for people ages 18-65 (full criteria)
Healthy Volunteers
healthy people welcome
at Fresno, California
study started
completion around
Principal Investigator
by Susanne Spano, MD
Headshot of Susanne Spano
Susanne Spano



Backpacking is an increasingly popular outdoor recreational activity. The base pack weight (BPW) includes gear that is not consumed or worn on the body: shelter, sleep system, weather-proofing layers and personal gear to ensure a degree of comfort and safety. As such, reducing BPW is one of the most important tasks a backpacker manages when preparing for a trip. Available recommendations for ideal BPW are currently inconsistent, lack clear parameters, and rely on anecdotal evidence. The study aims to collect field data on perceived exertion and heart rate (HR) in relation to BPW during a day-long interval of hiking. Such findings can have implications on the cost and safety profiles extending from recreational backpacking to military and wilderness rescue operations.

Official Title

Backpack Weight Impacts on Perceived Exertion and Heart Rate Variability


Exertion; Excess, The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion, The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion between 17 and 19 lb BPW, The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion between 19 and 17 lb BPW


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18-65

  • Only adult (age 18-65)
  • Have gone on at least two overnight backpacking trips in the past 5 years
  • Have hiked at least 8 miles in a day on one of those trips

You CAN'T join if...

  • Lower extremity injuries or surgeries in the past 6-months
  • Daily Smokers
  • Chronic medical problems:
  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Heart attack
  • Heart surgery, cardiac catheterization, or coronary angioplasty
  • Pacemaker/implantable cardiac defibrillator/rhythm disturbance
  • Heart valve disease
  • Heart failure
  • Heart transplantation
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Back pain


  • UCSF Fresno accepting new patients
    Fresno California 93703 United States

Lead Scientist at UCSF

  • Susanne Spano, MD
    Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine, UCSF Program Co-Director, Wilderness Medicine Fellowship, UCSF Fresno Associate Editor, Wilderness & Environmental Medicine Susanne J. Spano, MD, FACEP, FAWM is board certified in Emergency Medicine. She earned her medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine.


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, San Francisco
Study Type
Expecting 20 study participants
Last Updated