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Weighted Vest vs Hiking Pack for Weighted Walks?

Hey All,

I’m working on training for ruck marches in the Marine Corps, and I plan on doing a couple weighted vest walks for conditioning in the mornings (~3 miles) along with some longer rucks once a month on the weekends. My goal is to get up (after a long time) to about 100 lbs.

Weighted vests are a little cheaper and easier to adjust the weight, but the ruck sacks have hip straps and the weight distribution will be closer to what I’ll be doing in the Corps. But for the frequency I’ll be rucking, I think the vest might be better on my back.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I found a 100 lb vest on Ebay for about $110, so if anyone knows a good pack/vest for around that price they recommend, that would help as well.

Honestly, it wouldn’t hurt to buy them both. Not sure if that fits in your budget. But once you get to the fleet you’ll be marching with a flak jacket, pack, rifle, and whatever else. So using both might actually be a good simulation for that. Also keep in mind, you’ll hike up to 12 miles in boot camp. Not including the crucible, which if memory serves is 50 miles in 3 days.

[quote]Mitchnasty wrote:
Honestly, it wouldn’t hurt to buy them both. Not sure if that fits in your budget. But once you get to the fleet you’ll be marching with a flak jacket, pack, rifle, and whatever else. So using both might actually be a good simulation for that. Also keep in mind, you’ll hike up to 12 miles in boot camp. Not including the crucible, which if memory serves is 50 miles in 3 days.[/quote]

I’m actually about to commission as a Lt. I finished OCS last summer, so I’ve had a decent amount of experience with ruck marching, and I was not naturally very good at them, so I know its something I need to practice more before I head to my next school. I had though about getting a weighted vest then using a sturdier, cheaper backback to add additional weight over about 60lbs to simulate a pack and a flack. But then again, still no hip strap.

But getting both is out of my price range right now. Not saying I couldn’t get one later, but right now its pretty much one or the other.

Are you active duty? If so, they will issue you a pack and everything like that at CIF. If you’re a reservist, I’m not sure how all that would work. If it were me, I might think about the vest. I think you could make yourself more combat ready with that than with a pack. People don’t patrol with packs unless they need to (I.E. they’re going to be out for a long time, or they’re transporting something). Usually Marines on patrol just wear their flacks (with minimal attachments) and don’t worry about bringing a pack. Unless there was some reason as to why you wanted a pack, like maybe you wanted to just do some hiking on the weekends, I would go with the weighted vest.

Haha I’m in a weird spot. I’m still an Officer Candidate, but I commission in September. It’ll be roughly six months after that until I can head to my next school. So I’m not really Active or Reserve right now.

And I might try to go on some longer hikes on the weekends, so that could push me towards doing the pack. I’m probably going to head to an outdoor retailer this week and see what packs are available there.

You can get an Alice Pack from an army surplus store or Amazon for ~$30. That’s probably what you’ll be issued, or something slightly newer.

Years ago I was in the military, so I have some experience with ruck marching.

I would personally try to find the pack that most resembles what you’ll be using and fill it with approximately the same weight you’ll be using for marches. I’m sure a recruiter can help you with this. In addition, get comfortable hiking in real boots vs. trail shoes/boots.

One last thing, it may not seem like much but carrying a rifle gets very tiring and burdensome. If you want to up the realistic training, fill a PVC pipe the length of a rifle with about 10 pounds of sand (M-16 weighs around 7 pounds, full magazine at least another 3 pounds).

Good luck!

I agree with getting both: the ruck that matches what you’ll be issued and a weight vest. That way you can keep the volume up but spare your shoulders. Good luck and be sure get your 3 mile run under 18 and be able to do at least 20 dead hang pullups.

If you are trying to get better at rucking then get a pack. If you want general conditioning get a vest. The vest sits very differently than a ruck.

Like people said, the ruck will sit differently than the weighted vest. If you train with a heavy vest now, the transition to ruck will be easy.

I have a 150 lb vest I go for 1-5 mile walks in a hilly neighborhood it is killer.