What To Pack For A Philmont Trip: [A Lightweight Packing Guide]

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Planning a trip to Philmont Scout Ranch can be an exciting yet challenging task, especially when packing for the terrain and weather conditions. Philmont’s elevation ranges from 6,500 to over 12,000 feet, so it’s important to pack accordingly.

During the spring and summer months, temperatures can vary greatly between day and night, with daytime temperatures ranging from 60 to 80°F and nighttime temperatures dropping down between 30 and 50°F. Rain is common during these seasons, so raingear is a must.

If you want to experience Winter adventure in Philmont then you can visit this place from December through March.

In this guide, we’ll provide recommendations on what to pack for a Philmont trip, including clothing, gear, personal items, and optional items, to help you be fully prepared for any weather conditions you may encounter during your high adventure camp in northern New Mexico.

Also Read: Best Backpack For Philmont 2024[Latest & Comfortable]

Some Most Essential Things To Pack For Any Type of Philmont Adventure Trip

When preparing for a trip to Philmont, it’s important to carefully consider the weather and terrain of the area to ensure you pack the appropriate clothing. The following items are essential for a comfortable and safe high adventure camp:

1. Keep The Right Kind of Hiking Shoes or Boots:

It’s recommended to select a sturdy pair of hiking boots that fit well and provide ankle support. It’s crucial to break in your boots before your trip to avoid blisters and other foot injuries.

2. Socks:

Make sure you have at least 3 pairs of socks for this trip. The socks must be high-quality, and moisture-wicking.

why carrying multiple pairs of socks is mandatory?

First and foremost, moisture is the enemy when it comes to foot health on the trail. If your socks become wet due to sweat or rain, they can cause blisters and other foot injuries. By carrying multiple pairs of socks, you can rotate them throughout the trip to ensure that your feet stay as dry as possible.

3. Pants

For the Philmont trip must take at least one pair of pants, that should be breathable and active. It would be better if you carry pants that are Lightweight, and quick-drying.

To save space and to pack light you can also carry convertible pants that can be turned into shorts.

4. Shirts:

I usually prefer to carry one pair of long-sleeved shirts. One for wearing daytime and the second one for wearing at night. Lightweight shirts made of moisture-wicking material are ideal for protecting your skin from the sun and bugs.

5. Jacket or fleece:

Make sure the jacket you are carrying for your Philmont trip is lightweight but warm enough to cope with the challenging cold weather conditions of the trail.

6. Rain Gear:

A waterproof jacket and pants are essential for protecting you from sudden rainstorms.

Food Planning and Selection for Philmont Trek

You don’t have to worry about the food when you arrive and depart from the Philmont because you can take your food in the dining halls but on the trails, Philmont provides backpackers with food in the form of trail meals and snack items, but you will also be responsible for bringing some of your own food. Here are some guidelines to follow when selecting food items to pack for your Philmont trek:

(1) Lightweight and calorie-dense:

Although there are various options for taking food items during your trip, you should carry some quick-pick food items such as nuts, nut butter, jerky, energy bars, and dehydrated meals in your backpack.

(2) Pick your meal from the backcountry commissary camps:

During a Philmont trek, hikers will have access to designated backcountry camps every 3-4 days, where they can pick up pre-packaged trail meals. These commissary camps are typically located at specific points along the Philmont trail and are used to distribute food and other supplies to backpackers.

The food item is packed in a durable and fully recycled plastic bag, and one pack is enough to feed two people. For your convenience, you have also a choice to choose a swap box from where you can pick up the most recently left unopened food package or leave your sealed package for others.

You don’t need to worry about if you would get variety for your meal or not because, during a 12-day Philmont trek, each crew will consume a total of 30 different meals, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This number is derived from the fact that crews spend 10 days in the backcountry, and each day requires three meals.

How Much Water You Should Take For Your Philmont Trip

As a general rule of thumb, backpackers should plan on carrying at least two to three liters of water per day. This should be enough to meet your basic hydration needs and allow for cooking and cleaning. However, if you are hiking in hot or dry conditions, you may need to carry more water to prevent dehydration.

What to Pack for Sleeping on the Philmont Trip

To ensure you can take a good sleep without losing comfort and warmth during your Philmont trip you must have these essentials in your backpack:

(1) Sleeping bag:

Keep a sleeping bag that is rated to 20°F and keep it in a waterproof stuff sack. If your current stuff sack is not made of waterproof material then you can line the inside of the garbage bag to make it waterproof.

Also Read: Best Sleeping Bag For Philmont 2024[Light & Compact]

(2) Sleeping Pad:

Must carry a comfortable sleeping pad along with a sleeping bag and attach it with a lashing strap to the bottom or top of your backpack.

(3) Sleeping Cloth:

Don’t forget to carry full sleeve shirt, T-shirt, and shorts to wear at night.

Other Essential Items

Go through the below-mentioned table to keep other small but very essential things in your backpack:

Small flashlight or headlampA pair of new battery
sunscreen Toothbrush and paste
Lip balmSanitary Napkin
Bowl, Spoon, Water bottleCompass
Insect repellent creamSunglasses


In conclusion, careful consideration of essential items is necessary for a safe and enjoyable Philmont trip. It is crucial to pack appropriate clothing, footwear, food, and water, as each item plays a critical role in making the journey comfortable and successful.

Be sure to take into account the weather and terrain when packing, and prioritize lightweight and necessary items. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on an unforgettable adventure at Philmont.

Nick Johnson

I love travelling and buying backpacks for my trip. I love to share the backpack buying guide and some useful tips on this website.