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Exaggerated pack weights????
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Craig Nadeau
(TacticalMountain) - MLife
Exaggerated pack weights???? on 11/07/2012 10:35:26 MST Print View

Okay, here is a pet peeve on mine - maybe someone can shoot me down and straighten me out.

How is it that on a 6 day WestCoast Trail trip I had on a 40# pack. I was not even trying to be light. I had about 2# more food than I needed, I carried the whole 2 man tent, I had my cell phone with me and a solar charger. I even carried the cooking gear. My wives pack was 30#. We had umbrellas and a water filter. I had 2 bear bags. I wasn't carrying an extra sleeping bag, firewood or a cast iron pan.

So when I hear stories about hikers with 65# packs or even 75# packs, what in the world are people finding to put into their packs? I think like so many things in life we love to exaggerate size and weight. One lady we were with was completely convinced that her pack was over 45# and she told everyone just that. I lifted it once for her and it was certainly not 45#.

Well from now on if anyone asks I only carry either an 8# pack or a 75# pack....

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Exaggerated pack weights???? on 11/07/2012 11:05:49 MST Print View

"So when I hear stories about hikers with 65# packs or even 75# packs, what in the world are people finding to put into their packs?"

It all adds up:

Heavier Big 3: pack, tent, sleeping bag
Heavier sleeping pads and ground cloths
More and heavier clothes, lots of spares, camp shoes
Big cook pots, heavier stoves, more eating gear like a cup, bowl, plate, knife/fork/spoon, gadgets like French press coffee makers, heavy grills, salt and pepper shakers
Big filters-- like a First Need at 16oz vs a Sawyer at 3oz, heavy water bottles
More toys: binoculars, SLR cameras, tripods, radios
Tools: hatches, axes, saws, shovels, multi-tools, large knives, machetes, big flashlights
Full bottles of insect repellent, sunscreen, soap, etc
Big first aid kits
Heavy food items and excess water
Camp chairs
Big rope bundles
Poly tarps (in addition to tents)

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Re: Exaggerated pack weights???? on 11/07/2012 11:26:13 MST Print View

Golf cart

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
"Exaggerated pack weights???? on 11/07/2012 13:08:44 MST Print View

While I wonder how anyone could end up with as much as 40 lbs. for a 6-day trip. My pack for 6 days (solo) is half that. On the other hand, back in the 1980's I was staggering around the North Cascades under a 50 lb. pack. It's all relative! We take what we think we need.

Daniel Russell

Locale: Creation
Its definitely possible.... on 11/07/2012 13:33:59 MST Print View

This is my buddy (he has never heard of UL backpacking) on a 3 day trip, yes 3-day! He is 6'1"
210lbs for reference of how gigantic his pack was. I felt overpacked with my 35 liter pack that ended up weighing 18lbs with my food. I'd say his weight right around 65-60lbs and he had a smaller backpack on his chest. Temps around 20f at night.


Edited by Superfluous_Grizzly on 11/07/2012 13:35:44 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Exaggerated pack weights???? on 11/07/2012 14:20:29 MST Print View

> what in the world are people finding to put into their packs?
Well, 50 m of climbing rope, a full rack of pro, ...
2 weeks food, a very large machete ...
Been there, done that - it was 70 lbs at the start.


Philip Delvoie
(PhilipD) - MLife

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Exaggerated pack weights????" on 11/07/2012 14:28:38 MST Print View


Love that picture of your buddy with the pack....impressive load that is for sure. I cringed when I noticed his footwear choice with that monster. Hopefully he had steaks and beer tucked away in there somewhere.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Exaggerated pack weights????" on 11/07/2012 15:35:40 MST Print View

Note the extra shoes tucked in the side. I hurt just looking at that setup.

What in the world did he have in there? Is that a Stanely builder's level hanging out the front?

Edited by dwambaugh on 11/07/2012 15:36:46 MST.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Exaggerated Pack Weights??? on 11/07/2012 16:00:23 MST Print View

Come on Man! Look at all of his stuff...

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Easy... on 11/07/2012 16:08:27 MST Print View

Are we talking about nowadays or times past?

When I first started backpacking it was not uncommon for people to do 14 day trips without re-supply. And 2 lbs per day of food was not considered too much. Add a couple quarts of water and you have 32 lbs right there.

Now add a 20 lb base weight (some folks consider this "lightweight"), and you are at 52 lbs.

BTW, I think 40 lbs for 6 days is heavy unless you need to carry a gallon of water in the desert :)

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Exaggerated Pack Weights??? on 11/07/2012 16:54:44 MST Print View


Seriously? Your friend needs help in a bad way. I wouldn't even step foot onto the trail with him had I been in your position. In light of that recent article going around musing on the current state of "UL" validity, images like that of your friend make me cringe a bit. Obviously, his load is beyond heavy, it is is borderlining stupid. No, it is stupid. Five Finger shodded to top it off? Goodness...

