Dining In The Backcountry
Philmont Backcountry Cooking Method
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.
When purchasing these substitute food items, keep in mind that Philmont participants need approximately 3,000 calories a day. Package substitute items in Ziploc baggies and label them with the participant’s Expedition Number, name, and the meal that each baggie is supplementing. (Example Only: Exp. #615-J, John Doe, Dinner 5).Do this for each meal that needs substitute items. 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. 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 taken 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 Philmont: