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Backpacking home from work

Out of sheer curiosity, anyone else train for trips (or to just keep in shape, in general) by walking home from work with a loaded rig? I'll do this once a week on normal weeks and twice running up to a trip.

I'm blessed to live within six miles of work, so this is likely impossible for most people. The entire route is undulating surface roads that have fairly steep and long ascents and descents, so it's perfect for building hill stamina. Typically my load is about 40lbs of water.

I get my fair share of strange looks and occasional honks, but no bad experiences thus far.

So, anyone else try this?

back when I was backpacking, I would do one day a week. I would fill up three bladders with water, about thirty pounds, and go for it. good that you have hilly terrain, better conditioning.

Actually I bicycle to work 6 miles also and then ride back the same home after. My legs stay in good condition doing that. Its a long grade downhill there which takes me 20 minutes and then the long grade back home, taking me 30-40 minutes. Today was tougher as the was a strong wind in my face making it harder.

Plus I am a prep cook at my job, so I often do a lot of heavy lifting, 40 gallon soups on and off the stove,50 lb roasts into and out of the oven, etc. I stay in pretty good shape for a guy going on 58 (Jan 21st)

But next fall I am going on my first backpacking vacation in many years, (been bicycle touring the last 4) so I plan the last couple weeks to backpack to work and home with the type of load I plan to be taking when I leave in October. Cause it usually takes about two weeks to get used to hauling a pack load, so I figure by the time I hit the trail I will be already used to it. But I take more than the average vacations as I work summers and take fall, winter and spring Oct-April off to do my adventure travels, been doing this since 1977.

How long does it take you to walk 6 miles with a 40 lb load, Austin? I plan to pack my pack with the actual gear I will carry. I figure about an hour to 1 1/2 each way especially after work as I am on my feet all day in the kitchen and dining room.

All that water must kinda slosh around doesn't it? 

Carrry a sign that says "Will work for food" as you walk, and you might pay for the trip!

I keep a six pack in the fridge, thats about all of the training I do! Haha, really I just try to take frequent trips and I try to go for a hike on the weekends. I have a fairly physical job so I stay in decent shape.

I sometimes keep a training backpack loaded with more than I'm planning on carrying the next trip handy.  One of my favorite training routines is to hike the 3.5 miles to the bakery, have a double espresso and pick up a few scones to go.  I take the scones home to share with the family which is dangerous because then they expect me to go get them more.

Goose Said, "Carry a sign that says "Will work for food" as you walk, and you might pay for the trip!"

Goose, your comment brings up a great point; wear a backpack in the mountains and you're a stud, wear one in town and you're a bum.

Yes. Working exercise into your daily routine is an outstanding way to maintain fitness. Heh, probably the only way really!

The human bod is designed to walk five to ten miles a day.  Anything less and you get soft. It's the only machine I know that gets better the more you use it.

Now that I'm in my 50's I find it particularly important.

Thanks to my lifestyle I do get a minimum of exercise, but it ain't no where near five miles a day.

In the winter we get snowbound. I can generally get a vehicle to within 1/2 mile of our cottage, and from there we walk or snowshoe up our little lonely mountain

Parking the car as far in as we can make it and hoofing it the rest of the way - My wife has her old REI Morning star backpack on, probably full of clean laundry!


That's me on a different day hauling up clean laundry in a Duluth packsack. Once a week my wife gets to go to town to do laundry. She insisted she would not wash clothes in the sink as our one neighbor on this mountain does!


This usually only 1/2 mile, but a mile a day is better than nothing, and the trail up is quite steep. My wife and I are headed down into the Grand Canyon in February, so you sure better believe we're tramping up and down this track with packs every day for the exercise!


Is 2010 I decided to go on a cycle tour of Iceland, and I hadn't so much as touched a bike in 25 years! 

So I bought a cheap Walmart Schwinn and started parking my car 3-1/2 miles away from our home at a farm where the paved roads start, and rode my bike from there to home every day.

The ride down in the morning was always cold and took me only 15 minutes, dropping about 1,000 ft in elevation!

 I’d hide my bike in the woods chained to a tree and drive on to work.

The ride back up the mountain in the evening was a heck of a workout, especially at first!

I was certain that there was no way in heck any human could actually ride a bike up the last ½ mile, it is simply so steep.

But, after six months, I was able to do so first the very first time!  I was so proud of myself.

The cycle tour still kicked my butt, and I have never in my life experiences such exhaustion. Trying to pedal 40 miles a day on the loose dirt roads of central Iceland nearly killed me. It certainly would have if I hadn’t trained as rigorously as I had.   

My wife took up mountain biking with me, and now even she can make it up that last ½ mile hill!

Don’t get me wrong, we ain’t no athletes. We know a couple a little younger than us that can outrun me on my bike on foot! I met them jogging up in the hills while on my mountain bike one day. This couple is scary fit, and maintain a very high level of activity and exercise. So everyone is different and has different levels of fitness, but unless one is young and fit and active, it is just downright silly not to train for ambitious trips, and regular exercise is vital to ones health.   



Edit -

Gary, your daily ride sounds ideal!

Downhill to work in the morning. Uphill in the evening when you can afford the time to go a little slower. I know riding 12 miles a day really must keep you fit.

My daily commute is 42 miles each way. A few times I have driven to town, parked my car about ten miles from work and rode the rest of the way. 

Riding in traffic is scary, I prefer empty forest service dirt roads, but sometimes I see people biking to work as I drive along and I'm envious of them!  


not walking to work, but i'll occasionally bring a pack to work, take a break, and walk an hour or two with the loaded pack.  no very large hills here, but some little ups and downs. 

I push mow my yard with a 50lbs pack on. I have about .48 acres of hillside yard (pretty much everyone in Knoxville lives on a slant of some degree) to mow.

A half acre doesn't sound like much until you push mow it.


I do get funny looks from passerbys. A neighbor once asked me what I was spreading on my lawn. :)




I live 22 miles from my desk. I wish I could...but I wouldn't smell good in court anyway given the triple digit summer heat.

I have been wearing a weight vest to do this little hill near my house...repetitively... to train for Machu Picchu.

Patman, that was funny! You really need to post a photo of that!

I commute 110 miles a day, so no hiking to work - but I walk all day long.

October 24, 2020
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