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Checking Backpacks for Philmont

New Arrival

We have a group of scouts going to Philmont from San Diego for a summer of hiking trip. As this is a back country experience they will be taking their backpacks (65-85L packs with gear) with them. Understand no fuel cannisters but a couple of questions; 1) is there any issue with checking the backpacks as checked luggage (basically do they qualify as regular luggage or become oversized luggage)? and, 2) when checked what is a recommend way to protect them from damage as they will have external straps, belts, harnesses, clips, etc.. hanging from them no matter how we work to tighten them down. Feedback appriciated.


Re: Checking Backpacks for Philmont

Rising Star

You can find details about check baggage allowances and fees here.



  1. Southwest will accept the first two checked bags for free provided that the bags do not exceed 50 lbs and 62 inches (L+W+H). Overweight items from 50 to 100 pounds and oversized items in excess of 62 inches but not more than 80 inches will be accepted for a charge of $75 per item. Only one $75.00 charge applies if the piece is both oversized and overweight, regardless of the weight as long as it does not exceed 100 lbs.  Excess baggage which is also overweight or oversized will be charged excess baggage plus the applicable oversize or overweight charge.
  2. Sporting Equipment includes windsurfing/surf boards, vaulting poles, non-motorized bicycles (62 inches or less and less than 50 pounds), life rafts, javelin, kayak. (emphasis mine)

More detail available here as well.


As far as the straps and securing the bags for checking go, I would ensure the straps are tightened as much as possible and that there is nothing hanging on the outside of the bags that might get caught up as the bag travels through the airport and in the plane.  I did a quick Google search, and found this that might be helpful!

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