If one thing’s going to go fallacious, it’s finest to learn about it early. A well-planned ‘shakedown hike’ won’t solely weed out the gear that gained’t work, however it can additionally set you up for a profitable and satisfying journey.
gear setup is sort of a friendship — dependable, comforting, and requiring you once in a while to hold somebody (or one thing) in your again. And simply as you’d wish to seize espresso with a brand new acquaintance earlier than spending per week collectively in Hawaii, it’s usually a good suggestion to present your multiday loadouts a attempt earlier than venturing onto the path.
Positive, this will likely sound corny. However contemplate this — what number of instances have you ever discovered your self cussing out an article of damaged gear? When it’s simply you, the weather, and your package, that pinching climbing boot or too-thin sleeping pad takes on as a lot character as an terrible journey companion.
That is the place a shakedown hike is available in. By assembling your gear and hitting some shorter trails beforehand, you’ll be taught what works for you (and what doesn’t) fairly darn fast. Beneath are a couple of tricks to maximize your trial runs, every of which can pay dividends to your consolation, enjoyment, and sanity.
Take a look at Gear on a Shakedown Hike
This one is fairly simple. In case you’re planning a 2-day shakedown previous to a 4-day hike, pack as in case you’re leaving for the precise journey. This consists of garments, water, provides, and meals.
Are there loads of fuel stations, eating places, and loos alongside the best way? Cool! Benefit from the comforts these providers afford. However pack your meals and toiletries anyway.
And don’t be afraid to load up on water. Simply because there are consuming fountains and pumps in your native parks doesn’t imply you’ll discover them on an extended trek.
Water is as heavy as it is important, so get your self snug together with your carry and filtrations methods. Passing a lake or a stream? Nice! Whip out your filter and get in some follow.
Now, I’m not saying it’s good to leap as much as a completely laden pack instantly. In case you’re working your method into long-distance form, gentle or unladen walks are a necessity.
However as soon as you’re feeling such as you’ve bought your path legs underneath you, load up with as a lot gear as you’re planning to hold on the true factor. In case you discover that it’s merely an excessive amount of weight, you possibly can trim your setup accordingly.
And in case you discover you’re capable of carry the mass, maybe you possibly can add a luxurious merchandise like a backpacking chair.
Don’t Take Shortcuts
If you’ve bought the posh of a weekend campsite as a base of operations, it’s very straightforward to chop corners. However in case you’re planning to hold the whole lot in your eventual trek, take down and arrange camp, day by day. Pull down your tent, get your sleeping bag and pad stowed away, and put the burden in your again.
I’ll admit it, this can be a ache. However as inconvenient because it appears, it’ll provide help to develop and streamline the method. Would you reasonably put your tent on prime of your meals bag, or vice versa? How accessible do you have to make your rain gear? Which articles do you end up reaching for all through the day, and the way do you have to distribute them in your pack?
In case you power the problem, you’ll discover solutions to all of those questions.
Once more, this isn’t to say you possibly can’t take pleasure in some comforts at base camp. Throw a cooler into your car, stuffed with ice and chilly drinks. If you’re climbing via a picturesque vacation spot, the views and expertise itself can function a reward.
However if you’re slogging via the sometimes-bland surroundings of a shakedown, these treats offer you one thing to sit up for.
Select Diversified Terrain
Not all of us are fortunate to have mountains in our backyards. However even for flatlanders like me, there are methods you possibly can put together for the inclines. Search for trails that function a rollercoaster of small to medium hills, and use them to check each your self and your trekking poles.
Talking of which, get your self some good ones — trekking poles, that’s. Trekking poles make a world of distinction, each in ascents and descents. And you might want a pair anyway in case you’re planning to make use of an ultralight backpacking tent, as many of those depend on such poles for his or her setup.
That is one other approach to maintain your self accountable on the shakedown. Don’t really feel like taking down your shelter within the morning? Nicely, if you wish to hike together with your trekkers, you don’t have a complete lot of alternative.
There are different elements apart from elevation. Rocks, gravel, grime, and grass all current totally different challenges to your gear setup. Tackling these numerous terrains will provide help to decide the finest form of footwear to your tempo and elegance, alongside together with your socks.
Be Ready for Failures
That’s form of the purpose, isn’t it? If issues are going to go fallacious together with your gear or physique, you’d desire it to be in a comparatively managed surroundings. As such, be sure to convey alongside some fundamental fix-it provides, each to your package and for your self.
For tents and sleeping pads, familiarize your self with their patching methods. And in case you’re utilizing twist-lock trekking poles, know what to do if the mechanism will get caught.
A light-weight multitool could be important with regards to fixing damaged gear, so search for an choice that matches your model and most popular carry weight. Sneakers, as nicely, profit from an prolonged shakedown. Mine felt wonderful after I was doing 8-mile days. However after I began to double that quantity, blisters cropped up repeatedly in related spots.
To that time, be sure to’re carrying some fundamental medical provides. Cleansing wipes, hand sanitizer, moleskins, and some several types of bandages will go a good distance towards conserving your shakedown woes comparatively minor. Oh, and don’t neglect the Physique Glide. Eventually, you’re going to wish it.
Lastly, Get Excited!
Mountain climbing needs to be enjoyable, proper? And simply since you’re wanting ahead to the longer trails, there’s no cause to not take pleasure in your shakedowns. It’s an opportunity to place some miles underneath your heels and a few grime in your shiny new gear.
As such, don’t be afraid to push your package to its limits. Smack these poles towards a rock, rinse your shirt within the creek and put on it for a couple of additional days, and spend a stormy night time in your tent.
When the shakedowns are accomplished and also you come out the opposite facet, you’ll know that your gear is as prepared as you might be.