Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Is it better to lose weight, or decrease pack weight?


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Gabe P
(Gabe) - MLife
Is it better to lose weight, or decrease pack weight? on 02/17/2010 12:12:22 MST Print View

In terms of prioritizing, is it better to focus on losing five pounds of body fat or dropping five pounds in gear weight? Clearly, doing both is ideal.

Edited by Gabe on 02/17/2010 12:13:14 MST.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
Re: Is it better to lose weight, or decrease pack weight? on 02/17/2010 12:14:53 MST Print View

IMO body fat would be a higher priority. It's free to lose (might even save you money since you'll be eating less to lose it) and you always have that 5 lbs with you where you only carry a pack a limited amount of time.

Jeff Patrick
(callmeammo) - F

Locale: Sacramento
do both on 02/17/2010 12:28:01 MST Print View

losing weight means you'll be in better shape and things will be easier to carry.

But the 5 pounds off the pack will make a bigger difference.
5 off a 20 pound pack is 25% difference. 5 off of a 200 pound man is only 2.5%.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: do both on 02/17/2010 12:42:39 MST Print View

Yeah but buying light stuff is way cooler than losing weight;)

And more fun too

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: do both on 02/17/2010 12:49:01 MST Print View

You could do a little challenge for yourself. For every pound you lose from your body, you're able to shop for/make lighter gear for your pack.

But as to the original question....You'll probably feel the 5 lbs decrease in your pack more than you will feel the 5 lbs decrease in your body. However, as Chris pointed out, losing weight (responsibly) is the healthier thing to do, and you'll benefit off-trail as well.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Is it better to lose weight, or decrease pack weight? on 02/17/2010 13:01:44 MST Print View

If you are overweight, then it's obvious! Lose 5lbs of body fat and enjoy the continuing health benefits.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Is it better to lose weight, or decrease pack weight? on 02/17/2010 13:02:55 MST Print View

Losing 5 lbs of fat is 5 lbs that you never have to carry, don't have to hydrate, don't have to keep warm, don't have to protect from the rain, doesn't cost money, makes you look better, etc.

Where losing body and pack weight may both allow you to need less food and water, albeit to varying degrees, losing weight allows you to wear smaller lighter clothing.

Jeremy Greene
(tippymcstagger) - F

Locale: North Texas
Bragging rights? on 02/17/2010 13:09:50 MST Print View

Lose pack weight = bragging rights on BPL, but anyone else will respond with that why-are-you-talking-to-me look.

Lose bodyfat = higher status all over western civilization, perhaps to the point where your groupies will carry your heavy pack for you.

Also a little of that body weight will be from your swinging legs and arms and therefore make a slightly bigger difference than pack or belly weight. If you've already swapped out your socks for cuben and your wedding ring for a tattoo, definitely go for the body weight loss.

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Is it better to lose weight, or decrease pack weight? on 02/17/2010 13:15:24 MST Print View

Losing body weight will take stress off of your body, leaving you more likely to be in the mood to strap on a pack and go for a walk.

Jay Bonzani
(UltraBound) - F

Locale: NE Oregon
Is it better to lose weight, or decrease pack weight? on 02/17/2010 13:25:57 MST Print View

Isn't the sites motto "pack less be more". Does this point towards droping the pack weight?

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Is it better to lose weight, or decrease pack weight? on 02/17/2010 13:41:06 MST Print View

Both at the same time.

I doubt anyone is going to argue that losing weight and/or becoming more physically fit is not going to help you on the trail.

Why think of it as one before the other?

When taking on any physical activity isn't it about making sure that you have the right gear to keep you safe and comfortable, as well as making sure that you are physically up to the challenge to complete it safely?

For me, skinny dude that I am, going lighter has allowed me to take on longer and more difficult trips....however, I worked my way up to those longer trips by taking the shorter ones to get experience with my skills and to provide myself with some conditioning.

