Back pack weight for older guys

I’m taking a 65 year old 165lb man on a 5/8ths of mile portage. Elevational change 115’. I’m telling him 45lb is too much weight with packs that have no hip belt to put weight on hips. He’s never gone before.

Need older experienced guys on this subject.

Try it out
at home before you go.

It really depends on the person. Does he keep in shape. Weights? Walk much? Also, he could take a breather midway on the trail if he will admit he needs it. Take your time and enjoy the portage. Personally, I am 55, 45 pounds PACKED correctly would be OK.

It depends on the person
It depends on the physical condition of the man that you are talking about. I know people a whole lot younger than 65 that couldn’t carry 45 lbs across a 5/8 mile portage because they are over weight and out of shape. I am 58 years old, weigh 170 lbs, and I have been canoeing/portaging in the BWCAW/Quetico since 1969. I still carry my canoe and a small pack (total wgt 70+ lbs) across on my first trip, dead-head back, and then carry a 50-60 lb pack on the second trip. I do have to take a rest break with the canoe on anything much over 3/8 mile in length. First of all, all my packs have a hip belts. I have carried many a pack without them in the past, but the hip belts do make a big difference. Secondly, I walk better than 2 1/2 miles a day, 5-6 days a week to stay in shape and the course that I walk is quite hilly. I would suggest that you try to get a pack with a hip belt for this guy to carry and than I do not think that he will have any trouble. If that is not possible, then at least load up the pack with 40-50 lbs and have the guy try walking a hilly course before you leave for the trip. Your other option would be to do what I did with my kids in their younger years and that is give them the paddles, fishing rods, etc to carry and you make any extra trip to carry the heavier pack. Either way, you should try to work out the logistics before the trip. Let me know if you have any further questions.


We’re all solo
I have the old Cabela’s Dry Vision bag that has a hip strap. They no longer sell it. What hip strap bag are you using?

I second that
Practicing this or any questionable aspect of a trip is cheap insurance.

hip belts
I bought my packs through the Boundary Waters Journal, but a number of companies sell them. They are not waterproof. They are made out of cordura nylon, frameless, and are water resistant, but anything that needs to be kept absolutely dry (clothes, sleeping bag) go into a much smaller OR dry bag that then goes inside the cordura packs. I suspect by your reply that you are using Kayaks. The packs that I am referring to are too big for kayaks are are designed for wilderness travel by canoe.


Condition is the big factor
a 5/8 mile carry is a relatively short carry, every year I see men and women older than that carrying guide boats much heavier than 45 over the Raquette Falls carry at 1 1/2 mile with several hundred feet of elevation change. And canoes and guide boat yokes have no hip belts either.

My 80 year old dad carries a 40# + pack all day in the mountains hiking in to go Elk hunting and he is still very much alive.

But as advised above, load up the pack and paddler, go out and try a hike near home to check his condition and the strap adjustments on the pack.