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Too Skinny for Philmont

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Us Adults all know about the upper (fat) restrictions for height and weight, how is the bottom line? We have a crew going next year and several of the boys are turning 14yo have lots of backpacking experience but are 10 pounds under the current weight chart. I know they will be gaining weight over the next year, but I was wondering if anyone had face this problem when they arrived at Philmont and how it was handled.





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Just a guess here, but I do know that Philmont is very concerned about the boy weight to pack weight ratio. Being too "skinny" may not be the issue in as it might be too small in stature to carry the minimum amount of weight for the trek.


For example, at a 25% ratio that means a 200# boy carries a 50# pack. Now you have a 100# boy carrying a 25# pack. What happens if the minimum amount of gear a boy needs to carry is 30#'s?


I had a boy on my trek that was "heavy" and struggled with the weight of his pack, while a wirey little guy that wrestled had no problem at all.


I'm thinking that Philmont has to put these generalized charts out to insure the boys have a good experience. After all they deal with hundreds of boys all the time and have to have some guidelines in place somewhere.


Remember, some of these boys have yet to go through their growth spurt and waiting a year or two to grow in stature would make the trip far more enjoyable for them.



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there is no lower limit only upper limits, as long as he's healthy enough to do the trek.

Keep in mind though, he will be carrying close to 40 lbs and upwards of 50 on dry camp days with water. Recommended backpack weight is about 25% of body weight for youth. At Philmont, you typically are carrying 35% of body weight. My pack with water was 65 lbs. I weighed 180 so my pack was about 36%.


My son was also under the recommended ranges for his height. Came in dripping wet at about 110. But he could pack 45lbs all day. I too was a bit worried, but don't be. They didn't even put him on the scale. The only ones who got the scale were the ones who were suspected of being overweight. I was right in the middle of my range and the doctor didn't weigh me. I went ahead and weighed myself just to see how much weight I'd lose on the trek. Turns out, I gained about 5 lbs on the trek. But I lost about an inch off my waist.

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When I went in 2004, we had two crews. Our brother crew had a boy who was skin and bones, no weight and no hips to support a pack. The crew advisor knew he couldn't carry the required weight from the shake-down hikes. He should have been told to wait a couple years but parent pressure was involved. He went and had a miserable time. Also, his crew members had to carry extra weight that he could not. There was a near rebellion and a Philmont chaplain was called in to mediate the situation. He made it through the trek but, like I said, everyone on his crew was miserable. He went back in two years and had a great time. The crew advisor needs to make the call and be honest with everyone involved for the sake of all.

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