Best Budget Backpacking Gear – Philmont – Boy Scouts

Best Budget Backpacking Gear – Philmont – Boy Scouts The typical trek at Philmont Scout Ranch is 12 days in the wilderness of New Mexico. Whether you are a Scout […]

Best Budget Backpacking Gear – Philmont – Boy Scouts

best philmont backpacking gear

My first Philmont trek

The typical trek at Philmont Scout Ranch is 12 days in the wilderness of New Mexico.
Whether you are a Scout or an Adult Crew Adviser, the right gear can be the difference between a great trip or a backwoods disaster. Quality backpacking gear for this type of backpacking trek has inflicted many cases of sticker shock, over the years.

Don’t worry, we are here to help you sort through the options and find the right gear for trek and your wallet in the list below.
*If you find this article helpful, then please consider clicking our links below before you buy your gear. The very small commission Gear Report receives when you purchase from our links does not raise your cost at all, but provides the funds to continue reviewing gear. 🙂

Living list

This list of the best budget gear for Philmont is a cooperative effort that will be changed and updated as needed. Some of the best gear ideas have come from reader comments. So, join the discussion below and let us know what gear YOU think should be on this list.

The right gear for your goals?

Your goals for your Philmont trek will heavily influence your gear selection and what is “best” for you.

  • If you want to cover the maximum mileage, then ultralight backpacking may be for you.
  • If you prioritize camp comfort over pack weight, then you may want to carry a few more luxury items.
  • If you are an adult crew advisor, then you are responsible for the Scouts in your crew and will need a bit more safety gear.
  • Maybe your goal is simply to NOT be the slowest person in your crew. Let’s be honest here… nobody wants to be the one that slows down the rest of the crew. If you aren’t a 17 year old athlete in top shape and with lots of trail miles under your boots, then you will probably benefit from carrying a lighter overall pack. This is true whether you are an adult that hasn’t yet accepted that you aren’t as fast and strong as you used to be, or a young Scout that is still growing and not the strongest person on the crew.

For example, my goal for a Philmont trip is to avoid any sort of emergency trips to the infirmary for anyone on my crew. After 5 knee, 3 shoulder surgeries, 2 herniated discs and a questionable mental state I am the most likely to fail under the weight of nearly two weeks of backpacking in the mountains of New Mexico. My best bet for completing the trek in one piece is to shed every bit of weight possible from my Philmont gear. However, as an adult crew advisor I also have to reserve a bit of pack space for wilderness first aid items.

I’ll list a variety of gear recommendations below. Read them with your goals in mind. If something that I recommend doesn’t fit with YOUR goals, then find something else that does.

Go light!

Regardless of your goals, reducing your pack weight as much as practical will:

  • Make your Philmont trek less difficult and more enjoyable
  • Reduce your risk of injury
  • Allow you to hike faster, leaving more time for activities and enjoying the views
  • Generally make the Philmont experience much more pleasant

Check out our in depth guide to lightening your backpack (link).

Where to get Budget Backpacking Gear for Philmont

If you want new gear, then lightweight backpacking gear is available at various trusted retailers:

If you want to search for used gear at a discount, then check out this eBay search (link).

Recommended Philmont gear

For this list let’s assume our goals are:

  • Go light!
  • Go cheap! (as cheap as we can)
  • Get only gear that will hold up for all of your shakedown hikes plus 12 days at Philmont (and hopefully a lot more)

Best Budget Personal gear

Best Budget Backpack for Philmont

Goal = No more than 4 Lb. However, I recommend a goal of 3 Lb or less.

Capacity = around 40L if you are going light and small, 60L if you don’t have the budget for really compact gear or the discipline to leave things at home. If you think you NEED more than 60L, then you should go read our in depth guide to lightening your backpack (link) right now because you are probably planning to take too much stuff.

First… don’t even consider the backpacks at Walmart. I’ve looked over all of the options in my local stores and find them to be cheap imitations of good packs, but not something I would trust in the backwoods of Philmont. You could save a few bucks and might (or might not) be OK, but it simply isn’t worth the risk.

Keep in mind that Philmont food is bulky and you will have required crew gear… which is also bulky. If you are a seasoned lightweight backpacker you need to accept now that Philmont’s rules and food choices will likely require more space in your pack for food, crew cooking gear, and other crew gear than you are used to. It pains me to say it, but some people really will need 50-60L of pack space IF their gear is average sized or slightly bulky. My ideal Philmont pack is closer to 44L. By choosing a pack smaller than what Philmont recommends I will have to be very diligent in picking only small and light gear to go in the pack.

