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HikerJohn
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PostSun Jul 14, 2019 8:08 pm 
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When in Philmont with my scout crew, I departed basecamp with 67 lbs in my pack-- including water, 4 days of food, tent, etc...   

But I think my record was when I was in college, 21, a fitness and running fanatic (80 miles a week?).   I was part of a Seattle Mountain Rescue crew that was supporting a film crew that was updating an old classic safety movie ("The Mountains Don't Care") up on Sahale Arm.  Myself and a buddy were coming up late, so we headed for Cascade Pass with a full load of gear-- only to find a note with another pile of stuff the main group left for us to carry.  We grumbled as we strapped that on to our packs (mine was a Jansport external frame) and headed up trail.  We made it to the pass and found ANOTHER pile of stuff-- including a 5 gallon plastic container filled with wine and a note saying the actors and actresses had be shed load--and someone in the crew didn't want to carry the wine anymore.  Don and I looked at each other, shrugged and added the load on top.  Neither one of us could hoist our packs, so we had to BOTH work together to lift them onto the top of a rock, then strap them on, then stagger up the Arm.  It took us 4 hours from the pass to the flat below Sahale Peak where the basecamp was.  I collapsed against a rock about 200' below the camp, unable to keep going, so the other MRC guys came down to help me-- two of them lifted the pack off of me and estimated I was carrying 120 lbs or more-- not including the 5 gallons of wine we had carried about halfway up the Arm before we said "screw those guys".   
Not recommended, but a heck of a story to tell after that one...
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flatsqwerl
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PostSun Jul 14, 2019 8:15 pm 
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50 lbs when I was 16 and weighed 110 lbs.
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wildernessed
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PostSun Jul 14, 2019 8:42 pm 
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60 lb in a Dana Designs External frame backpacking with my wife and two kids now my big three can be under 4 lb and in the summer 1-2 nights can be 10-12 lb total.

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Mountainfisherman
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PostSun Jul 14, 2019 9:27 pm 
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Back in high school a buddy of mine and I backpacked from the Bear Gap Trailhead on Chinook Pass to Basin Lake, I think that's around 6-7 miles.  He had been on pack trips with his grandpa's mules and packed all the kinds of stuff his grandpa packed on his mules, saws, axes, if it was made of metal into or onto his pack. It became pretty apparent that he wasn't going to make it up past Fog City, let alone reach the PCT and make it to Basin Lake, plus he insisted on taking the trail into Cement Basin which included a pretty stiff climb up to the top of the ridge to relive some glory days with his grandpa.  So we switched packs.   Weighed a hundred pounds easily.  Spent two days and two nights at Basin Lake with fish jumping and bull elk in the lake on the ridges bugling and gathering their harems.  I packed his pack out, but insisted on the PCT rather than climbing back out and through Cement Basin. Got back to the trailhead and had a flat so had to deal with that.  One of the great trips of my life.
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backpacker92out
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PostSun Jul 14, 2019 9:50 pm 
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70lbs was my heaviest...never again. Gotta save my knees for later life haha

Now I average 40-45lbs and slowly acquiring lighter gear!

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joker
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PostMon Jul 15, 2019 10:02 am 
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RandyHiker wrote:
Roly Poly wrote:
getting sore spots from the pack rubbing. 

That sounds like your pack doesn't fit well, perhaps the wrong size?

Doesn't fit well and/or isn't a good design for carrying loads. Both can be big issues with  pack weight.
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joker
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PostMon Jul 15, 2019 10:05 am 
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Conditioning, of course,  also  matters a lot. Not just leg strength; also core and  upper body too.
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coldrain108
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PostMon Jul 15, 2019 10:11 am 
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RandyHiker wrote:
Roly Poly wrote:
getting sore spots from the pack rubbing. 

That sounds like your pack doesn't fit well, perhaps the wrong size?

The problem is that the places that "fit" backpacks are doing it in a cookie cutter way.  The folks at REI are usually wrong, they will almost always undersize your pack leaving you with a pack that rides on your shoulders.  But its not just them that do that, just about everyplace I look for pack sizing undersizes the pack and then you read comments about the pack not being able to carry over 25lbs or such what - no that is because the pack is the wrong size.  I just hauled 28lbs in a pack that most people cry can't carry above 25 and it was awesome, no sore spots, no fatigue, I kept the weight off of my shoulders the entire time, didn't need to make constant
adjustments.  I was surprised after the reviews I read, but then I saw how they "fit" the pack and understood now why it was an uncomfortable carry at certain weights.

Years ago my wife learned her lesson, she took the REI sales persons advice over mine, just a short bit into our trip she was complaining about the pack riding on her shoulders and since the torso length was too short there was nothing she could do about it.  When we got back into town we exchanged it for the correct size and she was happy as can be after that.


Weird that they do the same thing with shoes - always push a smaller size - its almost as if they are trying to cause people to hate the sport.

BTW: My correct size is 2 fingers between shoulder and pack strap when fully weighted, the sole purpose of the shoulder straps is to keep the pack from flopping around, not to carry weight.  This way if you want to drop the pack onto your shoulders you can, but only if you want to not because the torso is too short..

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joker
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PostMon Jul 15, 2019 10:27 am 
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Yes. This, though, for sure puts a premium on having a really comfortable hip belt. There are many packs sold today that cut corners there for  the sake of a few ounces.
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seattlenativemike
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PostMon Jul 15, 2019 11:55 am 
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I'm 53 and I took 53 lbs in an Arcteryx Altra 65 up into the Enchantments a year ago.  When I got back I sold that pack so I would never be tempted to carry that much crap
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gb
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PostMon Jul 15, 2019 5:29 pm 
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In about 1984 Carl Skoog, I, and Doug V got the lucky break of guiding a trip up Glacier Peak. We met a group of youth who were doing the PCT. It was icy on mid-September snowfields and we ended up setting a fixed line to the summit and managed to summit 14 of 21 kids and youth leaders. Imagine our surprise (not a good surprise) when we found out that we three were carrying out all of the climbing equipment. My share besides my own backpack and climbing gear was 3 ropes, 7 sets of steel ice axes and crampons. I figured the pack was about 105 pounds (I think I weighed it) on the 8 mile hike out via Sitkum and Kennedy Hot Springs.

But hey, the pay was good. We each made $40/day, which works out to about 30 cents a pound. It could be worse. On a trek of Manaslu in 1998 we encountered a porter carrying 5-4x8 sheets of steel corrugated roofing as he walked sideways across a suspension bridge. I bet he was paid more like $2-$5 day.

I kid you not.
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Sky Hiker
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PostTue Jul 16, 2019 6:14 am 
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Went 20 miles into the brooks range on a 2 week trip to help pack sheep out with a friend and his buddy. Went in real heavy and came out a lot heavier after they both got their sheep. I know I was pushing 130+ and could only do 5 miles a day, stuff strapped and tied all over the outside of my pack. My knees a feet hurt for a month afterwards. Oh those younger days.
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DadFly
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PostTue Jul 16, 2019 1:18 pm 
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One frozen elk hide weighed 74 lbs. 9 miles.
Climbing in the backcountry in the 70's pretty much added up to 80 lbs every time. Sometimes 15 miles.
Boyscout trips across the Bob in the 70's usually started at 50 lbs. Plastic from lumber yards was the lean-to material. Rubberized rain coat. External frame pack at 4-5 lbs. It adds up fast.

Now I try to keep it at 20-25 in summer.
30-35 winter.

Climbing gear is not in the picture much anymore.

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Grannyhiker
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PostTue Jul 16, 2019 2:14 pm 
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Since the above posters appear to be male, I thought I'd add a post from the female side.

My heaviest total pack weight was 57 lbs at the start of a 9 day group backpack on the Spider Meadow/Lyman Lakes/Image Lake/Buck Creek Pass loop, with a side trip to beautiful Canyon Lake.  That was in 1987, when lightweight gear was difficult to find and, in any case, I didn't know any better.

I still don't know how I did it!  While I greatly enjoyed the trip, it would have been much more enjoyable with my most recent total pack weight for 9 days of 27 lbs.  Certainly my feet would have finished the trip in much better shape!

Such pack weights were not unusual back in the day; several of the participants in the trip (those I asked) carried very similar poundage, even when sharing tents and stove (which I wasn't).  Of course some were carrying climbing gear, too.

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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey
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melc
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PostTue Jul 16, 2019 11:06 pm 
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Once I backpacked to Surprise Lake with a group of friends. One person brought a 10 person tent! His pack was 90 lbs. He was really struggling so we took turns carrying the pack. One friend also had an infant so that made it even more interesting.
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