Re: Packing a Backpack
Bob Haar (rhaar@ALBERT.CS.GMR.COM)
Wed, 31 May 1995 14:31:20 -0400
> From @cmsa.Berkeley.EDU:owner-scouts-l@TCUBVM.IS.TCU.EDU Tue May 30 23:25 EDT 1995
> Well Saturday will be here before I can blink, so I am in the process of
> getting all my gear together for Wood Badge. I have spent the last week
> carefully selecting and procureing all the items on the "Personal Equipment
> I have been storing stuff in the corner of our bedroom and the pile has
> been getting bigger and bigger. This afternoon after work I came home and
> deceided that I better find out if everything would fit in and on my pack.
> I had weighed myself before hand, and I suddenly realized that I was
> setting myself up to carry a 75 lb. backpack. Now I'm going over the list
> weighing items and trying to deceide what I do without and what is a real
> One problem is that they are not furnishing camp tents or cots for the
> week. We were told that unless we wanted to sleep under the stars and with
> the Mississippi state bird (mosquito) to bring 2 different tents.
> Now we are carrying almost 16 lbs worth of tents, an air matteress at 3
> lbs & a cot for another 6 lbs. I 'm thinking about droping the the cot but
> my back is going to have fits with the ground for seven nights.
> According to what we were told at pre-course orientation, it would be a
> 3/4 to
> 1 mile hike from the drop off point to the course site. After that probably
> 60% would be left behind when time comes for the overniter.
> I'm not that experienced in backpacking, hiking yes, but not carrying that
> kind of weight. Should I try it ? , or should I start dumping stuff, and if
> so what?
If your personal gear totals 75 ounds, what happens when you add
food and shared equipment? Or is each person going to be self-
Personally, I don't understand why each person needs two tents. I would
suggest that two people can share one tent. Even if you are going
to set up a base camp and strike out from there for an overnight
trek, just leave a couple of tents standing for gear you are
leaving there and pack up just enough for sleeping. A tent like
the Eureka Timberline Four's that we use for all our camping,
can hold three people overnight or two people with some of their
gear for extended periods, and weigh about 8 pounds. Split between
two people, each carries about 4 pounds of tent. If you need more
space to get out from under the rain, take a light-weight nylon
A general rule of thumb is to aim for no more than 1/4 of your
body weight for the weight of everything you carry on a backpacking
trip, with this stretching to 1/3 for adults or older scouts who
are in good shape. The 75 pounds is probably beyond this, but since
you are only hiking about a mile with the full load, you can
most likely manage it. However, you shouldn't need to.
Use you current equipment list (or pile) as a starting point. Go
through it and ask yourself about each item whther you can get
along without it. If you don't *need* it, maybe you should leave
it home. Also, try to think or a smaller/lighter alternative or
ways that one item can take the place of several.
Leave the cot at home. Take a good sleeping pad instead. I like the
self-inflating ones from ThermoRest, but they are somewhat expensive.
A good foam pad can be as confortable as your bed at home, especially
when you are really tired from an active day outdoors.
Does the suggested equipment list include items like the tent that
ought to be shared with another person or as part of the patrol
equipment. If so, coordinate with the other people as to who
is taking what.
As a point of reference, we have run a number of 7 to 10 day
backpacking trips in our troop. With personal gear, food for a
week, and shared equipment (stoves, cook gear, fuel, water filters,
tents, etc.) the packs run 45 to 55 pounds. Getting down to this
weight does mean making some hard decisions about what to take,
but it can be done.
> Soon I'll be a critter, and I just hope I have the fortitude to be a good
Congratulations in advance.
Bob Haar (email: email@example.com )
Asst. Scoutmaster, BSA Troop 188, Clinton Valley Council, Michigan
Chippewa Lodge #29, WWW
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City