For example… I used a EMS Sector 42 pack (42L) on a recent shakedown hike and had room for all of my personal gear, my portion of crew gear (12×12 tarp, BRS 3000T stove, isobutane canister, Platypus Gravityworks 2 water filter system, Olicamp XTS cooking pot) and food. However, I had a bulky US military MSS Patrol sleeping bag and had to strap my Big Agnes Fly Creek HV2 Platinum tent and Hikenture inflatable sleeping pad to the bottom of my pack. With more and bulkier Philmont food I’m not sure it would all fit. So, I need to downsize my sleeping bag via replacement with a smaller bag or a good compression bag to make the current bag take up 1/2 of its current space. Sea to Summit is sending a couple of Ultra-sil compression Dry Sacks. I suspect that one of them will solve the problem of the bulky MSS Patrol bag. If not, then the Outdoor Vitals Summit 30F down sleeping bag will get the nod… which it might anyway.

Recommended backpacks for Philmont:

  • REI Flash 45 backpack comes in at 2 Lb 14 oz and a cool $149 new from REI I strongly recommend that you take only what you need, and go light & small on all gear so that you can squeeze into this smaller, cheaper version of the Flash.
  • REI Flash 65 backpack adds 20 L of capacity, about 1Lb in weight and $50 to the price. There are 3 of these 3 Lb 10 oz packs in our 8 man crew, but at $199 they are too big and pricey to truly earn a spot on this “budget” list.

Other packs that are popular with Thru-hikers and would also work well for Philmont type treks:

Best Budget Sleeping bag for Philmont

Goal = 3 Lb or less

Temperature rating = Philmont suggests a 20 degree rated sleeping bag

Packed size = Smaller is way better. Shoot for the size of a nalgene bottle, if possible.

MSS Patrol bag pictured on right side of tent

Sleeping bags run a WIDE range in terms of cost and performance. Generally, the less expensive a bag is, the bulkier it will be when packed. Down filled sleeping bags have been the gold standard in light weight and ability to pack small, but with the major drawback of being very ineffective when wet. It is a given that most summer days at Philmont feature a brief, but heavy torrential downpour in the early afternoon. If you get lucky and go during the annual monsoon season, then you can expect more rain… MUCH more. A few years ago I would suggest only considering a synthetic insulated bag for a Philmont trek, as it would still keep you somewhat warm even if soaking wet. However, there are new down treatments like Nikwax Down Proof that you can apply (and re-apply) at home in your washing machine to make your down bag about 75% effective (or more) even if it gets wet. So, if you can fit a budget down bag and Down Proof in your budget, then a down filled sleeping bag may be the way to go. Otherwise, you might consider a synthetic bag.

Philmont recommends a 20 F degree rated sleeping bag. The most experienced Philmont trekker I know has carried a 40 F degree down bag on his past several trips and was happy. However, he also carries a silk bag liner and wears insulated sleeping clothes.

Best cost to weight ratio I have found in a synthetic sleeping bag for Philmont

US military MSS Patrol sleeping bag. It is bulkier than a down bag, but actually compresses really well for a synthetic bag. At 6’4″ tall the Patrol bag is long enough for me AND it weighs less than 2.5 Lb. It is rated as a 40 F degree bag, but I find the rating more accurate than most other light, cheap 40 F degree bags I have tried, which tend to exaggerate effectiveness. As a military item the MSS Patrol sleeping bag is also more durable than many of the cheaper 40 bags you find at big box stores, walmart, etc..

MSS Patrol bag in a random stuffsack

best philmont backpacking gear - Outdoor Vitals Summit 30 degree down sleeping bagBest value down sleeping bag for Philmont

I am leaning towards the Outdoor Vitals Summit 30F down sleeping bag for our next trek because:

  • It is one of the least expensive lightweight down backpacking bags I have found at around $110.
  • It uses 800 fill power down
  • Is wider at the shoulders than most mummy bags
  • comes with a compression sack and packs down to 7″x7″
  • Weighs only 2.3 Lb (“long” model)

Best Budget Sleeping pad for Philmont

Most Scouts should be fine with a 1 Lb or less closed cell foam pad. The inflatable options below are probably “luxury items” for young hikers who haven’t yet wrecked their backs. For the aging Adult Crew Advisors I’ll list some inflatable options with and without insulation.

