How Do I Prepare for a Long Backpacking Hike
People on Reddit and all over Facebook activity ask, “This is my first long hike, what can I do to get my body ready?” and the answers can be quite simple but not always common sense. In this article I intend to layout 3 key things you can and should do to prep for your next big hike. Do keep in mind this advice is geared towards people planning to hike 50+ miles.
1. Get in shape, sounds simple right? Well where do you start? Cardio. Cardio is going to be key, start doing walks each day these add up over time even if they’re done with just two miles a day. As you progress, introduce either a weight vest or your backpack with some of your gear in it. As this becomes easier, you will be able to increase your load. This will do two things for you. First, condition the body to move for longer periods of time with heavier weight on you. In fact, I recommend ending your practice at heavier than expected travel weight. This way when you hit the trails, your body is carrying less than it’s used too! Second, it’s going to help improve your overall time in the trail, which means more time relaxing at camp by the lake and fire! Make sure to also train on similar elevations when and if you can. If your hike is going to have rolling hills and your training on flat farm land, your going to have a bad hike.
2. Study the area, you should know the map and area surrounding where you will be as best you can. Knowing where everything is will prevent you from getting lost and keep you on track each day while moving through the wilderness. Keep in mind some places still don’t have cell coverage, so play it smart, know the map, and keep one on hand! You may consider getting a GPS Satellite phone.
3. Check your equipment, you don’t want to get caught with faulty equipment 20 miles from the trailhead. Open your tent, check for holes or damage. Make sure you have a battery pack in case of emergency and you need to charge something. Check that your water filters haven’t expired and that you have water tabs on hand. Is your sleeping bad graded for the weather that week? Are your ice spikes in good condition? All these things and more need to be tested and checked before leaving. This adds an extra level of protection for yourself, being prepared is key here.
4. If you’re using electronic devices to help your hike, you should consider keeping battery packs or a solar charger on you just to have an extra level of security. Phones and GSP devices will work in most parts of the United States and other areas for emergency purposes, so being able to have them on hand for an emergency is important.
I hope these tips helped, if they did make sure to sign up for our newsletter and check out these other articles below!
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