29 pm }

Go light. I have been to Philmont 7 times both as a boy and advisor. Going light is the key. Have Fun !!

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