Training for Backpacking

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Replies

  • rose_a_lind
    rose_a_lind Posts: 41 Member
    edited May 2016
    Quote from DayHiker.com:

    "Go early, go light, go fast, go far, go high, and achieve your personal best in one day."
  • peleroja
    peleroja Posts: 3,979 Member
    The best prep for hiking is hiking, but when I was researching the same thing, a lot of people recommended stairs as well (and you can do them indoors!)

    I did a week of backpacking the Andes (high altitude) last year for my honeymoon, and while my husband and I both trained on shorter hikes with weight, I was the only one of us who did some other training, namely running stairs and just running. As a result, even though I'd consider him to be in better shape than me generally, I had a much, much easier time than he did with the whole thing.

    I used the stairwell in my apartment building and ran up to 200 storeys 3-4 times per week (less if I had a backpack on.) The building is 19 storeys so I'd start in the basement, run up to the penthouse, then back down, and repeat up to 12 times. It was a grind but it was a huge help to my cardio endurance, my ability to tackle elevation increase and climb, and my strength in general.

    I also added in a ~5K run once or twice a week (previous to starting to train for the trip, this was the only exercise I'd really been doing and my fitness level was still pretty beginner - I could run 5K without stopping but it was not easy for me and I absolutely could not go further.)

  • rose_a_lind
    rose_a_lind Posts: 41 Member
    In view of all the advice I believe I need longer to get ready for the AT so we will postpone it for the time being and work on getting in shape. But I still will hike on short portions of it and other easier trails. I like this new feeling of feeling stronger and don't want it to turn into a grind. So I will just enjoy smaller challenges for a while. Thanks everybody!!!
  • ASKyle
    ASKyle Posts: 1,475 Member
    If it hasn't been mentioned already, make sure you have great boots. Break them in first and get used to them for several months before. There is nothing worse than hiking with blisters and bloody feet.
  • pezhed
    pezhed Posts: 777 Member
    I just want to provide this blog post I wrote when I was getting ready for the Grand Canyon. The hike was still very hard cardiovascularly, but I felt what I did prepared the muscles around my lower body joints for the jarring descent. It was all gym work but the most important things (step-ups, step-downs) can be done on a park bench:
    gwrmaa.com/2015/08/amandas-pre-grand-canyon-training.html
  • whmscll
    whmscll Posts: 2,254 Member
    In the book, Trail Tested, Justin Lighter has ultra light gear lists for different seasons, different environments. Looking at the list for summer on the East Coast I see he does not pack a change of clothes. Only extra socks, plus rain jacket and wind pants.

    That can be dangerous. What if you run into an unexpected storm, get drenched, and get hypothermic? It is almost impossible to get warm in wet clothes. I recommend one set of hiking clothes, and one set of "camp" clothes that you can hike in in a pinch.
  • ssakcik
    ssakcik Posts: 121 Member
    I've been reading books about thru hiking the PCT lately. Not because I plan to do that (i love in the UK) but because I find the really inspiring. Check out Carrot Quinn's book and another good one is Erin Miller's book (think it's called hiker trash).
  • ecestu
    ecestu Posts: 1 Member
    Setting the treadmill's incline to something that's a little uncomfortable, and start going longer and higher each week without holding on for dear life to the "cheat" bar. That helped me get through some of the more difficult, 20+ mile hikes in the Shenandoah.
  • rose_a_lind
    rose_a_lind Posts: 41 Member
    edited May 2016
    Thanks, I will try those tips. My weekend hike/campout went great. I hiked a total of 15 miles/ 10 miles on the trail and 5 off trail. It is the Tanglefoot Trail between New Albany and Houston, Mississippi, 43 miles long, mostly a flat easy biking Trail, no hills at least on the piece I was on.... More of a walk than a hike although I did carry a light pack. This time I was carrying only 10 lbs as it was only a day hike with a State Park to camp 20 miles away. When I finished the hike I drove to the Trace State Park to set up my tent and campsite. I was not too tired, but felt a little heat stroke as I had worn a visor instead of a cap, and needed to rehydrate. On this pack I noticed the hip straps and chest straps helped balance the weight and keep the pack from slapping the body which can be annoying with time. I brought snacks but really wasn't hungry till the next day, just thirsty.
  • rose_a_lind
    rose_a_lind Posts: 41 Member
    I walked past farms, pastures, thru woods, and residential areas in small communities. The residents were good sports toward all the bikers (and vagabonds like me walking past their backyards) with signs that read, "Happy Trails" and scarecrows with a smile and arm raised in greeting. You could stop at a town for refreshments. I would like to try it with a bike next time and see how far I can go.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,842 Member
    Those are nice bike rides too if trail system is long enough - bike camping too - pull a trailer, see more sites.
  • meritage4
    meritage4 Posts: 1,441 Member
    I wonder if there is a local hiking group you could join?
  • rose_a_lind
    rose_a_lind Posts: 41 Member
    That would be fun. I will check it out.
  • rose_a_lind
    rose_a_lind Posts: 41 Member
    Are there such a thing as Backpackers that do a less back country, wilderness hike? I am thinking about how this would be fun to try. Kind of an Urban Trekker? That way I could get the exercise without having to take cooking gear and lots of food. Just energy snacks like trail mix and granola. I think this is done more in Europe and Great Britain. But how about here in US or Canada?

