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Before I Set Out...

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I need to train a bit. I haven't been active for quite a while due to health and just life in General. Busy Busy! My health issues are getting better thankfully.  So, before I set out, I need to strengthen my muscles and get used to carrying a pack. That's Why I set my sights on a small one night trip. 

Question, about how much should I be adding to my pack when I train? When I say train, I mean daily walks. And I have a nice, steep, rocky hill I have access to. I basically don't know what to do to prepare my muscles. 

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Aaron Zagrodnick

In reality anything will help, whether walking with or without a pack, just be careful not to take it too far where you end up getting a nagging injury of some type. The best way to train is by actually hiking, but for me running is a good substitute as it really gets the legs, cardio, and feet ready without having to carry a pack in training. And it takes less time to run a couple miles than to walk it when you're just training close to home. But if you're taking a training pack along I'd probably go with whatever is convenient, maybe test with the same pack weight you expect to take if you're not used to it / need to get an idea of how far you can go.

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Mantra Man

I would echo the comments to try a session with your actual weight that you expect, and also use the actual pack you will use.  You want to eliminate any chaffing or pressure points before you head out.  I like to use a hip belt and it always takes a while to get it dialed in perfectly.  Don't forget to eliminate items you don't need, as that will likely be more important than training!   

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  • 4 months later...

I would not immediately head to a trail. I'd head to the lower impact pool workouts(submerged stationary bike for example),   beach sand/dunes workouts, elliptical, etc

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I also like developing better balance wearing a pack wading up to waist deep in light Gulf of Mexico surf with a hard bottom, no sudden drop offs, etc. I also strengthened legs, ankles, etc  and developed balance pre AT NOBO thru jumping on a backyard trampoline. 

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  • 1 month later...
Michael aka Mac

Hi Dove76,  

Let me begin by saying that I specifically joined forums like these to help those with physical disabilities or individuals with health ailments and physical limitations.  This venture of mine began when I was in college where I joined a non profit organization known as S.H.A.R.E. at U-Mass Dartmouth University ( we created and designed electronics to help those with disabilities  ie  blind, deaf, mobility issues or paralyzed individuals) .  

I myself  have permanent nerve damage from my neck all the way down to my ankle on my right side and have a very bad back that I had surgery on about 8 years ago.

Dove76 like yourself I headed back to the outdoors  when my body was able to handle it  and I started out slowly.  The 1st thing a person must come to terms with when they have gone through health issues is what one use to be able to do or carry is not what one currently can still do like when they were 18.  

The first thing I did was get all new ultra-lightweight gear. Backpacks, stoves, headlamps, knives, compass, mess kits, sleeping bag,  tent,  self inflating matt,  even my hiking shoes and jacket were significantly less weight then prior to my back issues.  I then started eliminating items from my pack and replaced them with items that could do the same task as 4-5 other pieces of gear.

In the end  I was able to drop 15 lbs. off my entire outdoor gear & clothing setup. No, I do not have all the luxuries that I once use to bring with me on trips, but at same time this much lower weight to carry allowed me to actually go on trips without having to pay for it with aches and pains. Many people do not seem to realize that it is not just your pack that weighs you down but everything that you wear too. You can literally take off 6 lbs. off your back with lighter clothing, jackets , and shoes during late fall and winter months.

So my suggestion to you is to 1st  get gear that is as light as can be that you can afford and then fully pack your backpack with all your gear so that you are only carrying the pack's base weight ( everything but food, water, and fuel ) and use this to start training.  As you start to see yourself being able to go further and carry more weight  slowly every few days   add some water to your hydration bag 1/4 amount and keep doing this until you can carry a full hydration bag.  Next start adding  food to your pack  following same strategy as with the water.  Last thing you will add to your pack down the road will be your fuel.

And to give you a ball park range for pack weight,  Ultra lightweight pack setup is  approximately 10 lbs. base weight without food, water & fuel. Mine is about 12 lbs. but i bring with me a solar crank emergency world radio with flashlight and weather alert with cell phone charging port, a Recorder flute to crank some toons, and a climbers pulley, Figure 8 & climber carabiners and paracord to aid me in lifting heavy objects or hoisting gear up terrain where my back cannot handle carrying my pack.

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