Mar 10, 2014 at 6:57 pm #1314260
@namelesswayLocale: Mid Atlantic
So I was taught this many years ago.
The "theory" is that by unbucking your hip belt, the shif of the pack's center of gravity up onto the shoulders allows for the legs to have a little more freedom and coordination, reducing the risk of falling (and fatigue.)
Obviously this technique was recommended for groomed trail hiking.
I am sure that I'm not the only one who prefers the muscle burning of going uphill to the ligament grinding of going down hill… Sometimes.
(Now that I think about it, do I have this all backwards?)
:)Mar 10, 2014 at 6:59 pm #2081617
Pack is light enough it doesn't matter.Mar 10, 2014 at 7:15 pm #2081626
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I think that you are better off keeping the hip belt buckled so the pack does not sway too much. You can keep better balance, regardless of weight shift.
–B.G.–Mar 10, 2014 at 7:20 pm #2081630
@dallasLocale: North Texas
No, but I do when crossing rivers. :)Mar 10, 2014 at 8:24 pm #2081649
The only benefit I could see is maybe if you were scrambling down a steep slope with no trail as you'd have better control of your pack balance as you move. But descending on a trail I don't see a benefit as you'd just get sore shoulders. You wouldn't need better balance on a decent trail. So no, I don't unbuckle my hip belt. Never noticed a need for better balance issue even on the vertical mile descent into the Grand Canyon on the Kaibab trail even when I did it several years ago with a 50 pound pack which is a completely different problem that my knees still remember.
Now fording running water I understand.Mar 10, 2014 at 8:35 pm #2081656
@amrowincLocale: Southern California
I'm with Malto on this. My pack is normally light enough that it doesn't matter. For a shorter trips I use a GG Murmer that has a 3/4 belt that good as a hip belt holder and not much else.
My "big load" back is a Borah Gear Stealth that has a hip belt that I only cinch up when I'm loaded up with a fresh resupply-total of 25lbs or so. But I've never thought of unbuckling to have any positive effect when going downhill.Mar 11, 2014 at 4:27 am #2081732
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
No. Never crossed my mind no matter what the pack weight is. However my really small packs don't have hip belts.Mar 11, 2014 at 5:11 am #2081739
@fluffinreach-comLocale: no. california
it needs to be buckled on the uphills so the weight is off the shoulders and i can breath deep, so that leaves downhills as the place to loosen it so the leg muscles can "get some air", as well as ventilate the packbelt areas.
downhill as an acquired taste. is hard to find those really sweet multi k' unbroken downs to work out on. but, as in motorcycle racing, there is ample time to be made up once you dial them in.
v.Mar 11, 2014 at 9:04 am #2081784
@namelesswayLocale: Mid Atlantic
Yeah, I do know I was given the guidance when I was much younger and doing much "heavier" backpacking. I can certainly see it being entirely moot with a light pack.
I remember that it seemed to offer more "freedom" for my legs to absorb the downhill shock. But nowadays, I don't believe my pack is heavy enough for it to make a difference. I also now use trekking poles.
I was just curious if others have heard of this.
I wish I remembered who told me that (might have been a co-worker at HTO or REI), they were a rather skilled backpacker, if I recall.Mar 11, 2014 at 10:26 am #2081797
@eagleriverdeeLocale: Eagle River, Alaska
No. I've never heard of this practice. I can't say that my legs ever feel confined or like they don't move freely headed downhill. The only time I unbuckle is if I'm doing a water crossing. The rest of the time, I prefer the way my pack carries while buckled up at the hips and sternum.Mar 21, 2014 at 2:17 am #2084851
@dmusasheLocale: Pacific Northwest
I unbuckle my hipbelt for about 5 minutes at a time every half hour or so just to give my hips a break and air things out. I do this regardless of whether I happen to being hiking on flat, uphill, or downhill terrain at the time.
Probably best to not overthink this one. Just do whatever feels best.Mar 21, 2014 at 4:57 am #2084860
I haven't tried this although sometimes I'll loosen my load lifters going downhill.
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