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#101819 - 08/06/07 11:37 PM Day hike pack weight.
samhain Offline

Registered: 11/30/05
Posts: 598
Loc: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Hey gang,

When you go out on a day hike, how much on average does your pack weigh?

I just went on a hike in Tunica Hills (S Mississippi)to break in my new pack and try to regain some sanity this weekend, and my pack weighed 19 pounds (including 3 liters of water). It felt comfortable with the weight carried on my hips. I barely felt anything on my shoulders.

I do tend to lean to the overkill end of the spectrum especially when compared to the adolescents romping around in the woods wearing bikini's and flipflops (playing in the waterfalls). shocked

As I was sprawled out on the trail trying to breathe (93 degrees and 78% humidity), I decided a reality check was in order. Was too exhausted to even enjoy the bikini's and flipflops. frown

I've already done an item analysis of each item carried on this trip and eliminated about 5 items, but experience screams at me to make an argument for each of the remaining items.

Though the experience of lying flat on my back sucking air while the ill-prepared (out in the woods without even a bottle of water) strolled past also screams at me. blush

There's a balance somewhere but I don't know where it is.

samhain autumnwood

#101821 - 08/07/07 12:19 AM Re: Day hike pack weight. [Re: samhain]
MDinana Offline

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2186
Loc: Bluegrass
19 lbs is probably pushing the high end for a day hike, given that many folks can go on overnights with about 20-25lbs bags. Figure the 3 liters is 6lbs that you aren't going to give up. What did you carry? A trip that short, I'd carry the 10 essentials, maybe a waterproof jacket or vest for added insulation, and water. Probably tip the scales at 11 or 12 lbs.

Another thought: perhaps the weight of the pack isn't the problem, but rather the condition of the hiker. Obviously I can't see how your physical condition is! I would think 19lbs shouldn't be too much a burden normally, though.

My $.02

#101822 - 08/07/07 12:19 AM Re: Day hike pack weight. [Re: samhain]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1098
Loc: Channeled Scablands
Check out this web site.


There is a forum and pack lists. Some folks are doing overnights
with 4 lb pack weights (sans food and water) and not leaving a lot
of stuff behind.

Pepsi can alcohol stoves that weigh 1 oz.
Daypacks 3 oz.
shelters 6 oz.

#101823 - 08/07/07 12:23 AM Re: Day hike pack weight. [Re: samhain]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078
Hi Samhain,

For a day hike my pack would be around 9-11 lbs (4 - 5 Kg)including 2 litres of Water. This would be for summer walking. For 3 season day hikes this would increase around another 1-2lbs with the inclusion of lightweight down jacket, gloves, hat etc

Summer Day hike Kit list

Kimmlite AR25 Classic Rucksack Small - 575gms
2 Litre Platypus Hoser Hydration System with 2 litres of Water - 2200 gms
Personal Survival Kit - 700 gms
Map and compass - 150 gms
Goretex Paclite Jacket - 350 gms
Goretex Paclite over trousers - 250 gms
Food - 500 gms
Camera – 200 gms
Umbrella - 200 gms

For very lightweight kit there is a good article at http://www.planetfear.com/article_detail.asp?a_id=967

Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (08/07/07 12:36 AM)

#101845 - 08/07/07 04:52 AM Re: Day hike pack weight. [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
Tom_L Offline

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
Well, you can travel very light if necessary. For a day hike it's not really a problem - in a temperate climate I'd be perfectly comfortable with a very basic kit:
- knife
- small survival kit (SAS tobacco tin type)
- water canteen
- some snacks
- poncho
- woolen sweater

All of this will fit inside a very small backpack. Since you were in an area where water is abundant, carrying 3l seems a bit redundant. Actually, if you have the skills and confidence this same kit would be pretty much enough for an overnight trip, too. Just keep in mind that the less you carry, the easier the walking - but when staying overnight you'll need that much more skill and effort to make a decent shelter and improvise the stuff you'd otherwise be hauling in your gear. So 19lb is definitely over the top for a day hike unless you are in the Arctic.

I do agree though that you should take a serious look at your physical condition. Unless you have some kind of disability a 19lb pack really shouldn't be a problem.

#101853 - 08/07/07 11:38 AM Re: Day hike pack weight. [Re: samhain]
Biscuits Offline

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 114
Loc: Central Colorado
19 pounds may be a bit much for southern Mississippi, but so what. Perhaps the value of the exercise is building up your legs and lungs. I’d keep adding weight.


