Scoutmaster Musings - Philmont Food Tips

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Philmont Food Tips
On our 84-mile Philmont trek this year (trek #32), we noticed that the food we received was quite skimpy. Our ranger mentioned that breakfasts were especially light this year and I noticed the same thing since my 2005 trek. I calculated calories from the packaging and it looked like breakfast was around 800-900 calories, lunch about 1100, and dinner was impossible to figure out since there was no calorie info on the packages. I figure dinner was around 1000-1300 calories.

A 150lb person requires around 2000 calories per day for normal activity. The activity level in camp at Philmont is much more than 'normal' with all the extra work to gather water, participate in programs, and walk to and from your campsite. Add on about 100 calories per mile hiked and you easily go over 3000 calories. The addition of a 40lb pack requires more calories. Whether doing a trek of 55 or 85 miles, crews receive the same amount of food for meals. That extra 2 miles per day costs more calories which is not replaced.

Our ranger had told us about the swap boxes at staffed camps. He said they were for exchanging food they did not want for food they did want. Trying to follow the rules, since they had consistently eaten all their food, scouts were passing by the swap boxes.

By the 4th day, we had some fairly hungry scouts. Hungry enough to figure out that walking past food instead of taking it and eating it did not make sense. From then on, they often did the swap box sift, checking for more to eat whenever possible. We were probably one of the few crews that pulled out and ate things like mashed potatos and corn rather than the normal gorp, pineapple, raisins, and other sweet stuff.

Don't get me wrong. I really enjoyed the Philmont food. I lost a few pounds, but had enough to eat. The scouts learned a bit about taking opportunities when they crop up and making due with what you have and not wasting anything.

I squirreled away some food items during the end of our trek and brought them back to the troop. At our Court of Honor the day after we got home, the younger scouts got to see what we ate and got to sample gorp, Santa Fe trail mix, jalapeno squeeze cheese, jerky, apricots, pineapple, and other assorted items. This was a really good way to start them thinking about their Philmont trek since we'll be starting that process in just a couple months.

For your Philmont trek, consider the size of your crew members. A 200lb scout gets the same meal as a 100lb scout so crews should be prepared to check that everyone is getting enough. Also consider the length and level of your trek. 10 miles a day burns more calories than 6 miles a day, but the meals are the same. One more thing, weather will play a part in calorie needs. Cold weather requires more calories to stay warm at night while hot weather requires more water but less calories.

Scout On
Posted: 11:12 07-05-2008 343
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