Backpack Weight

fackelberry

Active Member
Aug 27, 2013
276
4
Wyoming
I have decided 2 months ago to get back in better shape for a moose hunt in Wyoming i should draw this year. Been walking alot and cutting down on eating and carbs. Lost 20 pounds so far and want to loose another 20 before hunting season. I want to start putting weight in my backpack but want to start with lower weight and work up to maybe 35-40 pounds total. Then hike hills with it to build up the muscles a person uses to pack quarters out on your back. I want to be able to hike farther and hunt moose where no one else will or would want to pack one out of. Figure that would give me the best opportunity at a good bull. On that note, i don't feel the need to carry huge amounts of weight on your back before a person really needs to. Seems to me you would be breaking down knees and joints and tendons and everything associated with joint problems prematurely before you actually have to pack the animal out. I would like to save that part for the actual animal and not blow anthing out or hurt myself just to try and get my knees and muscles in shape. But i know i have to use some weight to build them up, just don't want to have a " rebuild" before i actually need one! I know Mike Eastman said he has replaced a knee or knees because of long heavy packs out a long time ago. I have a good 35-40 years left to hunt and need my knees to get me to where i want to hunt. My question is, how much weight is enough to build the right muscles but not over do it, and what kind of hills or distance does a person really need to haul that weight to get in shape? Any of you with experience on this would like to answer or give me pointers, i would be greatful. Thanks
 

Wapiti_Hunter

Member
Aug 8, 2014
108
0
Westminster CO
fackelberry,

The first thing I would recommend, and the training regiment I use, is a method called High Frequency Training. Many of the workouts are "body weight" exercises, and are typically performed 6 days a week rather than the traditional 3 or 4. This helps develop muscle growth but it also helps with joint, cartilage and tendon health as well. The more you move and stretch those joints the better off they will be (think "an object in motion tends to stay in motion"). I perform pull ups, push ups, squats and various other body weight workouts 6 days a week and it has helped my hiking and rock climbing a ton.

If I carry a loaded pack, I will do it no more than once a week and won't overdue the weight, typically 30 pounds for 5 miles, but I go as quickly as possible. Stair steppers are great for "mountain training" as well as running hills.

I have had knee surgery, ankle surgery and a broken back, during all of my rehab I have learned that you have to take care of ligaments, tendons and cartilage as much as you do muscles. Stretch, walk, use those joints a lot without a ton of weight, do yoga, and then stretch again.

Good luck with the training!

Here is an article on High Frequency Training:

https://www.t-nation.com/training/new-high-frequency-training
 
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zpooch

Very Active Member
Aug 11, 2016
531
88
Wyoming
I'd suggest doing a few backcountry hiking trips this summer. A nice 3 day trip of about 20 miles can you get into some really awesome places in the mountains of Wyoming. You'll get used to hiking with weight for a couple of days in a row. I think that is much better than just going once a week for 5 miles. Your hunt will last longer than a day, so should your training. I imagine you'll be hiking around quite a bit during your hunt and you'll want to know what it feels like to hike with sore legs. You'll most likely already be sore and tired by the time you get an animal on the ground.
 

fackelberry

Active Member
Aug 27, 2013
276
4
Wyoming
Thanks for the good info. I will be turning 40 in October and have never had any type of knee or ankle surgeries. Well never had any surgeries in my life for that matter. I was always physically active in high school sports and have hunted alot over the years. I've put on weight since getting older, as most of us do. Some years i work out and lose alot of it. Some years i go with the flow and don't work out as much. Even when im overweight, i've had alot of friends hunt with me in the mountains or prairie and all tell me im a walking fool. Most can't keep up and i'm waiting for them. I lost 45 pounds 2 years ago and was down to about 195, i felt like a million bucks and could walk and hike anywhere. i've put most of that back on in the 2 years,but like i said i have lost 20 pounds since the end of February. I have never smoked or chewed and am fairly healthy, even when im overweight. I do like the occaisional drink now and then. I walk now at a fairly brisk pace for 2.75 miles total, mostly flat ground. Should i start with low weight in my pack, say like 10 pounds and do same walk for a few weeks then add more or just start hitting the hills with the weight? I'm also thinking about trying to swim at the local rec center 2 days a week. I know it's a total body workout and easier on the joints. Thanks again for any and all advice you guys give.
 

