One of my characters is stranded in a forest with almost all of of her belongings, and she must travel the 40 kilometers (~25 miles) on foot to reach her destination. She leaves most of her things behind, taking only the essentials/things she'll need once she reaches her destination (--her belongings consist mostly of what the average teenager might pack for a boarding school--she takes her phone charger, deodorant, most of her packed daggers, and two changes of clothes. These are carried in her backpack.) She also has archery equipment and a short sword and several throwing daggers on her belt.

But she can't bring herself to leave her bear pelt behind--it's her equivalent of a teddy bear, and she's stubbornly sentimental. So she drapes it over herself like a cape (the bear's neck is cut so that it fits snugly over her head) and begins walking.

Female black bears can weigh between 100-250 pounds, and males 130-500. These numbers are for fully intact bears, though. I can't seem to find any reliable info on one that's been skinned. I would rather the pelt be of a male bear but if it's unfathomable that the heroine could manage it I'm okay with it being female.

It's late August, the climate in this particular location in the world at this time of year ranging between 24-29 degrees C (75-84 F). Our heroine is an eighteen-year-old demigod who's been training her entire life. There is no time limit--she can take as many breaks as she needs. Should she run into a combat situation, she would remove the hide. How heavy is the pelt, how quickly would one dehydrate themselves / die of heat stroke (assuming she has an unlimited water supply) and how likely is it that she'd survive the 40km walk?

  • 10
    $\begingroup$ "her belongings consist mostly of what the average teenager might pack for a boarding school" and "archery equipment and a short sword and several throwing daggers" made me chuckle. $\endgroup$
    – Aric
    Aug 22, 2017 at 15:20
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ A 40km walk is not that much (in the sense "not something likely to kill you", it's still quite a hike), especially for a demigod who's been training her entire life. And forget the heat stroke at 24-29 degrees C in a forest. And how could she dehydrate herself with an unlimited water supply ? $\endgroup$
    – Keelhaul
    Aug 22, 2017 at 15:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The very first link I found on google with a search "how much does a black bear pelt weigh" gave me a decent result of 50-80 pounds. $\endgroup$ Aug 22, 2017 at 15:27
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @sphennings I think I found the same site, and it was talking about an untanned hide from a large male specimen with skull. That would mean 50lbs coming off of a probably 380 lb animal. That sounds reasonable to me $\endgroup$
    – Paul TIKI
    Aug 22, 2017 at 15:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @sphennings I know, that's why I brought it up. an untanned hide is going to be heavier than a tanned one. Unless her boarding school and parents are really odd, she's going to be carrying a tanned hide. Mozer might well have been talking about a 50lb pelt coming off of a large bear, which makes sense so long as it was untanned $\endgroup$
    – Paul TIKI
    Aug 22, 2017 at 16:45

4 Answers 4


Black Bear Pelts can be between 21KG and 27KG

Depending in the size and treatment to cure the leather.

An US soldier carry 60% of their body weight in equipment for survival when deployed. In the case of the girl, probably depends in her weight. Most 18 years old girls would weight between 46KG and 55KG depending in her complexion. What means that only the pelt would be 50% of their total weight still missing their equipment and weapons.

Dehydration Progress

Dehidration it's a process at a 2% scale your body begins to make you feel thirsty, mental and physical decay can be noticed already in decision making and reflex.

At 4% begins headaches, dizziness and vomit. Mental process decays even further.

Trekking in the mountains with over 35kg of gear and covered in a pelt during the day would mean a rest of 20 - 30 minutes for every 1.5KM to maintain some level of battle readiness and avoid a heatstroke.


I don't see this as too much of a problem for the Heorine for a number of reasons.

Assumption one: She has been training with weapons. I'm guessing she is in pretty darn good shape. When you get right down to it, 40 km isn't really very far unless the terrain is really rough. That's for big fat guys like me. For an in shape 18 year old? No problem

Assumption two: If she has had weapons training, she will probably have more than just a clue about roughing it. The Military has to move from point a to point b and finding big enough hotels along the way isn't easy. So she knows how to camp and has survival skills. As a Result, keeping the pelt is a no brainer. She would likely sacrifice a change of clothes in a heartbeat to keep the pelt. You can wear it, use it for ground cover, as a blanket, and so on

Assumption 3: She has knives. If the bear pelt won't fit easily into her backpack, she will be able to fashion some way to carry it, with creepers, vines, whatever. Roll it up, a fairly small bit of cord looped through backpack straps, and problem solved.

