I finally found the pack weight notes that I took at Philmont base camp on the morning we started on our trek in 2010.
I’ve estimated base weights by subtracting thirteen pounds. We were carrying four days of Philfood (seven pounds), and most of us were carrying three liters of water (six pounds).
The median pack weight was 42 pounds (29 pounds estimated base weight). The average was 40.1 pounds (27.1 pounds estimated base weight). Total pack weight for the crew was 401 pounds.
Most of the time, a crew will be carrying two days or less food. Subtract three or four pounds from these numbers to get a mid-trek pack weight.
This photo is from the “trail” up the south side of Mount Philips. That was the steepest and highest trail we hiked (11,742 feet), and we were carrying six liters of water each. The summit camp is dry, and we wouldn’t have any water sources until the next evening.
|John||40||27||external frame pack|
|Oliver||43||30||external frame pack|
|Larry||44||31||advisor, external frame pack|
Next time, I’d plan the crew gear weight and distribution better. Our crew gear was pretty heavy, and I think the advisors took a little more than our share. We planned to bring a lighter tarp, but our crew quartermaster forgot it.
We had spent a fair amount of time with the crew, teaching them lightweight techniques and doing pack checks. We could have spent more. Philmont tells people to prepare for carrying packs that weight from 45 to 55 pounds, so we were much better than the typical crew. Still, we probably could have been lighter by five to eight pounds per person without spending a lot of money.
What was my pack like?
- 17 pounds base weight, essential personal gear only
- 23 pounds including big camera, chair, and book
- 25 pounds with crew gear, mostly first aid
- 37 pounds estimated with three days food
Philfood is 1.75 pounds (800 grams) per person per day, so carrying four days instead of three makes that 38 pounds. Obviously, I added another four pounds of crew gear, mostly fuel canisters. 42 pounds was a bit heavy for the Six Moon Designs Starlite pack I used, but it was comfortable after we ate the first day or so of meals. We only carried a four day load at one other time.
How important is a comfortable, light pack at Philmont? I think it means you have a much better experience. Towards the end of the trek, our crew was singing on the trail and passing other crews.
Our Ranger said we were the best-prepared crew he’d had that summer.
Every member of the crew became an Eagle Scout.
The Scout with the lightest pack loved Philmont so much that he went back for Rayado the next year, then was a Philmont Ranger for the next two years.