Spring creeps up rather quickly every year….suddenly we are 2 – 3 months out from our first expeditions and are feeling the crunch to get things organized. We also need to get the winter body ready for the shock of carrying that “Pack” again all summer.
There are many ways to continue to improve one’s fitness and health: Whether it’s the latest craze of cross-fit, martial arts, daily walks, the gym, yoga or a personal trainer, no matter what you already do or choose to start doing these will obviously all help build a healthier, stronger you.
Unfortunately what is usually missing from all of these other options is the one thing that could be on your mind your whole trip and will definitely be on your back the whole trip and that is your pack!
We field lots of calls asking us “How should I train for my trip?” On one level the answer is very easy, start wearing your pack – lots, Basically the more you can get your body used to the exact pack you will wear on your hike the better. The key of course is the weight you should be training with in your pack. Start LOW – If you rarely carry any weight on your walks or hikes then start with 10lbs in your pack and work your way up SLOWLY to the amount or even MORE than the amount you think you’ll be carrying on your trip. This way when you do your trip you won’t have to spend too much time worrying about your pack.
This raises the question of how much weight will I be carrying typically in my pack. There are of course lots of variables to the packing/weight question depending on the type of trip, budget, size of person etc. Luckily your lovely guides are kind enough to be carrying all of the group equipment meaning that what we are going to hand you is a HEAVY food bag (hey we’ve got to eat right!?) and either half of a shared tent or a small single tent for your to use – call that anywhere from 10-15 lbs. The rest is up to you. Many of our guests average a pack that is 30-35lbs.
It is important that you try and start planning a walk/hike once every 2 weeks or every week that is longer in duration in addition to your more regular local routine. Most of the time backpacking is an endurance workout not a cardio workout. Being out for a full day-hike with a loaded 65-75 Liter backpack is what will get your body ready for what it is going to experience on the trail.
The key here is to have the pack sitting ready to go with some weight already packed in it (be creative with things for weight – bags of rice, lots of really good food on a longer hike!, the actual stuff you are going to carry on your trip). Every time you go for a walk, put the pack on. It’s time to be that crazy neighbor who everyone notices because of their pack – our guess is you’ll probably start up some good conversations along the way. Some of our guides have been known to wear their packs around the house while doing daily chores like vacuuming, whatever it takes when time is short, in order to get a little more pack time! Many of our packs have developed nicknames such as “The Black Hole”, “Big Red”, “Mutt” – after you’ve spent enough time with your own pack and completed your wilderness adventure, you’ll be ready to give your pack it’s true name as well!