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  • Doug Cook

BSA’s “Girl Rangers” the First Female Explorer Post

Source: Boy Scouts of America

This photo in the Philmont archive in recent years has prompted several researchers to explore the history of its then relatively unknown story…., until the recent membership changes with Cub Scouting and ScoutsBSA programs.

Philmont has taken group photos since 1955 of youth crews embarking on treks, cavalcades and other programs.

One of the photos in this story prompted a question within me.


Story Link

I had a nagging question about the lack of hip belts.

I set out to find the the woman interviewed as part of that group.

I discovered this myself on my first backpack trek that was just a few miles. My scrawny 13 year old body suffered from unpadded shoulder straps and no hip belt. My Scoutmaster had a nicer pack with these luxuries. He suggested I upgrade the straps.

What a relief. The weight to the hips changed the activity of backpacking from “endured” to “enjoyable.”

She confirmed that it was an upgrade as well. She later taught other teenagers this skill in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

This illustration shows the vector forces involved. It advocates a front pack for balance – this is from a post on one philosophy for heavy gear management for short term transport. Most would agree this is not sustainable for long term transport.


You’ll seen an exception during jamborees where youth participants can pack the duffle and daypack just off the bus, to save a second trip given the short distance of a few hundred yards.

Scouts double – packed for short term hauling at a Jamboree

Typical Backpack fitting goals


This “girl ranger” story was preceded by an article in Outdoor Magazine which prompted the more detailed story above.

Author / leader on the back row, far right, in this 2008 GSUSA High Adventure Team Trek with the Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma on the Ozark Highlands Trail in Arkansas.

Author / Scoutmaster on the far left, in this 2004 BSA Troop / Crew 850 trek on the Little Missouri Trail in Arkansas.

While researching that story, I found a 1982 Philmont Trek photo from Troop 850 in Guthrie. Most Philmont group photos back to 1955 have been scanned and stored in their digital archive.

Troop 50 / 850 July 12 1982, Scoutmaster Frank Davis

#Backpacking #hipbelts #Scouts

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