Author Topic: Formula for working out backpack weight?  (Read 2234 times)

Beth FF

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Formula for working out backpack weight?
« on: 20:52:36, 30/05/18 »
Hello. Hope it's OK to have posted in the long distance walks section but it it is in connection with a very long distance hike...I've done plenty of day hikes but plan a long distance walk over many months, something that's new to me, and I need some advice. My question is what is the maximum weight I could carry over multiple days/months without it potentially injuring me, bearing in mind I'm a 5'6" tall female, smallish build, weighing only 9 stones. Is there a simple formula, eg kg carried per kg body weight, or percentage of body weight, or is it a case of "carry what you're comfortable with (and hope you don't injure yourself)"? I have a provisional kit list, which I am obviously trying to keep to a minimum, and don't yet have the rucksack (that's a whole different question!), but knowing whether weight is something I can train to tolerate or whether it could hurt me over time regardless would be useful to know. Sorry, I realise it's a topic that's sort of been done to death already, but felt I was asking a slightly different question to the ones I've seen answered  :-\

beefy

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Re: Formula for working out backpack weight?
« Reply #1 on: 21:12:42, 30/05/18 »

Errr... no
[size=78%]The main thing is to carry it in a good rucksack like the osprey Exos [/size]
Lighter weight usually means more miserable,
A bit more weight usually a few luxuries and more comfort
We for instance, carry a heavier tent than we could do, but have more comfort
We also carry lightweight chairs, they weigh about 700g and again they give great comfort,
Not only outside, but inside the tent too,
It doesnt take long for your arm to become "dead" when leaning on it inside a tent
Some people will advise you to go as light as possible, at all costs, sacrificing comfort so much that you would probably be totally miserable, and what's the point in that?
Your doing it to enjoy it ...
[size=78%]I say carry what you want to carry, it's [/size][size=78%] A personal choice, there's[/size]
No right or wrong way,
Try doing a few one or two nighters, then maybe try a week long trip,  to get used to your equipment, and then you can refine it with experience
Maybe replacing some gear with lighter alternatives where possible
Light weight usually means high cost,
And vice versa
Good luck

DRIP COFFINS  :D

fernman

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Re: Formula for working out backpack weight?
« Reply #2 on: 21:40:12, 30/05/18 »
You could try putting all your gear, and I do mean all of it, every last bit, in a large box and putting it on the bathroom scales, or maybe in a large heavy duty bin bag and weigh yourself holding the bag and without it.

When you've done that let us know what it comes to, we'll either think "that's good!" or we'll throw our hands up in horror.

Remember that you will also need to add the weight of your food to that, and (presumably) up to a litre of water.

I think there is no magic formula, it's down to the individual, for what would be bearable for one 5'6" 9 stone female might cripple another.

Beth FF

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Re: Formula for working out backpack weight?
« Reply #3 on: 21:58:27, 30/05/18 »
Thanks :) . Ah, I knew there wouldn't be a simple answer ;) . To give a bit more insight, my plan is to walk the coast of Britain, day after day, until I get back to the start point. I'll be walking all year round, but I won't be camping (I plan to scrounge a spare bed or sofa, or stay in B&Bs) so although I'll be taking clothes for all seasons at least I won't have to take camping kit and loads of food...which has made researching what size rucksack I'll need a little more difficult because articles assume multi day=camping.

Good idea about about weighing all my kit and running it past you. I obviously have to factor in the weight of the rucksack, but I need to choose one first. Like the sound of the Osprey Aura AG 50, which to my untrained eye looks big enough.

ninthace

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Re: Formula for working out backpack weight?
« Reply #4 on: 22:22:48, 30/05/18 »
Thanks :) . Ah, I knew there wouldn't be a simple answer ;) . To give a bit more insight, my plan is to walk the coast of Britain, day after day, until I get back to the start point. I'll be walking all year round, but I won't be camping (I plan to scrounge a spare bed or sofa, or stay in B&Bs) so although I'll be taking clothes for all seasons at least I won't have to take camping kit and loads of food...which has made researching what size rucksack I'll need a little more difficult because articles assume multi day=camping.

Good idea about about weighing all my kit and running it past you. I obviously have to factor in the weight of the rucksack, but I need to choose one first. Like the sound of the Osprey Aura AG 50, which to my untrained eye looks big enough.


