Soldier performance and strenuous road marching: influence of load mass and load distribution

Mil Med. 1997 Jan;162(1):62-7.


Fifteen male soldiers performed six maximal-effort, 20-km road marchers. They carried load masses of 34, 48, and 61 kg, using a standard military backpack with frame or an experimental doublepack. March times decreased as mass increased and were faster with the standard pack than with the double-pack. The doublepack resulted in less low back discomfort and a lower incidence of blisters at the highest load, but also resulted in more discomfort in the neck and hips. Neither load mass nor pack type affected soldiers' marksmanship ability, grenade throw accuracy, or cognitive ability. The maximal-effort march itself affected the marksmanship tasks by increasing the post-march vertical shot group dispersion. The concept of distributing the load mass more evenly around the center of mass of the body has both positive and negative aspects and warrants further investigation.

MeSH terms

  • Blister / etiology
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Foot Dermatoses / etiology
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel* / psychology
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • United States
  • Walking* / injuries
  • Walking* / physiology
  • Weight-Bearing*