Closed cell foam sleeping pad

I have had the original Z Lite pad for many years and love how light it is. The new Therm-A-Rest Z-lite SOL adds a more effective heat reflective layer. If you can handle sleeping on a thin foam pad, then it is hard to go wrong with the Z-lite. In fact, this is the easiest recommendation on the list. If you are buying gear for a Scout, buy this.
Pro: It is light (less than 1 Lb) and provides insulation from the ground to the tune of R 2.6. As a closed cell foam pad you never have to worry about the pad leaking, about blowing it up or deflating it.
Con: The Z lite is thin and provides minimal padding for comfort, especially or heavier campers. It is also rather bulky, likely meaning it will be strapped to the outside of the backpack.

This is the easy winner if you can sleep comfortably enough on a closed cell foam pad… as most Scouts can. At Philmont I suspect it is mostly only the older Adult Crew Advisors who are normally in the 40+ age range that wouldn’t be comfortable enough on the Z-lite.

Budget Inflatable sleeping pads

Outdoorsman lab ultralight sleeping pad – 15 oz, 2.2″ thick and blows up quickly. This is a light, but comfortable pad that we acquired for about $40 on Amazon. R-man has used this pad for a few months of camping and shakedown hikes and really likes it.

R-man’s orange Outdoorsman lab ultralight sleeping pad on the left

I recently tried the Hikenture inflatable sleeping pad, which is also 15 oz, but has a built in pillow and is only 1.5″ thick. I’ve only slept two nights on the Hikenture inflatable sleeping pad so far and found it comfortable one night, but not quite thick enough for my aging back the next. At 200 Lb I had to blow it up rather firmly to get enough support under my body. This made the pillow too hard. A lighter person might get away with lower inflation pressure, keeping the pillow a bit more comfortable.

Inflatable, insulated sleeping pad

Adding insulation to an inflatable sleeping pad generally ads weight and bulk. There are a few higher-end pads like the Therm-a-rest Neo Air XLite that manage to combine insanely light weight with insulation. But expect to pay a lot more for an insulated inflatable pad that is 8-16 oz, depending on size.

REI offers the Flash series of insulated sleeping pads, but start around $110 and weigh between 15 oz and 1 Lb 4 oz, depending on size.

To get into the “budget” range we have to look at the older style of self-inflating pads. There are some interesting 1″ thick, self inflating, insulated sleeping pad options with good reviews on Amazon in the $25 range, but expect weights in the 2.25 Lb range.

Given my bad back and 6’4″ height, I will likely carry the REI Stratus long, wide model insulated, 2.5″ thick inflatable pad on our next Philmont trek. Weighing  1 Lb 12.5 Oz, it is heavier than I was hoping for, but the Primaloft insulation should help make up for taking a 30 F sleeping bag instead of Philmont’s 20 F rated recommendation.

Best Budget Tent for Philmont

If you are an adult that is allowed to sleep in a single person tent at Philmont, then this one person hiking pole tent is a pretty good bet at $100 and only 2.2 Lb. I have a friend that raves about his.

If you are a Scout that is required to sleep in a 2 person tent, then we have to stretch the definition of “budget” to get the weight below about 4 Lb. Please leave your suggestions, as I am still working on recommendations for lightweight, budget 2 person tents.

If money is less of an object, then check out the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV2 Platinum tent. We will have pre-trek and post-trek gear reviews to explore how this 2Lb two-person tent performs in the back country. On the first shakedown hike for our next Philmont trek it proved a bit snug, but workable for my 6’4″ frame + my 5’6″ 120 Lb tent mate. Steady rain one night proved to be a non-issue with no rain intrusion and very minimal condensation inside the rain fly.


You can sort of see through the ultra-light weight Fly Creek HV 2 Platium tent

Best Budget Pants for Backpacking at Philmont

It is not unusual for backpackers to wake to a 30 degree mornings but then find themselves at 80 degrees or higher that same afternoon. For this reason I am a big fan of “Convertible pants”… Pants that have zip-off legs to convert from long pants to shorts. Convertible pants also allow you to get dual use from your shorts, as long pants are required for several activities in the back country.

