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TOPIC: Backpacks

Backpacks 29 Apr 2011 20:34 #2773

I have been having issues trying to explain to new hikers coming with me to the Berg the importance of making a backpack as light as possible, apparently they don't catch the difference that the 200 gram book they are currently reading makes over a 2 or 3 day hike (they also don't seem to realise that they will be so tired that they will not want to read it, or the fact that they may alert locals to our possition by reading it at night). After discovering that 3 guys in a group of 4 (me being the 4th) had brought custard and a full packet of melie meal on a 2 day hike up Langalibalele Pass, and then persisted to complain about how heavy their packs were (and insist that the tent which we will all sleep in is entirely my problem to carry), I have come up with a new device to illustrate the actual effects of 200 grams on a backpack. I call it the tons per hour ratio.

The assumption is that a fairly slow hiker will walk just over 3 kms in 1 hour, taking about 3 steps per metre and therefore say 10 000 steps per hour. Every gram in a pack is lifted and dropped by each footstep taken and therefore every gram carried needs to be multiplied by 10 000 to get its weight per hour. On this assumption, a 200 gram book will add 2 tons per hour to a backpack (that is a scary thought!). So basically carrying that book in a backpack on a day when 12km of hiking happens is the same amount of work as taking 4 hours to move a 1 ton car 2 footsteps from where you started, by actually picking it up and moving it! And thats before you take into account the fact that your backpack itself probably weighs about 2.5kgs!

I plan to test this explanation next time I plan a hike, this after having just failed to climb Popple Peak on my 3rd attempt this year after having a group of 2 people and the other guy not being nearly as fit as I thought (the plan having been go from Giant's Castle camp to Judge pass, camp there on night 1, climb the pass on day 2, climb Popple and the Judge, come down Corner pass, camp at the base and walk back to the car park on day 3, it ended up being hike to Bannerman Hut, climb the Bannerman Pass on day 2, turn around at the top due to taking too long to get up the pass (4h30 to climb a 3km pass is not acceptable, neither is the 5h to get back down!) and spend night 2 back in the hut, fortunately we said in the mountain register that we may use Bannerman Pass in an emergency, so they might have looked for us there if something went wrong)...
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"It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him." J R R Tolkien
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Re: Backpacks 03 May 2011 11:50 #2784

I agree with you. The weight of your back pack is very important and I like the way you have rationally worked it out. I saw two youngsters at Cobham recentley head out with very heavy backpacks. They were very eager to stuff as much as they could in their packs and they bragged at who's was heavier and I had to chuckle. They had big smiles on their faces as they ventured out but those would have turned to grimaces after about 10 Km. I really wanted to help them but felt they should learn the hard way as I did many years ago.
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Re: Backpacks 03 May 2011 14:22 #2787

I recently bought a 45l pack...did a packing test run at home and reckon I'm good for a good 2-3 day berg trip...It forces you to only take what you need and think carefully about food and clothing. Now all I need is a trip to test it :-). @ghaznavid...your "tons per hour" device is a gem!!
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Re: Backpacks 05 May 2011 22:53 #2810

Don't forget to add the 6-8kg of camera gear. That tends to require a slightly bigger pack, i usually use a 65l pack, then i can pack the camera and other gear away when it starts to pour.
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Re: Backpacks 06 May 2011 05:42 #2812

Ok so lets hear it. What would you guys say your average backpack weight is? Mine usually ranges from 16.5kg - 18.5kg
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Re: Backpacks 06 May 2011 06:53 #2813

Mine was 19kg when we did the Sentinel to Cathedral hike (65liter), my wifes one was about 11kg (38 liter). I will definitely be leaving a few things I took that trip ... need lighter sleeping bags ...
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Re: Backpacks 06 May 2011 07:37 #2814

Probably about 20-25kg depending on trip length. I enjoy good food and wine in the mountains and usually carry the lion's share for my wife.
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Re: Backpacks 06 May 2011 15:10 #2817

Mine was up around 23/24 kgs. Never again. Way to much stuff I didn't really need...I've found a smaller sleeping bag in the cupboard (snug pack merlin3 I think it is) and going to get a set of proper thermals (HHs). Noted what I had left over when I got back after my last 4 day hike to help decide what to pack (not to pack) next time. My heaviest was 32 kgs, but that was just stupid! Too much camera gear. Aiming for around 17 kgs next time...
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Re: Backpacks 07 May 2011 12:52 #2818

I aim to keep mine around 17kg but for the GT carrying for 6 days i was at 20Kg with water and i must say i was carrying a lot of fresh food, i knew to keep my moral up, good food would definitely help so i did not use a lot of back country.
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Re: Backpacks 09 May 2011 07:32 #2819

Firstly are you talking summer or winter? Secondly length of hike? And how heavy are you?
Summer 3 days - 10kg or less
Winter 3 days - 14kg last time and that was more than I had wanted.
I weigh 70kg.

In terms of others with heavy packs....

Its simple, you begin the trip by picking up everyones pack, yours generally is about 5 to 10kg lighter. If they refuse to remove weight you help them.... On my last hike I took 4 newbies, they each had 85l with 20l expandable packs full to the brim for three days..... I could hardly pick them up. I removed more than half the packs weights to what I thought they needed, much grunting and moaning occured. I them said they could choose one luxury item....

On the hike we found the one member was far less fit than the rest and that one of the newbies had far to much energy. The less fit guy had half his pack moved to the overkeen individual.. problem solved.

This worked well until the last day when I had to take on quite a bit more weight for a steep decent. Was okay though.

My question is mountaineering, ie, ropes, harness, cams, etc. How much weight do you carry then? Seems like things get very heavy fast...
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Last Edit: 09 May 2011 07:35 by Frosty Ice.
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