Ergonomics Working Group

Rucksack Packing for Performance: Load Carriage Training Package

Many soldiers are injured each year due to the improper use of rucksacks. These injuries are preventable if soldiers follow certain guidelines when packing and fitting their rucksacks.

There is currently no training given to soldiers on the packing and fitting of their rucksacks before a road march. In 2001, the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (USACHPPM) Ergonomics Program, using research conducted at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM), began developing a Load Carriage Training Package based on the relationship between center of mass (COM) location and the metabolic cost of load carriage. The research indicates that, to decrease the metabolic cost of load carriage, a COM location that is higher and closer to the back is desired.

The Load Carriage Training Package consists of:

The training was developed to be concise and easily presented to soldiers in a timely manner (20-30 minutes)

Currently, a training proposal is being drafted for the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) to include elements of the Load Carriage Training Package in current training manuals.

Recent Publications


The Modern Warriors Combat Load report from the U.S. Army Center for Army Lessons Learned, focuses on the modern warrior’s combat load as experienced by a U.S. Army light division force.

Major Findings


Reduce the Weight of Shoulder Worn Technologies

And Take the Weight Off the Soldier’s Back