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Recommend Backpack Training Weight
I'm training for a goat hunt later this year in BC.
My pack will weigh about 32 lbs (including bow, food, binos, etc) for the hike in.
What's the recommended pack weight for training?
I've worked up to 46 lbs, but don't want to stain this old body more than I must.
Thanks for the input.
I always use a 50lb bag of corn in my pack.
Use whatever you think is comfortable, only you can determine it. I use water jugs, if they get too heavy or uncomfortable, I empty the water - great for dumping over my head:)
1/3 of your body weight comes to mind, if you are in good shape.
Russell, my upcoming fitness article in Bowhunter magazine outlines a wave training system with varying distances and pack weights over an 8-12 week period. It was designed by a personal trainer who is also a mountain bowhunter.
Should be on the newsstands by mid-May, I think.
32 pounds should be good! Don't want to over train! Good luck! C
Don't risk injury to your joints. The more wt you add, the more you risk injury.
If you're huffing and puffing and have a good heart rate at 46 lbs, there's no reason to go higher.
You're paying for a guide. Make him earn his money. You don't have to carry 100 lbs out - make him do it. You just need to be able to get in and out and keep up best you can. 46 lbs training uphill will get you in that shape.
I like Charlie's idea.
Looking forward to reading the fitness article Jaquomo.
In the past six weeks, I've lost about 18 lbs. Eating like a nun as my buddy would say.
1/3 my weight aint gona happen. (my body is semi-broken thanks to Uncle Sam).
Since you're planning to carry 32# when on the hunt, I would start below that and work up to that. Once that was comfortable (or as comfy as it gets!), then I would add 5 or more pounds. You'll be hunting at elevation and extra training will help up "there" in goat country.
Good luck with the training & the hunt!
Your pack will be 32lbs on the way in. If your successful it will be 80+ on the hike out. It won't hurt to be over prepaired.
I totally agree with the guys saying you don't need to overdo it. Many years ago i used to train with 803 pack on the hills here and I swear I got no more benefit than 40#.
In fact it was just excess wear and tear on my joints that may cost me sometime down the road. My last "He man" trip with 80#, a slip a mile up the mountain cost me a long dark hobble back to the truck with a shattered ankle and a foot that was just dangling like a size 14 wind chime- totally worthless....then 5 months of recovery.
Regardless of not really needing this, get a pair anyway and save the knees on your hunt. The knee pads are great for going up and down with weight on your back or not. Also take a pair of treking poles.
my best, Paul
Have the poles.
Plan to buy some very light wt flip flops.
Are you suggesting to wear the knee pads all the time during the hunt?
Definitely want the trekking poles. I wish I had them on my goat hunt.
Don't overdo it is right on... started with too much more than once over the years and paid every time. Like a teeneage girl trying to get a tan in one afternoon and ending up with a burn.
Finally learned now that I'm a geezer.
Trekking poles also a given.
Overdoing it with heavy weight is a recipe for tendonitis.
Absolutely trekking poles.
Might be worth doing some single leg squats and other leg exercises this summer too.
I don't see a need to train with a pack that's much heavier than what you'll be wearing on the hunt.
If you can, train on steep hills, trails and even bushwhack. Because that's what you'll be doing on your hunt.
See this Bowsite Feature for more training advice: http://www.bowsite.com/bowsite/features/articles/sheepshapeseminar/
PM me if you'd like some personal advice and we'll set up a phone call.
I always train with a 40lb bag of salt. If I need more weight I just throw in a dumbbell. I've done two goat hunts and it's worked for me.
2 hrs of walking up and hills with 45# three times a week is fairly easy. Some days it's a grind.
Started in the low 30s#. Humped 60# once by mistake last month. That was a serious grind.
Russell you'll probably find that nothing you do as flatlander will truly prepare you for the shock of altitude. Especially for the first couple or three days. About all you can do now is keep pushing yourself cardio-wise. And then hope your guide will go easy on you for the first couple days until you have time to adjust.
Continuously increasing weight may not be as important as climbing longer and steeper hills with moderate weight. I can lug a hellishly heavy pack all day on flat pavement. But taking modest weight, say 50-60 lbs if you're average in size, up some good long slopes is where I think you can gain more. If you're workout starts to seem "easy", you may not be pushing quite enough. Once you get used to that weight, your 32 lb hunting pack will feel light as a feather.
