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  1. #1

    Default Ultra Light Weight Vs Overweight?

    I fully support the philosophy of going as light and as practical as possible...

    But how many people are counting the ounces, but not counting the extra pounds which they are possibly carrying in the shape of excess body fat?

    I believe that it is madness going for ultra/light weight kit if one is overweight. It is a contradiction. Weight is weight, whether it is on your shoulders or hanging off your arse.

    I read a journal entry of a 2013 thru-hiker who arrived at Hot Springs and had lost 25 lbs in body weight. Congratulations on the weight loss, but why carry the extra body weight to start with? It would have been much easier to start without the additional weight penalty.

    Starting a thru hike when you over weight is (IMO) stacking the odds against success, the same as those that carry excessively weighted backpacks. Yes, I am aware of people who started overweight and have succeeded. But how many people leave the trail prematurely and needlessly, because they are overweight? The greater the overall weight, the greater the risk of injury and or serious fatigue. It therefore matters not, if overweight people were carrying a 4lb base weight when they started their thru hike.

    I'm just shooting the **** and my comments are not intended to offend anyone. Lightweight Vs Overweight?

  2. #2
    Hopeful Hiker QHShowoman's Avatar
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    Someone mentions body weight every time a conversation about pack weight comes up. Just search the threads.


    Here's my thought on this -- of course, the fitter and healthier you are, the easier time you will have in any physical activity. BUT, if someone has been carrying around an extra 30 pounds for the last decade of their life and has been relatively active, chances are, they're pretty well adjusted to carrying the extra weight around and the only "new" weight they have to worry about carrying is what's in their pack.

    It's a different story if you're overweight and lead a sedentary life ... but I am a firm believer that you can be fit at any size (relatively speaking...if you weigh 400 lbs, I don't care how much exercise you get in, you're not 'fit' by any reasonable definition).
    you left to walk the appalachian trail
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  3. #3

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    You can buy your way out of heavy gear.
    You can't buy your way out of body weight.
    You can hike your way out of body weight.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

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    What do you expect to accomplish with this post? Those of us with excess poundage from too many years of being chained to a desk (or in my case, often a lab bench) are not going to be motivated by having you state the obvious. We hear about it from busybodies all day long.

    The only way that I've succeeded at losing more than a trivial amount of weight is to get out and hike. If you'd deny me that because I'm not as fit as you, starting out, then I'd never have got started again, after too many years away from it.

    I'm still not at what I would consider an ideal weight for me, but I'm finally into a range that my doctor doesn't scold me about. And I'm surely not in 'trail shape' - I don't do big miles. My last clueless weekend was about 14 miles and 4500 feet of elevation gained and lost., over two days. But I'm better than I was - I enjoyed those miles, and enjoyed doing more than most of my colleagues ever attempt.

    And yes, once in a while I spend money on a gear upgrade. I'd say that, compared with two years ago, I'm carrying 5-6 pounds less FSO (From Skin Out) weight than I used to (switched from a REI Half Dome to a Tarptent Notch, and from a GSI cookset and Whisperlite to a Grease Pot and alcohol stove, and a few other odds and ends). I'm also carrying about 40 pounds less FSI (From Skin In) weight. Would you deny me the improvement in pack weight because I'm not where I want to be with body weight?

    Virtually anyone who starts a thru will, if they make it that far, be in the greatest shape of their lives, by a month or so into it. It's harder for those who start out of shape. But at least they're starting.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  5. #5
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    So, if I understand your post properly, overweight people should be carrying heavy packs? Is that right? Well, I'm glad you cleared that up for us. Thanks for stopping by.
    Ken B
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigcranky View Post
    So, if I understand your post properly, overweight people should be carrying heavy packs? Is that right? Well, I'm glad you cleared that up for us. Thanks for stopping by.
    Why the Sarcasm?

    My post is related to people obsessing about cutting their tooth brushes in two and counting the ounces, when perhaps they could be losing excess body weight (through sensible eating and exercise) before thru hiking. Its as simple as that.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Another Kevin View Post
    What do you expect to accomplish with this post? Those of us with excess poundage from too many years of being chained to a desk (or in my case, often a lab bench) are not going to be motivated by having you state the obvious. We hear about it from busybodies all day long.