Wapiti_Hunter

Member
Aug 8, 2014
108
0
Westminster CO
By all means, do a few backpacking trips with a heavy pack, obviously that will help because you are doing the real thing, not just simulating it. I imagine though, that you are like most people and cannot set aside multiple backpacking trips in the name of training (due to work, family obligations, limited PTO etc...). Doing it once a week is on top of the other high frequency training that goes on the rest of the week, it also is not a hard and fast rule of "5 miles at 30 pounds," there are days that I do 16 miles, 5,000 feet of elevation gain and have the 30 pound pack. In the end, find a routine that works for you, your lifestyle, budget and family and work at it with all your heart. You can perform high frequency training anywhere, you don't need a mountain for it and it fits any lifestyle.
 

Bonecollector

Veteran member
Mar 9, 2014
5,711
3,419
Ohio
Fackleberry, your cardio index will wear out before your leg muscles. As you mentioned, start with some lower weight 15/20lb and slowly increase mileage. Once you hit a certain distance start to incorporate hills and even add a few lb. You have plenty of time before Fall and even doing this 2x per week will yield excellent results. Not only for the hunt, but for your health as well.
I do recommend you do at least 1-2 hikes with 50/60 lbs so when your on the mountain it won't be the first time you've had this weight on your back and you can learn to get the pack on, adjusted, and move.
Be safe, don't want any knee injuries.
 

RICMIC

Veteran member
Feb 21, 2012
1,699
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Two Harbors, Minnesota
I think you have a good plan, and of course; always, always, ALWAYS, have your hiking poles when backpacking in the mountains. I would suggest that you try to keep your weight within 10# or so of your preferred weight. Never allow yourself to get too much overweight or too much out of shape, and the process to prep for a hunt or living a long healthy life won't become too onerous.
 

tim

Veteran member
Jun 4, 2011
2,184
758
north idaho
Milk jugs filled with water. Put them in your pack and climb. Dump the water out for the downhill. Uphill Is hard on the heart, downhill is hard on the body.
 

fackelberry

Active Member
Aug 27, 2013
276
4
Wyoming
Thanks guys for some more information. Went out this morning with around a 13LB pack. Walked my usual brisk pace on the bike path next to the river i use. It's a total of 2.75 miles roundtrip from my house and back. Didn't really seem much harder than no pack at all. Think i will do this a few more times in next week or so, then get the pack weight up to 20-25LB. I do have some pretty good mountains within a 45 minute drive i plan on hittting this spring when more snow melts and i can gain access to the trails. I have never used hiking poles before on a hunt, i have seen more and more people using them nowdays. I always thought these people were snow skiers that couldn't grasp the fact skiing season was over and didn't want to put up the equipment. LOL. I also thought they would be more of a burden to pack extra gear than i needed. So to you guys that use them and have experience with them, are they worth it to pack and use and do they make a huge difference when carrying a heavy pack? Thanks guys for the information and look forward to the replys.
 

zpooch

Very Active Member
Aug 11, 2016
531
88
Wyoming
If you get the collapsible poles it really isn't much more to put in a pack. They really help with an 80+lbs pack coming down hill. Helps take a little strain off of your legs and knees. Mine stay in the pack unless I'm carrying an animal out on my back.
 

SouthForkguy

Member
Oct 11, 2015
100
0
Wisconsin price county
Hiked approx 5 miles in the hardwoods/swamp edges scouting for deer sign last night, i do not hike with weight in my good pack (seek outside revolution fortress) because i would hate to wear it out before a hunt. Instead i use a basic ALICE pack with a 25 pound mineral block for weight. This pack is ALOT less comfortable especially with any weight. I was tired when i got back to the truck, so the weight is helping train my legs. The next step after conditioning my legs to the flat ground will be hitting some hills with weight. Start off small and work your way up.
 

Tim McCoy

Veteran member
Dec 15, 2014
1,855
3
Oregon
Leki collapsible lightweight poles.... worth every penny and I don't go into the mountains without them in my pack. The will save your ass in rough country especially once the load gets heavy

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
X2. Think mine are the Black Diamond brand, but good quality collapsible lightweight trekking poles are very useful.
 

RICMIC

Veteran member
Feb 21, 2012
1,699
1,240
Two Harbors, Minnesota
I too use the Black Diamond poles. I will use the poles for the hike in and out, but don't hunt with them as my pack is light, I'm not moving much, or going very slowly, and my weapon of choice is in my hands. I do suggest that you train with them before the hunt so you can get all your body parts used to them.
 

