9 forum posts
After taking several years off from backpacking due to work, family, and injuries, I've been dipping my toes back into my old hobby. After one overnight trip last year, I realized that I'm basically back at square one in terms of physical ability. It's sobering to realize a relatively flat 7.8 mile overnighter can kick your rear. This is after years of going tens of miles in harder terrain per trip.
So for all intents and purposes, I'm placing myself back at the beginner level. Skills need to be refreshed, old gear needs to be repaired or replaced as needed, and my body needs to be reconditioned. After four years of inactivity, hundreds of miles on the trails means nothing in terms of my current ability.
My one true concern is the weight of my gear. During my teenage years and early twenties, 50+ pounds was a fairly easy load to handle over long distances. Now that I've got some nagging back issues, UL gear has become very tempting.
I'm considering easing myself back in with shorter trips using my current gear. My base load for my trip last year was 40 pounds, which means I have weight stripping to do over the long-term. For now, it's going to be a matter of leaving things at home, and later replacing gear as things either wear out or I find good deals on lighter items. I've worked out a gear list that would get me just under ten pounds for base load, but that's an investment I'll have to make over time.
I'm not sure if it's the wisest way of going about it, but I plan on extending my trips as my load gets lighter to ease back in. 55 pounds and five miles on the first day in years was rough, but the second leg was easier as my body gave in to what I was asking from it. Really, I just took too many things along. A camp chair, multiple books, and way too much clothing didn't do me much good since I didn't really need them. It was all extra weight I hauled around for no good reason.
For the next trip, I'm trimming the total load down to 40 pounds maximum. It won't be hard to strip that much weight by leaving the luxury items at home. I'd really like to get back to 30+ miles a trip, but I know it's going to be a long process as my body adapts and my gear gets lighter.