Pack for a bad back?

Pinchecharlie

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2016
Messages
10
Short of quitting or buying horses or llamas iam having trouble hiking. I broke my back in 2009 and now it sucks to carry a pack. I have a kuiu and iam sure if I was young and fit it would be great but it just isn't working. I have several old style backpacking packs like an old Dana designs and a north face but was going to see if it was worth trying the new school stuff. I live in Bozeman so I can go see mystery ranch or the other super cool one stone glacier . Is it worth a try or should I move on to greener pastures. I try and hike a 100 miles a summer and we usually do about that during the hunting season but I hurt bad and it's not fun.
 

bwhntMT

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2018
Messages
173
Location
SLC Area Utah
I don't think you will know until you load one up and put it on properly fitted. I'd go to Mystery Ranch and Stone Glacier and do just that, walk around and see how it feels. When I was pack shopping, I had a chance to throw on packs with weight from 6 different companies at the Hunt Expo. That made all the difference in knowing what got and worked for me.

Sorry about your back. Back problems suck. I wouldn't wish back issues on anyone.
 
OP
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Pinchecharlie

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2016
Messages
10
Thanks man. I'll go check them out. My kids have ultra light stuff and love them but their kids lol. I drive by stone glacier everyday from work I'll stop in I be they'd be into making it right as they could. Only problem is I'll be out a grand lol but I suppose if I felt better that would be cheap. Thanks again!
 

matthewmt

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
859
I'm dealing with a pinched nerve in my lower back, I work concrete and I feel like I'm in the same boat as you at times. Trying some on and being able to rule them out would save some grief for sure. I've thought about trying stone glacier but after packing out an elk and my buck this year I feel like the fit has gotten better and better on my kifaru. If I was passing through Bozeman I'd definitely stop in and try on a pack for sure.
Seekoutside is an option to consider as well. Tons of good feed back from users here.

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TheRambler

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2013
Messages
236
Location
NW Connecticut
The Kifaru tactical frame and the older duplexes were a godsend for me. I needed a frame with minimal to no flex. I have a nerve problem in my lumbar and since going to a Kifaru tactical frame i have zero pain carrying even a very heavy load. The other option is going truly ultralight... like sub 15-20lbs all in. But that just isn’t my thing.
 

Stingray

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2018
Messages
167
Location
East coast
Broke my back. Had surgery to repair it in 2015. I have found with the right pack shifting weight to my hips, I can carry weight. But it’s personal. You have to get fitted. And good to go slow. Good luck.
 

SDHNTR

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2012
Messages
1,325
I have a degenerative spine condition. I deal with back pain all day, every day. I’ve been through them all. As of now, my stone glacier works the best for me, but this is a highly personal issue, and what works for one does not translate to another.
 

blgoode

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2014
Messages
180
Location
NC
I have lumbar inflammation issues and the seekoutside full wrap belt with no lumbar pad keeps me going trouble free. It just grabs me and doesn’t add to the problem. The top being flexible prevents pressure from moving down into my spine.
 

Marble

Senior Member
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
496
Hey op, have you tried to find solutions for the back issues. I'm sure you have, but just thought a little more info on what's hurt and what hurts it would help. I'm sure all of us here can help you out!!
 

Farmingdale's Finest

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2017
Messages
388
Location
NEW JERSEY
I can’t compare to having a broken back but have had back issues due to a construction accident at my home where the nails in my steps rusted due to flooding from Hurricane Sandy. I fell through and herniated 6 discs. I was in PT for 7 months and had to have an epidural. I could barely walk around the block for a year.

This year my son and I went on a Colorado elk trip where we carried our bivy equipment up to 7 miles a day weighing about 30 lbs. What I did was a combination of yoga to stretch, lots of different angle planks, a basic kettle bell work out which worked the whole body again heavy on core and cardio. Then finally backpack cardio of 2-4 miles using a Mystery Ranch Glacier packed with 40-75 pounds. Three years ago this trip seemed an impossibility. This routine worked out great for me.

The only way you will find out is to try some packs and see how you do.

Good luck!


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Terrapin

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2014
Messages
189
If you live in Bozeman, I would try and schedule a time to meet with Dana Gleason at Mystery Ranch. He has been designing pack since the 70’s, and knows his stuff. He’s gruff and opinionated, but my guess is if you explain your issue, he might carve out a couple minutes to offer some suggestions.


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GLB

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Messages
354
Location
Alaska
With lower back issues myself I have to have my pack setup so that almost Zero weight is on my shoulders and have the hips bear that weight. This limits me to about 70lbs or so before there is too much load on the shoulders.

I am also very dedicated to my workouts and continue to build a strong core and legs to keep me going in the mountains.
 

trophyhill

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
824
Location
Tijeras NM
I don't know that one pack will be better than another when you have a screwed up back. I have a couple herniated discs in my lower back and always hope they don't act up during my hunts. If the nerve gets pinched from the discs during a hunt, it wouldn't matter what pack I had........
 

Stid2677

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2012
Messages
2,320
I've had 2 back surgeries, one a failed fusion and the next with rods and pins. The only way I can carry a pack is to have one that puts the weight on my hips and legs, this means a pack with a belt that will stay tight and not slide down allowing the weight to rest on my shoulders. The only two I have found that do this is Kifaru and Stone Glacier. Learning how to pack and carry weight cannot be over stated. Keeping the weight low and close to your back is key. Just like loading an aircraft, you want the center of gravity to be as near to center as possible. I had to accept that my triple digit weight packing days were over, I just carry what I can and leapfrog my loads from kill sight back to basecamp.
 

Jauwater

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2016
Messages
1,240
Try Hill People Gear. In my experience, their suspension system allows for better movement, and their Prairie Belt is really comfortable. I recommend HPG a lot, but I'm no fan boy. I've tried a lot of the other high end pack brands you see go through the classifieds, but I would always end up back with a HPG pack. The way the harness attaches to their packs allows for movement without the pack having to shift with you. I'm not the best at explaining the science behind it, but take a look at their packs, and how the harness attaches, and you might be able to make better sense at what I'm trying to explain. Best of luck to ya.

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blgoode

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2014
Messages
180
Location
NC
I agree on HPG harness. I’ve not used theirs but I have used Seekoutsides harness system that is a variant of HPG concept and agree it really works to be flexible with the pack on and with load.
 

DavePwns

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2017
Messages
255
Location
CA
Pack goats = no pack, minimal maintenance, cool little companions, you can put them in your truck bed when you travel
 

Nickb_00

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2019
Messages
88
So I have lower back issues and a curve in my spine. Now doesn't compare to a broken back I'm sure but I know what it's like to deal with pain. I used other packs that were supposed to be top notch! Then a buddy of mine had me try on his Kifaru and we loaded up with 60lbs and it was night and day difference! Like others have said get the weight off you shoulders and down to your hips. I was able to find a used Kifaru hunter frame in the classifieds and got my bag and could not be happier with how it rides and feels! Best thing is to try as many on as you can! Hope that helps! Feel free to PM if you have any questions.
 

Milestone522

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2018
Messages
126
Location
NorCal
I was broadsided by a drunk driver in 2014 and have had back problems ever since. Pain and spasms are common. However, I have found that a good core workout, good eating, and a good quality backpack make a world of difference in both daily life and when putting miles on your boots in the mountains.

I have always used Kifaru packs and once adjusted properly have not had back issues while wearing them. Oddly I often feel better with the pack on than off when hunting. I think you need to buy a quality pack that you can adjust to your body. I cannot vouch for the other popular brands (SG or MR) but I think you and your back will feel a world of difference using one. Try them on, adjust them, see which one feels best, and make the purchase.
 

Where's Bruce?

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2013
Messages
4,336
I destroyed my back and five motorcycles but a Kifaru pack made a world of difference. Can adjust the felt load and am able to carry double the weight 50% further than before. And trust me, I can carry everything and the kitchen sink when I do...snivel gearho to the max. My avatar proves it. Kifaru was a huge game changer.

lightened backpack.jpg
 
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