    The only way that I've succeeded at losing more than a trivial amount of weight is to get out and hike. If you'd deny me that because I'm not as fit as you, starting out, then I'd never have got started again, after too many years away from it.

    I'm still not at what I would consider an ideal weight for me, but I'm finally into a range that my doctor doesn't scold me about. And I'm surely not in 'trail shape' - I don't do big miles. My last clueless weekend was about 14 miles and 4500 feet of elevation gained and lost., over two days. But I'm better than I was - I enjoyed those miles, and enjoyed doing more than most of my colleagues ever attempt.

    And yes, once in a while I spend money on a gear upgrade. I'd say that, compared with two years ago, I'm carrying 5-6 pounds less FSO (From Skin Out) weight than I used to (switched from a REI Half Dome to a Tarptent Notch, and from a GSI cookset and Whisperlite to a Grease Pot and alcohol stove, and a few other odds and ends). I'm also carrying about 40 pounds less FSI (From Skin In) weight. Would you deny me the improvement in pack weight because I'm not where I want to be with body weight?

    Virtually anyone who starts a thru will, if they make it that far, be in the greatest shape of their lives, by a month or so into it. It's harder for those who start out of shape. But at least they're starting.
    I am not denying you anything, least of all your enjoyment for hiking.

    I'm about 15 pounds over weight, something that I intend to lose before my next thru hike. My pack weight is around 11 pounds without food and water. I cannot see the point in counting the ounces (as many people do on this forum), without discussing the obvious, i.e. the rest of the weight that must be carried.

    Example: Fat guy. 5' 8" and 250lbs, obsessing about his base weight. Does this not seem a little bit insane? It does not take the brains of an Arch Bishop to work this out.

    I could have understood the over reaction, if I had posted this thread in the ladies section. Suggest that you stop taking things so personal, this is only a forum for discussing walking related topics.

  8. #8
    Registered User tarditi's Avatar
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    Dynamic weight versus static weight, too... I can carry my 3-year old son on my shoulders for a while, but the same weight in a backpack will be supportable for much longer a duration.

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    Registered User Tuckahoe's Avatar
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    The simple reality is that the reduction of pack weight is easier and provides a more immediate noticeable result.

    Healthy weight loss is a long term reality that includes deveolping healthy habits with results that are not readily noticeable, for a significant period of time.

    Reducing the pack weight at least makes it easier to hoof both the pack and the belly in the meantime.


    (And a big thumbs up to AK's post )
    Last edited by Tuckahoe; 10-24-2013 at 15:54.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Another Kevin View Post

    Virtually anyone who starts a thru will, if they make it that far, be in the greatest shape of their lives, by a month or so into it. It's harder for those who start out of shape. But at least they're starting.
    The greatest shape of their lives in regards to distance hiking shape... They will also likely have lost a fair amount of upper body muscle mass, and most fast-twitch muscle capability. Try measuring vertical jump or maximum standing press before and after.

    That said, it's all good.

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    I wonder what you'll weigh when you are 60. Wt loss is a goal but not an easy one at this age.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffmeh View Post
    The greatest shape of their lives in regards to distance hiking shape... They will also likely have lost a fair amount of upper body muscle mass, and most fast-twitch muscle capability. Try measuring vertical jump or maximum standing press before and after.

    That said, it's all good.
    Whatsa "fast-twitch muscle"? I'm a guy. Do I have one of them?

  13. #13
    Thru-hiker 2013 NoBo CarlZ993's Avatar
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    I hiked w/ a lot of successful thru-hikers that started w/ more than a few extra pounds. Undoubtedly, their hike would have been easier had their initial weight been closer to what their ending weight was. I know I lost about 12 pounds (192 to 180) on my AT hike (mostly body fat w/ some muscle).

    Excessive weight (pack & body) would increase your likelihood of getting injured, particularly in the beginning. Losing some extra fat prior to the hike would be advantageous. But, the AT (at least for NoBo's) can be hiked at a leisurely pace in the beginning. So, you can develop your trail legs & drop a few pounds as well.

    I suspect that the PCT would require higher initial mileage (long distances between water sources). I think that pack weight & body weight would be more critical than the AT.

    The concept of losing extra body fat is quite easy - burn more calories than you eat. The problem is in the execution. You can still lose weight if you're sedentary. It's just harder. If you want to weigh less, you can do it. As my old Drill Sergeant yelled into my face many moons ago, 'The range for excuses is zero meters!'