#101866 - 08/07/07 02:37 PM Re: Day hike pack weight. [Re: samhain]
bsmith Offline
day hiker

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 584
Loc: ventura county, ca
i day hike year round in the southern california mountains.

i have asked myself the exact same question on many occasions, especially when i see - as you describe - those that aren't prepared for much of anything.

in the summer, as the temps get into the 80s - 90s - and 100s, i carry a pack with two 100 oz camelback bags. so i start @ over 13 lbs. the pack is 1 1/2lbs. so i guess i'm really starting @ about 15. let's add the heatsheet, cell phone, knife, leatherman, headlight, gloves, compact saw, bag of tricks, extra socks, shirt and lightweight jacket, and oh yeah, food, and i think i'm in the 20 to 25lb range. easy.

i figure i have enough to spend a semi-comfortable night in the woods, if need be.

i'm sure i could pare some of the weight, but in the grand scheme of things a pound or two doesn't make a big difference to me while dayhiking - but it does bring peace of mind.

one lesson i learned from my hiking buddy was how to pace myself while hiking. with a cup of coffee in the a.m. i was all ready to let 'er rip. and found myself gasping as well.. now, we don't mosey along, but we have started to have a slower step pace - and find that we have the same elapsed times as previously on the hikes, but arrive not so worn out.

we try to really pace ourselves as we typically look for peaks or mountains to summit - and when you're on the summit you are only half way there. i've read many accidents occur late in the day when you're tired - so we try to pace ourselves for the long haul. and so far, no accidents.

i also find that going to a fitness center for about an hour after work every day makes a difference too. for the most part i sit at a desk. sluggo. i doubt i could do the 8 - 10 hr, 15 - 20 mile, 4,000' elevation gain hikes as easily w/o any in-between exercise.

whew, next time i'll try the reader's digest condensed version.

but i hope this helped!
“Everyone should have a horse. It is a great way to store meat without refrigeration. Just don’t ever get on one.”
- ponder's dad

#101873 - 08/07/07 03:49 PM Re: Day hike pack weight. [Re: bsmith]
Frank2135 Offline

Registered: 04/26/07
Posts: 266
Loc: Ohio, USA
"It's not the heat, it's the humidity."

Really, it is true. Not that dry heat can't be debilitating - it sure can be. But when you feel like you're walking through warm wet wool, your perspiration isn't evaporating and therefore you're not cooled by it, and each breath feels like you're taking in more water than air, exhaustion comes pretty quickly.

As an example, in the cool, dry fall I can easily split firewood with an axe for a couple of hours at a time without being overtired. Last weekend I wanted to take down and saw up a couple of small (10" diameter) oak trees at the back of our property. The chain saw is in the shop, so I thought, what the heck, I've got a good sharp axe and a big bow saw, I'll do it the old fashioned way. The temperature was 90-ish and the humdity was hovering around 80%. After 2 hours I felt like I had been at it for more than 8. After 3 hours I had to quit and finish the job the next day.

All we can do is all we can do.

#101882 - 08/07/07 05:04 PM Re: Day hike pack weight. [Re: Frank2135]
bsmith Offline
day hiker

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 584
Loc: ventura county, ca

Originally Posted By: Frank2135
"It's not the heat, it's the humidity."

truer words were never spoken.

my dad moved from florida to arizona because "it was too hot."

what he meant was the humidity was too great for him to golf in the summer in florida, but he could easily do 9 or 18 in the dead of summer in arizona - given an early start.

in my area the humidity this year has been high. yesterday morning the national weather service pegged the humidity @ 105% @ 0700. it eventually fell to the 60s, but boy it sure reminded me of the humidity typically you all have but we typically don't.

several hikes have been in the 90 - 100s w/80%+ humidity. i drink both 100oz hydration bags. but i do stay hydrated.

“Everyone should have a horse. It is a great way to store meat without refrigeration. Just don’t ever get on one.”
- ponder's dad

#101886 - 08/07/07 05:29 PM Re: Day hike pack weight. [Re: Frank2135]
teacher Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/14/05
Posts: 769
Good question: as I was just out hiking in the August weather...

My pack with water is 8.6 pounds.

that includes:

Camblback HAWG with 2 liters of water
first aid/ survival kit ( detailed elsewhere)
cell phone
small binoculars
rain Jacket
tiny susnscreen

Carried/ worn:

Hat, sunglasses, keys, knife, map.

adjustments for future hikes -- replace granola bars, get compass (!) bug dope, get map with UTM markings.


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