Not just the "in shape" or "outta shape" question, but how's your heart--had a checkup lately? Know as much as possible about your current condition before you even start an exercise program if not already on one. That knowledge will also minimize potential problems in the backcountry. If you have a health condition, of any consequence, understand beforehand, the implications and potential impact of strenuous exercise and venturing into the backcountry.
If you haven't already, get the medical check-up to find out - one way or the other - if you have anything to be concerned about. The backcountry is not the place for medical emergencies. There's just no out there! If you exercise regularly, you may already be in good enough shape to tackle day hikes over easy to moderate terrain.
However, walking or jogging - not something to which I would subject my knees on pavement is not the same as carrying a pack over a rough trail tread. My suggestion is to first, at least, put on a pack loaded with 5 more pounds than you would be carrying on your hike, then truck around the neighborhood for a few miles to see how it feels.
Next, plan a short hike to see how you fare on a trail with the pack on. Gradually, in addition to your regular exercise program, take more difficult hikes that keep challenging you as well as increasing your level of conditioning and endurance. This method is the least painful, if you will, because it leverages off of what you already have and gets you on the trail, immediately. What could be better than hiking yourself into hiking condition. If you're not in good physical condition, you should take the time to set up a regular exercise program.
It must be consistent and it must be a priority or, guaranteed, you will not be consistent and you'll always be on the brink of getting in shape--but not quite.
Hey, I bin there! Also, I've seen many folks who want to go hiking but get discouraged when doing so primarily because they did not get into hiking condition beforehand. Hiking is so very rewarding in multiple ways but it is a strenuous activity. Swimming, Biking human powered , Walking. It's good to have a variety of activities which exercise a variety of muscles. I use a combination of Health Rider, free weights, and hiking to stay in shape. Somedays, I don't feel like sitting inside on a machine, so I just lift a few weights, then strap weights to my ankles and take a two mile walk.
Point is, start a program you're comfortable with and stick to it on a consistent basis. Anticipate Level of Difficulty, and Train Accordingly. You will put yourself and your fellow packers at risk, if you think you can wait til the trip and then get in shape on the trail. Two years ago, I went on a five-day trip with a group of Mountaineers. One of the people used to hike with his sons carrying 50 pounds of gear.
He was fairly active, a skier and such, so thought he would be okay, based on past experiences. Thus, he went on the hike without training specifically for it. He lasted half a day. Couldn't go on - he was really hurting. He had to go back to the trailhead and wait for us for four additional days because he was one of the drivers. At least he didn't get hurt. We were all impacted in a negative way. Several weeks before a trip, I anticipate how much weight I will be carrying, then prepare a pack that weighs 10 pounds more than that.
That, then, becomes my training pack for the next several weeks - about four or five nights a week - right up until two or three days before the trip. In addition, I continue with my normal exercising routine. That way, I'm very confident I will be successful on the trail and that my fellow packers can count on me to be strong, healthy and happy.
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Stretching muscles reduces muscle tension and allows better, more flexible movement. Prior to your daily workout, whether in the backcountry, or at home, take some time to stretch your lower back, legs, torso, neck, etc. If you're not sure how or what, do some research - there's plenty of material available on the subject. The point I want to make here is that stretching is necessary and will help prevent soreness and injury, both on and off the trail. Prevent "Pack Lifting" Injury. Jerking a heavy - 30 or more pounds - pack off the ground and swinging it onto your back is a good way to injure your back.
There's several popular, and safe, ways to do it.
The one I use the most is to place my pack on the ground with shoulder harness facing me; next, I grab the shoulder straps - one in each hand - and with straight to slightly bent back and slightly bent knees, I put my knee into the backpadding of the pack and pull the pack up my leg to the upper thigh. With my leg now under the pack for support, I slide my right arm thru the shoulder harness and then turn and do the same with my left arm.
Next, I tighten the hip belt and proceed to secure pack as usual. This may have taken a lot of words to explain, but it's relatively intuitive, fast and safe.
Backpacker's Start-Up: A Beginner’s Guide to Hiking and Backpacking by Doug Werner
Another method is to rest the pack on a tree stump or embankment and squat down to slip into the shoulder harness. Yet another method is to have someone hold the pack while you slip into the harness. Stay in Shape During the Winter: Lack of commitment to physical conditioning is probably the main reason that many people, who otherwise enjoy hiking and backcountry activities, give it up. It can be hard work and painful especially if you are not in proper physical condition. There are numerous ways to stay in shape, during the Winter.
