Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Shouldering The Burden

Bigger person, bigger pack
When couples go backpacking, often the guy gets slightly shafted when it comes to carrying extra gear. This is usually not a big deal, but followers of a strict lightweight regime tend to find it irksome that they just can't keep the weight down if their woman is coming along.

Most often this is because of the need for a larger tent, and more food and fuel. With those few additions aside, the rest of his gear should really be the same as it is on a solo trip.

So are men getting a raw deal? Are the girls playing the 'weaker sex' card when it becomes convenient?

One factor to keep in mind is relative weight. The woman is usually lighter than the man in the couple. The weight you each carry really should be in proportion to your body weights. If one person weighs 25% more, he (usually it's the he) should be carrying 25% more gear. That's actually equality at work. If that's the only difference between your pack weights, then you've got nothing to complain about as far as I'm concerned.

On the other hand, someone recently posted on a forum that he carries up to 80% of the weight when he goes backpacking with his partner. That seems a bit excessive!
Is he exaggerating? Maybe not. I've seen couples out for the weekend where all the woman is carrying is her clothing and sleeping bag. The man is carrying everything else! According to him, this was the only way to get her to do the trips, and he's fine with it. I expect that it makes him feel more macho, taking care of his fair lady.

On the other hand, I know lots of tough women who have no trouble carrying their share of the load. Now that there are packs out there that actually fit women properly, it's become a whole lot more comfortable too!

So my take on it is this. Relationships are all about give and take, and finding a balance. Your balance may be a 50/50 sharing of the load, or maybe it's 80/20. But you'll have to work it out between you in order to make sure that you are both having a good time on your backpacking trips. And guys, whatever you do, don't try to save weight by leaving behind some of the chocolate!


Rocky Thompson said...

The guy gets shafted when you go camping? Maybe I will read your book.

AktoMan said...