I'd also suggest working on your core strength, I think that helps a lot too.
Thanks Kyle. I'll study the material and let you know if a phone call is needed.
Think I'll reload my pack tomorrow and drop some wt.
"Russell you'll probably find that nothing you do as flatlander will truly prepare you for the shock of altitude."
I disagree. While living and training at altitude is the best, you can also train by doing anerobic workouts.
Again, the the Sheep Shape Bowsite Feature link here to see how:
Russell, I wear my knee pads on all of my mountain hunts for elk and deer, and wear them every day while I am hiking. but not in camp.
They hold all parts of the knee together and they prevent straining. Give a pair a try and if not needed you will only be out $20. but I know when coming down the mountain with a load, you will wishing you had them on.
Good luck on the hunt. Paul
Build up slow and plan to peak a week before you leave. 45 lbs at sea level will make 32 feel better. In BC you most likely wont get much over 8500 feet so altitude should not be that much of an issue. Just don't get ahead of yourself while training.
Russell, whatever weight you decide to train with, I would recommend to carry some of it on your arms using wrist weights. in other words if you are going to train with 32 lbs., wear 10 lb. wrist weights and 22 lbs. in a pack.
the wrist weights will help strengthen your arms and shoulders.
good luck on your training and hunt.
Had a friend that used 50lb dog food bags on his hikes up the block, a loop on on a walking trail nearby and back home. He did well with that, by his second trip he was already up to 4 dogs followed him home.....
Paul, I use similar braces with light padding in them, I think they call them wrestling knee pads. I wear them inside my pants, if I don't need them or just want a break I just slide them down to my ankles. Like em a lot. Much quieter than those worn outside the pants as well as extra support.
Just as important as training with weight on your back is possibly training on steep slopes. Training on the flats is pretty easy! The closer you can match the type of terrain you'll be hunting the better. You will be a lot better off if your ankles, knees, shoulders are used to working on a slope. Trekking poles definitely help....and would be good getting used to using on steep, rocky terrain with weight on your back!
TD, Great minds work alike. Yes, I do the same, just slide them down to the tops of the ankles when not needed. And yes, they are worn over the knee and inside of the pants. also good padding when kneeling down on stones or stickers.
thanks for bringing that up.
+ on the knee braces. I pack train in the mountains all summer where I live. It was early August last summer and I was in hunting shape, basically in hunting maintenance training mode. My knees are not a problem. I slipped on a wet log under grass on a sidehill when hiking in to check a trail cam and really reefed my knee.
Not only did it set back my fitness training for a month but it limited my September hunt, even with an extensive brace. A pair like Paul showed, which I now have, may have prevented that.
Stop eating like a nun and start eating like and athlete...you ain't in this game to lose weight as you know.but get and in shape and keep muscle and stay injury free....be smart....nobody is giving out medals for suffering... listen to your body...
How do you feel about gluten Adventurewriter? LOL!.... sorry folks, just stirring the pot.
My training backpack is the same weight as my hunting backpack.
Other than the 3.5 lbs extra for when I holster my .454 pistol.
I never have any 'difference' from training to actual hunting.
Have fun on your Mnt. Goat hunt!!
Good luck, Robb
Ahhhh Jesse you remembered my advice...when I head to NM this year after I draw Oryx, Ibex and the one sheep tag I expect to see a lean mean Jesse machine.
Seriously one of the biggest health and fitness step you can take is to eliminate Glutens and something that will make your body run much better and leaner
All good advice. I always took the approach like I do with shooting. Practice out to 100 and 40 yards seems like a chip shot. Thus, if I am going to be hunting with a 32 pound pack, I am probably going to train with at least twice that amount. No matter how well I think that I am prepared, at some point during the hunt, the weight that I am carrying is going to seem heavy. It helps me mentally to think that I was carrying twice that amount before the hunt. I start with low poundage and work up to that weight while adding miles. If you are backpacking in, I would definitely do some dry run training with a full pack and bow strapped to the pack. It will help you adjust you packing technique and always reveals little problems or issues that you can address before the hunt. Climbing up hills for cardio and coming down hills for the knees is also needed. I like the knee brace idea, what brands do you guys recommend?
