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how can you tell when a pack is too full?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gear, Survival Equipment & More' started by bored2deth, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. bored2deth


    Feb 27, 2011
    How do you know when a pack is too full? I spent years living out of a pack (didnt have much of anything at that time), and still cant decide if one is packed too full. Its annoying. The zippers are not pulled tight, nor are the seams. With accessories, its about..1700 to 1800 ci. Carries enough for three days..if budgeted. With everything inside, including two filled 32oz nalgenes, weight is 25 to 30 pounds. Not a heavy loadout really.
  2. not2sharp

    not2sharp Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 1999
    Generally, the pack is too heavy when you are laying on the ground and unable to get up. It is certainly too light when you find yourself in a situation without the proper materials or supplies to deal with it. There is a happy medium somewhere, but I don't know of any hard and fast rule to get you there. Live, learn and adjust accordingly.

  3. Cougar Allen

    Cougar Allen Buccaneer (ret.) Gold Member

    Oct 9, 1998
    That reminds me of the How Many Knives Can Dexter Ewing Fit In His Vest Contest
  4. Cougar Allen

    Cougar Allen Buccaneer (ret.) Gold Member

    Oct 9, 1998
    Seriously, I don't understand what you're asking. You say it's not straining the zippers and seams and it's not too heavy for you -- why are you asking if it's overloaded?
  5. bored2deth


    Feb 27, 2011
    I need to work on elaboration. I was wondering if there were other ways to tell besides the seams and zippers. Also, wondering if items rubbing against the packs interior,, such as the lid of a water bottle, can wear a hole if packed tight. I ask because I tend to over pack at times and try to avoid busting the pack or stressing the straps seams. Weight which is comfortable for me, may be far too much for some brands or models, and so Im trying to figure out how to recoqnize signs of this. Havent busted one yet..lol.
  6. sideways


    Feb 19, 2013
    With regards to the pack:
    - It's too full when you can't easily access and repack the stuff you need.
    - It's too heavy when the suspension system can't take the weight. The weight should rest on your hips and the pack should hug your back. There shouldn't be much sagging and random flapping about.

    With regards to the person carrying the pack
    - It should be comfortable to carry for extended periods of time. Only you can decide that.
    - People have been known to carry anywhere from 1% to 70% of their body weight in gear on hikes. 20-30% is considered heavy. 5-10% is considered light. Over 70% is considered a pain in the butt. :D
  7. bored2deth


    Feb 27, 2011
    Ok good, sounds like I was on the right track. :) Falcon IIs open up like a clam shell, so I layered the items inside, with the heaviest in the middle, least needed at bottom to act as padding, and most used at top.
  8. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    its too full when you have to start carrying more to compensate for how slow you are moving.
  9. neeman


    Apr 5, 2007
    A 30 liter (1800 cu in) pack weighing 30 lbs for 3 days including daily water is very acceptable indeed
    Clearly you are very organized to keep it in that size pack
    I would suggest the pack might be too small, not too full
    My personal preference is for a larger volume pack 40 lt / 2400 cu in) to easily get every thing in the pack including jackets that would come on and off

    The weight is well within the bounds for an average fit person.
    In England, as kids we trained on 25 lbs packs for a three day trip in the Welsh mountains for the Duke of Edinburgh Award

    I have a kit list for the different seasons
    Well worked out and honed
    I do not want to leave gear out
    So I have different packs for different trips
    Clearly 40 liters is too small for the winter, and 75 liter to big for the summer

    So ask your carry needs according to your very wide experience , then you know the pack size
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  10. Mannlicher


    Nov 19, 2008
    for me, it's 'too full' when you realize on the return home, that half of the stuff never was used, or considered. ;)
  11. Dacus_Nomadic


    Jan 3, 2014
    I would say "too full" occurs when you are unable to zip up the pack and/or unable to walk because it is so heavy.
  12. edh3007


    Sep 26, 2014
    Sideways pretty much nailed it. Any pack is miserable to use if you are so crammed in that you can't get at anything. It is also miserable if you have so little that things are not secure and the pack swings loosely. As already noted, get the right size for the need. Use the right tool for the job, as any craftsman will tell you.

    As scouts we always used the rule that you must be able to put your hand easily into the pack and get something in or out.

    If you have to force any straps or fasteners it is too full.

    Cheers, Ed
  13. bored2deth


    Feb 27, 2011
    :) No pressure on fasters clips, zippers or seams. When worn it acts as if there is little no weight on the shoulder straps..even with a 25+ lb load. Once main compartment is opened enough to reach inside, I can access a nalgene, a fak, and a tool kit immediately. You guys are right, Ive got it down..just tend to overpack in my opinion and worry sometimes Ill bust it..good packs arent cheap these days. Busted only a couple in my life, and its a mess when it happens.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2014
  14. baldtaco-II


    Feb 28, 2006
  15. bored2deth


    Feb 27, 2011
    I imagine that was an amazing trip. :)
  16. neeman


    Apr 5, 2007
    yes it was
    that was 45 years ago
  17. B34NS


    Dec 30, 2013
    Is a pack not full enough until it hurts?
  18. hollowdweller


    Sep 22, 2003
    For me it's walking. How far can I walk before I want to set down. In the old days when I overfilled my pack I could tell this when I was really panting, nowdays I've pared down my stuff and it's more that If I can't walk more than a mile or two before I become really aware of the weight of my pack on my shoulders and I'm wanting to rest my shoulders.
  19. Liberando

    Liberando Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 3, 2010
    My take is close kin to hollowdweller's.....

    Put on the pack and walk for half a mile. Then pick up the pace, preferably uphill. At 1 mile, your mind will automatically tell you "Self, you should have left some of this junk at home." Your mind's eye will envision precisely what items in your pack are too heavy, or unneeded or both.
  20. pinnah


    Jul 28, 2011
    I don't look at it from the standpoint of the pack.

    I look at it from the standpoint of a packing list. I'm mentally a tad nervous. I keep packing lists. I keep them on my iDevice and go over them and over them. And over them. I have 3: winter, summer and fall/spring. I use them to pack. I go over them after each trip. For me, the question is, what do I take? Each bit of kit is on the block. Each bit could be replaced.

    I've got several packs that I choose from. In general, I prefer a larger pack with a smaller load than a small pack that is over stuffed. If it stuff doesn't fit, I use a larger pack.

    But I don't think about it by asking, is this pack too full. I ask, do I have the right stuff on my list.

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