You could further reduce the weight by using Post Restante or friends to resupply/swap kit.  If you read Clear Water Rising by Nicholas Crane, where he walked the mountain ranges from the tip of Spain to Istanbul, he arranged spare undies etc to be sent to him.  That way for example you could change you clothing according to the season without having to carry it.
Solvitur Ambulando

Owen

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Re: Formula for working out backpack weight?
« Reply #5 on: 23:31:12, 30/05/18 »
Can you train your back to carry weight? yes definitely and I would recommend you do as much training carrying weights as possible.


Is there a formula? sort of, I've heard one fifth of your body weight at 9 stone (57kg) that would give you a pack of 25lbs (11.5kg). Without camping kit that should be quite do-able.     

Percy

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Re: Formula for working out backpack weight?
« Reply #6 on: 05:52:46, 31/05/18 »
There 20% of bodyweight rule of thumb is pretty widespread.


As said above, definitely train for carrying what you intend to take.


Prior to my first long distance walk I wore my packed rucksack to and from work everyday.

Stube

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Re: Formula for working out backpack weight?
« Reply #7 on: 09:06:40, 31/05/18 »
As you're not camping or carrying food, even a 40 litre rucksack would be excessive. You might even get by with a 25 litre day bag. Too large a bag will only encourage you to carry stuff you don't need/use.

After all you only need say two changes of clothes, (inc something smart/pretty), waterproofs, nightwear, underwear, toiletries and a first aid kit. I presume you'll use your phone for all entertainment/navigation purposes.

Carry only what you need for the season you're in - buy others as necessary when needed along the route from charity shops - you'll pass enough! Plan where you intend to buy new boots - say every 500/700 miles. Using friends to cache spares is a alternative.

The fit of your rucksack is very important - you must find one that you find comfortable. The packing of a rucksack is often overlooked. the heavy items need to be as close to your back and as high up as possible.

I envy your deep pockets - at 80+ a night for B&B (single rooms are rare), plus meals, this is going to be an expensive adventure. Good luck and enjoy O0





« Last Edit: 09:14:49, 31/05/18 by Stube »

mananddog

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Re: Formula for working out backpack weight?
« Reply #8 on: 14:12:35, 31/05/18 »

The questions should not be what is the maximum but what is the minimum I can carry and still be comfortable


For a couple of months my sack weighs 8Kgs excluding food and water. I might up this to 14 Kgs with food depending on how far I will be between stops to get food. I am in my 60s and do 20+ mile per day on long trips. I carry a heavier tent that I need to and a heavier sleeping mat because I like the space and comfort.


I find 14 Kgs just fine over the hills, 10 Kgs hardly noticeable, I could carry more but I reckon I might run the risk of injury and getting [censored] of with fatigue.






Slogger

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Re: Formula for working out backpack weight?
« Reply #9 on: 14:23:46, 31/05/18 »
Simple answer for your size and weight I wouldn't carry more than 12 kg and that includes the rucksack food and water. It is the logistics of clothing and spare shoes and wash kit, that is your main concern so choosing the right of those items will make all the difference. Don't take anything you 'may' need, only take what you will need.

RogerA

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Re: Formula for working out backpack weight?
« Reply #10 on: 15:33:24, 31/05/18 »
I think I'd see the 20% bodyweight as an absolute maximum and certainly not an aim.

Not camping - so no tent - will help a lot.

My daughter, whos a little taller than you, carried 13kg in a 60l pack for 2 days and while she managed it that was really far too heavy and wouldnt have been happy carrying on a 3rd day.

In your weight estimates dont forget water - 2l (or in other words 2kg) for a full day - perhaps more if very hot.

Osprey is a fine make of pack and very light - but dont suit all body shapes. Make sure you get fitted for a pack properly. I'm loving my Lowe Alpine Airzone Pro although the model I've got at 35l is probably going to be too small for you.

gunwharfman

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Re: Formula for working out backpack weight?
« Reply #11 on: 16:05:44, 31/05/18 »
I have never weighed anything, I work on the principle that its got to 'feel' the right weight for me. I bought a 'light' rucksack, 48L Exos, which I find is great for the comfort that I need. I then made up a list of ALL that I needed for say a 14 day hike, loaded it, carried it for a while and then honed it down to the lowest weight that I could. I've made quite a few lists in my time and am now very happy with my lot.