The first requisite, though, is to make it a priority, otherwise you probably won't find the time, at least not on a consistent basis. My personal training regimen remains consistent throughout the year. I do leg, back, and neck stretches as well as abdominal exercises at least once and sometimes twice a day. Several times a week I exercise my leg and back muscles on a Health Rider machine saw it advertised in Backpacker Mag. I put 50 pounds of weight on it under the seat and proceed to do to reps.
I also exercise arms and shoulders with 5 lb dumb-bells. Oh yes, I also go hiking, year around. So how about you? Well, here's what it means when I use it: The exercise of common-sense is a requirement for the entire "backcountry-experience life-cycle", from initial thoughts, thru actual planning, transportation to, execution of backcountry trip, and return trip home. Plan your backcountry trips, thoroughly, before you leave home. Be as knowledgeable about what lies ahead as physically possible, and you will be much better positioned to achieve and maintain a healthy attitude, perceived and actual security, as well as a darn good time.
The following link gets into the details of planning out a trip: Make a hardcopy of the destination and time table for your trip and give it to friends or family. Draw on a topographical map where you will be, how long you will be there, and when you should be back home. This may be your link to survival should you run into trouble in an isolated area. Follow your knowledge, training, and gut instincts the "sixth sense".
If you are unsure about a traverse, a climb, a trail, exposure to weather - whatever - back off, live another day, and contemplate your alternatives. Select a different route; Pitch your tent and layover until the storm passes; Wait til morning when the river's water level is lower, before crossing, etc.
Keep in mind, ignoring your "sixth sense" and pushing forward into a questionable situation might be challenging and macho, but it can also be called stupid and have deadly consequences, for both you and your mates. Remember, many of the climbers who've been killed on Everest were the victims of their own inability to turn around when their gut was telling them to do so. Not only does our pyschological and spiritual being speak to us, but our physiological parts send us loud messages as well. Hypothermia is a real concern in the backcountry.
It's a condition resulting from your body's core temperature dropping below normal. It's important to recognize and even anticipate these early warning signs, and respond to them, accordingly. Several of the mild cases that I've seen resulted from persons exerting high-energy, getting wet with their own sweat, then getting chilled when they stop. For mild hypothermia, get the person into warm, dry conditions - clothes, tent, sleeping bag and provide and encourage consumption of warm drinks. Hyperthermia is also a problem. It can occur, mainly in hot, dry summer temperatures, when your internal body heat can't be released fast enough and you overheat.
You can also go here for links which deal with both conditions: Once I dry off a bit and my body temperature stablizes, I can take off the jacket. The point is this, try to avoid dramatic body temperature swings, one way or the other. When you first start out on a hike, it's typical that you'll want to stop after about 15 minutes or so, to take a "clothes break".
Take off your jacket or long underwear bottoms so that you don't overheat on the trail. When stopping for breaks, either 1 make the breaks short enough that you don't get chilled or 2 put some clothes on. Repeat this cycle of putting clothes on and taking clothes off, forever. Drink much fluid, eat much food. Many times, I get so caught up in "truckin down the trail" that I forget to stop and eat and drink.
On several occasions, I've experienced dehydration and got a little sick. I usually recognize the need to snack on the trail, though, as I start to lose energy after awhile, so I must grab a little snack to refuel. Also, keep in mind, if with other packers, remind each other to follow this guidance. Determine the gear that YOU NEED to maintain your personal level of security and then seek out the smallest, lightest, highest-quality manifestation of that gear. Don't be overly influenced by "lightweight gear freaks", but, also, for your own safety, avoid the "everything but the kitchen sink syndrome".
Explore the equipment links below, then decide what makes you feel safe and comfortable, then start out with that as a baseline. As you become more experienced, you will discover that your gear configurations will evolve toward efficiency and, hopefully, lighter weight. Remember, though, as you determine your gear needs, a too-large pack makes a person more vulnerable to falling down as well as to back, leg, knee, and foot injuries, and a too-small pack may compromise your personal security, due to lack of necessary gear.
A light, but efficient load, will allow you to have a more enjoyable time with energy left over to celebrate when you reach your destination. For additional packlight philosophy, go here: Before embarking on a gear shopping trip, have your pockets full of information related to: What kind of trips you will be taking: Do you sleep hot or cold? Are you a heavy breather, in your sleep? What's your torso measurement? Do you have weak hips or weak lumbar? This information will be critical when talking tents, boots, clothes, backpacks, sleeping bags, and virtually all the other gear items you will need--some of which you don't even know you need, yet.
