Human dimensions of heavy load carriage

Jace R Drain, Rob Marc Orr, Daniel C. Billing, S Rudzki

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionResearch


There is a universal need for dismounted soldiers to be capable of moving their body mass plus an external load both administratively over a prolonged duration and tactically at high speed. A soldier’s load is typically comprised of clothing, protective ensemble (i.e. body armour, helmet), combat equipment (i.e. webbing, weapon systems, ammunition, power sources, radio) and sustainment stores (i.e. food and water). The total load varies dependant upon factors such as mission requirements and threat profile. The U.S. Army have classified combat loads according as either fighting (or patrol) load (e.g. 18-22 kg), approach march load (e.g. 32-35 kg) and emergency approach (or sustainment) march load (e.g. > 35 kg). Whilst the combat loading terminologies and exact compositions may vary between the coalition armies, the purpose of the load is similar. A dismounted soldier’s load carriage capacity is influenced by a multitude of factors that can broadly be categorised into three main areas; soldier characteristics, mission requirements and context, and the load carriage system employed. Some of these factors may be manipulated to reduce the physical demands on the soldier, however this is ultimately dictated by the specific mission requirements and context. From a mission planning perspective it is important to appreciate the dynamic interaction and cumulative effects of these factors which impact individual load carriage capacity (and potentially battlefield performance) of the warfighter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFull Spectrum Threats: Adaptive Responses
EditorsVinodi Puri, Despina Filippids
Place of PublicationBrisbane
PublisherDefence Science and Technology Organisation
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
EventLand Warfare conference - Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 15 Nov 201019 Nov 2010


ConferenceLand Warfare conference
Internet address


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