Access Special Backpacker.com Features, Register Now!

Sharing Pack Weight

My boyfriend always gets annoyed that I load our heavier items into his pack. I think that since he weighs 30% more than me, his pack can be about 40% heavier, adding 10% for M/F differences in hematocrit, VO2 max, etc. Reasonable?

Question:

My boyfriend always gets annoyed that I load our heavier items into his pack. I think that since he weighs 30% more than me, his pack can be about 40% heavier, adding 10% for M/F differences in hematocrit, VO2 max, etc. Do you think this is reasonable?

Submitted by - Aubrey - Cambridge, MA

Answer:

I’m not sure about hematocrit and VO2 max, but I can tell you this: If he’s 30 percent heavier than you, he should be carrying 30 percent more weight. The rule of thumb—regardless of whether you’re male or female—is that you shouldn’t carry more than 30 percent of your body weight.

Now, many people can safely carry more, depending on their fitness level. And many people whine if they have to carry even less than that. I’m no couples counselor, but you guys will just have to work it out based on what’s comfortable for you both. The last thing you want to be doing on your trip is fighting about pack weight!

One thing’s for sure: you could both probably stand to shave some weight from your packs. Check out this Ultralight Makeover story for some great tips:

1 Comment

  1. Katie

    The two of you need to have a serious talk. The 30% rule max is kind of important, and many men can carry more then their female counterparts (not sexist, just being realistic). I weigh 135 and my husband is 210, but I am in better shape. Despite that, my husbands pack is still heavier then mine is (although we are both under 30% for all our trips). We each carry our own gear, with the rest being split according to how it fits into our respective packs (I have a better spot for first aid kits and water filters, but the stove fits better in his bag). He always offers to take the tent and one extra water bottle then me, though. It is reasonable for him to carry a bit more, but look for ways to split the heavy stuff (open up that tent bag and divide the poles and fabric up/divide the extra water almost even etc). And in general, look for ways to lighten both of your loads, so him carrying the heavy stuff isn’t that heavy at all.

Leave a Reply