Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » No Hip belt - conditioning?


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Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
No Hip belt - conditioning? on 03/07/2012 17:17:01 MST Print View

I have heard some people say they carry loads up to 20 lbs with no hip belt. Personally, my shoulders would get sore that way. Do you condition yourself for that sort of thing? If so, I might deal with some sore shoulders at first if it meant ditching the hip belt.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: No Hip belt - conditioning? on 03/07/2012 17:30:10 MST Print View

The whole point of lessening pack weight is to increase carrying comfort and ease. To me, I don't see the point of conditioning or toughening up my shoulders just so I can lose a few ounces of hip belt weight. Heck, even for two whole pounds of weight savings, I don't bother toughening up my feet and hike shoeless.

Having said the above, if your pack weight is light enough that you can hike comfortably without a hip belt, then lose the belt by all means. But not if doing so results in discomfort that you have to toughen yourself to overcome.

Edited by ben2world on 03/07/2012 17:30:54 MST.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
sans hipbelt on 03/07/2012 17:40:12 MST Print View

I've done a couple weekend trips with no hipbelt and found it comfortable- ample shoulder padding and fit are key. I would leave the small waistbelt on my MLD Burn unbuckled and only secure it around my waist on sketchy exposed sections or loose conditions where I wanted a secure load on my back.

I didn't "conditon" my body to use a pack w/o hipbelt. I think 20lbs is about the threshold for me typically, ideally anything above 15lbs for more than a few days a hipbelt, even a flimsy one, improves carry comfort for long hiking days.

You're probably going to get a few folks who will argue that you cannot carry a pack comfortably at that weight without a hipbelt, but there are many who do just fine.

Stephan Doyle
(StephanCal)
Re: No Hip belt - conditioning? on 03/07/2012 17:59:49 MST Print View

It's all about fit. Sternum strap goes a long way.

I buckle my hip belt about 10% of my time hiking. It gives my shoulders and back a bit of a break, then I go back to using without as it's generally more comfortable.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: No Hip belt - conditioning? on 03/07/2012 18:42:31 MST Print View

Part of my curiosity about this comes from people in the past wearing packs without hip belts and carrying quite a lot of weight. I have seen pictures of soldiers in vietnam carrying the medium alice packs without the frames and hip belt, most likely with a lot of weight (ammo, water, grenades), even cutting the belt of the frame when carrying full loads (so they can ditch the pack faster). Also, the old canvas packs were like that too, and when you consider how heavy wool blankets and cavans tarps are it makes you wonder if your shoulders can be conditioned to carry a lot of pack weight.
By the way, I am skinny and my shoulders are pretty boney, which probably makes it worse. Even a super thin hip belt helps a lot.

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Alaska
Re: sans hipbelt on 03/07/2012 18:46:24 MST Print View

I agree with Eugene, once I get to around the 20 lb mark, a hipbelt really improves carrying comfort and stability.

I also think it has quite a bit to do with your body type. People with broad, muscular shoulders would probably have a different carry comfort threshold than those with bony shoulders (i.e., me).