Top 5 Ways to Fastpack
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Fastpacking is a hybrid activity that combines running on trails over the course of several days with hiking using minimal equipment.
Fastpacking can be viewed as any of the following, depending on your experience and personal preferences in outdoor activities:
- Ultralight backpacking aims to give a more intense trip in which more nature may be seen by carrying less weight and covering more ground than when traveling ordinarily.
- Trail running over multiple days and nights allows you to maximize your time in the environment while also allowing you to cover more ground on each run.
Fastpacking, however, you define it, is characterized by its emphasis on rapid movement across varied terrain while using a minimally sized and weighted fastpacking bag.
Multiple Ways to Fastpack
There are many ways to fastpack, but I believe these concepts to be the most traditional and easy to understand.
1 Day Trek Baby Steps
It would be best if you didn’t jump right into a multi-day, 100-mile hike without first doing some serious planning.
Better your fitness and get acclimated to moving rapidly while carrying extra weight by trying local short-distance trail jogging on busy routes.
Trial runs over shorter distances are a great way to test your gear and see what works and doesn’t before setting out on a big trip.
To fastpack without outside help means carrying all of your gear in a single pack. What we have here is the simplest form of fastpacking.
A self-supported trip is one in which the fastpacker carries enough food, snacks, clothing, and stove fuel to last the entire trip without restocking until the end.
Hidden caches of supplies can be left at post offices or in hiding places along the way.
While this is a great way to fastpack, are you aware of the Ultime 8 Pros and Cons of Fastpacking?
This is where you just carry a bit of food and water with you. Then you have a support crew to take care of everything else. Those who are trying to set new trail records (FKTs) often employ the technique of supported fastpacking.
Fastpacking Crew Trips
Choosing your companions (if any) for an expedition is just as important as mapping out your route. Some things to think about while selecting fastpacking buddies are:
Traveling with a group of individuals with varying levels of experience is possible, but it requires everyone to be on the same page and plan activities accordingly.
In this regard, short fastpacking trips provide opportunities for those with less experience to learn from those with more.
If you and your travel companions are serious about this adventure, you should each have at least as much experience as the others.
Harmony in a relationship
Fastpacking is challenging and calls for continual communication and cooperation between teammates. Spending time together outdoors, such as on a day trip, is an excellent way to see if you click before committing to a more extensive wilderness excursion.
You should be aware of your partner’s defining characteristics because of the degree to which you will be exposed to them. Know your partner inside and out, especially if it is a long, arduous, fast-packing trip.
Because fastpacking is an activity, you need to consider the health of your traveling companions. It’s okay if the group members don’t match in speed so long as everyone knows they’ll have to move at the rate of the slowest person.
Pre-trip debates about speed, fitness, and daily mileage are not the time or place for egos. Discuss openly what success looks like on the job means for everyone involved.
Here is my fastpacking training regiment, so if you need to get in shape it may help you out!
Be a navigation master
In my experience, most outdoor adventures only require the accuracy of a two-degree compass and a paper map. Most compasses weighing between one and two ounces have an accuracy of two degrees, and many different models are available. Not sure how to use a compass? Then read this compass article.
However, it would be pretentious to avoid taking advantage of modern technology.
You may download a wide variety of helpful apps for your smartphone. Several GPS programs will pinpoint your location even when you lose cell service, and topographical maps may be downloaded for offline use.
Ultimately, you can rely on one of the innumerable tried-and-true GPS devices out there, which can do much of the navigation for you. Here are some examples:
- Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar GPS Watch
- Garmin GPSMAP 64sx Handheld GPS with Altimeter and Compass
- Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator
Acquiring the skills necessary to find your way, such as reading a map, using a compass, and recognizing landmarks, is still essential. If the electronics fail, you’ll have to learn to rely on your skills.
Get rid of the tent and sleep in a bivy sack?
Do you need a tent if you are away from civilization, in a friendly, safe, remote place? If the weather at night is pretty much guaranteed, then just sleep in a bivvy.
They are lighter than tents, and you get more of a feel for the outdoors. However, where I live, those perfect nights are few and far between, so I am in a tent most of the time.
Here are my picks and what I use for Bivvy bags, and other fastpackers have recommended.
Also, most of the time, I bring an ultralight pillow to help me get the necessary ZZZs to function optimally the next day. Here are my top 5 picks that I use on rotation.
To survive in the mountains, you must bring a reliable water purification system. In addition to water bottles, a device that filters water at the source is an essential piece of gear.
You can get rid of bacteria and protozoa from water on the go with the Katadyn BeFree 0.6L Water Filter. This soft flask/collapsible bottle is compatible with most running hydration packs, so you may fill up without worrying that you’ll get sick from the water.
Chemical water treatment drops or tabs can eliminate any remaining viruses from your water supply, but this process can take up to 25 minutes or more, depending on how cold the water is.
For a full-on breakdown and other options for water purification systems, check out this article, 6 Best Water Purifiers for Fastpacking.
The best fastpacking trekking poles are compact and lightweight, making a massive difference in how far you can travel daily, especially if your route has a lot of inclining and declining. They help take the strain off your legs and back.
Black Diamond’s Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles are popular for trail running and light hiking. They’re collapsible and extremely lightweight, thanks to the carbon construction.
Fastpacking allows hikers to see more of the world and go further than they otherwise would be able to. When you hike rapidly, you can see more, get to more places, and do more things, whether by yourself or with others.
The outdoors provides the ideal setting for building strength in the core and legs, as well as agility, endurance, and stamina, thanks to hills and terrain.
When compared to traditional road running, fastpacking has several advantages. While running can be hard on the knees and ankles, a quick fastpacking trip reduces the stress of running while safely building strength in the muscles throughout the body.
Carrying a pack and using poles engages many major and minor muscle groups. You’ll be utilizing more than just your legs to propel yourself forward, making this a genuinely comprehensive adventure.
Check out these helpful fastpacking lists: