Re: back packing
Robert Haar (rhaar@RUST.NET)
Sat, 9 Aug 1997 05:07:59 -0400
> From: Rosamond -Rusty- Taylor <rtaylor@SILVERLINK.NET>
> well, we are off for a three day trip into the Olympic Mountains, and my
> pack wieghs 55# and this really bothers me (the idea, not having to haul
> the weight, if you understand what I mean)
Does that include shared troop equipment? Food? Water?
> 1. is 55# for a three day trip in the normal weight range?
IMO - that is way too much. I get by with more like 35 pounds for a 3 day
trip and 50 pounds max. For 10 days on the trail at Philmont, our packs
ran about 45 pounds with food, water and troop equipment.
It depends somewhat on the difficulty of the hiking - terrain, altitude
etc., and on the physical condition of the hikers.
> 2. do most of you use the 25% of body weight figure for figuring pack
> weights? is this number pretty well accepted? (except by those who have
> haul the pack!)
The "rule of thumb" that I have often seen is that one quarter of body
weight is the
recommended Max and one third is the absolute max. For youth, I would
recommend staying with the lower limits (even though their body weights
are less than most of us in the "Rocking Chair Patrol" (I saw that term in
a recent post and love it.)
> 3. what do you do with younger Scouts who don't weigh a lot, but have
> essential gear that pushes them over the limit? (this time, my older boy
> and I split up his gear).
This is a real concern. As inexperienced backpackers, they tend to take the
sink. There is also a tendency for them to play "macho" games and not want
admit that they are having difficulty carrying their load.
When I am the adult leader for a backpacking trip with inexperienced
I conduct a pack inspection where we distribute the shared stuff, check for
essentials, and remove unneeded items.
There are many good books on backpacking with ideas on how to reduce pack
My personal favorite is Colin Fletcher's "The Complete Walker." Go to a
check out some of them.
There are two basic approaches to reducing pack weight - take fewer things
for everything you do take, use light weight versions.
You can spend a lot of money buying special light weight versions of
from a specialized backpacking store or catalog outfit. In general, you can
almost as well just using common sense and ingenuity. One place were I
suggest that you get specialized equipment is the cooking area. Modern
stoves are lightweight miracles and the difference between backpacking pots
and the typical patrol cooking equipment is significant.
One way to reduce the number of things you take is to take multi-use items.
especially true for clothing. Think in terms of layering. The jacket of a
rain suit (as
opposed to a poncho) can be used as a wind jacket and the top layer of cold
One technique for developing your own list of what to take is to write
down everything in your
pack. When you get back, put a check mark by everything that you actually
used. Do this
for a couple of trips. Anything that doesn't get used - leave at home.
Exempt from this
those emergency items that you carry for "what if" situations, but think
about what you really need there.
I have a check list of backpacking gear. I don't have it right at hand, but
I can post or email
it if you wish.
Robert Haar email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ASM, BSA Troop 188, Rochester Hills, MI
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City