Dining In The Backcountry

How Meals are Distributed

Philmont will provide all the food that crews require on the trail. Crews will pass through designated commissary camps every 3-4 days to pick up trail meals. Packaged in durable, recycleable plastic bags, these lightweight trail meals have been carefully developed to meet the dietary needs of the energetic young people and leaders who hike at Philmont. Each meal bag feeds two people.

Each 12-day crew eats a total of 30 unique meals (10 days in the backcountry x breakfast/lunch/dinner) while on trek. Meal schedules and labels are determined by the calendar date, rather than a crew's day on their trek (every crew eats Breakfast 1, Lunch 1 and Dinner 1 on the 1st, 11th, 21st and 31st of each month; every crew eats Breakfast 2, Lunch 2 and Dinner 2 on the 2nd, 12th, and 22nd, etc.). Crews eat in the dining hall on their arrival day and departure day.

Food Allergies and Dietary Restrictions

Scouts picking up trail meals

The trail food diet is, by necessity, a high-carbohydrate, high-calorie diet rich in wheat, milk products, and sugars.

If 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 ingredient lists for breakfast, lunch and dinner to 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. Most staffed backcountry camps have a "swap box," where participants can leave unopened meal items or pick up additional items left by another crew.

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.

For meals eaten in the dining hall, appropriate substitutions can be arranged by speaking to the Dining Hall Manager.


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.