Trust me, an experienced salesperson will ask about and use every one of the info items I mentioned above, and probably more. When trying on hiking shoes and boots, take the socks you would wear during your backcountry adventures--as well as orthopedic inserts orthodics. If you don't know what socks you'll be wearing, then that's where you should start. If you change thickness and design of sock subsequent to purchase, that good boot fit you work hard for, may be history. Shop at stores with reputable, experienced salespeople. My suggestion is to go to shops like Marmot, Wilderness Experience, Feathered Friends--all stores I frequent in my part of the world--and get help you can count on from experienced backcountry folks.
Marmot and Feathered Friends also do mail order. Check your local area for the best outdoor shops. If the chain stores are all you have, then make darn sure you've done your homework--for your own good--and get a second and third opinion. More and more I do my shopping over the internet. A lot of good quality shops on the net - for example, The Lightweight Gear shop.
This is a great alternative especially if you have a good idea of your required specifications. Even it you don't, many online shops will work with you to ensure you get what you really need. Using the information that you just supplied yourself--from above, as well as knowledge you gain from studying the following four links and links on the "Gear Links" page--identify, as much as you can, the types and specifications of the gear you desire. You don't need to be a "lightweight gear" neurotic to know that this makes sense.
Here's some old methods and some new innovations intended to lighten the load. If you don't already know, every ounce is heavy, therefore, every ounce removed from your back, lightens your load. You might want to explore these pages before purchasing gear--there's some good weight-reduction to be had via acquisition of specific kinds of gear. Equipment Checklist Know Your Gear. Acquiring the right gear is the first step. You must then gain a keen knowledge of how each piece of gear works, how it is assembled, and how to maintain it. Practice using each gear item, before you leave home.
Visualize having to repair each item in the field and be prepared to do so. The more you know about your gear and the more comfortable you are with it, the more secure and comfortable you will be while on the trail. Backcountry shops, bookstores, libraries all carry books that will provide information about hikes in your area, as well as in other areas.
Also, a great way to learn about hikes is to join a hiking club. Not only will you learn about available hikes, but you'll meet people with the same interests as you. How to Purify Water. Where to Find Clean Water in the Wilderness. How to Rock Boil Water Safely. How to Find Water in the Wilderness. How to Wash Dishes with Dirt. How to Go Green Camping. The video content is inappropriate. The video content is misleading.
The ad is too long. The ad does not play. The ad does not inform my purchase. The video does not play. There is too much buffering. The audio is poor or missing. Video is unrelated to the product. Please fill out the copyright form to register a complaint. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. This is an informative book for the beginner. It even describes how to put on a pack. There are suggestions listed for the beginner to try.
I purchased this book because I'm new to backpacking, and haven't gone camping in years. I still remember most of my camp skills, so I wanted a reference for the light weight world of packing. The book has good information in it, but I agree with a previous review when they say it's all information you can get from a google search.
I did like the gear guidance, and there were a couple tips I found useful. It's got everything this start up guide has, and more.
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One person found this helpful. Great for beginners, and may be food for thought for hikers with some experience. If you want to know where to start, this is a GOOD book! This is by my chair all the time. Straight talk, easy to understand and a wealth of information. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase.
Found the information very useful and it gave some good tips: I picked this book up as it was eligible for the 4 for 3 promotion. It covers the basics well, but doesn't go into as many specifics as I would like. If you have any real interest, you will quickly be through this book and looking for more detailed information. I suggest "The Backpacker's Field Manual" by Rick Curtis instead, as it is much more detailed and wont leave you unfulfilled.
As an individual who has camped and backpacked frequently, but also worked as an editor, I have mixed feelings about this book.
Backpacker's Start-Up: A Beginner’s Guide to Hiking and Backpacking
It was loaded with succinct, useful information for the novice and intermediate backpacker. I'm also pretty sure there was no editor involved in the publication. There are sentence fragments throughout, syntax and diction errors at least once per chaper, poor formatting choices and an unattractive layout to top it off. The information was solid but this book needs a thorough redesign. I am a beginner hiker. I bought this book based on the price and recommendations from below. There isn't any information in this book that can't be found on hiking websites.
I felt it was a waste of money. See all 11 reviews. Most recent customer reviews. Published on February 22, Published on June 9, Published on January 11, Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Set up a giveaway. Customers who bought this item also bought.