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Eagledad

Backpack Weight?

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Hi All

 

I've never weighed my pack in past yearse, but I guess I'm getting old and I'm watching the ounces a lot closer. Our Philmont crew met lastnight for a final pack check.

 

Without water, food or Philmont crew gear, my pack weighs about 35 lbs. Is that good, average or bad?

 

I'm guessing another 15 to 20 lbs for the rest from Philmont.

 

Barry

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That sounds about right; think our adults averaged about 55 lbs last year depending on where you're at with commissary visits and water availabilty. Found bulk was almost more of an issue; stripping all that you can out of the food packages can help a lot. Have a great trip!

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Although I am not going (maybe I'm not qualified to answer the question!), our venture Patrol is leaving for the Appalacian Trail thsi weekend. They try to keep packs, including ALL gear, to the following:

 

Adults: 48 pounds

Older, bigger youth: 52 pounds

Younger, smaller youth 41 pounds

 

Most adjustment is made at the pack weigh in, where if someone is overweight (their pack!!), everything they are bringing personally is reviewed by the group to determine it's value, and if better / lighter alternatives are available. Once that process is complete, if the pack is still over weight, common gear is redistributed.

 

This has worked well for our group over the years. The first time I heard that adults carried less than boys, I questioned it. It was explained to me that adult knees don't do as well on the ups and downs of the AT, and therefore they get a break.

 

Have fun and good luck!!

 

Mark

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Hey thanks guys. I might be able to trim a little fat off that pack if I look hard, starting with an LCD flashlight.

 

But I was just looking at the Philmont guide and it suggest 20 to 25 lbs with basically the same gear. They also suggest max pack weight to be 30% of my body weight. Hmmm, I think I feel my knees starting to hurt Mark.

 

These are great days. I love this scouting stuff.

 

Barry

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Literature pretty consistently recommends 25% of body weight as a max pack weight. That can be difficult to get to with smaller boys, but bear in mind that even with well-engineered frames that transfer weight to the hips, the younger Scouts' skeletal structures aren't fully developed, and too much weight (especially if it's carried improperly) can cause ortho problems.

 

The Army historian S.L.A. Marshall wrote a great book in the late '40s called "The Soldier's Load and the Mobility of a Nation". In it, he studied troop effectiveness as pack weight went up, among other things. His research revealed that there was a big dropoff in efficiency and a corresponding increase in troop injuries and fatigue when pack weight went above 47 pounds, other variables notwithstanding.

 

KS

 

 

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Infantry soldiers are experts at lightening their loads. Soldiers make strong judgments early in campaigns about what they really need.

 

Scouts of course are a bit different. Sounds like you are good to go.

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A good rule of thumb, as noted: your fully loaded backpack should weigh 25-30% of your body weight. Figure on closer to the 25% for less experienced backpackers, 30% for those stronger and more experienced.

 

If you're going on a very short trip, you can increase these some, but for something like Philmont, trim the ounces somehow.

 

Eagledad mentioned weight without water or food, so let's examine that. The NOLS cookbook recommends 1 3/4 to 2 pounds of food per person per day for a strenuous trek at altitude. Figure also on carrying 2-3 quarts of water per person, unless you're hiking close enough to water to be able to refill frequently. (A quart of water weighs two pounds.)

 

Plan on the stronger backpackers to carry more of the communal load (tents, stoves, and food, for example) than those with less experience.

 

- Alan

 

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It's purely subjective.

 

35 base to me is average for winter. It becomes bad if you are adding 20 to it.

 

53 pounds for a week long summer backpack is excessive IMHO. In winter maybe but not summer.

 

I average 45 wet (meaning with food and water) in winter and 30 to 35 wet in summer. Depending on where you are going will also effect the load.

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1 3/4 to 2 pounds of food per person per day

 

That's flawed logic IF all you consider is weight. 4 days out and my food bag weighs 8 pounds so I must be set for food. Wrong. I used to use that and found myself sweating under a heavy load and still feeling hungry at the end of the day. You MUST consider caloric intake.

 

You need to look for foods with a high calorie to low weight ratio. Calories and not weight is what gets you down the trail.

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Hi Mike

 

Just for fun, would you mind giving us your list for a 10 day trip. I would enjoy comparing. Do you have any tricks to shave a few ounces?

 

Barry

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Ok, this is my list for an upcoming 14 day High Sierra Trail and back again 150 mile hike.

All weights are ounces

 

Pack- Kelty Flight 70

Silnylon pack cover 4

Tarptent 28 http://www.tarptent.com

8X10 silnylon tarp 13

15-25 degree bag (synth) 53

Thermarest LE long 42 Heavy but I sleep COMFY

thermarest chair kit 10

32oz naglene bottle 5.2

110oz water bladder 10.2

PUR hiker filter 18.5

tikka headlamp 2.5

blast light 2.3

storm whistle .7

swiss army knife 3.4

Columbia rain pants 8

MHW epic rain parka 12

Pepsi can alcohol stove 2.6 (homemade includes potstand and screen)

Wal mart grease pot 4.0

16oz denatured alcohol 18

100wt fleece pullover 16.8

fleece hat 3

LS nylon shirt 11

nylon shorts 6.1

1 pair coolmax underwear 3.7

1 pair smartwool socks 3.8

1 pair liner socks 1.5

1 pair walmart aquasocks 8 camp shoes

first aid kit 6 includes matches

50ft light cord 2.2

digital camera (in case) 12

packtowel 3

-------------------------------

about 24 pounds (if my math is right)

 

The following are worn/used while hiking

Convertable pants

coolmax ss T

1 pair coolmax underwear

1 pair smartwool socks

1 pair liner socks

hat of some variety

bandanna or two in pocket

Leki cor-tech PA antishock trekking poles

Sunnto Vector computer Altimeter/Barometer/Compass/Watch

 

The amount of water I carry depends on where I am and how far between water sources. I always have 2 quarts on me but sometimes I need to carry more.

 

Food depends completely on what I think I might want to eat when packing. I dehydrate a lot of stuff so the weight is much lower than average. All in all it's very difficult to give an average food weight. On the trip this list is for we planned to be resupplied by horsepacker about halfway through so the most we carry is 7 days of food. On this trip I'll guess about 9 pounds

 

Oh. I didn't list it but I always have a map.

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Oh, if the trip was below 10,000ft I'd swap out for a 35 deg bag and leave the fleece at home and bring a thermal top instead. That drops about 2 more pounds.

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As mentioned earlier, weight is subjective. As it stands, there are three schools of thought on this subject, the weight bound traditionals, the ulta lites, and those that fall somewhere in the middle. Finding what suits one best just takes a little time.

 

My thought is to keep the load as light as possible without sacraficing safety and maybe a little comfort.

 

For myself, most of my long treks will never see loads over 20 pounds (as of the now I'm canoeing on the river for a week, and my gear and food weight falls in at 8 pounds)...

 

My advise for E.D.'s Philmont trek is to look at maybe loosing a little pack weight by doing a weekender...any non essential gear not used would be chucked.

 

As an aside, if I was doing a Philmont trek, I would control pack weight by supplying my own food since the suff they use is somewhat on the heavy side and loaded with a lot of empty calories...

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With just personal gear and no water, I would like to see that pack weight under 25#. You can save weight on clothing and raingear, really pay attention to weight on everything. Cut out things like an individual first aid kit, any eating equipment other than a plastic spoon and an empty cream cheese container for an eating bowl. The advice to go on a shakedown and leave anything that doen't get used is good.

When backpacking you have to really think about how to get the maximum utility from every item that each person carries. Be brutal; if it isn't absolutely needed, leave it at home.

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