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The Big Heavy

rated 5.0 of 5 stars

The Big Heavy is my home away from home carrying everything I need except me.


  • The Big Heavy is cavernous


  • Did I say The Big Heavy?

The Big Heavy is an amazing external frame backpack from the late '80s. This isn't one of those wooden framed canvas Boy Scout things mind you, but a bit newer and more high-tech. The Big Heavy is able to carry anything and I love it so!

Starting with my sleep system I have a tarp. I've never liked the sound those plastic one's make so I found an old painters tarp. It's canvas so it weighs a bit more, and it gets wet, but it's quiet and I sleep well so it's worth it.

Then comes my tent. Here I have to admit I pack an old Boy Scout tent. It's canvas too with wooden tent poles and solid steel stakes so the thing can survive anything. It's a little big though as I recently hosted a small family overnight and we all had plenty of room.

Closing out the system is my good old sleeping bag and mattress. The sleeping bag is that older kind that rolls up to the size of a keg of beer. I'll have to replace it soon though as I find little pieces of it when I clean up in the morning. I guess threadbare and falling apart is not a good thing, but it smells like campfire so I'm keeping it for now.

And finally, I have the twin sized mattress I got from Walmart. This is one of my newest purchases and it took awhile to figure out how to power the portable air pump, but the 100-watt solar panel I carry makes it work! Pro tip—get the twin sized. The queen is a little large.

Moving on I should tell you about the clothes I wear, but I'm sure all of you wear cotton T-shirts and blue jeans. Cotton is the fabric we live in or something like that and blue jeans are just so durable. Not as durable as my solid leather 12-lace hiking boots and athletic socks. I've worn these for five years now and I still don't think I've seen them bend, ever. I get a lot of compliment for the food I eat though so I'll share that and make your mouth water!

When I first started long distance hikes I tried to eat well but the steaks I brought with me spoiled after that first day. I tried to hoist a cooler on top of The Big Heavy but the ice wouldn't last and once it melted the water would rock back and forth making it hard to walk. I don't bring steak anymore but I still eat well.

Tonight, for example, I pulled out the pots and pans and made enough macaroni and cheese for twelve. I added a couple of cans of tuna, fresh vegetables, herbs and spices I brought from the full supply I always bring. I wanted to be civilized so we also had bread a bottle of wine. I'm always amazed at the number of people who say they've run out of food when they see me cooking, but The Big Heavy has more than enough room for my propane two burner stove and all the accessories I need. Pro tip—fine china is heavy so be sure to get metal dinnerwear. Nice silverware is a must.

I can go on and on about all the things The Big Heavy can carry and I love it so! Everyone needs a Big Heavy! I'm not sure they make mine anymore, but keep a look out and you might get lucky too. And if you see me on the trail, remember I'm the one with the good food! S-

Source: bought it used
Price Paid: They paid me to take it away

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