5 comments on “Lightweight Backpacking at NOLS Arizona

  1. Yeah, I’m quite happy about that change in attitude, too, especially since I don’t think I’d be of much use leading a course if I had to carry the monster packs. I’m still a little anxious to see just how instructors who aren’t on the lightweight backpacking courses view pack weight, though. I’ll see next summer, hopefully.

  2. Why similar injuries between ultralight and heavy packing? I wonder if it’s because the ultralight people walk more miles? Have any stats been done with injuries per mile traveled?

    In any case, surely the value of ultralight — or, at least, lighter — packs is self-evident. Is there anyone who prefers a 60-pound pack to a 30-pound (or, ideally, 18-pound) one?

  3. Hey DavoColo,

    The best reasons we could come up with for the similar injuries are just that people with heavier packs tend to walk slower and more carefully than those with lighter packs. That, and the lightweight courses tend to have an older average age. I could probably spend some more time sifting the details… actually, I might ask someone who studies those trends. The stats aren’t per mile traveled, but per week in the field, though. That much I’m pretty certain of.

    Yeah, I’m all for the lighter packs, and it sounds like more NOLS folks are coming around to that. But I think the general consensus is more toward the middle-weights, rather than UL. Still, that’s better than monster packs as far as I’m concerned.

  4. A quick followup– here’s a video of one of NOLS’s instructors giving a presentation to a bunch of other instructors at the NOLS Faculty Summit 2011. It’s long, and includes a bit of NOLS jargon, but it’s the LW curriculum in a nutshell, and might answer some questions. He mentions a paper that was supposedly published about injuries and incidents, and I’m trying to find that paper. I’ll check back in when I find it.

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