Heavy weight backpacking / hunting problem - am I normal?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gear, Survival Equipment & More' started by Daniel L, Mar 24, 2019.

  1. Daniel L

    Daniel L

    Nov 2, 1998
    Am I normal? When I carry 50# in my packs the number one problem I have is that I can feel the weight of the bag sitting on my glutes, instead of transferring to to the hip belt.

    I do have large muscular glutes and a slightly more than normal lumbar curve.

    My packs are brand name expensive packs - New Zealand made Macpac, Lowe Alpine Sting (least affected by this issue - seemed to fit my lumbar curve the best) and currently a Karrimor SF.

    I'm wondering if I should spring for a Kifaru which admittedly costs about double of my current packs, but when you are carrying 50#+ to NOT carry it on my buttocks is worth it.

    I don't have any friends to check out their packs so... am I normal or is this just part of the experience?
  2. Daniel L

    Daniel L

    Nov 2, 1998
    I've just discovered the Seek Outside packs... they're a modern external frame pack, looks like they have settings which specifically keep the pack off the butt.
  3. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    I think you answered your question about being normal :D. That seems like a lot of weight, and getting it to load on your body as you want is going to take some work. I'd be looking at packs that specifically can be adjusted to move that load around, and packs I could try. The Seek sounds like a start. I'd also be looking at arcteryx although they are pricey. I'd also give the osprey xenith a look. I've only seen a few Kifaru packs, but I've never been impressed by any major suspension innovation. They seem pretty standard. Maybe well built, and have good organization for certain uses, but certainly not exceptional when it comes to frame and suspension adjustment.

    The reality is that above the 50lb mark, many packs are going to start to suffer, unless they are set up as a load-hauler, most of the market is moving to lighter loads. One other aspect that might be worth a thought is to find the women's version of some of the packs to try, as they may have more room for adjustment in the lumbar area. Ultimately all you need is a pack that fits well, how you get there is irrelevant.
    clayton c likes this.
  4. JV3


    Mar 17, 2010
    that's not normal. if you have a pack that you can take the stays out and custom bend it to your back (like some of kifaru's packs lets you) i'd try that...sounds like what you have now doesn't have enough bend (or at the right spots) to let the load get closer to your lumbar area and hence on the hips.

    the delta straps also helps pull the load closer to your lumbar area but i'm assuming you already know all the steps like loosen them first, tighten the belt then the load lifters then the delta straps.

    also, where you put the gear inside also matters. if you don't know what those steps are i highly suggest you take your gear and go to an rei and they should be able to help you out with pack fitting and stuff.

    i've tested some of my bigger packs with upwards of 50 lbs easy (currently training for an upcoming goruck challenge events) and all the load are on my hips if i want it to.
  5. Camber


    Jul 13, 2011
    I have a Seek Outside pack, fairly large glutes, and a significant lumbar curve, and it transfers the weight really well to my hips I feel.
  6. Daniel L

    Daniel L

    Nov 2, 1998
    That's brilliant to hear! I assume the bottom of the pack / frame doesn't touch your glutes? Which waist belt grommet setting do you use? ("standard" or "threaded")
  7. pinnah


    Jul 28, 2011
    Nothing transfers weight to the hips like an external.

    Even an inexpensive Kelty is a step up in this regard.
  8. Crimson Cloud

    Crimson Cloud

    Nov 9, 2018
    In looking for new packs in the 30-40 Liter carry capacity I recently spent about an hour at an REI getting a much better understanding of how packs adjust and fit from a sales person that helped me out a lot. One of the biggest take aways was tightening the hip belt first to concentrate the majority of weight on the hips at the top of the hip bones, then pulling the straps at the bottom of the shoulder straps down and back to tighten them, then the cross chest strap, and finally the adjustment straps at the top of the shoulder straps to bring it closer to the body if necessary. I was told that once the hip belt is tight and the weight centered there, I may not need to adjust the other straps much at all, as they would be transferring weight to my shoulders and lead to fatigue. Based on that I have been mostly tightening my hip belt and making very minor adjustments on the other straps, and it has worked well to reduce fatigue in my upper torso.
    That being said, I am carrying significantly less amounts of weight than what you've described, though assume your packs may have similar multiple points of adjustment that may help in balancing your loads. It may also be that your pack is too long for your torso, and rather than the hip belt sitting at the top of your hip bones it is centered lower on your glutes. My wife recently got a pack from Mystery Ranch which seems like a great company, and they have a hunting line of packs, too. Their sizing chart is here: https://www.mysteryranch.com/fitting-and-sizing. I looked through the Kifaru site, but they don't seem to have a sizing chart online. They do have a pretty extensive forum discussion, and it may be a place you could ask this question as well.
  9. Camber


