Learning to Backpack and Hike

I’ve begun a new journey training to hike with a backpack. I will be compiling my notes and what I’ve learned in this post.

From Cindy, our group leader:
The Hiking Challenge, is a fun challenge and not a competition, it is more to get you interested in hiking/camping and a fitness goal to keep you fit or get into shape, try something new as well as have fun. There are a few on this list that are avid hikers/campers already so that’s cool and some that are very new to hiking (with a pack, with hiking poles …did I mention a pack that weighs about 25% of your weight?) we will start slowly and add weight to your pack as you become stronger.

There are many parts to it. The challenge can be done in a few ways. One is the Appalachian trail, to hike 4 days and stay 3 nights, I usually drive so that it is cheaper, it can takes about 9 to 12 hours depending on what section of the trail we will be doing. However based on the current covid situation we may not be able to get to the Appalachian trail, that does not mean we still can not train to hike. One option is to pick a camping area in Ontario that is close to hiking trails and set up there. There is the Bruce trail but most of the back country camping sites are booked a year in advanced. I hiked the Bruce trail a few times and camped at a local campground but I do love the backcountry camping it is my favorite. Or you can even hike from home 4 days of 10 to 12 k and camp in your backyard getting you ready for future hiking and camping trips, if not camping at all… just enjoy the hiking schedule.

We have beginners to advanced in this group. Please remember your health and safety is your responsibility as this is a challenge safety first, if you are joining in this challenge I am looking at the long weekend in May. Please note that the hike and backcountry camping can get expensive as far as gear is concerned. I will post what you will need based on what your ideal challenge. The training will start January 1st 2021.

Depending on your fitness level, your goal will begin with either an urban hike (around St.Thomas) or Dalewood, Springwater or the Elgin Hiking trail. If you are a beginner start with 30- 40 minute urban hike. (This can be around your neighbourhood) Or one of the 3 trials mentioned above of either 5k or 8k.

Mine is a long-distance light weight backpack, you can start with a basic backpack for now just to bring water and snacks, extras jacket and cell phone. I will send out suggestions for you. The goal will be to buy a good backpack and gradually add weight as we go, to eventually get you to carrying about 25% of your body weight, you will need to weigh yourself and do the math. And weigh your back backs as we go throughout the months. Please do not start with full pack weight this is not a competition it’s to gradually build up the strength. This is not a competition (oh did I say that lol safety first) it is a personal challenge and to help motivate each other to hike at least twice a week to 4 times a week. I will set out different goals each week you choose the one best suited for your fitness level. The goal is not to get injured but to get stronger. Also remember you are taking this challenge at your own risk so pleases take all necessary precaution to keep yourself safe when out there. We can help each other, we can hike as small groups or on our own, keeping in step with physical-distancing and group number of less than 10. I will be doing Dalewood New Year’s Day. Dalewood and Elgin hiking trail are a little more challenging than Springwater. Hiking poles help especially the rougher terrains. You will need poles.

These are Cindy’s poles: Black Diamond Distance Z Z-Poles, 120

I chose a less expensive brand: TrailBuddy Trekking Poles – 2-pc Pack Adjustable Hiking or Walking Sticks – Strong, Lightweight Aluminum 7075 – Quick Adjust Flip-Lock – Cork Grip, Padded Strap

Hiking Shoes/Boots
You’ll need something lightweight and waterproof

Trail Runners Vs Hiking Boots: A 30 Year Perspective

Hiking Boots vs. Trail Runners: The Great Debate

10 BEST Lightweight Hiking Boots

Hiking for Beginners: 10 Essential Tips

Building strength in the body for hiking
“Bodyweight Exercises for Hiking – Gossamer Gear”

How to Use Hiking and Trekking Poles for Stability