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Philmont name

Albert's Gear Guide:

Backpacking is all about keeping your gear weight as low as possible while being prepared for weather conditions and other potential hazards.  You don't want your pack weight (including water and food) to exceed 25-30% of your own weight.  And for you full-figured Scouters out there, I would recommend a not to exceed pack weight of 50 lbs. When your pack is too heavy, not only is it no longer fun to hike, but you increase your chances of injury. I weigh 165 lbs.  In 2007, my fully-loaded pack weighed in at 42 lbs, or 25.5% of my weight. If you have any questions, or want to advocate for a particular piece of gear, send me an email.

Safety.  Whether you are on a 14 day Philmont trek or a day hike, always make sure your bring the 10 essentials with you.  Never hike alone.  When hiking in crews, some of the 10 essentials may be divided among the crew. Follow the Guidelines contained in The Guide to Safe Scouting.


Technology and competition continue to drive down both weight and price.  Shop around.  A 2 person tent is split between to packs.  As you can see, the REI Quarter Dome T2 weighs in at only 1 lb 14 oz/person!  Key things to look for: 3 season tent, 2 entrances, ease of set-up and, of course, weight.

2 Person

REI Quarter Dome T2 Tent

Item # 761893

3 lbs 12 oz., two person.  Need I say more?

REI Quarter Dome T2 Tent

1 Person (Adults only)

REI Quarter Dome T1 Tent

Item # 761891

2 lbs 12 oz., solo tent. 

REI Quarter Dome T1 Tent

You'll also want a footprint to protect the floor of your tent:

REI Quarter Dome T1 Footprint

Item # 761894

REI Quarter Dome T1 Footprint

Item # 761892

In 2007, we used MSR's Hubba and Hubba Hubba tents, now available at LL Bean.

2 Person

MSR Hubba Hubba

LL Bean Item # TA52927

3 lbs 14 oz., two person.

1 Person

MSR Hubba

LL Bean Item # TA52927

2 lbs 13 oz.

You'll need the footprints for these as well.

For those of you in the market for backpacks, youíll want something between 4,000 & 5,000 cubic inches (or 65 Ė 80 liters as many packs are labeled by liter capacity).

I have developed a strong bias towards Osprey packs as 1) they seem to offer the lowest weight to capacity ratio out there.  That is, the typical 70 liter Osprey pack weighs half as much as other similarly sized packs.

Here are the packs Iíve purchased.

Small Pack

Osprey Atmos 65 Pack

REI Item # 744914

3 lbs 10 oz.

Osprey Atmos 65 Pack


Larger Pack

Osprey Aether 85 Pack

REI Item # 733142

4 lbs 12 oz.

Osprey Aether 85 Pack

I got the Osprey Atmos 65 pack (a 65 liter pack) which is on the small end of the scale, because weight was the primary consideration when selecting a pack for Daniel who weighed in at only 95 lbs in 2007.  It is, however, a well designed and comfortable pack that will serve him well for many years to come. 

You may also want to consider the Osprey Aether 70 Pack which is exactly the same at the 85, just smaller and it weighs in 3 oz less at 4 lbs 9 oz.

REI Item # 733136


Itís very important to get the right size pack.

You'll also want a pack cover:

REI Duck's Back Rain Cover (80 Liters)

Item # 738951

Even though you just paid $200+ bucks for a new, state-of-the-art, backpack, If you want your stuff to stay dry, you'll need to shell out some more money for a rain cover.

Sleeping Bags:
Sleeping bags should be filled with synthetic fiber, weigh less than three pounds, and be rated to 20 degrees.  If you're a cold sleeper, like me, get a 0 degree bag. Always pack your bag in a plastic trash bag to keep it dry. If you opt for a down bag, it is critical that you keep it dry.  When wet, down loses all of its insulating properties.  

Synthetic Bag

The North Face Cat's Meow +20 Sleeping Bag - Regular

REI Item # 763623

2 lbs 10 oz.

The North Face Cat's Meow +20 Sleeping Bag - Regular

Down Bag

Marmot Never Summer +0 Sleeping Bag - Regular

REI Item # 762533

3 lbs 9 oz.

Marmot Never Summer +0 Sleeping Bag - Regular

Sleeping Pads:
You need these both for comfort and to insulate yourself against the cold ground. I prefer the Z-Lite, even though it's less comfortable, because I attach it to the outside of my pack.  The self-inflating ProLite 3 is more comfortable, but you need to consider that it could get punctured, leak and be rendered totally useless.
Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite - Short

REI Item # 708518

11 oz.

Therm-a-Rest ProLite 3 Sleeping Pad-Short

REI Item # 708475

13 oz.

Boots & Footwear:
Your choice of footwear is one of the most important considerations when hiking or backpacking.  First and foremost your footwear must fit you comfortably and be broken in.  Shop for boots later in the day when your feet are bigger and wear the socks and liners you'll be using.  Take your time and try on all types, sizes and brands.  Boots are a very individual preference and they will either let your experience the joy of backpacking or introduce you to its miseries. When my pack weighs more than 35 lbs., I generally wear boots, otherwise I'm in the running shoes.  Unless it's winter and I need a warmer shoe than the Salomon below.

Scarpa ZG 10 GTX Hiking Boot

Salomon XA Comp 3 Trail-Running Shoes - Men's

REI Item # 747600

1 lbs 8 oz.

