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Pack Weight Ratios

Glenn MacGrady

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I've never weighed my gear load. I suppose it's usually been between 40-50 pounds.

As I've aged, I've cut way down on portaging trips not the weight of my packs. In fact, I've increased the gear weight with a very comfortable, full-size, 9 pound bag chair, whereas I used to take no chair at all. "I can sit on what nature provides" has transmogrified into "rocks and stumps abuse old backs and rumps."
 
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I've never weighed my gear load. I suppose it's usually been between 40-50 pounds.

As I've aged, I've cut way down on portaging trips not the weight of my packs. In fact, I've increased the gear weight with a very comfortable, full-size, 9 pound bag chair, whereas I used to take no chair at all. "I can sit on what nature provides" has transmogrified into "rocks and stumps abuse old backs and rumps."
Hard not to take a chair. I’d be miserable.
 
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I can’t seem to get mine much under 50lbs. I guess I could, but the lightweight chair, books, and the few beers etc. would have to go. I’d rather suffer a bit on the portage and be happy in camp.

Bob
 
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Different approach. Tripping with my son from 11 years, 3 packs - each 40-50 pounds - and SR17 - same. Double I do a trip with canoe and a trip with pack, son 2 pack trips. Now, he carries a canoe and a pack, and races back for second pack. I single a pack and usually get a few moments to rest.
 
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I’d have to say in the area of 60lbs, much more starts being not fun.

The food barrels usually start the trip in the 60 to 70 lbs range, get carried on their own with stuff in the hands like paddles and fishing poles, not a comfortable load for the first few days. Barrels suck.

The clothes and sleeping gear in 110L sealines for 2 (sometimes half of one of the kids things too) people generally comes in around 20 to 25 lbs and it rides on top of a Duluth pack that has the kitchen/tents and probably weighs 25 to 30ish pounds, a very comfortable load.

The big tandem boats get my full attention, no packs. They are 60 to 80 lbs. Put the spray deck and ropes on the 18’ Royalex Prospector and it’s pushing 95lbs, gets old quick but this is where my stubbornness to feel my age comes into play. I’ll pay for it some day.
The 52 lbs solo boat I’ll throw the 35 L sealine daypack on that weighs 10/15 lbs if it’s not too long of a portage.

Things have changed a lot in the last decade with three young boys following us into the bush, right now it’s pack mule mode. But I’m really excitedly for the coming decade when they hopefully come into their own on the portage trails.
 
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I've gone to kevlar boats, so with two poles, lines, and the bailer swinging side to side like a metronome I'd say that's about 70 pounds. On my back goes a 115 liter propack, with paddles lashed to the back and a duffle on top. I'm guessing maybe 60 pounds? Then I pick up my 16 pound portage cart in one hand and my 5 gallon bucket in the other, neither of which are very effective at swatting bugs.
 
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I am a solo tripper like many here, but I paddle a tandem. With my gear and my dog, a tandem set up as a huge solo is the best way for us to travel, but we are slow and have to double port.

I carry my small pack on shoulders and tump the
canoe first carry, pack comes in around 35 pounds. 2 paddles, 2 fish poles and dog mat are lashed to the canoe.

My Second carry is a large canvas bag that I tump as well, weighs around 60 pounds give or take. This is the weight I have always tripped with and I do not have plans to change … at least not for a while.

Bob
 
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Ya'all make me feel young. The last time I weighed my 115L SealLine before a trip, it came it at 80 pounds. To be fair, it had all the food for two weeks.
 
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I have no idea what things weigh besides being light, manageable, too heavy. Likewise trying to fit packs and barrels between the gunnels almost below the shearline is a guesstimate measure for tripping do-ability. Over the years my goal has been to reduce gear/food weight and total volume and number of packs/barrels. They are often related. eg. Down bags mean lighter more crushable comfort requiring less pack space. Dehydrated meals take up less space in the food pack and weigh less on the portage. These things I've learned over the years and my aging body has benefitted from. All in all I take a little more comfort on trips these days but I will not pay the penalty of more weight/volume/packs.
Comfort is trending up while weight/volume/packs are trending down.
 
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Oddly, as I have aged my packs have gained weight. Another aspect of aging requires more creature comforts. You know stuff like camp chairs with back rests, hammocks for napping, bags of red wine for happy hour and whisky for campfire contemplation.
 
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Oddly, as I have aged my packs have gained weight. Another aspect of aging requires more creature comforts. You know stuff like camp chairs with back rests, hammocks for napping, bags of red wine for happy hour and whisky for campfire contemplation.
My packs have gained weight in recent years too, but for different reasons. I'm more able now to undertake lengthly expedition trips, which generally means carrying more crap. This is quite different from the 5 day, single carry, go-go-go trips I've done when I could only find a few days off and had to make the best of it. Now, I find my trips can be generally slower paced and I have more time for triple carries, if need be.

So while it's because I'm getting older, I think it's because I'm now able to find more time to travel, and not yet because I'm getting weaker in my old middle age or that I need more creature comforts.
 
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