Maybe we can look at it in terms of going lighter might help motivate or make it possible to just get out there vs. carrying a traditional 35-50 lb load for a weekend, which in turn helps someone get into shape and lose some weight?

So my answer is do both at the same time.

Exercise by itself sucks....I have a Stairmaster and a full weight machine, which make great clothing hangers for airing out my clothing & sleeping bag after a trip. :)

As my friend, Jeremy, has told me, "The only way to train for climbing mountains is to climb mountains".

-Tony

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: do both on 02/17/2010 14:18:46 MST Print View

> losing weight means you'll be in better shape and things will be easier to carry.
The health benefits are undeniable.

> But the 5 pounds off the pack will make a bigger difference.
> 5 off a 20 pound pack is 25% difference. 5 off of a 200 pound man is only 2.5%.
That is not really the whole story. 5 lb off anywhere is 5 lb off your feet and legs.
5lb off a 20 lb pack may be 25%, but 5 lb off a 50 lb pack is only 10%. Statistics like this are of questionable value! That said, 5 lb off your back is of course nice.

Cheers

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: do both on 02/17/2010 14:23:56 MST Print View

But since you wear the pack its only 5lbs off the total of pack and body anyway. Even smaller percentage...

Losing weight isn't free- gotta buy smaller pants!

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Re: Re: Re: do both on 02/17/2010 14:33:09 MST Print View

"Losing weight isn't free- gotta buy smaller pants!"

I'm hanging onto my big pants! I don't mind carrying a few extra oz. in pant fabric after losing 30 lbs, much cheaper.

I think I'm stuck on losing pack and body weight, at least w/o REAL sacrifice.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: Re: do both on 02/17/2010 14:38:14 MST Print View

Losing weight isn't free- gotta buy smaller pants!

Maybe so, but if you're desperate to drop ounces on a thru-hike, you can always break out a sewing needle and scissors and do it for next to nothing.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Is it better to lose weight, or decrease pack weight? on 02/17/2010 17:47:55 MST Print View

Five pounds in the pack. The weight is probably going to be concentrated on your shoulders. Five pounds off the body is going to be distributed everywhere, so you will feel the difference in the pack.

But to take this discussion further, the goal should be a healthy body mass. Get your whole body in shape, along with light weight gear and you can do amazing things. Since I am in good physical condition and using the lightest gear possible, I can travel twice as far in a day with less fatigue than I could 40 years ago!! I have a son who runs 100 miles a week and is in phoenomial shape, but it is easy for me to keep up with him, and I am less fatigued because my gear weight is at least 1/2 of his.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: do both on 02/17/2010 18:06:43 MST Print View

> Statistics like this are of questionable value!

63.8% of all statistics are made up on the spot

and

IMHO, five pounds less body fat is way cooler than same pack reduction. You don't always carry a pack like you must with your jelly belly.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: do both on 02/17/2010 18:19:35 MST Print View

"63.8% of all statistics are made up on the spot"

I've always considered it a branch of accounting, where the operating principle is well expressed by the following Q & A:

Q. What is 2 plus 2?

A. What do you want it to be.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Is it better to lose weight, or decrease pack weight? on 02/17/2010 18:50:35 MST Print View

Yes.

Robert Recinos
(rgrrecinos) - F

Locale: Redwood City
Re: Re: Is it better to lose weight, or decrease pack weight? on 02/17/2010 23:00:35 MST Print View

>losing weight means you'll be in better shape and things will be easier to carry.

Well losing weight doesn't generally mean you will be in better shape (you have to work at getting in physical shape), you will just weight less.

I know people who lose weight but are still weak. It all depends on what you do to loss that 5 pounds of weight. Also remember as you build muscle you loss fat and you will eventually gain back that 5 pounds but it will be 5 pounds of muscle, but you will be stronger.

So do physical training to loss that weight and raise your VO2 max and you will increase your preformance and your health at the same time. Good luck.