View Full Version : Going Heavier

02-18-2014, 09:04
I realize that the trend has been to go lighter and lighter for the past several years, and I have gone that route. I am considering doing extended trips (two to three weeks) into the backcountry without resupply and I was wondering if anyone else can offer some advice. I would plan on carrying 2lbs food per day plus winter gear, backing off the mileage, and doing some zero days. Do your legs/body eventually adjust to carrying 70-80 lbs.? Also, what packs would fit the bill ? I have read "Tipi Walter's" posts with great interest. Thanks for any advice.

02-18-2014, 09:20
Look up posts by Tipi Walter. That is his style of backpacking and has posted about it a number of times.

Pedaling Fool
02-18-2014, 09:37
Do your legs/body eventually adjust to carrying 70-80 lbs.?
The short answer is, Yes.

However, as with everything in life, it ain't that easy. I hike with a pack in that weight range, but I do it primarily for exercise, although I also take advantage of spending more time out in the woods, but a lot of my weight could be reduced and still skip the same amount of towns, but like I said, I chose to have a heavy pack.

Although, I will admit (and I'm sure all you gram weenies will love this :D) that there are a lot of times I wish I had ~30 (or even 40) pound pack. And a lot of that is from seeing all the other hikers out there with there light weight packs...(I'm sick of hearing them complain about it...but that's another thread).

The trick is to do it enough times that it just becomes a part of you, then it becomes natural. How much is enough to make it natural? There is only one way to find that out and it's different for everyone.

I liken it to my cycling (my bike is my primary form of transportation). It took years of riding before it became "natural". I remember them cold winter mornings of riding my bike from Virginia Beach to Norfolk, wishing I was in a car; and countless other miles on the bike that were just awful... totally miserable.

Jump to today and I don't even imagine getting in a car, even when I'm sick I can ride a bike. It is now (after >25 years) just what I do, it's totally natural. I'm not sure when I made this transition. I didn't even expect, nor look for it; it's just something that hit me one day.

The same thing can happen with any habit, including carrying a heavy pack. You just got to do it.

NOTE: You can injure yourself carrying that much weight, you may want to "break" yourself in. I think I was able to do it because of all my years of weightlifting, but my feet/ankles really took a beating. But that was just weakness leaving the body :p

02-18-2014, 09:46
I've never carried that much, nor intend to, but have noticed that once you start consuming your consumables and the pack weight starts to feel it's getting lighter, it is a psychologically encouraging boost.

And while you can get used to it, it never really balances out, lighter is easier, further and faster.

02-18-2014, 10:28
... Also, what packs would fit the bill ? I have read "Tipi Walter's" posts with great interest. Thanks for any advice.

If you can find them in the correct size for you, The Dana Design ArcFlex Terraplane/Astalplane packs will do the job. The Terraplane is huge. The Astralplane is bigger. Shop carefully-you want an ArcFlex model built before K2 bought out Dana Design and Garuda Tents and promptly ran both brands into the ground.
Dana Gleason, of Dana Design, is back in business building similar packs under the Mystery Ranch brand.
McHale packs will do the job as well. If you get the correct pack. They offer several models and carrying capacity.
There may be others, but I'm not familiar with them. My Terraplane will easily handle more weight & bulk than I care to tote.


http://www.mysteryranch.com/mountain-adventure (http://www.mysteryranch.com/mountain-adventure)

http://www.mchalepacks.com/ (http://www.mchalepacks.com/)

Have fun!


02-18-2014, 10:41
"Lightweight" is very relative. Sure, you can carry 80 lbs like some "experts" on here for a two week winter trip, or you can carry 65 and be perfectly well equipped. Basically the 65lb option would be considered "lightweight", at least in my circles, for such a trip.

I've done many multi-week cold weather trips, and my 65lb two week winter kit consists of these key relatively light items (this is my solo weight, when I do this with my wife, we share of course and 65 is more like 60 for me, 45 for her):

Big Agnes String Ridge 4-season tent, 4lb 15oz, palatial for one, works for a couple as well
Osprey Aether 75L pack, cut (remove useless stuff), 4lb, 3oz
Western Mountaineering 0 deg bag, 2lb 12 oz (I also have a warmer -25 bag for the really cold stuff, like big mountain climbs)
1/4" closed cell foam, full length, plus 13 ounce Neoair mattress (this combo works well, R5 total, most efficient R, any higher R weight would be better spent elsewhere)
25 lbs of food (I'm fine with a tad under 2lb a day)
Wisperlite stove, 1lb, Titanium pot w/ heat exchanger, I forget the weight, something like 11 ounces
4oz of fuel a day, 56oz total or 3.5 pounds, plus storage, I use a 1 liter soda bottle plus one 8 ounce (22 oz capacity) MSR fuel bottle. Soda bottles work FINE for carrying fuel; test this yourself if you don't believe. I filled a soda bottle with gas and left it in my backyard for 6 months; no noticeable degradation of the plastic.
Snow shovel (19 ounces, ouch, but necessary)
MHW Phantom Down jacket, 15 ounes, toasty warm for camp
Montbell thermawrap hooded jacket (synthetic insulation), my daytime warmth, layered with above down is bomber
Hardshell jacket, 12 ounces' worn over a microfleece for "normal" daytime travel
3-glove system; liners, softshell gloves, insulated gloves
etc, etc

I'll stop now, but the key point is that you do NOT have to go "heavy", though of course if you're out two weeks in winter not resupplied you will be significantly heavier with food/fuel and cold weather gear. Just be smart. We climbed Denali in 2012, 3 weeks of food/fuel and frigid-cold gear including technical gear, I started out with 87 lbs, my wife 75 (we towed sleds part way, like everyone, with some weight in the sleds). Others had 120+ pounds. They were miserable, we were merely uncomfortable, and like Starchild says, the weight starts coming down nicely.

02-18-2014, 11:24
Marines have to do daily patrols with full battle rattle; minimum combat load was 180-210rds(m16) 3qts water, all NV equip and serialized wpn gear, cleaning kit, some kind of food to last 24hrs, signaling gear, 50lbs of body armor.
As doc, I had to carry a 30lb med bag on top of that.
We had to carry this in the sweltering heat of the dessert. We got used to it.

02-18-2014, 12:11
Just don't expect to go very far, or very fast or up any steep hills. And your going to have a heck of a time lifting it up onto your back unless you have something to prop it up on at waist level, like a big rock. Plus, you better know how to lift that kind of load off the ground without hurting yourself.

Finally, you'll need a study frame pack or a pack board. Good luck!