Jump to content

Philmont - cost vs. value

Recommended Posts

My sons'' troop is planning a Philmont trek for 2009. Cost is about $1800 per Scout including transportation. For those of you who have gone, is it worth the money?


For the same amount, they could do four council high adventure weeks (whitewater rafting, a horse trek, a rock climbing and hiking trek, and sailing).


The SM is strongly encouraging Philmont; just seems way pricy for what they''re offering.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 41
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Philmont is awesome, it is fun and it is challenging I recommend any one that can to go. Philmont has a lot of spirit and drive from those who have gone and this is will deserved. I should not here to that all Philmont treks are different, pick one out carefully and let the Scouts be part of the decision process.


Now with that said there are other options that may be just as good and in some cases better then Philmont. If distances, money, etc is an issue it may be worth looking into them.


I have many fond and wonderful memories as a lad backpacking with my Troop and this includes Philmont. I even still have my map, and on the back a list of animals I saw, places we went, etc...


Scott Robertson


Link to post
Share on other sites

I''ve done two national HAs with my son. Northern Tiers and Philmont. For us Philmont is cheap because we are just 3 hours driving from it, NT we are looking at $2500. So for $600, we get 11 days of supported camping. We live in the Rockies and could just grab our packs and head into the wilderness topographically more diverse than Philmont, but it wouldn''t be the same.

The biggest difference is the shear scale of the operations. One of the reasons Philmont is so special is the size of the parcel and the number of scouts there. You never see the same trail twice. You rarely cross paths with the same crew, yet you always see other crews. Interaction with crews/staff from all round the country is pretty cool. Philmont breaks up long days of hiking with activities that you might never experience. I just can''t see a local council being able to even come close to the experience.

Any scout who has the opportunity to go but doesn''t, really is missing out.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yah, Philmont''s a great experience, especially if your troop isn''t familiar enough with backpacking to do its own thing. There is a whole "mystique" and a long history of Scouting that''s hard to beat.


Yer costs are astonishin'', though! How much of that is on-the-road sightseeing and lodging? Seems like as a troop contingent you should be able to get by for half that cost.




Link to post
Share on other sites

We would have to know the breakdown of the costs. I live 10 hours from Philmont. When we went in 2005 we spent 575.00 for Philmont itself, 100.00 apiece for gas for our three vehicles that carried the 12 crew members, 100.00 for meals to and fro. We did not do anything else, though.


Some crews make the trip a cross country journey in chartered bus, or have to use the airlines, and also visit places like Six Flags over whereever on the way.


When I went as a kid, I went with a council crew. We chartered a bus and took three days to get there from Louisiana. But we went to Lorado Mexico for a day, we ate at restaurants, and extras were built into the price. We did save on hotels by staying at air force bases along the way. It all depends on the way the trip is put together.


My son, then 15, has told me that just the backpacking was not that exciting, but the way Philmont has stuff for the boys to do at each staffed camp, and the maintained (somewhat) campsites and red roof inns, and the authentic period re-enactments of poineer life at different camps, was a big "fun" factor for him.


I had a blast. At 48, though, the first time I looked up the trail going up UROCA Mesa, I was convinced that I was going to die. By the end of it, I was sad to leave the back contry. I highly recommend it.

Link to post
Share on other sites



Considering (per head):


Tickets 400 RT (est)

2 hotel nights (even 4 to a room) 50

10 meals - 50

Bus Albuquerque to Philmont - 50 a head

Whitewater side trip - 200 (lowball probably)...


You''re not getting by too badly. Every one of those add-ons has to make a profit.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Philmont is much more than just backpacking. Here in California we have numerous opportunities for backpacking in areaas that are probably more spectacular than Philmont, yet we regularly send crews to Philmont. It is worth the cost.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn''t say it was good or bad...just throwing out the numbers. I think it is beyond the reach of most of our current families in our unit, unless they stage some major fundraising efforts. Just a few years ago, they made the trip by bus, and it was a 3 week commitment.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Our troop as been asked several times in the years to field a Philmont contingent for our council. We know that Philmont is a wonderful place, a Meca of sorts for us scouters and scouts, but we''ve never been able to get beyond the $$ issue. We can put on a 10 day high adventure backcountry trip for under $200 a piece and that includes transportation. That''s hard to beat IMO.


Now, while I can''t see spending money on a Philmont trek because of what we have available to us here in CA, I can see the value in FL Sea Base or Northern Tier. Those programs are not easily reproduceable for us like a backpacking trip is.


FYI, I''ve been to Philmont and would go back in a heartbeat.



Link to post
Share on other sites

A little reality check.

Cost of a typical Blansten family vacation (two adults, two kids):

Yacht rental in the BVI (British virgin islands) for a week (off season): $2500

Plane tickets to BVI for 4: $3500

Provisions (no alcohol): $750

Incidentals: $1000

Total: $7750

Cost per person: $1937.50


Don''t even get me started on Dizzyland.


Philmont, Seabase and NTiers is a bargain.

Link to post
Share on other sites



Given where you are, ABSOLUTELY AGREE WITH YOU. I grew up a couple of valleys over, and the Sierra Nevada has backpacking trails to die for... and so far as I recall, there was NEVER A "DRY" CAMP!!


Philmont has some magic to it, certainly, but CA, OR, WA, AZ, NE, and ID council camps and local HA opportunities have some truly world class times.


For Gern, most of my vacations the last few years seem to involve time at Scout Reservations. Ditto Eagle Sons''(of course, that also includes employment time for him). The young man I saw 3 years ago moving out to his workday for the Tribe of Mic-o-Say was but a momentary glimpse of the young man he''s turning out to be :)


There are worse things in life :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Man, I wish I had nearly $8K to spend on a vacation. :)


More seriously, I went to the Philmont Training Center 3 years back. With transportation and a few overnight rooms (cheap $25/night flea-motels), it cost me roughly $1700 (one month''s pay after taxes at the time). I didn''t tour a lab, nor go white-water rafting (flew into Colorado Springs rather then ABQ).


So, $1,800 with your side trips from the east coast is reasonable for Philmont.


My home town unit sent a contingent 10 years back. Yes, they did a lot of heavy fundraising to do it, but they pulled it off such that the out-of-pocket expense per attendee was about the same as attending a week of scout camp. I guess it depends on how determined your scouts are to go.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...