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I have a feeling I'm probably not going to get a lot of scientific
evidence, but what's everybody's take on the tradeoff between
trying to cut pack weight down by ounces versus just losing
some body weight?

It seems that we obsess about ounces in our packs, but what about
excess weight on the body?  I know extra body weight is carried much
more efficiently and distributed much better than having 30-35 lbs
strapped onto your back, but what are the good and bad tradeoffs?

I think there are a few variables that would affect the answer:
- Are you grossly overweight to begin with
- Male/female (men generally lose more weight on the trail)
- Overall body strength and structural soundness

I've heard opinions varying from "prepare for the trail by putting
on weight" to "get in shape and reduce body weight."  Also, most of us
try to judge our pack weight as a function of our body weight (i.e. the
guidelines we all seem to use of anywhere from 1/5 to 1/3 of body weight).
Wouldn't we be more accurate to judge pack weight as a function
of our "ideal" body weight?  If you're overweight, do those fat
pounds count as part of your pack weight allowance?

I'm just trying to decide whether I should lose a few
pounds before I start the trail in an effort to reduce the
stress on my knees and feet.  I'm not overweight at all, but
I've weighed a few pounds less than I do now and I'm wondering
if that would help my hike this year.

(Two months from today, I will be driving to Springer!)

'Solophile'  GA-->ME  '97
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