Thinking about getting into fastpacking or already had a few runs and looking for fastpacking tips and tricks to help out?
In this article, I will explain everything you need to know about fastpacking; both for beginners and experienced runners.
Fastpacking has evolved into its own sport over time as backpackers continue to try and backpack with lighter loads and achieve quicker times across set routes or their own routes.
Such is the competitive human nature, that fastpacking soon became competitive as people started pushing themselves to record faster times.
Fastpacking doesn’t have to be a competition though. It’s an awesome hobby or pastime that gives you the opportunity to get some exercise and appreciate some breathtaking scenery.
The goal of this article is to help you skip most of the learning curve and get right into this fun, adrenalin pumping pastime, without forgetting some of the essentials.
Why Go Fastpacking?
If you enjoy backpacking, trail running, hiking, or just about any outdoor activity and want to push yourself a little harder then you should try fastpacking.
Where fastpacking differs from hiking or trail running is that you’re covering all kinds of terrains and landscapes, often for days at a time while pushing yourself to go that little bit faster.
It’s easy to get started with too. All you need are the bare essentials in your backpack, a good pair of shoes, and you’re ready to set off powerhiking/jogging, traveling as fast as you can for anywhere between one to several days.
It’s largely an individual hobby or sport because it’s hard to find someone who will go at the same pace as you.
But there are groups and communities which are fun to join, and sometimes traveling in a group is fun, you can always separate and meet up again at some point.
Some of the main benefits/reasons for going fastpacking are:
Fitness – You have the opportunity to push yourself as hard as you want which is great for your cardio. You can also cover various terrains and elevation to give your muscles a more thorough workout than any gym session can offer.
Sightseeing – The great outdoors has the most beautiful sights to offer, you just need to get out there and experience it. Fastpacking overnight means some pretty cool stargazing away from the city pollution too.
New Skills – There is nothing more emasculating than feeling completely lost and not being able to fend for ourselves without all the modern gadgets and tools that we rely on at home.
While fastpacking you’ll become an expert in navigation, setting up a tent or makeshift shelter, finding and purifying water, recognizing risks and finding solutions using the land, and much more.
Fastpacking Tips and Tricks
Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More
The more planning you put in the more successful your fastpacking experience will be. This means from packing your backpack to checking if you need permits where you’re going and what the weather will be like.
Obviously, the route you’ll be taking is very important. You need to know this down to every last twist and turn, and letting someone else have a copy in case of an emergency is always a good idea.
Planning out how much food and water you’re going to take comes down to a fine art that you’ll get better at with some trial and error. For your first few journeys, you’re better off taking a little too much rather than cutting it fine.
Invest in Good Gear
You don’t need a lot of high-tech gear and it doesn’t cost much to get the fastpacking essentials, but if you cut corners on the gear you might end day one with a blister or backpack malfunction which can ruin your whole trip.
The main items you should stretch the budget on are:
Don’t over Do It, There’s Always the next Trip
A pitfall a lot of people new to fastpacking fall into is pushing themselves too hard on their first few trips.
There is a fine line between pushing yourself and avoiding injury or fatiguing yourself to the point where you just don’t want to continue.
Take your first few trips at a comfortable pace and slowly increase the pace at your own pace. If you’re traveling with others, pick fastpacking buddies with a similar pace.
Some Extra Reminders:
Here are a few short reminders when planning a fastpacking adventure:
- Check all your kit is in good working order before leaving.
- Take some spare clothes, the extra weight is worth it.
- Reserve spaces in a campsite if applicable.
- Don’t forget a first aid kit.
There you have it. All the essentials, how to get started fastpacking, why it’s a good choice and the benefits it has to offer.
Hopefully, I’ve given you that final kick of motivation if you needed it. I’d love to hear where you fastpack and how you get on, just drop me a note below. Thanks!