Assumption 4: wearing the thing, in relatively warm summer weather, is going to last about half an hour before she takes it off and rigs a carry device. The fact that it's forest, and likely to have lots of shade may mean she wears it for a couple of hours. She will also probably value freedom of movement and so not wear it in favor of free movement.

Besides the bear pelt, she isn't carrying a ton of mass. At age 18, physically fit normal young women often make it through US Marine Boot camp and hike a lot farther carrying a lot more gear and do it with a time limit. This is a final step in Marine Boot Camp The Crucible. 45 miles in 54 hours with both food and sleep deprivation, in full gear with heavy rucksacks. This happens in the full summer too, with temps approaching 35C. A Demigoddes is not going to have any real issues. To her, this is akin to locking your keys and cell phone in your car and having to walk 3 miles home. That is aside from monsters or other attackers.

A massive inconvenience, absolutely. Life threatening crisis for her, not at all. Now if our heroine was 12, it would be a different story. She would not have the stamina for it, and the psychological burden may be really bad since she wouldn't have enough experience to systematically overcome the problems. At that age, the pelt may be a very significant teddy bear indeed.

Darnit, the setup description makes me want to go camping now. :)

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ upvote for pointing out she doesn't have to wear the pelt $\endgroup$
    – ZioByte
    Aug 22, 2017 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ I get that the OP mentioned wearing it because, lets face it, the easiest way to carry your coat around is to wear it, but when temps rise, even in a mild summer like described, you quickly take the darn thing off $\endgroup$
    – Paul TIKI
    Aug 22, 2017 at 17:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I was toying with the idea of her just dragging it by the foot by the end of it, and now I feel like an idiot for not considering the fact that, yeah, she could just rig something up to make it easier. Thanks so much for your answer--it was super informative! $\endgroup$
    – Anna Weiss
    Aug 23, 2017 at 3:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AnnaWeiss That is a beautiful mental image. I can't see an 18 year old dragging it by the foot, but an 8 year old? Wow, the feels! I also have a mental image of her using the sword as a stick and tying the pelts arms and legs to it to make a Barbarian Hobo Bindle $\endgroup$
    – Paul TIKI
    Aug 23, 2017 at 3:10

According to these guys, it could be between 22kg and 27kg with the skull still attached but that it depends on the bear's species, which makes sense to me.

I will be conservative and round it to 20-25kg with the skull removed.

So that's at least 20kg of leather and fur covering most of her body, in a forest setting with a temperature between 24°C and 29°C.

Reegarding dehydratation, I believe it won't happen if she has an unlimited amount of water.

Besides, if she needs to fight, she might not have the time to remove the hide. The thing you describe looks like a 20kg - at least - sweater. I don't believe that someone suddenly realizing they are under attack would have the time to remove such a thing.

In the end, I guess her end would come either from being attacked by a wild beast while trying to remove her bear pelt in order to defend herself with her boarding school weapon kit, it from exhaustion after carrying a heavy pelt and various weapons for days with almost no occasion to dissipate heat.


In The Revenant, Leo DiCaprio wears a real bearskin coat that weighed 100 lbs wet.

Leonardo DiCaprio's 100-Pound Costume: 'The Revenant' Star's Bear Skin Coat Is 'Real & Very Heavy'

I found this, googling bear pelt weight.


Based on my hunt last year with a 6.5 foot blackie I would say:

  1. The hide and head will definitely fit in a 48 quart cooler.

  2. I carried the hide and head out on my hunt and I would guesstimate it was in the 50 - 60 pound range.

from http://alaskablackbearhunts.com/bear-data-hunt-results-alaska-black-bears-charters-trips-lodges-hunting-craig-AK.php

They were both taken in the spring and one weighed 326 pounds with a skull of 19 3/16", a hide of 7'1" and was 16 years old The other bear weighed 342 pounds with a skull of 20 4/16", a hide of 7'3",and was 10 years old. I wish we had the time to weigh all our bears

Let us say skull/head weighs 10 lbs. She is not wearing a skull, so 40-50.

40-50 is for a big bear. Let us say that this is a small bear or at least a small hide; a young woman does not need 7 feet of bear skin. Let us say it is 5 feet; calf length for a 5.5 foot woman. So 71% of 40-50 lbs = 28 to 35 lbs.

That is a lot of coat. But you probably would not need to wear much else. And then it would be easy to cool off by leaving the front open. And then guys looking to illustrate the cover of fantasy novels will draw you.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .