Saturday, February 6, 2016

When is weight of your backpack important?

Knowing your backpack's weight before you load it with gear is useful.
When purchasing a backpack, you may notice on the tag a measurement given for “weight.” Understanding a little about why this number is important and how it applies to you can help you make the best decision about which backpack to buy.

First, this measurement typically refers to the pack’s weight, not the weight of how much can be carried in it. It typically is given in pounds.

For most day hikers, the weight of the backpack isn’t a significant number. On the trail, you’ll probably carry a light load (no tent, no sleeping bag, no cooking wear and much less water and food than a backpacker planning to stay out overnight) that won’t fill the pack.

For long-distance hikers and those camping out, the backpack’s weight is vital to know. There are limits to how much a person can carry – someone in good health shouldn’t lug more 20 percent of their body weight while a fit, experienced backpacker shouldn’t go over 25 percent – so an extra pound on your pack might mean a pound less of food or water that you take into the wilds. Determine how much you can carry, subtract the weight of the items you’re bringing with you, and factor into that the weight of your pack. You may need to cut items or buy gear that weighs less – gear such as your backpack.

If buying a daypack for children, the pack’s weight also is an important factor. Lacking the broad shoulders of an adult, too heavy of a backpack can injure a kid. For elementary-age children, a daypack should weigh roughly 18 ounces. This ensures children can’t carry so heavy of a load that they hurt themselves.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.