Key convertible pants features to look for include:

  • light weight
  • sufficient pockets for what your hiking style
  • durability
  • vertical zippers at the ankle to allow the bottom of the pant legs to be removed without taking off your hiking shoes

I have had good luck with REI convertible pants. They cost a bit more up front than some brands, but my current pair have outlasted no less than 4 pair of $20 generic zip-off pants. So, $65 for REI pants is actually cheaper than $80 for 4x pair of $20 pants.

I am thinking about trying a pair of these Columbia Silver Ridge shorts for backpacking, as they were highly recommended by a two time Philmont hiker.

If you don’t like convertible pants, then these Columbia Silver Ridge pants might be just the ticket.

Best Budget Shirts for Backpacking at Philmont

The wide range of potential temperatures in the mountains makes choosing shirts for backpacking challenging. However, we know there are some key features to look for:

  • light weight (you saw that coming, didn’t you?)
  • wicking, to help move sweat away from your body
  • durable
  • easily layered
  • sun protection
  • quick drying – for sweat, rain and ability to wash frequently

First and foremost, leave the cotton at home. I prefer synthetic wicking t-shirt options, but lots of folks like merino wool shirts or smartwool shirts.

Best Budget Hiking Boots for Philmont

If you have strong ankles, then less than 1 Lb per foot should be easy.

First… don’t you need hiking boots?

best philmont backpacking gear - heavy hiking boots

hint… you probably DON’T want to wear these

There have been holy wars fought with less passion and conviction than some “experts” argue for, or against hiking boots. I almost never wear shoes. My “go to” footwear are old school Crocs Clogs. Yep. The fashion absurdity that so many people love to hate. I don’t care about fashion. I care that my feet sweat like crazy and Crocs are the only footwear I have found that are comfortable AND let my feet “breathe” sufficiently. Because I rarely have even a hint of ankle support my ankles are up to the challenge of carrying a light pack (relative to my weight… I am 200 Lb and my pack will be a max of 30 Lb) in light trail running shoes.

Here is a note I received from a seasoned Philmont trekker on backpacking in trail runners:

” If you commit to trail runners, you need to keep pack weight below 35 lbs.  The soles on the trail runners will not give you the support necessary for heavier loads.  Replacement insoles may also be a good addition.  The lower weight of the trail runners also translates to lifting less weight with each step.”

If you plan to carry a heavy pack, are used to footwear that provides ankle support, have weak ankles, or are a heavier person, then you might want to look for a light pair of hiking boots that will provide ankle and sole support.

Waterproof vs Ventilated

Another area where Philmont “experts” tend to disagree is whether you should wear Waterproof boots (Philmont’s recommendation) or Ventilated.

In my experience, even the most “breathable” waterproof footwear can’t pass my foot sweat out of them as fast as my feet make it. So, after a few hours of walking or hiking my feet are a white, mushy, pruney mess… and that is a perfect recipe for blisters and other foot problems. One of the most common forms of abject misery at Philmont is suffering from blisters and other foot issues that are amplified by the grueling day after day pace up and down mountains with full packs. When I wear shoes with very aggressive ventilation I have far less issues with soggy feet, since the moisture my feet produces can easily vent through the shoes.

At Philmont it can be REALLY hot, which makes feet sweat more and REALLY wet, which makes feet… um… wet. I planned to wear a pair of obscenely comfortable Altra Running Lone Peak 2.0 or Lone Peak 3.0 Mid trail running shoes on our next Philmont trek, but found that the NeoShell waterproof exterior doesn’t breathe enough for my sweaty feet. If your feet aren’t abnormally sweaty like mine, then these might work for you.

S0, my preference is to wear the most ventilated trail shoes I can find. If I step in water and soak my feet they will probably be mostly dry within 30 minutes or so.

best philmont backpacking gear - Columbia trail shoesWAIT!… I mean weight!

Someone smarter than me figured out that with all of the lifting and moving you do when you walk, 1 Lb of weight on your foot is roughly equal to 5 or 6 Lb of weight in your backpack. So, unlike the first time I went to Philmont and wore a pair of late 1980s vintage all leather combat boots that probably weighed more than 2 Lb each, I now would not consider wearing any shoes that weigh more than 1 Lb each… preferably less. For reference, my size 14 Columbia Plains Ridge trail shoes weigh about 10 ounces each… just over 1/2 Lb per shoe.

Trail shoe recommendations for Philmont

best philmont backpacking gear - Merrell Accentor hiking shoes

R-man showing of his Merrell Accentor hiking shoes

The most frequent and passionate suggestion I have gotten is for Solomon XA Pro trail running shoes. I tried on a pair at REI and they felt pretty good, but they were solidly out of my “budget” price range. So, I went with a pair of Columbia Plains Ridge trail shoes. After a few hikes they are working wonderfully.

