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[The Outdoor Issue]

How much should your backpack weigh?

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Loading down your pack can make any hike less fun.

It’s the bane of hikers everywhere—you’re well into your outdoor adventure when you realize you’ve overloaded your pack, and back pain strikes. The challenge is twofold: knowing the proper weight for your ballast and how to maximize content without adding extra pounds. According to Kristin Hostetter of backpacker.com, never carry more than 33 percent of your body weight. Most seasoned experts recommend getting that number down to 25 percent if you can. Backpacker.net offers the following tips:

•Get a 3-pound pack, a 3-pound tent and a 2-pound sleeping bag.

•Get titanium pots, pans and other hiking-related gear. It’s lighter than most other metals.

•Pack dental floss—it can be used for several purposes, including emergency thread for gear repair.

•Only carry the water you need.

•Everything needs to be in proper proportions. This includes sunscreen, medicine, vitamins, toilet paper and condiments.

•Instead of packing a pillow, use packed-up clothes.

•Instead of soap and scouring pads, use your fingernails and dirt or moss to help scrub your pans.

•Use candle or lamp oil instead of batteries, which add up in weight very quickly.

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Weekly's associate editor, having previously served as assistant features editor at the Las Vegas Sun ...

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