26 replies [Last post]
Joined: 08/02/2010
Posts: 135
back pack maximum carrying weight?

after my weekend hiking and camping this weekend i started wondering??

how much weight in a pack is too much.i am 5'7" and weigh 160pounds...29 inch waist and 42 inch chest. i was carrying 65 pounds in an internal frame pack and walked in pretty rough terrain for maybe 12 miles over 2 days...i was burned out as it was 90 degrees.

i was talking to some guy and he claimed to carry 125 pounds in elk season all the time in montana. he was maybe 5'10" and 190 pounds.(i find this unlikely in the mountains) at least not safely

SOOOO how much maximum weight have you all carried in 1 load and for how far, in what terrain.

ecubackpacker's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: NC
Joined: 09/11/2009
Posts: 1638
My guess is that guy hasn't

My guess is that guy hasn't weighted his pack. That's a huge load to be carrying while just backpacking. I could understand carrying a load of elk meat out for the first trip, but to be carrying that much weight while backpacking. He's going to blow out his knees or back at an early age. I wouldn't carry that much weight on a regular basis. He's carrying way too much stuff. Could you see the tv and generator he had with him? LOL

I usually carry about the same as you, 60-65 lbs and I'm 5'9'/180. That's a plenty. As I speak, I'll trying to lighten my load. The older I get, the less I want to carry. 

Do you have any pics? Where were you hiking? 

Location: Neveda
Joined: 07/22/2008
Posts: 234
I have carried heavy packs

I have carried heavy packs for long distance (not by choice), you just dont load up a 100 lbs pack and take of on 20 click walk, you dont put on a pair of running show and run 20 miles.

If you need to carry a heavy pack you build up to it; if you are planing to pack in 8 miles and your gear weighs 70 ponds, start with 40 lbs (if you can handle it, or lighter) and walk double the distance you need on similar landscape, use the off season to get up to your weight at double your distance then, add 1/3 more weight than you are planning.

I will agree with the post above that most people never weight the pack they just estimate then add wolbs for ego.



Joined: 10/08/2009
Posts: 110
Safe is relative. It depends

Safe is relative. It depends on a lot... past injuries, tendon and muscular structure, etc etc. It is easy to lighten up a load as far as backpacking goes. 65 pounds is quite a bit for a weekend trip but for a week it may be acceptable definitely not neccessary though. I had 30 pounds (pack weight, not including my bow) when i walked into the woods this weekend. I was planning on coming out Monday night. That is an admitedly light load and I trimmed a lot of stuff out of my pack to pull that off. 

As far as carrying meat, sometimes you dont have much of a choice and your loads are gonna be heavy. One load of a hind quarter from my bull was weighed at 114 pounds. Trekking poles will infinitely help your knees especially up and down hill. With a good pack your back should not be involved and you should never have a sore back. I worked for a company that makes Backpacks for the military and hunting arenas all through high school and i know that a good suspension and more importantly waist belt make loads up to and above 100 pounds more than possible.

Joined: 08/02/2010
Posts: 135
i figure i "could" carry 100

i figure i "could" carry 100 pounds if i had to but up and down rocky loose boulder infested 14000 foot peaks...NOT SAFELY

he was claiming that he was hauling stuff in and out of a camp and carrying meat loads and that it was "miles" with 125 in a pack!?!?


HOGGETTER's picture
Location: CenCal
Joined: 11/05/2009
Posts: 767

In a couple of weeks when i go on my 8-10 day back country elk trip i'll be packing 80-85lbs  six miles into the CO forest ( i'm 40YO , 6'-03" and 195lbs ), my two hunt partners will be packing everything else, so their packs will be around 95-105lbs  They are only 28YO and same size as me.

These packs are for going in and comming out. With elk meat i'm sure they will be heavier.

justhuntitall's picture
Location: West Central IL
Joined: 07/18/2010
Posts: 18
I have carried 80lbs on a

I have carried 80lbs on a hike in and I wont do that agian. I dont know how much I carrie when packing out elk, took both boned out rounds on a mature bull once but just a couple miles down the mountian .

125lbs is alot .

HeavyC's picture
Location: Greeley, CO
Joined: 07/19/2008
Posts: 635
Totally depends on the

Totally depends on the situation.

Last year I had just over 2 miles back to the truck in some moderate terrain and I had well over 125 pounds on both trips. It was all I could fit in an Alaskan Frame pack from Cabelas, AND all I could manage!:wink: 

Now no way I could have carried that much on rough/steep terrain, talus, scree, etc...

20-25 years ago I could have easily, and done it all day. So the guy in Montana, I wouldn't doubt it for a minute. If you are in shape and used to it, it is not a problem at all. It is heavy, especially on that really serious stuff, but to the seasoned guy, no worries at all.


numbnutz's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: portland,oregon
Joined: 09/06/2007
Posts: 3058
On average I carry 35-45lbs,

On average I carry 35-45lbs, I have carried 115 lbs for 5 miles once but its a rare thing.

Alpine_Archer's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Martin County NC
Joined: 08/10/2009
Posts: 657
That sounds like my dad when

That sounds like my dad when he hunts. He's a veteran and like to pack a giant rucksack and take everything but the kitchen sink. I tend to try and take the bare minimums and keep my pack less than 50lbs. Carrying lots of water kind of makes that hard so I try to backpack where I can purify my own water to use instead of carrying it all up in my pack. A filitration system as well as the purification tabs is aways a good idea. 

Joined: 08/02/2010
Posts: 135
lets add to the story...the

lets add to the story...the guy claiming this is 57 years old and live year round at less than 2000 ft of elevation. and does not have a labor intensive career.

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