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Philmont 2021 How to Pack

  • Do I need to bring a school ID or other identification to get onto the airplane?  
    NO, you do not, unless you're over 18 years old (TSA rules)
  • Am I allowed to bring deodorant to Colorado?YES, PLEASE DO, and USE IT!  You are only prohibited from taking it on the trail.
  • How much money should I take and will you run a "bank" like at Summer Camp?
    NO BANK. You should not need much money on your way to Philmont (all your meals are paid for; snacks and extra drinks are on you). 
    Philmont tells us most Scouts spend from $100 to $150 on souvenirs at the Base Camp TRADING POST [LINK]. For example, the cheapest belt + buckle costs about $60 (branding is free). You can use a debit or credit card there. In the backcountry, you probably don't need more than $20 (money has to go into your smellables bag). If you need something more expensive while on the trail you can buy it on credit and settle up when you get to base camp. The Scoutmaster is used to making loans at attractive interest rates (good SAT word: USURIOUS).
  • Where can I keep my stuff that I don't take on the trail?You will leave your Colorado Bag, your carry on bag, and anything that you don't carry on the trail (like your phone) in your crew's rental van, which will remain locked in the Base Camp parking lot for the entire time we're on the trail. High-value items (like your wad of $100 bills) can be left in the Philmont security lockbox, but we advise against this because it's a complicated process.
  1. KNOW YOUR EXPEDITION NUMBER 713S1, 713S2, 713S3, or 713S4Write it on everything you're taking, especially expensive things you'd like returned (rain jacket, expensive clothes, backpack, water bottles, hats, cameras).  TAKE OUT THE YELLOW CARD INSIDE YOUR PHILMONT GUIDEBOOK, WRITE YOUR EXPEDITION NUMBER ON THE CARD, AND LEAVE IT WITH YOUR FAMILY.

#2: Base camp elevation is 6,500 feet. You'll only go up from there, with Crew 1 peaking on Mount Phillips at 11,711 feet and Crews 2 and 3 on Mount Baldy at 12,441 feet. One of the reasons we're going to Colorado and New Mexico early is to help you acclimate. In spite of this, you might end up being affected by the altitude, with the worst case being Acute Mountain Sickness. Staying well-hydrated can help avoid AMS.

Make sure you bring a headlamp and put in new batteries before you leave (or bring new ones to put in at Base Camp prior to hiking).

Good to Know - The day after we arrive we'll be:
  • driving up to the top of Pike's Peak at 14,115 feet
  • eating lunch in Manitou Springs and walking around town
  • hiking up the Manitou Incline
  • going back to the hotel to relax and swim
  • eating dinner at Old Chicago
  • going shopping, if you need last minute items

#1: Make sure you're prepared to hike at Philmont. The ONLY THINGS you can't replace at all (or do so easily) are:
  • Your SIGNED BSA HEALTH FORM  - if you haven't turned it in please contact Ross Cleary at; please also turn in your signed Troop 98 Activity Permission Slip.

  • Your HIKING BOOTS - make sure you WEAR THESE ON THE AIRPLANE (with the appropriate socks; it's very easy to get blisters walking around airports and in Colorado after we land).
Good to Know - The day we fly west we'll be:
  • flying non-stop from Philly to Denver on Southwest Airlines - YOU MUST BE at PHL Airport by 6:45AM, at the Southwest curbside check-in
  • picking up rental vans and driving from Denver to Colorado Springs (about 70 miles due South)
  • touring the US Olympic Training Center
  • hiking through Garden of the Gods
  • eating a BBQ dinner at Bird Dog BBQ
  • checking into our lodging (could be a hotel or a big gymnasium or pavilion)
Laundry bag, backpack, Colorado bag, and carry-on bag

  1. Put all your BACKPACKING STUFF inside your backpack. Be sure to leave your Nalgene bottles UNCAPPED. You should be able to leave your backpack untouched until you get to Philmont (meaning all your travel clothes are in your Colorado bag).

  2. Wrap the HIPSTRAP (hipbelt) backwards around the front of the pack and clasp it and tighten it. Clip and tighten all other straps (like sternum and shoulder straps).

  3. Put all of your travel clothes into your COLORADO BAG. Remember to include clothes for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday (we don't start hiking until Tuesday), PLUS the trip home on Saturday 30 July. Include toiletries and a bathing suit, plus WARM CLOTHES and your RAINJACKET for our travel around Colorado.

  4. Using a Sharpie Marker, label your LAUNDRY BAG in a way that you can easily pick it out from the others in your crew.

  5. Attach your IDENTIFICATION TAG securely to your backpack and then put your backpack and Colorado bag into your Laundry Bag.

  6. Securely wrap and tie your laundry bag using its own string tie. A double clove hitch is a good finishing knot, and you can place Gorilla tape over the wraps for extra security. If you have a second ID TAG, attach it to the outside of the bag (tied into the strings).

  7. Prepare a CARRY-ON BAG for the airplane and van rides. Things to think about putting in this bag: important medicine, water bottle (empty), snacks, pillow, games, phone charger, book, sunglasses, camera, wallet. Things to NOT PUT in this bag: liquids, pocketknife/leatherman.