For example, I use a down sleeping quilt, (no back, no hood) which is very light as apposed to my previous sleeeping bag, which was a fair bit heavier. I use a rain skirt which is very light (as appossed to my previous 'heavy' waterproof trousers) plus my tent which I think is not that heavy anyway. I bought a Thermarest Neo Air which is very light compared to the previous mattress I owned. I used to work on the idea of three items of clothing, underwear, socks, baselayers, etc, one being worn, one drying on my back, one waiting to be washed but I soon cut that down to two items. Now its one being worn and the other is washed and drying on my back. It works for me because I decided I must stick to a fixed moment when I changed my clothes each day. So at the end of a days walk, after my tent is up and I'm organised, I then concentrate on a shower, a shave and wash the clothes I've worn that day. I used to try to do this in the morning but it never worked well, tended to be too cold and too much damp everywhere. I take one pair of hiking trousers and one pair of shorts. When I wash my trousers I just wear the shorts for a short while whilst the trousers dry. I don't like wearing shorts, I know someone who contracted Lyme Disease and its something that I do not want to catch. I prefer to wear a single skin waterproof jacket (or a poncho), my 'heavier' Paramo, although good, just weighs too much. I prefer to carry water in a flexible bladder on my back rather than use bottles and I carry a lightweight water filter as well and tend to drink via this first when I can, rather than use my own water supply as first choice.

So after a fair amount of trial and error and by thinking about each 24hr cycle and when is best to do what, I have now arrived at my personal karma, where I have everything I need and its almost as lightweight as I can make it. Always room for improvement though.

scottk

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Re: Formula for working out backpack weight?
« Reply #12 on: 00:24:30, 01/06/18 »
A lot will depend on where and when you start the walk. Summer gear will be lighter but may need extra water depending on what water sources are available but winter will require heavier gear and extra insulation for emergencies. Remember some emergency kit-survival bag or similar, just in case the worse happens and you will be stuck until rescue arrives.
After you sort out your kit then start looking for a rucksack as the contents will dictate the size.
Why don't you post a kit list and get some feedback.

Beth FF

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Re: Formula for working out backpack weight?
« Reply #13 on: 11:16:29, 01/06/18 »
Thank you for all the useful info everyone  :) O0

@ ninthace
I shall be trying to make everything paperless before I go, then setting up a mail redirect to a family member for bits I miss or which cant be emailed. I'm also toying with the idea of having a winter and a summer season load, where I leave the unneeded(sp?) stuff in my storage or with family.

@ Owen and Percy
Thanks for the formula. I knew there was one but couldn't remember it.

@ mananddog and RogerA
"The questions should not be what is the maximum but what is the minimum I can carry and still be comfortable"
"I think I'd see the 20% bodyweight as an absolute maximum and certainly not an aim."
Absolutely. I was just concerned that I could feel comfortable carrying a load that was heavier than would be safe long term. In my experience of injuries they tend to be of the drip drip of body "abuse" before they manifest in pain. I want to avoid accidentally causing an overuse injury.

@ Slogger
You mean I can't take my soft toy tucan!? But I may "need" it  ;)

@ gunwharfman
I think it would be very easy to take too much but am aiming for what you do with the wear one/wash one system. My underwear is very quick drying so can't see a problem, although not sure about drying them on the outside of my rucksack whilst walking down the promenade of a nice coastal town.
My Paramo smock is brilliant when it's wet and cool-cold but no good for summer showers, so I'm looking at something like a poncho too. Also considering dusting off my camel back water bladder rather than use water bottles, so will trial that over the summer.

@ scottk
The plan is to start late September in Southampton (or close to). I have a provisional kit list but keep telling myself to concentrate on my last piece of uni work until I'm free of all that in 5 weeks. Then I will get everything out and see what a big pile it is!

@ Stube
At the risk of starting a boots Vs shoes debate, I walk in Salomon Speedcross 4 GTX trail running shoes and my normal running shoes, both of which I know I can easily replace online without having to go through the worry of "breaking in" boots (been there...my last pair were fine for the first few miles then rubbed me raw as well as digging into my ankles!)
I envy the charity shops you must've found decent walking kit because none of the places I've frequented have anything that I'd wear, so unfortunately buying cheap along the way isn't something I could rely on. I tend to get my stuff second hand on ebay, which I could still do with some planning I suppose.

RE deep pockets, the plan is to use B&Bs as little as possible to keep costs down. To give a clearer idea, my plan is to walk from lifeboat station to lifeboat station, raising funds for the RNLI and Association of Lowland Search and Rescue. I'm hoping to scrounge a spare bed/sofa as often as possible to keep costs down, although I appreciate I can't rely on that happening. Similarly with food.

scottk

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Re: Formula for working out backpack weight?
« Reply #14 on: 12:11:18, 01/06/18 »
Wouldn't it be better to start further North so you are doing the Southern part during winter? Just a thought but I wouldn't like to be walking through the far north in January/February time. Apart from the extremely short days it is also much more remote than most other places in the UK.