How much weight/distance for backpack training?

Discussion in 'Physical Training For Mountain Hunting And Backpac' started by brinker19, Jan 27, 2019.

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  1. brinker19

    brinker19 Active Member

    Jan 20, 2019
    there is probably a weight or % of your body weight that is a good balance of exercise vs. potentially hurting the knees.

    Starting lower and working up, how much do you carry and what distance do you go?
  2. hidesert

    hidesert Active Member

    Aug 20, 2016
    I don't think there's one correct answer but I'll relate my recent experience.

    I'm 70, 5 foot nine and 225 lbs, so I'm significantly overweight. I do have a healthy heart, lungs, back and joints. I hiked 170 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington State this past summer. I averaged 12 miles a day with the longest day about 15 miles. The base weight of my pack was about 20 lbs and fully loaded with food, water and fuel about 37 lbs. A few stretches I had to carry extra water so probably got up to 40 lbs. I never felt overloaded.

    I trained for 4 months in the Spring, fast walking with a 20 lb pack at least an hour a day. I also did leg extensions and curls with 10 lb ankle weights. I wore good supportive boots with insoles.

    I had absolutely no problems and I'm going to another section this summer.
  3. 7magcreedmoor

    7magcreedmoor Well-Known Member

    May 23, 2012
    I read in an article on rucking that a practical limit is 30 percent of your bodyweight for long term marches. I ruck as part of my ongoing exercise regimen to stay in shape for my trips to Montana, and I vary my pack weight from 45 to 65 lbs. depending on how far I plan on going and how I feel generally at the time. My bodyweight is currently hovering around 202-205 for reference. A quick jaunt around the hills is about an hour, just over 2 miles of ups and downs. If I have plenty of time available I've gone as far as 8.5 miles in about 4 hours. I don't spend much time on flat ground when I do this. I also work with kettlebells on a regular basis, and this training gave me a very good experience on my elk trip last fall.
    brinker19 likes this.
  4. HUNTER-1

    HUNTER-1 Member

    Oct 6, 2014
    I'm new to rucking myself, but starting up since I'm going elk hunting in October. I'm planning to start with 20 lbs and go up in 5 lb incriments each week until I hit 60 lbs, and then reevaluate.
    brinker19 likes this.
  5. wildbillb02

    wildbillb02 Member

    Mar 7, 2006
    I have been using my Cabelas frame pack in the gym once a week for since June of 2017. I started at 30 pounds and every 6 weeks I added five. When I hit 90 for six weeks then I started switching up different weights each week. I typically walked on the track or treadmill and then get on the stair machine ( think walking up the escalator that is going down) and then back to the track. I get at least a mile of walking in now and at least 20 min on the stairs. 90 pounds kicks my butt, but 60 pounds doesn't seem like much anymore. I'm sure if I had a better pack or had someone to show me how to adjust this one properly it would make a difference. I am 6' 1" and weight about 260.
    brinker19 likes this.
  6. brinker19

    brinker19 Active Member

    Jan 20, 2019
    Thanks all. I’ve been running 55-65# for several years now. I average about 500 miles a year, doing the same 7mile loop 1-2 times a week most of the time (2-2.5 hours). Sometimes I bump up in weight or go farther. Here in Iowa I only get 500-600ft elevation gain in that loop so the stair machine makes sense.
    My point in posting is I feel pretty good on backpack hunts (elevation still kills a flat lander), but wanted to see what others were doing to prepare better. I’ve never been to a gym.
    I’m 5’9”, 175lb, and 35yo. I enjoy the pack hikes, but I also want to have good knees when I get older- I have no clue if I should be worried about that or not.

    I appreciate hearing what others are doing- keep it coming!
  7. Don A Parsons

    Don A Parsons Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2016
    I kinda cheat the weight thing now that I'm older,,, the trick for me is less distance with lighter pack-weight doing more trips back & forth,,, this works for me since I have all the time in the world to cover ground at my "choosing".