Tim McCoy

Veteran member
Dec 15, 2014
1,855
3
Oregon
... I want to be able to hike farther and hunt moose where no one else will or would want to pack one out of. Figure that would give me the best opportunity at a good bull. On that note, i don't feel the need to carry huge amounts of weight on your back before a person really needs to...
I'll offer two thoughts. First, any Moose that falls near a road is a good Moose. They will travel looking for cows in the rut, so good ones can appear most anywhere.

Second, both our WY Moose had about 400 lbs. boned out meat, plus antlers and hide. Easy 500lbs. or more to pack out. So by your 5th 80lb. load, you could facing 1-2 more trips. Hope you have help or horses or better both.
 

fackelberry

Active Member
Aug 27, 2013
276
4
Wyoming
I agree with you on the closer to the road a moose is the better. By no means do i WANT to pack one out a long ways. But i will be bowhunting as soon as it opens if i find a good bull when i scout this summer. Odds are he will still be away from the roads until the rut kicks in. I'm sure smaller bulls will be closer to the roads, but i don't want to shoot a smaller one until i absolutely have to. There will be other road hunters as always and i never liked the competition of who has the faster truck to run down the road and hopefully jump out and shoot it, to me thats not really hunting. I also want the first chance at a good bull if i find one scouting and bowhunting will give me the first chance. I don't really want to wait around for him to move closer to the road during the rut if i can help it as there will likely be more hunters with the same mindset and it will be a shooting gallery i'm sure. I have been fortunate to take some dang big animals over the years by hiking a little farther or scouting more than the next guy, none of which i would of got if i waited for them to come closer to the road or to an easier place to shoot them. I'm a firm believer in the big ones don't get big because they stood by the road!

And yes i know the moose will be big and alot of work and hopefully i can shoot one closer to a road. If the weather is cool there is no sense of killing myself to try and get one out all in one day either. I can debone it and put in game bags by a creek to stay cold over night and make more trips the next day. But ya i will be looking into finding someone with a horse if i can. Hopefully i will have a buddy or 2 with me when i do shoot one to help pack. Thanks for the info Tim, i know they are big and heavy and 5-6 trips isn't gonna be fun, but i will probably only do it once in my lifetime so i want to give myself the best chance to get a good one and if packing it out a long ways is gonna get me a good one, thats what im gonna do! Hope i don't regret saying that! Thanks though guys for the info, very much appreciated.
 

Tim McCoy

Veteran member
Dec 15, 2014
1,855
3
Oregon
Good luck! Wasn't suggesting road hunting, simply referencing close to a road as a good thing for recovery. Big ones will be where you find them I suppose, hi or low. Took mine at about 8,500' on NF, my sons near the valley floor. But if you are chasing them with a bow well before the rut, sounds like you have a solid plan to get away from road traffic and try to pattern one a bit.

I've not found them particularly skittish, but have only hunted WY moose twice in the rut, and AK once helping a buddy. They are big, the hide and horns/head are very heavy too. It's close to taking care of two mature cow elk, maybe more work for a big moose if dealing with hide and horns.
 

fackelberry

Active Member
Aug 27, 2013
276
4
Wyoming
yep, im hoping to find one scouting in summer and early fall Tim. Just hope it isn't 80 degrees out. I'm debating if i don't shoot a very big one not to keep the cape. Lots of people said i could sell the cape because it's hard to get a shiras cape. Wonder if its worth the weight to pack it out if im just gonna euro mount it? Guess i will decide that when time comes. 2 more weeks and i will know about tag! Thanks again
 

Tim McCoy

Veteran member
Dec 15, 2014
1,855
3
Oregon
Good luck fb! Hope the weather cooperates for you.

My son split the difference. He cut off the skull cap, then we 3/4 full body skinned the Moose, he tanned it hair on. Hide essentially starts behind the head, legs only 1/2 way down, and it's still huge. But we could drive to the kill site, I bet that wet hide weighed 125 ish or more.
 

fackelberry

Active Member
Aug 27, 2013
276
4
Wyoming
Ya i kinda thought about tanning the hide too. It better be real close to the road if i'm gonna do that. LOL. My ex-wife drew a bull buffalo tag in 2013 here in Wyoming. We ended up getting a 1500LB one. We tanned the hide out on that, Was a chore for one person to move that around. Looks really cool though. I'm hoping to have some tough decisions to make in a few weeks. Thanks again Tim, if i do draw i might hit you up on some equipment i may need that i don't have already.