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  1. #1
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    Default weight guidelines

    How much should you carry of your bodyweight in a pack? What are the guidelines for children? One more thing, any suggestions on a good kids pack that grows with them or is high quality. I don't want a cheap backpack that will hurt them after an hour.

  2. #2
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    I think they throw all kinds of percentages around but I'd take them with a grain of salt.

    Every body is different and it depends on what kind of physical condition you're in.

    I'm 6'2" and weigh 170 lbs. Another man might be 6'2", weigh 170 lbs and be able to carry much more (or less) than me.

    So, my answer would be to not try to worry about the ratio but try to find a balance between carrying as light as pack as possible while still carrying everything you need to be safe and have fun.

    If you do just that you'll do fine.

    Kids are different. Are you talking about 5 year old kid or a 14 year old kid?

  3. #3
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Agree with 10-K. If you go by the usual suggestion of 1/3 of your body weight, I'd be carrying 70 pounds -- ain't gonna happen.

    One of the more interesting suggestions I saw somewhere was to carry no more than XX% of your *ideal* body weight. So if I am 20 pounds overweight, that counts against me as pack weight. If I weigh 200 pounds, 25% of my body weight is 50 pounds, but if I am 20 pounds overweight, then my pack should weigh no more than 30 pounds. Made some sense at the time.

    For young kids, keep the pack under 10 pounds total, even lighter for really young kids. 4-5 year olds can carry a day pack with a water bottle, a fleece jacket, and a whistle. Older kids can carry some of their own gear, and by age 9 or 10 should be carrying all their personal gear (but keep it light.) An experienced 13 year old can outhike me while carrying the same pack weight.

    For packs, beware of the hugely adjustable packs that claim to fit all ages. The torso adjustment really has only one ideal setting, the others will all be less comfortable. You might check the Osprey kid's pack, which has some decent features and ought to fit kids from 10 or 11 on up.
    Ken B
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    Our Long Trail journal

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    I have had excellent results with kid's packs from REI. They have a large selection for all ages. I have to disagree with Big Cranky on adjustability. My tall 21 year old daughter still uses the much adjusted pack she started with as a small 9 year old. A reasonable amount of adjustment is needed. Also, REI will readjust packs for kids as needed, no charge.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  5. #5
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    The ideal weight is a good guideline, thanks!
    And I will check both of those out.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhaddon View Post
    How much should you carry of your bodyweight in a pack?
    As little as possible.

  7. #7
    Hike smarter, not harder.
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    Quote Originally Posted by leaftye View Post
    As little as possible.
    We try to use 20% with our Boy Scouts, especially considering the physical condition of the average American child these days. Personally, I think if the average person gets over 20%, they're staying out to long, or chose the wrong gear.
    Con men understand that their job is not to use facts to convince skeptics but to use words to help the gullible to believe what they want to believe - Thomas Sowell

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    For me, 10% is barely noticeable, 15% is about right for doing lots of walking, and 20% and above reduces speed and distance. So...I have to ask myself what the point of any given trip is, and pack accordingly.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

    ME>GA 2006
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    Instagram hiking photos: five.leafed.clover

  9. #9

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    This is a good post, must be fairly new. All of the old goats have not put in their 2 cents worth yet, and none of the ultra ultra light folks have stated you need only carry 17lbs. If you are not thru hiking carry whatever you like and can carry. My pack usually is always 35-40 lbs. I am 6'2" 225 lbs and 60 yrs old. Have a good hike.

  10. #10

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    If you're new to hiking stick to around 100% your body weight...maybe got 5-10% over your weight. And yes I can back that up with facts http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...toryId=4707462




























  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigcranky View Post
    An experienced 13 year old can outhike me while carrying the same pack weight.

    .
    I agree totally with this! However, do note that they 13 year old might struggle at first. We took a 12 y/o and a 13 y/o through the SNP this summer starting at Rockfish Gap. The 12 y/o started panicking and broke down the first day when he realized he didn't have his spare inhaler and the one he had only contained 10 puffs left. The 13 y/o broke down the first day stating he couldn't climb mountains. (By the way: We are from the lower part of Michigan!)The moms carried the tents, water purifyer, jet boil, and most all of the food for the first three days. Funny thing....after that, both boys developed their trail-legs - BUT, MOST IMPORTANTLY - their CONFIDENCE! As the 9 day hike progressed, we loaded them up! lol! Note: The asthmatic finished 110 miles carrying most of the weight and walking faster than the rest of us ----but only used 5 puffs of his inhaler the entire 110 miles!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinewmexico View Post
    We try to use 20% with our Boy Scouts, especially considering the physical condition of the average American child these days. Personally, I think if the average person gets over 20%, they're staying out to long, or chose the wrong gear.
    or packing too much!

  13. #13
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    For 10-20 year olds, height in feet x height in feet x age/20 = max pack weight in pounds.

    10 year old, 4.5 foot = 50% x 4.5 x 4.5 = 10 pounds.
    12 year old, 5 foot = 60% x 5 x 5 = 15 pounds.
    14 year old, 5.5 foot = 70% x 5.5 x 5.5 = 21 pounds.
    15 year old, 6 foot = 75% x 6 x 6 = 27 pounds.

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