Salomon XA Comp 3 Trail-Running Shoes - Men's

My excellent boot appears to have been replaced with the Scarpa Kailash Gore-Tex Hiking Boot and the Scarpa Barun GTX Boot I love these shoes! They're light, comfortable and great for light backpacking, hanging around camp and crossing streams.  Because they're mesh, they dry quickly.
Hiking Clothes (Layer A):
Columbia Men's Omni-Dry Mountain Tech Short Sleeve Tee

REI Item # 762910


Columbia Sportswear Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts
REI Item # 747040

2 shirts. One for hiking one for sleeping.

(Belt not included...see below)

Columbia Sportswear Bora Bora Booney Hat

REI Item # 646963

Pattern Strap With Buckle - 40-inch

REI Item # 380091

Socks--2 pairs of each:  

Thorlo Trekking Socks

REI Item # 242078


Fox River X-Static Liner Socks

REI Item # 642937

Underwear--2 pairs of either:  

Ex Officio Boxers

REI Item # 684397

Ex Officio Briefs

REI Item # 684396


...or briefs?

Cool Evening Clothing (Layer B):
TNF El Cap Shirt

EMS Item: 210-268-842

The North Faceģ El Cap Shirt wicks moisture, shields ultraviolet rays, and dries quickly. Athlete-tested and designed for ultralight, multi-sport use, adventure, and travel.

Ex Officio Amphi Convertible Pants

Hiking Shorts and evening wear in one.  Mesh liner eliminates the need for underwear and allows pants to dry very quickly! Very lightweight. Belt included.


Patagonia Capilene 2 Bottoms

REI Item # 742821

The North Face Denali Gloves
REI Item # 712335

Outer Wear (Layer C):
The North Face Men's Aurora Zip Neck Shirt

Moosejaw Item # 536015


Another option: The North Face Men's TKA 100 Glacier 1/4 Zip Moosejaw Item # 152920

The North Face Bones Beanie
REI Item # 712327

Any cap of this sort will  get the job done.

Rain Gear (Layer D):
The North Face Diad Rain Jacket

Mountain Sports Item # 099167
8.5 oz.

REI Ultra Light Pants
REI Item # 718239

11 oz.

The Marmot Precip, while heavier (and cheaper), is more widely available and a quality product (Campmor Item Number: 53407).  
Food & Water Gear:
Nalgene Everyday Wide-Mouth Loop-Top Bottle - 32 oz.
REI Item # 776181

6.2 oz.

CamelBak OMEGA Hydration Reservoir - 70 oz.
REI Item # 733681

6.3 oz.

You need 3-4 of these.  Get wide-mouth bottles--they're more versatile.


You may opt to carry a hydration bladder.  It's convenient because you can sip water while on the move. Make sure your pack is compatible with any hydration system you purchase. If you go this route, then you'll still need 3 Nalgenes, but you can keep the third Nalgene unfilled under most circumstances. I use these sometimes, but I'm not a big fan because 1) I usually end up carrying too much water (weight) and 2) they're a pain to clean.

Is an $8 difference worth saving 0.1 oz.? Guess which I have!

REI Folding Titanium Spork (0.4 oz.) Item # 751779

REI Chefware Spork (0.5 oz.) Item # 751779


REI Ti Ware Sierra Cup
REI Item # 764187

1.6 oz.

Either of these 2 cups eliminates the need to carry a bowl.  I have the Sierra Cup above. It's very light, but beverages get cold fast.  The Snow Peak to the right, although heavier, is insulated.

Snow Peak Titanium Double-Wall Cup
REI Item # 659999

4.2 oz.

Personal Hygiene:
Bison Designs Fold-A-Bowl

REI Item # 664366

Campsuds - 2 oz.

REI Item # 407166

At Philmont, I carried a folding dog bowl for use as a laundry basin & for collecting water in shallow streams for filtering. For washing clothes, pots, hair...anything.  May also put a slightly larger size with crew gear.
MSR PackTowl UltraLite Towel - Medium

REI Item # 715986

1 oz.


Toe Nail Clippers

No Rinse Bathing Wipes

REI Item # 708776

Mini-Roll Toilet Tissue

REI Item # 407031



(available most anywhere)

Toothbrush & Toothpaste

Just hang this on your pack.  Always keep your hands clean.  Most disease is spread by the hands. I use a travel toothbrush and a 3 oz tube of toothpaste.

Lip Balm

(available most anywhere)

REI Multilevel Protection Sunblock SPF 30 - 2 oz.

REI Item # 750581

  This may optionally be carried in a larger quantity as crew gear.
Miscellaneous Personal Items:
Pocketknife/Multitool Head lamp
Bandannas Compass
Sunglasses Fire starter
Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow - Medium

REI Item # 719843

9 oz.

Sling-Light Chair

22 oz.

It's nice to sit back and relax at camp in this very light, comfortable chair.  It was always being used by somebody, though I had dibs!


Leki Thermolite Antishock Trekking Poles

REI Item # 767069

15.8 oz.

For a Scout these are arguably an indulgence. For an adult, it's critical to  help you keep your balance and avoid injury. Tip: wrap some duct tape on each pole, for use as needed.
Crew Gear:

(Under Development)


MSR DragonFly Backpacking Stove

REI Item # 709002

MSR DragonFly Backpacking Stove

Sanitation Trowel

REI Item # 407146

I considered the WhisperLite and the SimmerLite as well, both of which are lighter and smaller than the DragonFly.  However, the stability of the DragonFly eliminates the need for a grate (11 oz) and so it won my vote.

First Aid Kit




Places to go for getting gear:

Kudos to the Central Florida Council's Philmont Contingent website.  I used this resource heavily when planning my first Philmont trek.

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