Philmont 2021‎ > ‎

Philmont 2021 How to Pack

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. Attach your first ID TAG to your Colorado Bag using the wire tie. Remember to include clothes for Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and Tuesday (we don't start hiking until Wednesday), PLUS the trip home on Sunday 25 July and Monday 26 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.

    Attach your second ID 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. Attach your third ID TAG to the outside of the bag (tied into the closure 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 your carry-on bag: liquids, pocketknife/leatherman, anything sharp or with a blade.

What should be in your Colorado Bag:

  • Anything you're going to use when you're not backpacking:

  • Clothes for Saturday July 10 (Scout uniform), Sunday July 11, Monday July 12, Tuesday July 13 (we go out on the trail on Wednesday July 14). One some of these days you'll need to wear your uniform.

  • Clothes for when we get off the trail: end of day Saturday July 24, all day Sunday July 25 (and the water park), travel home on Monday July 26 (Scout uniform).

  • Warm clothes and rain gear for when we're out and about in Colorado and New Mexico (you should put your warmest layer and your rain jacket/rain hat in your Colorado bag, then move them to your backpack once we're at Philmont.

  • Toiletries (yes, deodorant is okay when you're not backpacking), medicine, phone charger, things to pass the time (like a deck of cards).

  • At least one of your nalgene water bottles (so you have one when we're out hiking in Colorado. Make sure it's uncapped.

  • Hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, bandana.

  • A book to read or notebook to write in (and a pen).

  • Your hiking boots should not be in your Colorado bag. Wear them on the plane (they are the most difficult thing to replace of anything you're carrying).

Here's a suggested list:
  1. Four pairs underwear
  2. One pair of shorts (in addition to the Scout shorts you'll be wearing on the plane)
  3. One long-sleeve shirt (dri-fit is best, like the T98 Pandemic shirt)
  4. Two short-sleeve shirts (at least one should be the Philmont Covid Command shirt; we may opt to wear matching shirts some days instead of Scout uniform shirts
  5. Four pairs of socks. Include sock liners and sturdy outer socks for when you're wearing boots (which will be often).
  6. Swimsuit and small towel (at least not a huge towel)
  7. Toiletries bag including deodorant, shampoo, personal grooming gear, medicine
  8. Ball cap or hat
  9. Warm layer (like fleece or sweater)
  10. Outer layer (like lightweight down or other outer jacket)
  11. Rain jacket
  12. Spare pair of shoes (like sneakers) for when you're not wearing your boots. This can be the same pair you're taking on the trail.
  13. Sandals for the water park, if you want, as long as they strap onto your foot, like Crocs or Tevas, not flip-flops).
  • 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 all four crews peaking on Mount Phillips at 11,711 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:
  • hiking up the Manitou Incline
  • eating lunch in Manitou Springs and walking around town
  • driving up to the top of Pike's Peak at 14,115 feet
  • 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 4:00AM, at the Southwest curbside check-in
  • picking up rental vans and driving from Denver to Colorado Springs (about 70 miles due South)
  • hiking through Garden of the Gods
  • eating a BBQ dinner at Bird Dog BBQ (or pizza)
  • checking into our hotel