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryce View Post
    I wonder what you'll weigh when you are 60. Wt loss is a goal but not an easy one at this age.
    I'm about 20-25 pounds heavier then I was in my 30's and spending most of my time hiking or working outdoors. But I was skin and bones at the time too. Not sure if that's real good either. A 500 mile hike will take 10-15 pounds off me, but of course, it doesn't stay off. My 38" waist pants are starting to get a bit tight again. Oh well. I may never be able to use a bandana as a belt again

    A light pack helps everyone, but of course, the bigger you are, the pack is going to be inherently heavier simply because you need bigger clothes and sleeping bag.

    The biggest guy I ever saw on the trail must have been 400 pounds. He took up half the shelter just laying down. He had an old frame pack which looked like a toy next to him. This was on a relatively easy section in VA, but how he managed to get there in the first place is beyond me. And his snoring could be heard 1/4 mile away. I got there late in the afternoon and had been planning on stopping there, but after meeting this guy, I decided I had enough time and energy to go at least a few more miles and find a campsite. Others who got to the shelter later were setting up tents in a thunderstorm as far away as possible once they found out how loud that guy snored!
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    Regardless what your body weight is, a 40lbs pack is still twice as heavy as a 20lbs pack.(I am the minister for the bleeding obvious...)
    As mentioned many times you don't come across hikers complaining that their pack is too light, so I would think that a lighter pack does make it easier for more people to go out enjoy the trail and maybe loose some weight.
    Now just for fun, here in Australia at 5'8" 155lbs I look on the lean side, back in Italy next to my family members I would be considered fat.

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    Weight is not all the same.

    Weight located on your back is different from weight distributed all over your body.

    Yeah, a lot of hikers could shed a few lbs, just like the average american.

    That doesnt mean you shouldnt try to reduce your pack weight though.

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    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firesign View Post
    Why the Sarcasm?

    My post is related to people obsessing about cutting their tooth brushes in two and counting the ounces, when perhaps they could be losing excess body weight (through sensible eating and exercise) before thru hiking. Its as simple as that.
    and how do you know these UL obsessed people are over weight?
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Another Kevin View Post
    ...I'm also carrying about 40 pounds less FSI (From Skin In) weight. Would you deny me the improvement in pack weight because I'm not where I want to be with body weight?

    Virtually anyone who starts a thru will, if they make it that far, be in the greatest shape of their lives, by a month or so into it. It's harder for those who start out of shape. But at least they're starting.
    +1 Congrats on the cutting your FSI weight! I lost 22 lbs a few years ago when I was more active. Got most of it back now . Hope to get back on the trail again soon. I've come to the conclusion that my obsessing about about getting my gear "just right" is worse than carrying a few extra pounds. I just need to get out and do it.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    and how do you know these UL obsessed people are over weight?
    Reading the responses to this thread is a good indicator or the fact that most people are generally over weight (and 50), myself included, this is how I know.

    The difference appears to be, that I'm prepared to acknowledge that I am over weight, not live in denial, do something positive about it, whilst trying to lighten my pack weight.

    It defies logic and common sense (IMO), when people are trying to save ounces in their pack, when in the real world, they could, with some effort and will power, lose many pounds of body fat; mitigate injuries, serious fatigue, risk of heart attack and enjoy their hike from day one. Why make things difficult, when things could be easier?

    The bottom line is that weight is weight. This same weight that puts pressure on joints, creates health problems and ultimately has to be carried up and down mountains. But hey, hike your own hike.

    Over weight people making excuses on an Ultra Lightweight walking forum, George Carlin would just love this material, God Bless him.

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    Registered User Tuckahoe's Avatar
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    Uuummmm ok, we're all fat, now what?

    The reaction you are getting is not directed at the message, but at the manner the messenger presents the message. This is an ongoing discussion on this forum, and we have moved beyond the "ultral light weight vs overweight" part of the topic, in to the discussions of nutrition, physical activity, weightloss techniques, and so on.

    So stop being the toddler stomping his feet yelling out "listen to me" and catch up to the conversation that the rest of us are having.

    2013-10-25-07-31-09--144226877.jpeg
    Last edited by Tuckahoe; 10-25-2013 at 11:10.
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