    Jul 13, 2011
    I believe standard? It's the hanging belt set up. And no I've never noticed it touching my glutes. I've only ha 50lbs in it a couple of times for practice, but I don't recall it then either, and it's a feeling I do not like.

    They have a good return policy too if you don't like it...30 days or so I believe.
  10. Daniel L

    Daniel L

    Nov 2, 1998
    I just ordered the Brooks 7400 from Seek Outside - that's a whopping 120 litres, which I hope I never have to carry full.

    But it packs down to daypack mode and up again.... Will be a while before it's in my hands!
    Crimson Cloud likes this.
  11. Crimson Cloud

    Crimson Cloud

    Nov 9, 2018
    Looks like a great pack. I wasn't familiar with Seek Outside, but after looking through their website it seems like a really good company. Hope the pack works out well for you when it's in.
  12. Camber


    Jul 13, 2011
    I think you'll be happy!
  13. Shotgun


    Feb 3, 2006
    Seems I’m a bit late but to anyone else buying a pack I hope this helps.

    I’m not the most knowledgeable about packs but it seems to me the pack is too long for you. When it comes to packs you really have to try them on. Just because a pack is high end and well reviewed doesn’t mean it will fit you. It’s entirely possible a cheapo pack will fit you better. I just bought a day pack for a load no more than 20 pounds and it was the tenth or so pack I tried on.

    I really don’t think packs are something you can just order off the internet unless you buy from a company with a good exchange policy. Fit is just too important IMO.
    taldesta likes this.
  14. Daniel L

    Daniel L

    Nov 2, 1998
    Thanks - I didn't mention that I actually used to work in outdoor retail and have fit 100s of people with packs ;)

    I always thought it was just my body shape (since no one else reported the issue) and internal frames were all the rage, so just grin and bear it. As mentioned the problem only kicks in over 50# ish which is not normal for most people.

    But yes, back length fit is very high up the list of things to make sure you have right. Plenty of advice on YouTube too.

    But as I think I'm about to learn, sometimes you need to go to am external frame.
  15. leghog


    Aug 10, 2013
    50 lbs is a lot of weight. I'd first start by lightening your load in and on the pack.
  16. Daniel L

    Daniel L

    Nov 2, 1998
    50# would be total weight, not a base weight - so with food and water after a few days it will drop to the 40s# It's heavy but not that heavy (and still under a third of my body weight as a max weight rule of thumb.) Unless I'm hunting and then the weight can go up lol

    I could save 2lb by upgrading my tent... but then it won't be as spacious or durable. My new incoming pack is almost 4# lighter so that's a start!! I'm already using alcohol stoves, and have a backup titanium firebox nano. My partner has a bad back, so I do end up carrying more.

    I could bring less knives but then where would be the fun in all that?

    I actually do a much lighter setup with a frameless pack - but that's when I'm not taking out lots of knives, camera gear or being a mule - just hiking for speed and using huts, and then I'm in the sub 25# category. One day I'm sure age will catch up and no more big loads :)
  17. leghog


    Aug 10, 2013
    It is "that heavy". Even 40-50 pounds is a lot of weight. Seriously, I'd first consider what you are packing and why and ditch weight.
  18. MR HAPPY


    Jan 2, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
    clayton c and Odog27 like this.
  19. leghog


    Aug 10, 2013
    As an aside. Most Arc'teryx packs are now made in Vietnam (as are most upper end, non-cottage industry, packs these days). Same with my beloved Osprey packs.
  20. Mannlicher


    Nov 19, 2008
    I'd go by a store that specializes in gear. They can tell you the issue, and give you a solution.

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