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Philmont Gear

==> To see the list of gear recommended by Philmont click HERE <==

The most important item of personal gear you need for Philmont is a really good pair of hiking boots. These will cost anywhere from $100 to $250.

What features your boots should have and how to select them:
  • Above ankle support
  • Leather or synthetic; waterproof is highly recommended
  • Buy boots that will fit while you're backpacking; try them on with socks likely to be worn on trail
  • Buy from an outdoor outfitter (like REI or EMS); these stores have experts in finding you the right boot
  • Fit them late in day when feet are slightly swollen
  • You can add a premium insole later if needed (like Superfeet)
  • Break in your boots (and your feet) NOW by wearing them and hiking
CLICK HERE for a really informative page with video from REI on selecting the right hiking boot.

...and appropriate socks. The kind of socks you wear with your boots is also very important. We will discuss this at our prep meetings but you can also see it HERE.

Your backpack is your next most important

Your pack will carry everything that you'll need for 12 days on the trail: personal gear, crew gear, food, water. Depending on our itinerary, especially how many days between food pickups and whether we'll have any dry camps (no water), you could carry anywhere from 30 to 50 pounds (the goal is to never exceed 25% of your body weight, at least not for long periods). A good pack will cost between $150 and $250 (although there are very often closeouts from prior year models; check You can also rent a pack at Philmont.

==> HOW TO FIT YOUR BACKPACK (video) <==

There are two primary styles of backpack:
  • Internal frame (this is what you'll mostly find)
  • External frame (these still exist, but are considered a little "old school", although some people swear by them because they tend to keep your back better ventilated)
Packs come in lots of different sizes and with many different features. We recommend:
  • At least 3500 cubic inch/55 liter capacity, with the ability to tie things onto the outside
  • A very well padded hip belt and shoulder straps
  • An integral rain cover, or buy one separately
  • As with your hiking boots, go to one or more high-end outdoor outfitters, consult their staff and try on lots of different models
Your crew advisors and some crew members have considerable experience in selecting packs and other outdoor gear. You can get their advice when we discuss gear at our prep meetings.

Other gear you will need (and which we will discuss later):

  • lightweight sleeping bag (20 degree F rating; less than 3.5 lbs)
  • waterproof stuff sack for your sleeping bag
  • a sleeping pad (foam or inflatable)
  • separate sleeping clothes (these are kept separate for protection from bears; we'll explain how this works at our prep meetings)
Trail clothes:
  • 3 or 4 synthetic/wicking T-shirts and underwear (like DuoFold, Coolmax, Under Armour or other performance brands)
  • 1 or 2 synthetic trail shorts (pockets are very good to have) and one pair of zip-offs
  • exterior hiking socks (wool or synthetic)
  • interior hiking sock liners (synthetic)
  • a warm fleece
  • a mid-weight jacket/rain jacket combo (or a separate poncho) with a hood (or a separate rain hat)
  • a safari hat, ball cap or other hat that offers sun protection
Other personal gear:
  • 4 liters water carrying capacity (widemouth Nalgene's are best; you should have at least two of these, even if you're using a hydration reservoir)
  • eating gear (lightweight bowl and "spork")
  • a lightweight headlamp with fresh batteries (AAA best)
  • personal first aid kit
  • personal toiletries
Lots more tips on gear selection at (for example, this article about selecting your base layers).

Or THIS ARTICLE about rain jackets.

Crew gear

Crew gear includes anything that more than one person will use, such as:
  • tents
  • cooking stoves & fuel
  • cooking pots and utensils
  • water purification equipment (filters and/or chemicals)
  • bear bags and rope
  • food
Most of this will be supplied by our Troop but if you already have a lightweight, good-quality backpacking tent we'd like to know.

At the end of every day crews must gather all their "smellables" into bear bags and hang them high above the ground.
Good sources for Backpacking Gear:
Reliable brands:

  • Vasque
  • Merrell
  • Lowa
  • Timberland
  • Keen
  • Hi-Tec
  • Solomon
  • New Balance
  • REI
  • EMS
  • Kelty
  • Jansport
  • Osprey
  • Gregory
Sleeping Bags:
  • REI
  • EMS
  • Marmot
  • Kelty
  • North Face
Hydration Bags (bladders)