Take a few minutes to read through and check your list. These are helpful tips from those who have been to the PTC several times.
GEAR: Where is Bear Gryllis?
Packing for a week at Philmont Training Center (PTC) should not be expensive. You probably have most things you’ll need at home already. PTC is not “roughing it” camping. Don’t expect to be in “survival” mode. Enjoy the little luxuries.
Shipping and handling
If you’re flying, it might be worth it to ship some things to save an additional bag charge. You’ll have to be the judge. A 10lb, 12”X12”X24” package shipped by UPS from Fort Worth, Texas, to the PTC would cost about $24 as of this writing. If you decide to go this route, be sure to address your package to:
Your Conference and the week (United Methodist Scouters’ Conference — Week 6 – July 11-17)
Philmont Training Center
17 Deer Run Road
Cimarron, NM 87714
Boxes should be shipped via U.S. Mail, Federal Express, or UPS. Other services do not deliver to Philmont. Do not rely on next day service, allow at least one week.
WHETHER THE WEATHER
Traditional summer weather consists of warm days (70s to high 80s), cool nights (30s to low 50s), and rainy afternoons.
KLEENEX AND VISINE
• Philmont can be dusty. Be prepared.
MOISTURIZER OR VASELINE
• Same as above. Humidity is very low at Philmont. Bring Chapstick, too.
NAME IT TO CLAIM IT
Put your name on everything. It’s a Scout camp, so if you mislay something there is a better-than-average chance you’ll get it back. Secure storage is available for small items at the Training Center Registration Office.
• There really aren’t many bugs at PTC. This is one thing you might be able to do without. Couldn’t hurt to bring it, though.
• You’re going to be at altitude (the PTC is at 6,621 feet above sea level), and EVERYBODY will be more susceptible to sunburn. Just expect to wear sunscreen.
ELECTRICITY, FANS, and POWERED STUFF
• The tents are 10’ x 12’ canvas “wall” tents on either a wooden or concrete permanent pad. Tents have electrical power and a double outlet, in which one “hand light” (a drop light, like mechanics use) is provided.
• Bringing a power strip with multiple outlets will be invaluable. Given the number of electronics and the required chargers, two power strips would not be unreasonable for two people in a tent.
• Electric with battery backup, plug into above extension cord; small ones are easy to
pack, just remember to bring batteries. Don’t bring noisy fans — your neighbors
will thank you. The canvas tents can be stuffy, so extra air flow is nice. Especially if
there is a chance that you’ll spend any time at all in the tent during the daylight
hours, a small fan is almost a requirement. We’ve even rigged one of the cheap
“box” fans bungeed horizontally to the ridgepole to create a “ceiling fan.” A small,
cheap, water cooled version can be bliss on a hot afternoon.
• Charge your phones overnight. The classroom will not have enough outlets: Ever.
For The Family
• If you have an infant or toddler, consider packing a portable stroller. Walking distances can be a problem for small children.
• Sidewinders and parents going on the Sidewinders overnighter need a sleeping bag.
• Tuesday is Buffalo Barbecue and Western Dance night, so don’t forget your western duds!
• If you’re planning on horse riding, closed-toe shoes are required, as are long pants.
• On Tuesday night, staffers will also be branding with the two Philmont brands (the horse brand and the cattle brand). No, you can’t get your children, your spouse, or yourself branded, but pretty much anything else can be, if you’re willing to risk it. Cliff’s seen trekkers have boots, belts, caps, hats, Nalgenes, jackets, backpacks, etc., branded. One year, his assistant advisor brought little strips of leather (roughly belt-width, and six inches long) and handed them out to all the crew so that everybody could have a keepsake branded.
• The Philmont Craft Center offers instruction and sells materials for ceramics, wearable art (clothing and accessories decoration), leather craft, stamp art, Southwestern crafts, and home decor. It’s open all day, and provides an air conditioned (!!) place to work on your own projects or take classes. There’s also a “family crafts” night sometime during the week. While crab supplies are not expensive, they’re not free!
• Trailblazers, Mustangs, Broncos, and Silverados should bring a pair of long pants and a long-sleeved shirt to wear on activities such as horse rides and the COPE course.
• If you’re interested in whitewater rafting over toward Taos (sometimes a Silverado event, sometimes a Family Wednesday event), don’t forget a swimsuit.
TOWELS AND CLOTHES PINS
• Towels can be hung over the bungee cords and will dry quickly during the day. If you’re a night shower person, your towels are less likely to dry overnight if the temps drop and could then smell musty by the next night. Hang those damp night towels on the bungee cord line with clothes pins from one end of the towel (not doubled over the cords)
for better results. BTW — you need to bring your own towels and washcloths.
LAUNDRY SOAP AND DRYER SHEETS
• There is a coin-op laundry on site, but if you are allergic or sensitive to certain brands of detergent, bring some of your own. Laundry soap can be packed into toiletry bottles, and dryer sheets in your suitcase with your clothes. Caroline says she’ll have a big bottle of Gain or Arm&Hammer laundry soap and box of Gain dryer sheets, so if you forget to bring some, she says she’ll share.
• PTC showers are private ones housed in large buildings. There are 4 main shower houses, 2 in each Tent City, with numerous private shower/bathrooms in each. Each Tent City also has larger Family showers to help those with small children. Each shower has its own toilet, shower, sink, mirror, etc., and they’re fairly recently remodeled, so they’re really nice. However, you have to walk at least a little ways (several yards, say), so you’ll appreciate having something like a little backpack to carry your dopp kit, cosmetics, soap, towels and washcloths, hair dryer, etc, back and forth.
Some type of slip-on shower shoes is also a good idea.
• Another thing about showers — there will be a bunch of people using them at the peak times of early morning and late evening. A little planning can go a long way. Also, it should go without saying, please leave it in good condition for the next person.
REALLY HELPFUL BUT NOT EASY TO FLY WITH
• Plastic bins. You can pack your items in those instead of a suitcase if you’re driving to Philmont, and use the stacked bins as a table in your tent. Philmont has carts to carry our stuff to our tents, so bins are easy to take. When traveling with her son to Philmont, all of his and Caroline’s bedding went in two bins and their clothes went in suitcases. She took both bins and a suitcase to Summit for the first training conference there, and used the two bins as a table while playing cards. Foot lockers work, too.
• Cards, board games, etc. Philmont has some at each campsite, but if you have a favorite to play (like UNO, cribbage, or others) bring them along. There are picnic tables at each site where people can gather.
• Musical instruments are welcome, but please be aware of “quiet times” and respectful of others’ tastes.
DO NOT FORGETS
• Philmont provides a full medical staff at Philmont’s licensed infirmary in the north section of the Camping Headquarters area. The infirmary has doctors, nurses, and medics on duty around the clock for emergencies. Should you or your family need assistance, you can go directly to the infirmary or contact the Training Center office.
• Keep in mind that people coming from lower altitudes may experience some discomfort at first. Humidity is low, so visitors should drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. People who are overweight, out of shape, or who have health concerns should consult a physician before coming to Philmont. While the conferences and family programs
are not strenuous, some walking and physical activity is necessary.
We encourage you to wear a complete BSA or GSUSA uniform to most Philmont activities. In addition, youth who are involved in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturing, or Girl Scouts are encouraged to wear their Scout uniforms on Monday morning and to flag ceremonies and meals. That said, Class As and Class Bs or church activity wear (or, if you prefer, Field Uniforms and Activity Uniforms) are both perfectly acceptable for most activites, as is the Methodist Shirt.
• Answers to many of the questions you may have can be found here — these are “Official” PTC answers. Most of the rest of this document consists of hacks our experienced folks have found useful.