Training for backpacking topics
Hiking is not the same as backpacking. The 35 pounds being lugged on your back makes a world of difference. Don't assume that if you are a great hiker that you may also be a great backpacker. It could be true, but it's only coincidental. Training for backpacking means boots on the ground. There is no training like doing.
Often one looks at the specs for a backpacking section, and you get generic elevation gain and loss, and distance. But remember that there are many factors outside these three parameters that can make a huge difference. One is how smooth or rough is the surface of the trail? Are there boulders and slick rock, or even jutting rocks that push out of the ground that must be tread upon? Also, what about sun and shade? Are you going into the sun or away from the sun? Are there trees that will shade you during 90% of the hike or 5%? Makes a difference Also what is the ambient temperature on the day of the hike? how about humidity moisture, rain, snow? Bottom line: Many factors affect whether you can finish the hike and whether you will enjoy your hike. train for the most likely scenario, or the worst scenario.
When you are training, take your backpack, and load it up like you are going backpacking. There is no simulation like duplication of conditions. Doesn't have to be the exact conditions, but it will be a better simulation if it is. Same goes with clothing, boots, socks, trekking poles, hat, the whole magila.
Do at least 3 simulation hikes if you are pushing the envelope. If you're only staying between the lines, probably 2 simulation hikes will be adequate.
One week before you plan to leave on your backpacking trip, stop training or exercising in anyway that will damage your joints or wear down your vigor. Take a rest, take it easy, store up energy in your batteries. Then go enjoy your backpacking trip.
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Last Update: May 4, 2015
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