R-man liked the La Sportiva Men’s Ultra Raptor Trail Running Shoe and they have gotten very good reviews from Thru-hikers. However, budget constraints sent us looking for other options and he settled on a pair of Merrell Accentor trail shoes. After a few hikes he is pleased with them.

Another budget friendly trail runner/trail shoe that seems to be well liked by Thru-hikers is the Merrell Moab.

Shoes and boots are some of the hardest recommendations to make because how well they are fitted to the wearer is as important, if not MORE important, that what make/model of shoe it is. ie. I can tell you the lightest, most supportive, all around best shoes that I have worn, but if your foot is shaped differently than mine or yours aren’t fit to your foot just right, then they could feel TERRIBLE for you. Still, there are some generalizations to consider.

Blister care: We have used MoleSkin to remove the pressure and friction that causes blisters for years. However, we are planning to try the ultra-slick Leukotape to prevent blisters on our next Philmont trek.

Best shoes for Disney - CrocsBest Budget Camp Shoes for Philmont

After a long day on the trail many backpackers like to shed their hiking boots in favor of some light camp shoes that will let their feet cool off and air out. The go-to for most of our crew’s prior trips have been Crocs Clogs. Crocs are light, provide a bit of foot protection around camp compared to the more open flip-flops or sandels some folks choose, and are totally waterproof.

Philmont recommends bringing a pair of shoes for crossing creeks. I expect that my ventilated trail shoes will dry out quick enough that I won’t bother changing into the Crocks to cross streams. However, I think Crocs may be suitable for creek crossing as well.

Best Budget Backpacking Socks for Philmont

I have been a fan of wearing multiple layers of socks while backpacking for more than 30 years. Well…. that is not true. I have appreciated that having an inner wicking sock and thicker outer sock combine to get moisture away from your feet and reduce the chances of blisters… but I always HATED having to put on two pair of socks at a time.

A veteran Philmont trekker shared with me his secrets to avoiding blisters and having “happy feet”:

  1. Wear lightweight trail runners that are well ventilated (his “go to” are the Solomon XA Pro trail running shoes) and
  2. Wear Wrightsocks. Wrightsocks are actually two socks in one. Since switching to that combo he has not had a single blister over a few Philmont trips.

I reached out to Wrightsock and they sent several types of socks for our crew to test. After our first shakedown for our next trek I can report that we did about 10 miles with moderately heavy packs and several of us in new shoes, all wearing either Wrightsock Coolmesh II or Wrightsock Escape socks, and not a single blister in the crew.

I drove the Project HMMWV Battlewagon to Wrightsock’s worldwide HQ to pick up socks for testing

Best Budget Trekking poles for Philmont

The best value I have found are these Cascade Mountain Tech lever lock carbon fiber trekking poles or $45. They weigh only about 8 oz each with the rubber tips removed and are reported to be very durable. R-man used a set of these poles on a shakedown hike for our next trek and was so pleased that they are on his list to take to Philmont.

Best Budget Rain Gear for Philmont

Philmont no longer allows ponchos like they did the first time I went (if you know why, let me know). They recommend a rain jacket and rain pants. Finding a light, durable rain suit isn’t that hard. However, finding a “budget” rainsuit was looking considerably more challenging… until I found the 12 oz  Frogg Toggs Ultra-lite2 Rain Suit W/stuff Sack for less than $14 shipped! I had some concerns about durability, but have used a Frogg Toggs poncho for several years of summer camps and backpacking trips and it has held up very well. On a prior Philmont trek one of our scouts wore his Frogg Toggs rainsuit every day as his long pants and jacket and they lasted the whole trip. The waterproof coating had worn off of the seat of the pants, but they were otherwise intact.

Best Budget Flashlight for Philmont

Primary flashlight for Philmont

I strongly recommend a headlamp as your primary light while backpacking. Be sure it has enough light output for putting up your bear bag, a required task at Philmont. My current “go to” lightweight headlamp is the Black Diamond Ion (link). I picked it up on sale at REI for less than $20. I will dim this light when possible to extend battery life and use it sparingly to preserve the batteries. I’ll likely carry one set of spare AA batteries, but may not, depending on what sort of battery life I see throughout our shakedown hikes.