I have to ask, was he proud of his ability to carry all that weight?

Raquel Rascal

Locale: Rocky Mtn. West
@Daniel on 11/07/2012 17:00:58 MST Print View

The entire thing is a mess! Ha ha...the jeans/cotton hoody around the waist/vibrams combo is a trip!

You should let your friend see this thread and the laughs we are having at his expense.

I'm so thankful for BPL.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
re: Exaggerated pack weights???? on 11/07/2012 17:02:35 MST Print View

Aside from the obvious weight of his pack, why is he wearing jeans and why does he have a sweatshirt/jacket wrapped around his waist, under his waistbelt?

We here at BPL can argue the finer points of merino vs. polyester, but anyone can buy at least basic nylon or polyester clothing and fleece at Target, WalMart, T J Maxx, Ross, etc. for cheap.

Doh! Raquel beat me to it!

Edited by saparisor on 11/07/2012 17:04:20 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: re: Exaggerated pack weights???? on 11/07/2012 17:37:10 MST Print View

A whole generation backpacked with blue jeans and cotton T shirts. Guess someone forgot to tell them that "cotton kills."


Mike Bozman
(myarmisonfire) - M

Locale: BC
When I was on the WCT... on 11/07/2012 18:29:15 MST Print View

Beer. That is one reason that I found a lot of people have dang heavy packs on the WCT! Whether that adds up to an extra 20 pounds or not is debatable. Axes where another reason.

Nathan Stuart

Locale: Hunter Valley - Australia
spirit level on 11/07/2012 20:17:08 MST Print View

I have mates that lug huge packs, They just double up on things "just in case" that clearly they have never used. Apparently going bush means huge packs and no comfort, everything will break and you will die without backup. Also the comments on full bottles of this and that, yep, seen that. SLR's, big Bino's, large cheap synthetic sleeping bags rated to -20°C. Ah I just cringe.
Sad thing is a lot of the people I've crossed with huge packs are on a school trip and quite young. I'm sure it ends up there first and last backpacking trip. I know that's mentioned a lot on here.

Man I've seen some junk lugged bush but a spirit level ??? Man that's just funny.

Out of interest was it to get a hammock level or something ??

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: re: Exaggerated pack weights???? on 11/07/2012 20:40:54 MST Print View

I agree with Nick. Blue jeans are completely fine for backpacking if there is no precipitation. And rain pants solve that. They are also heard wearing and durable. Obviously there are much better options out there, but it's still fine.

I have seen some crazy heavy packs on bushcraft forums. Some people really love the old Alice packs, which are probably like 7 pounds. Then there are the old military sleep systems which can weigh up to 10 pounds for the winter set up. Then some people will pack large axes, which are only useful in cold/wet or winter conditions, in perfect weather. Some people will also carry multiple pieces of cookware, like 2 large pots and a large frying pan.

Alex Eriksson

Locale: Austin, TX
Re: Its definitely possible.... on 11/07/2012 20:57:19 MST Print View

I love that in the background there's a guy (forgive me if this is one of you) lookin' a bit portly, but who's carrying a pack small enough that you can't even see it peaking up over his shoulders. Ironically said guy will probably walk twice as fast and have just as enjoyable a time if not more so, carrying 1/3 the weight.

Seriously though, a builder's level?! That takes the cake. That even bests my girlfriend and buddy who each carry machetes in case of zombies (or in case I'm getting mauled and they figure they can fend off said big cat by accidentally lopping off one of my arms).

Btw I wish I were kidding about the zombies part...... it's endearing if nothing else, and hey the giggles I get seeing a lightweight Osprey pack with a machete lashed to the side, deep in the heart of Austin Texas's denses subtropical rain forests, weigh nothing.

Edited by aeriksson on 11/07/2012 21:57:49 MST.

Rob Lee
(roblee) - MLife

Locale: Southern High Plains
Re: Re: Its definitely possible, but.... on 11/08/2012 21:42:02 MST Print View

From 1969-75 we did a lot of mid-altitude Sierra trips of 5 days. External frames, Svea 123s, canteens, Lowa Alspitz boots, spinning reels, but only tube tents, very little water, and no filters. We always bemoaned our "50 pound" packs. Then one day we actually weighed them. The heaviest was 33 pounds. The only guy that got close was a Coca Cola junkie who wanted to make a statement by never buying non-returnable drink containers (the ban-the-can movement was popular in Sacto then). He took a 6 pack of bottled Coke into Desolation and, of course, packed out the empties. He didn't offer to share and we didn't offer to help carry.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Mostly laundry on 11/08/2012 21:52:11 MST Print View

These kids were out for the weekend. Short hike into established campground. Set up their tents and soon reappeared all redressed in sweats and fleece. Not so heavy, but does take up a huge amount of room along with that synthetic filled, flannel lined sleeping bag and a real pillow will put you into a pack like dudes above real quick. But everything is fully lofted looks like.