Dining In The Backcountry

Philmont will provide all the food that crews require on the trail. The crew will carry a few days' supplies at a time, picking up food at designated camps along the trail. Each camp commissary staff will issue a specific menu according to a prearranged plan. This plan enables crews to eat a different menu each day on the trail.

Packaged in durable, disposable plastic bags, these lightweight trail meals have been carefully developed and checked for quality and quantity for rugged mountain hiking and backpacking needs of energetic young people and leaders who hike Philmont trails.

The trail food diet is, by necessity, a high-carbohydrate, high-calorie diet rich in wheat, milk products, and sugars. Explicit cooking directions are indicated on each food packet for your convenience. Follow these instructions closely. Your crew may find it helpful to practice cooking freeze-dried or dehydrated food before your trek begins.

Food Allergies and Dietary Restrictions

Scouts picking up trail food from camping services

When an individual in your crew is allergic to some food products, requires a special diet, or has specific religious food needs; suitable food substitutions must be purchased at home and brought or shipped to Philmont.

Review this year's Trail Menu and ingredient list found on this page and determine which items in each meal will cause a problem and prepare a substitute for the specific items in the meal. Every participant will still be provided the standard trail menu and it will be up to them to remove the individual packages at each commissary.

How Philmont Meals are Distributed

Each crew eats a total of 30 unique meals while on trek. Meal schedules operate by day of the month, not by day of the trek. Breakfast 1, Lunch 1 and Dinner 1 are served on June 11th, 21st, July 1st, etc. Breakfast 2, Lunch 2 and Dinner 2 are served on June 12th, 22nd, etc. By using this method, regardless of arrival day, everyone eats the same thing each day. Throughout their 10-day backcountry expreience, participants will have the opportunity to eat all 30 meals, even if the first meal they eat is not meal 1.

Packaging Substitute Items

When purchasing these substitute food items, keep in mind that Philmont participants need approximately 3,000 calories a day.

Place substitute items in Ziploc with the following markings:

Participant’s Expedition Number
Participant's Name
The meal number (ex: Lunch 1)
- Note: Meal number must match the meal number on the Philmont trail food menu. Please do not mark Ziplocs with the day of the trek.

All meals are numbered from 1 to 10. This same protocol would also apply to participants with specific religious food needs. However, Philmont will replace the main dinner entrée for these participants using either: My Own Meals Kosher MREs, J&M Halal certified MREs or simply vegetarian options for Hindu and any other religion with specific requests. Participants must make these arrangements prior to arrival at Philmont.

Philmont Backcountry Cooking Method

On the afternoon of your arrival at Philmont, your crew’s Ranger, Crew Leader, and the individual(s) with the substitute food should bring the food bags and the crew’s “Crew Leader Copy” (your crew receives this earlier at Philmont) to the Logistics staff. They will then group the meals by backcountry commissary corresponding to your itinerary and will arrange for them to be delivered to those commissaries so that they will available when the crew makes its regular food pickup. The key thing to be sure of is that baggies are clearly labeled.

For meals eaten in the dining hall, appropriate substitutions can be arranged by speaking to the dining hall manager upon arrival at Philmont.


If you have questions about food substitutions, please contact us.


About Philmont Scout Ranch

Philmont Scout Ranch, the Boy Scouts of America's premier High Adventure™ base, challenges Scouts and Venturers with more than 214 square miles of rugged northern New Mexico wilderness. Backpacking treks, horseback cavalcades, and training and service programs offer young people many ways to experience this legendary country.