Most backpacks with loads of 10 kg or more are comfortable for a short time. However, I have never been able to find one that is comfortable for more than half an hour, and I have come to see that I am not alone. If you can find a comfortable backpack, let me know!
Most people find heavy backpacks uncomfortable
When developing the Trekker’s Friend I had market research performed that involved asking a large number of people that go walking about their experiences. One of the questions was whether they found walking with a heavy backpack for long periods to be uncomfortable. If it was uncomfortable, how uncomfortable was it, and did it affect what they did?
The results for this question were as follows:
- 17% of respondents did not have a problem walking with a heavy backpack for long periods
- 47% found it uncomfortable but not enough to affect their behaviour
- 29% found it uncomfortable to the degree that they avoid it where possible
- 7% found it very uncomfortable to the extent that they avoid doing it.
As shown, most people cannot find a comfortable backpack – 83% found walking with a heavy backpack for long periods to be uncomfortable. But heavy backpacks are not just uncomfortable, as found by many long-distance walkers on the Camino, they can also injure you.
Best solution: take it off and put it on the Trekker’s Friend
The first step is to make your backpack as light as possible by having lightweight hiking equipment and leaving as much as possible at home. But once you have done what you can there, what next? The next step is to put your backpack on wheels, which is what the Trekker’s Friend hiking trailer is for.
The Trekker’s Friend comes in a day pack that can be used by itself (so you don’t need to take another one) and folds into its own internal pocket when not in use. You can use this day pack to balance your load so as to leave only 2-4 kg on your body. And when you need to carry your backpack the Trekker’s Friend only adds 1.6 to 1.75 kg (for Lite/Classic versions) to it.
The Trekker’s Friend is so lightweight because it uses your trekking poles as part of its frame when you are wheeling it. This works well because wheels only help you on tracks that are not too rough, steep or slippery, and, at those times, your trekking poles do not help you very much – therefore, using them as part of your trekking trailer is a good idea. When your way becomes to rough, steep or slippery for wheels, you carry your backpack as usual (with the Trekker’s Friend attached), using your trekking poles to help you walk.
Using a hiking trailer provides many benefits, apart from just the comfort, though comfort is important.