Conducting A Shakedown Hike
As mentioned earlier, crews are highly recommended to participate in at least two shakedown hikes before their Philmont trek. These shakedowns will vary from crew to crew depending on where you are from but three-day/two-night trips covering between 15-25 miles over as much elevation change as possible is recommended for a crew. On these shakedown hikes, it is possible for Scouts to receive credit towards a few merit badges with a little extra preparation. The Camping, Cooking, Hiking, and Backpacking merit badges all have requirements that can be completed through these shakedown hikes while preparing for a Philmont trek. The requirements that can be earned from the Camping merit badge are: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9b; from Cooking: 5, 6, and 7; from Hiking: 2, 3, 4, and count towards the hikes for 5, 6, and 7; and from Backpacking: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.
In the early stages of your crew’s preparation for Philmont, it is recommended that every member of your crew signs a “crew member contract.” This contract should be written by the crew and tailored to the crew’s specific needs. Examples of topics used in crew member contracts are: exercise at least three times a week for no less than an hour each session, pay deposits on time, participate in two shakedown hikes, etc. It is found that crews who sign one of these contracts are usually more prepared and have a more successful trek because of it.
Although the campsites your crew will stay at during your shakedown hikes probably will not have sumps or bear cables, you can begin to practice Philmont’s alternative low-impact method. Here are the directions for making and using low-impact sumps and bear bags: