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Man, you guys are tougher than me!!!

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  • Man, you guys are tougher than me!!!

    I keep reading these posts about pack weights and I cannot even begin to imagine humping anywhere near the pounds of gear you are talking about. What is the secret? Don't get me wrong, I am a small guy on any scale, but man, 200 pounds?!?!?! Shoot, I would love to hunt with BRWNBR, he would have an easy time toting my 155 pound butt around on his back

    That being said, I've been spending a lot of time trying different setups and adjustments in effort to dial in my Dana to help me carry more weight. I should have left the bloody thing alone because I haven't had a comfortable hike with it since, but want to try it all before giving it the showdown with the Barney's Pack I have on order. Without having tried it yet, I will probably take the Barneys for bear, but still up in the air about what I will take for goat this fall.

    So anything special I should try in the way of adjustments? Ride high? Ride low? Belt on hips or above hips? Suspension tight or loose?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Heavy Loads!

    I am about 150 lbs soaking wet so try my best to figure out ways of slimming down what I carry on my back. I have been in the process of updating all my gear so it is less bulky and lighter weight. It is amazing how much all the little items add up in a pack. A fraction of ounces here and there definitely will help.

    For instance, I usually don't like to skimp when it comes to spotting scope and binocs; however, I just shaved off 1/2 the weight and some bulk on my spotting scope switching from a Leica Televid 77 to a 65. I lost a couple pounds on my rifle going from my old Remington to a Sako Finnlight. I am switching tents and going from a 4 season to a 3 season that will weigh 3 lbs lighter. Some guys will go to the extreme of cutting off the handle on their toothbrush or drilling holes through some of their gear. In the past, I have been willing to forgo packing a stove/fuel and found it is pretty easy to go without a warm meal for a couple days.

    It would be interesting to hear other guy's suggestions for cutting weight in their packs!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by jimss View Post

      It would be interesting to hear other guy's suggestions for cutting weight in their packs!
      Some random thoughts...

      Nobody is carrying a 200 lb pack very far.

      Lightweight cannister stoves like the MSR Pocket Rocket and Wind Pro instead of white gas stoves. The fuel weight is the biggest difference, but the stoves are lighter as well in most cases.

      Food, take dehydrated Mtn House packs and similar items. Flour or corn tortillas instead of bread. Put anything in them you want. Some beef jerky and gorp for sure, but try to cut weight out of the food where you can. Drink water that you filter or take some Crystal Light sticks to add in if you prefer. A small ziplock full will last two people a week or more easy. Weighs nothing. Same goes for the new Starbucks instant coffee sticks. Taste great, can't tell it is instant. Order online at Starbucks. I just tried it out myself and was super impressed with the Columbian. I prefer lexan spoon/bowl to stainless. This stuff is extremely lightweight and durable. Just take a small pot for boiling water. But lexan is tops for everything else in my book. I like the GSI stuff sold on Campmor, REI, etc... Either way you go, cut some weight/bulk from your food items. I have yet to talk to anyone that could not improve in this area. The longer the trip, the more it matters.

      Tents, look at some of the lightweight, compact packing, 3 season single wall tents. Black Diamond has some awesome designs. I have the 4 person Guiding Light and it weighs under 5 lbs and packs to the size of a 2L soda bottle. Their 2 person models are much lighter and smaller. In the 3-4 lb range easy.

      Sleeping bags, I got some Cabelas Boundary Waters zero degree bags. Weighs about 2.5 lbs for the regular length. Great bags and come with a high quality waterproof compression bag. Throw this in a lightweight dry bag like the Outdoor Research Hydroseal bags for extra protection. They are super tough dry bags, but very, very lightweight. Got mine from Campmor. They come in about 6 different sizes. Perfect for clothes, food, gear, sleeping bag, etc.. This is an area many folks could improve on. So many lightweight and compact packing sleeping bags out there today.

      Vacuum seal items like snacks, jerky, gorp, spare socks, etc... While looking at lightweight, don't forget to also make items less bulky. Some of the items mentioned above, the tent and bag especially, pack to half the size of the gear they replaced for me. The small amount of room they take up is a welcome change. Find ways to pack more effeciently and reduce not only weight, but volume.

      Give thought to your clothes. Most folks tend to take more than they need. A fine line here of course as you don't want to ever be caught unprepared, but only take what is essential. Something to hone over several trips for sure, but this was a way I shaved weight and bulk out of my packs. Also, more expensive clothes made of newer materials are generally lighter, dry faster, and pack smaller. A case of getting what you pay for it seems. There is some impressive materials being used today.

      Don't skimp on essentials. Stove cannisters/fuel, fire starting methods, first aid kit, personal locator beacon perhaps like the ACR Microfix, etc... These are the items you are dumping the other crap in order to make room for. Drop what you can live without and take plenty of what is important. A simple, but important aspect of going light in my opinion.

      Get over to the Backpacker Magazine forum and check out the gear forum. These folks really are into the lightweight stuff. Some great ideas can be found there for sure. Most are too extreme for my taste, but you can't deny that a pound here, and a few ounces there really makes a difference at some point.

      Lastly, while it is common sense and I am not sharing anything new here, get in better shape. In the process of doing this myself. As an ER nurse, I can tell you first hand what a pulled back muscle, sprained ankle, etc.. could do to your hunt/hike. That is the last place you want to be with a seemingly simple injury. Preventative medicine is always best. Get out and train for 3-4 months before your big hunt if it is to be an ardous one. Load up your pack with milk jugs of water or similar to condition yourself to carrying 35 lbs, then 50 lbs, then 65 lbs, etc... Worst thing to do is put yourself in a position to over work yourself. This is something most all of us could benefit from. But it is more fun buying lightweight gear than exercising





      .
      The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by BucknRut View Post

        So anything special I should try in the way of adjustments? Ride high? Ride low? Belt on hips or above hips? Suspension tight or loose?

        Thanks!
        The middle of the belt should be straddling the iliac crest. The top of your hip. This is where most of the weight should be carried. If it is too low you will put pressure on the nerves and blood vessels on the front of your hips and have issues. The straps/harness are basically to stabilize the pack. If you have too much weight on the shoulders then every time you take a breath you are having to "lift" that weight with your chest in order for you chest to expand and for your lungs to fill with air. It puts a lot of stress on your diaphragm and will wear you out quick. Not to mention the muscular strain on your ribcage, shoulders, neck, etc. This is what the load lifter straps are for, the ones that go from the shoulder straps and angle up to the pack frame. To pull the load off your shoulders

        You need to fit your pack properly with about 35-45 lbs in it. I prefer 45. Tighten the belt first, the padding should be half above and half below the top of your hip bone. Then snug up the shoulder straps and load lifter straps. You should feel the pack sort of pull in against your back. You should be able to slip a finger easily in between the shoulder strap and your shoulder. You should feel enough pressure to stabilize the load but not a lot of weight bearing down on you. You may have to take if off and shorten or lengthen the harness. The load lifter straps should be at about a 45 degree angle or so going from the shoulder straps up to the pack, depending on the specific pack. Stand sideways and look in a mirror. Don't over tighten the chest strap, the one that goes in between the shoulder straps. It can make it hard to breath, like having to much weight on the shoulders.

        Also, adjusting the load in the pack is critical. Too much weight too low and the pack will be wanting to pull you over backwards, which means you will constantly be pulling yourself forward to compensate. This will wear you out quick as well. Too much weight to high and you will be top heavy and be fighting to maintain balance.

        Now, when you get 100-200lbs and it's raining and everything is wet.... it all has a tendency to go south. Atleast for me, women have it a little better, their hips help keep the pack/belt from slipping.

        Hope this helps.

        Oh, and the best way to get in shape for heavy packing.... is heavy packing
        A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by danattherock View Post
          Some random thoughts...

          Nobody is carrying a 200 lb pack very far.
          True, most of the time. I've carried over 150 out of the mountains ten miles at the end of a sheep hunt. The heaviest pack I've had was 204 pounds (weighed at Cold Bay airport) with a wet 10'4" bear hide. A mile and a half on the tundra to the beach the day after my 50th birthday. The worst thing about that pack was there was nowhere to sit and rest.
          I train with a modest 50 lbs.
          Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.
          - Frank Zappa

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          • #6
            Thanks Snyd!!!!
            That's the best explanation of backpack adjustment I've seen. I've even googled the topic before & found none as good.
            Vance in AK.

            Matthew 6:33
            "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks Perry, exactly what I was looking for!!!

              I guess I should have been a little more clearer in my original explanation; it is not the weight I am going in with that is holding me back, it's the shear strength it takes to hump those kinds of loads out! I'm not going to say that I am the greatest "weight-conscientious" guy out there, but I strive for the lightest gear that I can afford and make accommodations where I can. I'm a little guy, but I know there has got to be a way to make it easier on me and I think Snyd's adjustment regimen should help.

              And I agree Perry, the best way to prepare is to get after it! My schedule will allow me to walk to and from school every day this coming week. That gives me my downhill and uphill workout. Does anyone else struggle more on the downhill than the uphill?

              Thanks again for all of the help!
              Joshua

              Comment


              • #8
                Excellent explanation/directions Synd. A properly packed pack and correctly tensioned suspension system can make a pack "feel" much lighter then it's actual weight. One important point is to remember to loosen the straps that pull the bottom of the pack down and onto/into the waist belt when taking the pack off and to retighten those same straps after the waist belt is tightened. These straps help to place the weight of the pack onto the waist belt and hence onto the hips/pelvis and not onto the shoulders. This is for a Camptrails (Barney's) external frame but a similar system is usually present with other packs including many internal frame packs.
                "Actions speak louder than words - 'nough said"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks!

                  Originally posted by shphtr View Post
                  One important point is to remember to loosen the straps that pull the bottom of the pack down and onto/into the waist belt when taking the pack off and to retighten those same straps after the waist belt is tightened. These straps help to place the weight of the pack onto the waist belt and hence onto the hips/pelvis and not onto the shoulders....
                  Thanks for this...I was testing this exact thing (among a million others) to "lighten" things up a little. I'll give it a go on tomorrow's adventure!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BucknRut View Post
                    I guess I should have been a little more clearer in my original explanation; it is not the weight I am going in with that is holding me back, it's the shear strength it takes to hump those kinds of loads out! I'm not going to say that I am the greatest "weight-conscientious" guy out there, but I strive for the lightest gear that I can afford and make accommodations where I can. I'm a little guy, but I know there has got to be a way to make it easier on me and I think Snyd's adjustment regimen should help.

                    And I agree Perry, the best way to prepare is to get after it! My schedule will allow me to walk to and from school every day this coming week. That gives me my downhill and uphill workout. Does anyone else struggle more on the downhill than the uphill?

                    Thanks again for all of the help!
                    Joshua
                    Dynamite can come in small packages Ya, the walking is good but it's not the same as hiking up and down on some kind of mountain with a pack. Start with low weight and work your way up. Do it once a week along with other exercise. I start with no weight and work up to about 85 with a couple 100+ hikes just before the hunt. My pack/gear/rifle weight is about 42lbs, plus food and water, so I end up going in with say about 55-60lbs depending on how much food I take and how much water I am hauling. Anyway, point is after training with 80+, 55 feels light! But, my body has felt some heavy weight so when we get a ram down, I'm ready.

                    Joshua, I highly recommend some strength training as well as rigorous cycling. Find a place and someone who will show you how to properly do Squats. Not leg presses and no fancy machines, just plain old squats. Learn how to squat safely to the point of exhaustion. Squats make you strong all over and cycling really helps the cardio and quads. My core training is Squats, Cycling and training hikes. Squat and hike once a week, cycle 2 or 3 times per week and throw in some upper body strength training as well. Oh and some lunges.

                    And yes, downhill is harder especially with heavy weight when you are fatigued. Like coming down the mountain with a pack full of sheep after spend 5 days running around the mountains. Lunges and squats will help.

                    Jimss and BicknRut. If you guys weigh 155-160 and are healthy, with proper technique and training you should be able work up to atleast 250+ lb squats and be able to do high reps (like 3 sets of 10 or one set of 20) with 200+ lbs. Plus, you'll probably put on 5 lbs or more of muscle in a few months.
                    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Tell you what, Josh. Just to help you along, I'll let you pack all of our bears back to camp on our hunt in May. Even more, I'll let pack all the stuff from the boat up to the yurt. Anything to help out a friend.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I packed a 75lb pack for about 3 miles yesterday around the hills in Eagle River. It was a good workout. I just can't even begin to imagine 200lbs on the back, a I am a big fellow. I guess I will just have to keep working out.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          eat your wheaties bucknrut!!!! naw man it takes alot i get in shape with around 70 pounds humping on trails and dirt paths.... but let me tell you 70 pounds feels ten times worse on a mountain side without a trail... practice everywhere you can.. im about 160 and 5' 10" so im around your size carring a moose quarter or a sheep out aint a easy task but once you get that rush you can do it.... remember pack smart and ration everything you can.... make sure you pack right making your bag equal parts.... heavy down low and equal shifting weights on the sides light up top.... if you have weight on your hips it puts your balance in play.... never get top heavy... you fall easier that way... i like to hike with 2 treking poles to...some guys dont but i like 4 points of contact better than 2..... this year on my sheep hunt im going alot lighter than before i'm going over my gear over and over finding ways to use items for more than one thing and throwing things out i dont need... the disadvantage i have is im going solo and when you ride solo you cant count on a partners gear to back you.... good luck man.. dont worry you learn things as you go...
                          God Created Man Samuel Colt Made Them Equal

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                          • #14
                            Funny Guy...

                            Originally posted by Brian M View Post
                            Tell you what, Josh. Just to help you along, I'll let you pack all of our bears back to camp on our hunt in May. Even more, I'll let pack all the stuff from the boat up to the yurt. Anything to help out a friend.
                            I gotta tell ya Brian, I get pretty stoked when someone in my party is successful and I'd be glad to help get that meat home, but if you want it before it spoils...you may want to rethink your offer. And, as for packing to the yurt...let's hope we arrive at high tide!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks Perry!

                              I'm convinced I might never be in the shape you are in, but I'm working at it.
                              Your pack adjustment piece was spot on. After making several adjustments, I did 10 miles the other day uphill and downhill and my back didn't notice, my knees on the other hand did. I have a question concerning the weight being distributed to your hips. Should I be experiencing pain on my hips with about 40 pounds in the pack? I've got the middle of the belt cradling the top of my hip bones (which stick up and out more than normal I think). Is my pack adjusted to my distribute too much on my hips?

                              I've got all of the items you listed on my regimen already, except for the cycling. I don't have a good place to do that, but I did ride my bike to school the other day and it kicked my butt! Just a different motion and after pushing it on the hiking, it may have been a bit much. Took today off and will only do 5 miles tomorrow (more to get a paper done than recoup, but it's all in stride).

                              Thanks!

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