Carolina Mountain Sports
123 West Broad St
Statesville, NC
(704) 871-1444
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June 25, 2024
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  Carolina Mountain Sports
■Q & A

What kind of backpack do I need?   If the troop doesn’t do any backpacking, this pack is not too critical.  But, if backpacking trips are on the agenda, a properly fitted pack is important.  It can either be an external frame or an internal frame pack.  Usually external frames by Kelty and Alps provide the best range of adjustment for growing scouts, and they are easier to pack (for Scouts who do not have lighter, more compact, more expensive sleeping bags, foams pads etc. ).  They also are usually less expensive than Internal Frame Packs.    Internal frames are usually better suited for individuals who are not experiencing growth spurts.
            Be leary of advice that strongly recommends one over the other.  There are pros and cons to both designs and any of the major brands are good quality. With an Internal, fit and comfort are more critical.  Try on several models, with weight inside…and pick the one that is the most comfortable on you.  Internals can also provide more challenges when packing because they typically are more narrow.   For the best and most efficient load carrying, all your gear should be inside an Internal.  An exception may be your sleeping pad.  Because of its light weight, strapping it to the outside may not make much difference.

How much weight should I carry when backpacking?   Folks still toss around answers based on percentage of body weight.  Sometimes that is a valid figure and sometimes it’s not.  A really lightweight  Scout may not be able to get the weight of their equipment light enough to meet a certain standard.   At the opposite end of the spectrum, an overweight person should not be expected to carry a certain percent of their body weight because that could result in a ridiculously heavy pack.  25-40 pounds is a good range to stay in. 

If buying good brands, should I be concerned about  the weight of each item?
Absolutely, if you are planning to be backpacking.  Saving a pound here and a half pound there…can result in an overall weight savings of several pounds.  That’s important.   Be very conscious of weight (and bulk)  when purchasing sleeping bags, tents, backpacks, foam pads, stoves etc.  In the first 3 items alone, a careful shopper could save 5-7 pounds.   When comparing weight specs, make sure you are comparing the total weight.  For example the total weight of a sleeping bag is significantly more than its “fill wt.”   By current standards, these are acceptable maximum weights:  sleeping bag…3.5lbs;  tent….5.5lbs; backpack…5.5lbs;  sleeping pad….2lbs….a total of 16.5 lbs   But, you could easily purchase gear that would shave  4.5 lbs off that total…but it may well cost more money. 





Updated: July 17, 2021
Carolina Mountain Sports

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