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Hi All


Just for the record, I got my pack down to 28 lbs. before water, crew gear and food. I think I did a pretty good job of getting down to only what I needed except I did take a camp chair, 20 ounces, a book to read which I didn't and a note pad for a log, which I didn't do very well. I did take Two pair of socks, three liners, two shorts and shirts. One pair of long pants which were my rain pants. One pair of polypro top and bottoms, and a fleese pullover.


So what did I not use out of all the gear, well as I said, the book and note pad and the polypro top and bottom. But that is hit and miss. The two weeks before us, crews had cold weather with rain and hail everyday. The weather changed the day after we go on the trail and temps were mild. So I can't say don't take them.


I think I could have got bellow the magic 25 number without my campchair, book and note pad. With crew gear food and water, I weighed in around 50 lbs. I was thinking about that magic 48lbs that mk9750 mentioned. I think we did OK in overall weight. The main problem was some of us, (me), didn't loose that much as the food was eaten because we mostly had crew gear where some of the crew with mostly food got very light. But I had a great crew and those who get lite as the trip went on when around asking to help the guys like me on what they could take.


This was a great subject and helped me a lot even though I've dones this for a while. Thanks all.



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Sounds like you had a great time and a great experience.


When our guys do the A.T., they buddy up and two guys plan and carry their breakfast and lunch for the the pair. Each guy plans a diner for the whole crew. the young guys do theirs early in week, so their packs lighten up earlier. But everyone's pack lightens about the same through the week.


You hit on a a big point when it comes to treks like this though. You talked about having guys searching out weight to redistribute when they got light. Our SM says this is probably the best lesson Scouts learn by doing these treks: They are part of a singular crew, not an island, and there just isn't room on the trip for selfishness.


I remember the year my son went. He was taught before hand that the strong youth were to look for oppurtunities to help the smaller guys and the adults, and he was ready to do so. But about 3/4 of the way through the week (actually, 10 days), he developed an ugly toe infection. The rest of the trip was all down hill, which is actually worse than uphill in many ways. He was ready to tough it out, when the smallest kid in the crew wouldn't let him get up until he had taken my son's troop gear and put it in his own pack. My son will tell you that was one of the two most important memories he has from that trek. As a matter of fact, he made it a central theme in his speech at his Eagle CoH.


Sound like you took a great bunch of people with you. That had to make the experience even more meaningful.


Nice to have you back!



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  • 2 weeks later...

I think a goal that can be affordable, realistic, and enjoyable, is to shoot for a "10-15%" of body weight maximum (gear not including food and water) with 20% tops for a 5-day trek.


Having lectured on the topic of lightweight backpacking around the country, I've seen troops transform their philosophies in less than a year and have their senior scouts hiking 100-milers in five days with total loads of less than 20 pounds.


We use the following guide in our clinics:



and it remains our most popular publication among the Scouting community.



Ryan Jordan

Publisher, Backpacking Light

The Magazine of Lightweight Hiking and Backcountry Travel


Eagle Scout, Troop 360, Burien, WA

Former Hikemaster and Director, Camp Parsons Silver Marmot High Adventure Program (Washington State)


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  • 6 months later...

I went to Philmont in 2001. At the start of the trek my pack weighed about 45lbs fully loaded. I was one of the larger youth on the trek at then 190lbs. (180 upon arriving home after the trip)


My crew gear consisted of 3 Coleman fuel backpacking stoves of 2 differnt types, a set of maps, and a notepad. The stoves were fully fueled whenever possible. Each was placed in a ziploc, and then a soft carry case to prevent damage to other items in my pack.


I was somewhat heavy on personal gear since I had the following extras:


GPS instruction manual

GPS reciever

extra eating utensil (aluminum pie plate, ended up using it as a pot lid by chance since we only had one pot lid but often needed two)


The biggest mistakes I made were in taking too large of a notepad, the Bible, and the instruction manual. Those things never got used. I also took a chair kit for my foam sleeping pad. That was useful but not essential. We also could have gotten by with one less pan and one less stove. (2 stoves, 2 pots, and 2 lids would have been best) Philmont food should best be prepared by placing as many of the items as possible into one pot together. This saves on cooking equipment and cooking time. (Most of the stuff is just boiled in water and it doesn't really taste that great no matter what you do with it.) We were lucky in that we never had more than 3 days food at a time, though we did usually manage to talk them out of 15 peoples worth of food for our 12, all of wich we gladly ate. We also had easy access to water on the trail and at each campsite. If I do it again I will go lighter. I would also like a larger pack because I was very tight on space. I would also want a new sleeping bag, since my current one is wearing out. (I have had it for something like 8 years, it is somewhat heavy, too warm for hot summers, and too cold for even some Philmont temperatures because of insulation shifting around.)

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