Gearing Up for a Hiking Trip

Posted on July 22, 2013. Filed under: Exercise, Health, Tour du Mont Blanc, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Travel - Packing

Yesterday we did our first training hike for our next adventure.  Part of the training is getting the shoulders and back to strengthen for the weight of the pack.  Mine will be about 20 pounds which figures out at about 14% of my body weight.  This is a significant load for my spinal column, it’s associated musculature, my hips, knees, and ankles too.  With some training all of these structures can rise to the occasion by becoming strong enough to handle the load without injury.  The guys at the outfitting store amaze us when they tell us that often customers are in the store to buy their backpack for the trip they are leaving on tomorrow.  The folly of this boggles my mind.

Last year, when training for the Tour du Mont Blanc, we trained for the most part with rice-filled bags in our packs just for the weight.  This changes the way the load sits in the pack because each bag is so dense.  In reality, the items I carry all have different densities, sizes and shapes.  So this year I decided to mostly pack my bag the way I do for the trip and train that way.  In the photo you will see most of what I am packing.  There is a little bit art to this task.  Heavier items in the bottom and up against the back, lighter items fill in around.  That’s the general rule, but you also want easy access for items you want to retrieve often so those tend to go more outside or on top.  Clothing rolled and secured with a rubber band works well to keep it as small as possible.  Already yesterday I weighed two pair of rain pants.  The new ones save me 6 oz. so the pants from last year have lost their slot!  Every ounce is carefully considered as to necessity and if there is any way to make it lighter by changing the item in some way.

The first training hike went well but today I am a little sore in the low back.  This tells me it was a perfect first day.  I will continue to increase the time that the pack is on my body eventually wearing it even to walk the dogs around the neighborhood.  This will be time and effort very well spent.

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