A group of backpackers hike on an Outward Bound course in the La Sal Mountains, UT (M. O'Shea/KSU) Health Physics 

Hikers: Your Best Backpack Weight

Hikers are often advised that their best backpack weight is a percentage of their body weight, so smaller individuals must carry lighter loads, right? Wrong. Smaller hikers actually carry heavier loads, and there is a much more accurate way to figure out your best backpack weight. While leading students on extended (more than seven days) backpacking trips for Outward Bound, Kansas State University physics professor Michael O’Shea noticed that some of the smaller students could comfortably carry a greater pack weight than the larger ones of similar fitness levels. “Overall strength…

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