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Tips from Tim Liffrig

I don’t have a plan in writing, but here is what we did. (and some helpful hints too)


1.       Starting in March we did a hike every 3 weeks or so progressively increasing from 3 miles to 10 miles. We also suggested to the Scouts to get out & do more hiking (do hills, lots of hills). Philmont Trek was end of July. Make sure they break-in the boots they will use on the trip.

2.       We suggested that each crew member should work on the hiking & backpacking MB’s. This way we would be discussing all of the safety, 1st aid, and other “classroom” type of information while on practice hikes. By the time we were done with the trek they had completed the backpacking MB & we have the 20 mile hike left for the hiking MB (10/23).

3.       During each hike we discussed equipment; water bottles (platypus) 4 liters each, backpacks (4000 cu.in.), tents (backpacking style for 2), trekking poles (can double as dining fly poles), how to pack lightly, etc.

4.       We also had 3 crew meetings to discuss everything. Make sure they select a Crew Chief that is a good Leader and has the ability to think ahead and change plans on a moments notice.

5.       One thing we didn’t discuss was ‘culling’ food at the commissary. Culling is getting rid of food that you will not eat. It’s a lot of dead weight to carry around for days and then throw away at your next staff camp. (its well worth the effort)

6.       Conduct at least one ‘shake-down’ going through every piece of everyone’s gear. You will be able to double-up on items. Ie…not everyone needs to bring a bottle of camp soap. 2 or 3 should be enough for the entire crew for the entire trek. Extra bottles are just extra weight. (shampoo &  toothpaste are other items)

7.       Switchback pants can double as your long pants & shorts (less weight).

8.       Cap lights are better than hand held lights.

9.       We used Jet Boils exclusively for cooking. We had 3 Large containers of gas (purchased there) for a crew of 9 and that was WAY TOO MUCH.

10.   Look at switching meals. Sometimes its better to have your cooked meal for lunch when you have more light and have your lunch for dinner.

11.   Drill them on the bear procedures before you get there – VERY VERY VERY IMPORTANT!

12.   Don’t allow any extra items that are just going to be dead weight. A couple of my scouts brought books to read. 1st – its dead weight, 2nd – they didn’t have any time to read. (got into camp late, too tired from trekking, other things at Philmont to see & do)

13.   Bring extra set of clothes to wear home. They will stay in your travel bag and in your locker while on trek.


I hope this helps. Let me know if you need more info or helpful hints.


Tim Liffrig