    I think I would like to still try camping out though. Maybe mix it up a little to experience both.

    Any one else have experience with this as a way to be outside, exploring, and getting great exercise?
  • sunnybeaches105
    sunnybeaches105 Posts: 2,831 Member
    Ws2016 wrote: »
    My goal is to be able to gain the ability to walk at least 10 hours in one day with a backpack on the AT, and camp for the night.

    How many days out are you planning? If you're in any shape at all, after about 4 days you'll find your pace and strength.

    ^ This. You'll be amazed at how quickly you adapt. As for footwear, yes make sure your boots fit, but you may find you prefer trail runners or even hiking sandals. Boots are for rough terrain and heavy packs. If you want to do real distance go light and go comfortable.
  • rose_a_lind
    rose_a_lind Posts: 41 Member
    My goal is to be able to gain the ability to walk at least 10 hours in one day with a backpack on the AT, and camp for the night.

    The corrected goal is to walk around 10 MILES, not hours, (phew, that would be hard!!!) not nessesarily on the AT, (maybe a part of it, but not a thru hike) and still camp.

    In May, I hiked 10 miles RT on a portion of the Tanglefoot Trail, logged another 5 miles at the Trace State Park, and camped out for the night. I didn't feel bad at first, but felt exhausted later.
    I think it was all the work of setting up and taking down camp after the long Backpacking hike that did me in.

    I want to try ultra light weight gear but not spend mega bucks on it.

    In August I fly into Portland, Maine for a week. I have family near Bangor that I can stay with, but I want to spend some of the time hiking and exploring. I look forward to some seacoast views. I can take a Tourism bus part of the way up the coast to break up the hikes.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,842 Member
    edited June 2016
    Are there such a thing as Backpackers that do a less back country, wilderness hike? I am thinking about how this would be fun to try. Kind of an Urban Trekker? That way I could get the exercise without having to take cooking gear and lots of food. Just energy snacks like trail mix and granola. I think this is done more in Europe and Great Britain. But how about here in US or Canada?

    I think I would like to still try camping out though. Maybe mix it up a little to experience both.

    Any one else have experience with this as a way to be outside, exploring, and getting great exercise?

    You would have to pick one of very few trails where they have huts to stay in or little cities off trail that match what you are talking about - we are so much more expansive here in land that it's hard to have that same ability.

    The KATY trail going from St Louis to Clinton, MO would be something similar in that you could arrange for B&B's along the way - so no where nearly as cheap.
    And it's decent landscape for riding across where you move through the scenery fast, I dare say hiking would get boring fast since not actually in the woods very often - you are following old RR line, so not much incline either.

    I can only recall reading about portions of a longer trail that had a few segments that had a hut and food available or short walk to a nearby town, but infrequent and far between.

    For the camping being exhausting - examine if you really need a tent. Vast majority of my winter camping is without a tent, because not in high mountains. Even if snow on the ground, unless it's expected, don't need it. Even dealt with high winds decently, though in that case level ground and feet right direction would have been better.
  • rose_a_lind
    rose_a_lind Posts: 41 Member
    Thanks heybales! No tent in the winter, I can't imagine! What are you sleeping in? I have heard of using a screened hammock. My son has one, but I haven't tried it.