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Ok i have set my 2020 hunt. Is ovc second season CO. I am buying my onx. I have started my workout to get ready. Every where i go i have my backpack on. What should my gole weight be comfortable in the pack. If by Gods grace i kill a elk ans have to pack it out. I want to be ready as i can
 
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LCH

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I think around 30-40 pounds is a good weight to train with, depending on your age/abilities/etc. Don't want to go too heavy and risk injury.

A sack of dog food makes a pretty good training weight in a backpack..
 

JV842

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I think it’s all relative to who u r, what u r planning on doing, ur physical abilities. I’m a big guy. Started training this year in February/March w 35lbs and have steadily moved up to 115lbs now on my pack frame. I wear it when I do stuff around the yard n hike w it every other day; anywhere from 3-5 miles. But that’s me. Just like LCH said above, u don’t want to injure yourself.
 

Bluejeep

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Weight all your gear, food, and water you will be carrying in when you start your hunt. I would aim for a training weight of 10 pounds over that. If needed, work up to that weight.

Train 2-3 days a week if you can, going up the biggest hill you can find. Listen to your body and push yourself, but don't do anything stupid that will cause injuries. Don't have any hills around you? Find the biggest set of stairs you can and start climbing (or join a gym and burn up the stair master).

you cannot be too fit.
 

wllm1313

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Agreed with above 45lbs I think is going to be right around a fully loaded pack + optics + rifle. This is the weight you would be hunting with and would be helpful to be comfortable carrying.

Training for a pack out is interesting. I think @Coach Chris or some of the members who professionally train people might have some input on best practices.

I would think that strength training in a gym under controlled conditions would be your best bet of getting your prepared and mitigating injury.

I've done 100+lb loads during pack out, but sometimes it makes more sense just to do two 50lb loads. It kinda depends on terrain and how far in the kill site is from the truck. You can move significantly faster with less need for breaks with a 50lb. pack and so sometimes it's better to just do more loads.

The times I've gone super heavy has been in really steep country where the kill site is at the top, gravity is in your favor, and going up even with an empty pack sucks. If it's flat trail or if the kill site is at the bottom of a canyon I'm doing a bunch of lighter loads.
 
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SnowyMountaineer

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I feel that 40-45# is a reasonable training pack weight in general. Ideally it'd be mixed in with some "heavy" gym and general strength training I suppose. There is a level of fitness that provides safety and a positive experience on a solo backpack hunt. That's what I shoot for and am not willing to give up the time it takes to get real far beyond that at my current life stage. I'll let the IG hunting divas handle the photo shoots, their glassing biceps and deadfall hurdling abs are better than mine by a long shot.
I would say if you're planning to one-trip a deer or pack an elk by yourself, you really wouldn't want the first time you've ever felt 100-120 lbs on your back to be on a remote hillside with a job to do. That's a feeling you should be familiar with beforehand, just so you know what you're signing up for when you squeeze the trigger.
 

Southern Elk

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More trips with a lighter pack is better than one overloaded trip packing meat out. You can really screw your back up with a heavy pack. If you plan to do it on the mountain, you need to train for it. You also need a good quality pack that was made for heavy loads. There's nothing worse than overloading a shitty pack. Been there done that.
 

nrpate05

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Tough to say on weight but I'd have to agree with the 40-50 pound mark. Load up your pack with all the gear you plan on taking and then add a little more (work up to this, of course). Most importantly, be sure to get off trail as much as you can. This will train all those little muscles that don't get used very often and will help avoid injury. The vast majority of your elk hunting will not be on a trail and will be steep. If you can, plan a day or two on the end of your hunt so if you happen to shoot one on the last day you won't have to worry about killing yourself on the way out. With the 2020 season being a couple days shorter, it may make that easier.
 

Rzrbck918

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I think 50 lbs is a great training weight at lower elevations. I live in OK and have found training with additional weight has helped a great deal in NM where we camp at 9400 ft. BTW, I try to keep my pack in the 30 lb range hunting out of some variant of a base camp.
 

pre6422hornet

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I start with 30 and move up to 65 and use that weight for at least 2 months before hunt time. I wear mine to mow the grass, do yard work, etc..

My pack in usually is around 70-75 but each year I get that weight down at least 5 pounds by cleaning up my gear list. I have had to pack out 100+ of meat at a time to beat the heat and spoilage. Yeah it was a pain in the butt and whipped my butt, but it had to be done.

Trekking poles are a must. Heavy weight and downhill/sidehill they will save your legs.
 

JoMo

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All good advice above! Good pack, good boots, load cinched down tightly, trekking poles all make for more comfortable. I try to do as much hiking as possible and purposely pack more than I need during the summer to get a workout in. Then, when you do hike out meat for the real deal, make sure you have a cold drink waiting for you at your vehicle. A camp chair doesn't hurt either!
 

recurveman

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Don't know your exact circumstances but depending on your level of fitness I would start really, really slow. You have a ton of time to get ready for the hunt. I would start off going to the gym 3-4 days a week and then adding a day or two more as time goes on. Then once you have a really good base (probably going to take 6 months) then you can start to hit it harder. The biggest issue isn't getting the strength but getting all of the supporting tissue and muscles on board. That takes time and if you rush it then you will get the opportunity to fix an injury.

Once you have a good base then start thinking about a really long day.........2,3,5,8 hours of exercise once a week. Really long hikes with a pack on. Start with a lighter pack (20) pounds and a shorter time. Then move up to a heavier pack and longer times. You will find an assortment of problems that you need to address along the way.....pack fit, boots, nutrition, water, sleeping, ect. All your weaknesses will be exposed and training will give you the opportunity to fix them if you listen to your body and train properly.

Good luck.
 

LopeHunter

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I start at 20# then work up to 100#. You need to know what 100# feels like if are going to pack out an elk that is more than 1/2 mile from the trailhead or truck. If you are 2 miles in that is 10 miles of hiking to get 4 loads of elk meat/hide/antlers out plus your divvy camp. You will almost certainly not be packing out in 50# trips as that would be another 6 to 8 miles on top of the 10 miles. If temperatures are warm, you do not have time to make 6 to 8 trips. If have two buddies along that will stop hunting to use up most of a day helping you with the downed elk plus the hiking then 50# works per hike out. Packing out the leg bones is extra weight, too, so might want to consider boning out the quarters though this may mean have to trim more meat as go to package it for the freezer.

Or, hunt smaller game or closer to the road or hire a guide that has horses or whatever to promptly get your animal to where have coolers with ice during 2nd season. An elk is a big critter and on a warm afternoon laying in the sun is a race against bacteria.
 

jnd1959

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Hike, on uneven ground (rocks, roots, etc), at various elevations with a weight that doesn't stress your joints. It doesn't matter if that is 5 lbs or 50. When you can do 5 - 7 miles at that weight without being wasted, move up to the next level. You want to feel the weight on your back but not on your knees and ankles. You can use water to hike uphill, dump the water at the top and hike down empty and repeat for hill training. I've tried to use the gym to strengthen my core but have not had success. Nothing beats hiking on uneven ground with weight. You will reach your weight limit when additional amounts cause too much stress on your joints. This is your top limit. Whatever it is will be your reality. Structure your hunt around that. I'm sixty and no longer do high altitude climbing, my limit is 50 lbs give or take. Next backpack hunt will require me to either have help, hire a wrangler or use llamas if I shoot something.
 

dragginwood

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I think around 30-40 pounds is a good weight to train with, depending on your age/abilities/etc. Don't want to go too heavy and risk injury.

A sack of dog food makes a pretty good training weight in a backpack..
+1, I use a sack of dog food in my pack as well. The only down side is your dog is going to follow you around real closely..
 
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CORN

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Like many guys have said, 45-50 is a good weight to train for the backpacking portion of the hunt.

Since your question was specifically regarding packing out an elk though, I'd think about it in terms of how much an elk weighs. Obviously depends on a lot of factors (bone in quarters or bone out? Gonna bring the cape out with you if you get one? Gonna shoot the first legal bull you see or hold out for a big one?), but figure out a number for much you'd guess a bull would weigh, then divide that by how many trips you think is realistic for you to get it out in. Ex: if you've got 225 # of meat plus 15 pounds from your pack, rifle, and kill kit, then you're either looking at 127# x 2 trips, 90# x 3 trips or 70# x 4 trips. Pick which is most realistic for you to carry out and train towards that goal.
 

GlockZ

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I start out with just my pack and my gear for the field plus 35lbs., eventually working up to my pack & gear weight plus 100lbs., and I add distance each time, starting from 2.5-3 miles, and eventually working up to 8-10 miles. As a side note, I'm pretty much wiped out after 3 miles of carrying a 100lb + pack. But I can easily do 8-10 miles with up to 60lbs. added to my pack. Good luck.
 

Coach Chris

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I ruck 2 days a week, short/heavy and long/light
I start short/heavy with 65# for 3.5mi and 700' gain/loss. This season I hope to hit 130# before season opener.
For long/light I maintain 65# and increase distance. I start at 7.5mi and 1,780' of gain/loss.
Last season I strength trained 2 days a week, low volume, heavyweight. This season I'm lifting 5 days, abbreviated training. Only 1 day is truly heavy.
 
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