    Lighter weight with 2 trips back & forth is easy on the body and old worn out parts.

    Normally I live life with a mid quality tuff back-pack that can support my every day life style,,, it could carry 40 lbs of water jugs if it had to by volume,,, but normally it comes in at 18 to 22 lbs for doing my day-to-day... It goes to work with me,,, shopping,,, stuff,,, lots and lots of things.

    My mid size back-pack goes with me all the time now at 50+ of age,,, the trick is to get use to utilizing a pack all the time,,, don't leave home with out it.

    Now days I ask my self,,, what do I need,,, the more stuff I need means I need to make more trips back & forth.

    Yuppers,,, my good shape friend can pack 78 to 86 lbs in one hual over X distance,,, I break my package into 2 trips,,, twice as many miles ,,, but a [email protected]!! of at lot less wear on the body.

    Did you know that humans can out walk """most""" furry critters on the planet,,, we could be classed as the Grizzly Bears that slowly and steadily walk down their pray,,, only thing is that "most" Grizzlies save enough energy for a fast follow up chase and a battle with what ever they in-count'er... Ha.

    So now I double trip pack,,, cover less over all ground per-day 7 to 10 Miles X's by 2 is a big day,,, so now I cap it at """mostly""" the 7 ish miles... That's 28 miles of energy that is easy on body. That's a good hike per-day in the mountains.

    I move when the body says move,,, rest when it's time to rest,,, critters are like this,,, they don't travel unless they have to be some where,,, water and food are the main things in life,,, staying away from humans is another reason to mozzy along.

    I lone pack hunt now days,,, that way I travel my own pace,,, no need to slow down others since I pretty much do what works for me. Lots of time to look around, stop,,, move,,, rest,,, eat,,, and plan my own day (s). I don't care what others do since I'm not in their shoes,,, the only boots that matter to me are the ones I'm wearing... That's what counts in my books.

    They tell me what day their leaving,,, then I start off 2 or 3 days ahead of them,,, and pull out before """or""" after their gone or staying... So long as I keep things in check of what works for me.

    Don't get me right or wrong,,, its not that I don't like humans,,, I just think that we shouldn't spend to much time around them,,, that way we get to be us and do our own thing at our choosing.

    Life is much simpler that way. And a whole lot less BS and conversations that doesn't have any barring in the way I plan on doing things.

    That's what counts in life,,, ones self gets it done with one's own responsiblies and expectations for him or her,,, lifes to simple that way you know.

    Good luck on your options since the ball is in your court,,, think wize today in hopes of being wizer tomorrow... What else can we ask of our selves.

    From Frozen North Don where power equipment makes life that much simpler. LOL
    crowsnest2002 and wildbillb02 like this.
  8. ktgoodman

    ktgoodman Active Member

    Mar 1, 2015
    I think pack hikes are critical and so good to tighten all the small hip and back muscles that really don't get worked any other way. Also it builds stamina when you can go for 1-2 hours, it really simulates what a hunt will demand (add elevation). A couple ideas for you.

    Add in some gym time - I hit the gym 4 to 5 days a week and that is plenty. If you added 2 days a week and did legs / back one day and then the rest of your body on the other, it will make a big difference. I'm now 50 years old and the gym coupled with pack hikes of 60 lb. pack prepare me for my hunts. I'm not sore when hunting and can go for multiple days without a drop off. Heck, my pack when hunting feels light compared to my training. I'm 5'7" and 170 lbs

    On the gym workouts, rotate from week to week with lifting for strength and then doing more of a cross fit training for cardio and stamina - this will keep you lean, mean and ready for the woods.

    I used to never need to work out prior to hunts, but when I hit 40 that all changed. You are smart getting into a routine now, it will pay big dividends down the road. When lifting, start light and build up slowly each week, to avoid injury.

    Tons of good info on the internet for workouts and to keep it fresh and fun.

    The body gets used to what you ask of it.