What is Fastpacking?

I suppose you could say it's simply speed hiking or race trekking. Put simply it's just a faster way to see more and travel further in less amount of time.

When fastpacking you'll want to be carrying much lighter loads with a smaller pack. Your fitness level, weather conditions and the terrain you'll cover will ultimately determine which supplies you'll need to take. You won't necessarily be running all the way but you'll need to be comfortable carrying your equipment at speed. Here are a few factors you'll need to take into account:

  • Heavy sweating - Is your clothing suitable? Do you have dry clothing to replace your wet clothing when travelling at a slower pace?
  • Footwear - Have you ran with the shoes/boots you are taking with you before? Do you get hot spots which lead to blistering? Do your feet require taping over long distances.
  • Pack - Have you used this pack before? (Refer to our 'Packs' blog post). You need to make sure this pack will go the distance and can comfortably accommodate all your necessary gear.
  • Where will you be sleeping? Will you take a tent, Hammock or just a bivvy bag on the floor? A roll mat can decrease heat loss by up to 75%.
  • Hydration - How will you stay hydrated? Will you be carrying bottles or a bladder? Will you look to filter water or take sterilizing tablets? 
  • Nutrition - What will you be eating along the way? Do you have easy access food, i.e. food that does not need cooking? How will you cook your warm food?
  • Navigation - Do you know the area? Do you have a map and compass? A GPS unit is a great help until the batteries run out!
  • First Aid / Survival kit - Taking a suitable first aid kit is essential. You'll need to think ahead and imagine as many scenarios as possible which may occur along the way. Essential items would include: Bandages, Strapping Tape, Safety pins, Iboprufen, Gel Ice Pack, Emergency Blanket, Whistle, Torch, Knife, Fire starter or lighter, PLB.
  • WATERPROOF, WATERPROOF, WATERPROOF - There is nothing worse than wet gear and there is nothing more pointless than packing all the right gear and then drowning it all on your first water crossing. I suggest waterproofing each individual item and then packing it all in a 500D Dry Bag
  • Emergency Contingencies - IF THE WORSE HAPPENS WHAT IS YOUR BACK UP PLAN? Have this ready before you leave and give a copy to a friend or relative.

This all seems like a lot to take into account but believe me your fastpacking experience will be an everlasting and enjoyable experience if you just follow these basic steps before setting off. It doesn't matter whether your trip is a quick 6 hour hike or a 7 day mission, armed with all the right equipment you'll be ready to face whatever challenges the great outdoors can throw at you.

Happy Fastpacking from Ashsportz

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