The 10 essentials for hiking at Philmont

Photographed by Chris Langlois

There’s a lot of talk at Philmont about the “10 essentials.” These pieces of gear are the make-or-break items a crew brings to stay safe on the trail. The Tooth of Time Traders has several different options for each of the 10 essentials available at Philmont and online. To make choosing easier, the Tooth of Time staff have provided their recommendations for what to bring.

Philmont Overall Map

The Philmont Overall Map is a great addition to anyone’s personal gear.  The whole landmass of Philmont and our neighboring properties is shown on the map, which makes it a clear choice for a big-picture view. Also available are maps of North and South country, but be sure to know your whole itinerary and which half of Philmont you’ll be on before picking one of those. Be sure to get a compass as well to make your map effective.

Water Bottles 

The iconic Philmont Nalgene bottle is an excellent choice to store water on the trail. Nalgenes are durable and feature a volume scale on the backside, making them functional for cooking water measurement. They also come in a myriad of different colors for easy identification and


A small multi-tool like a “Leatherman” is infinitely useful on the trail. The pliers and screwdriver functions are a lifesaver when gear repair is needed on the trail. Though knives are a Scout staple, the multi-tool’s adaptability to any scenario makes it a much better investment.

Lighter and Match

It’s recommended to have both a lighter and matches for stove and fire lighting. A simple, lightweight lighter and regular box of matches is all you need. Simplicity is the key here – anything too advanced will likely add weight. For your matches, we recommend having a waterproof matchbox as well, just in case the rain slips under your pack cover.

Personal First Aid Kit

It’s always a great idea to have your own stash of first aid supplies. Products like the Ultralight Medical Kit .5 or the Day Tripper Light have a wide assortment of bandages and some medications to keep you prepared on hiking days. No matter which first aid kit you choose, we recommend investing in extra moleskin, just in case.

Rain Gear

Any Philmont hiker knows the importance of rain gear on the trail. The Red Ledge Thunderlight jacket is a cost-friendly piece that keeps you cool and dry while hiking. The jacket also comes in a stuff sack for portability. Just make sure you dry the jacket thoroughly before you stuff it back in.


It may not be a part of the Scout Law but, a Scout is punctual! A watch is one of the most underrated pieces of gear. Sometimes, a simple watch with an alarm function is all you need to begin your hike early and make it to program on time. If you’re looking for a watch to stand the test of time (and rain, and dust, and etc.), we recommend this Timex watch available in the store.


The Survive Outdoors Longer Rescue Howler whistle is the Tooth of Time Traders’ whistle of choice due to its low weight and high volume capability (110dB). Having a whistle on your person at all times can be a game-changer if you ever find yourself lost, or looking for someone who may be.

Sun Protection 

Rocky Mountain Sunscreen is one of the leading outdoor-performance sunscreens on the market. Always keep yourself protected from the sun – especially at altitude. Make sure you’re using the appropriate SPF for your skin tone and reapplying every few hours for maximum effectiveness.


A headlamp (such as the Black Diamond model pictured) is an excellent hands-free way to work on gear after dark. It also helps to make sure those midnight excursions to the Red Roofs don’t end in disaster. A model with multiple lighting modes helps to conserve battery so it’ll last much longer.

Mark Cordeiro

Mark Cordeiro

Mark Cordeiro is a second-year Philmont staffer out of Edmond, Oklahoma. He’s currently a senior at the University of Oklahoma studying professional writing. Mark spent several summers of his youth at the PTC’s youth programs and went on his first trek in 2014.