Key features:

  • up to 80 lumens white light output.
  • Dimmable, to extend battery life when less light will do
  • Uses common AAA batteries (2)
  • 1.7 oz with batteries

Black Diamond Ion headlamp … on an old TruGlo box to keep it from hanging off of the scale

There is a new version of the Black Diamond Ion headlamp (link) out now which offers 100 lumen max output and IPX8 weatherproof rating at a slightly heavier 1.9 oz.

I am also intrigued by the new Streamlight Bandit, which just arrived for testing. Time will tell if this innovative, light, USB rechargeable headlamp will make the cut for our next Philmont trek.

Backup flashlight for Philmont

I will carry one or two of these little keychain LEDs (link) for use in the tent and around the campsite where a hands free headlamp is not needed. At $2 each and only 0.2 oz, I’ll probably leave one hanging in the roof of my tent and keep one in a hip pocket on my pack. I normally wouldn’t carry 2 backups, but they weigh so little that I can carry extras to preserve the heavier AA batteries in the Black Diamond Ion.

Best Budget mess kit for Philmont

I thought these were a silly gimmick when I first saw them in a camping store, but have to admit to being dead wrong. These Fozzils flat folding plates, bowls and cups are fantastic for backcountry backpackers since they are ultralight, store flat and can be rolled a bit to sterilize in a small pot (meaning there is no need to carry the BIG Philmont issued cooking pots).

I have used a Sea to Summit Alpha Light aluminum spork for a several years and highly recommend it. However, I am excited that Sea to Summit is sending a Sea to Summit Alpha Light LONG spork for our next Philmont trek, as we plan to rehydrate our food in the bags they are shipped in and the longer spoon handle will make it easier to dig around in the bag to be sure I get all of the calories out of it.

Best Budget Hat for Philmont

I hike in a light weight, ventilated, wide brimmed boonie hat in the summer. I go for the wide brim for rain protection, but even moreso for sun protection at Philmont.

best philmont backpacking gear - wide brimmed hat

Best Budget Compass for Philmont

I have used this type of Silva Starter compass for 3 decades and find them light, reliable, affordable and easy use.

best philmont backpacking gear - Silva Starter Compass

Silva Starter Compass – HI Viz model

Best Budget Crew gear for Philmont

Best Budget Stove for Philmont

The old standby at Philmont for the past couple of decades has been the MSR WhisperLite. In fact, our crews have used a pair of whisperlite stoves on each of the last 3 or 4 (probably more) Philmont treks. Not sure if the WhisperLite really qualifies as “budget”, although they have been known to operate for decades… making them a long term investment type of purchase.

However, for our next Philmont trek we are also evaluating some canister stove options like the tiny, uber-lightweight BRS 3000T stove or Kovea Spider Remote Canister stove. Stay tuned as we continue to evolve our stove choice and cooking system for Philmont. Obviously, we don’t plan on using the Philmont issued 8qt pot on the the tiny BRS stove. We are experimenting with the Olicamp XTS cooking pot for our next trek, but find it is tricky to get the short legs on the BRS 3000 centered under the heat exchanger ring on the bottom of the pot.
We will also test the Sea to Summit X-pots soon to see if these flat folding pots might be a better option for cooking at Philmont.

best philmont backpacking gear - BSR 3000T ultralight backpacking stove

Weighs less than one ounce

Best Budget Water Filter for Philmont

On past treks our crews have carried a pair of Katadyn base camp water filters.

For our next trek we are likely to carry both the Platypus Gravity Works 2.0 and one of our Gear Report DIY gravity filters (based on the Sawyer Squeeze water filter) as a back-up.

best philmont backpacking gear - Platypus Gravity Works 2.0

Using the Gravityworks filter on the trail

Best Budget Trowel for Philmont

Our crew has used the old orange plastic trowel to dig cat holes (to poop in) when nature calls and there isn’t a privy  or red roof inn near by. A comment from a Gear Report reader turned us on to a multi-use item from REI… the REI Snow Stake, which is a whooping $3 from REI. We will pick up a Snow stake before our next shakedown hike to see if it makes the cut for our next Philmont trek.

Where to get Budget Backpacking Gear for Philmont

If you want new gear, then lightweight backpacking gear is available at various trusted retailers:

If you want to search for used gear at a discount, then check out this eBay search (link).


Please leave a comment if you have suggestions on how to backpack lighter.

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About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits. A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management. Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.