The pack I use in the morning for a 4 mile hike is just over 50 pounds. Once I get to the cabin at Whale Pass in a week or so, I'll put a 50 pound bag of bear bait in my pack every morning and climb the hill behind Whale Pass.
In addition to that, I'd advise active romantic activities to build endurance as often as possible.
I got up to 80lbs and hiking hills in NW Alabama for up to 2 1/2 hours couple days a week with runs and workouts in between when preparing for my goat hunt. Best shape of my life and out hiked a local Montana guy on the same trail as me who was only carring a day pack and had at least four inches of stride on me. Point is, you don't have to live in the mountains to prepare and be ready. If I had to do over though, I would have not go over 60lbs, like others said, not too good on the joints. Good luck.
Russel, you mention you are Training for a sheep hunt! That type of hunt can be extremely demanding on both your mental & physical aspects. Carrying a pack as part of your training is an excellent idea but I'd seriously consider adding to your present workout. You don't have to be a gym rat to train, you can train with your weighted pack! This is more convenient & can work wonders for body conditioning & your confidence level.
Consider a workout program using just your pack as your workout weight! Whether you have 30# in it or 45#, adjust the weight to setup a program that fits you. This way you are conditioning & toning your whole body & mindset not just legs & lungs.
Now write down your workout to be used. Remember all you are using is your weighted pack, adjust weight as needed. Consider bench press, Squats, Lunges, Military press, Toe raises off a stair tread, Push ups, Arm curls. When doing Military press or Arm curls grab pack by shoulder straps to perform exercise. Consider 3 Sets of 10 Reps per exercise. You cam always add or takeaway to suit you. Again, add any other exercise you may like to this.
You can tailor a workout that will take aprox 20 minutes or so 3 days a week. Always start by loosing or warming up your muscles with some simple stretches like 20 pushups, after done stay down & get to your knees & stretch your arms out as you slide your palms along the floor, feel that stretch in your lower back as you Reach out, do it 2-3 times. -- Now stand up & put both hands & arms stretched out in front of you & do 10 squats with just body weight, hold bottom position for 1 second each squat. -- Now do the same thing as you perform a lunge first with right leg then left leg, do 8 with each leg. -- Now do 15-20 jumping jacks. All this only takes a couple of minutes but now you are loosened up & this can help avoid any injury for your workout! Feel free to add any other warming up exercise you'd like.
Once done with your workout now shoulder that Pack & do your walk. I like mixing up the walk a bit by raising the pace to get the heart rate up then slowing down then raise it again etc. During my walks I like dropping to the ground & doing a few push ups & continue on. This helps build the needed endurance. Add weight in your pack as weeks go by if you feel it's getting easier & easier. As you add weight consider small amounts like 2-1/2 pounds to 5-lb increments.
This routine is fairly simple & doable yet will help tons towards readying you for your Sheep hunt!
I would be hiking the steepest hills you can find! I think hiking hills is about the best thing you can do to get in shape for a hunt.
It might be dumb but I will often go real heavy for a pack weight. 80-100 pounds when doing walking around the local neighborhood.
There are three parts to fitness...workouts...lots of good advice here....nutrition...I would google it trying several different angles for endurance strength (seriously eliminate or minimize glutens)...and proper rest and recovery...the older you get the more rest and recover you will need...train smart
Mad Trapper, mine are the same as Paul's, McDavid (probably because they came from the same store, lol!) But if you go to any athletics store they should have a whole variety to choose from.
A good test of fitness is to put on a 45 lb pack, sprint straight down a steep mountain covered with several inches of snow, run and jump over deadfalls and through snowdrifts at the bottom as fast as you can, like a hurdler, then run upstream through a rushing river with slick round rocks on the bottom, while being chased by an angry cow moose. That'll give you a baseline of readiness.
start at 25 and try to get to 50b
I hike with a 50 pound pack until it gets hot out. I haven't seen anyone mention how important it is to hike down hill and side hills with weight on as well. You will use different muscles. Maybe its assumed, as the old saying goes, what goes up must come down.
When it gets hot I get on the tred mill with a 15% grade. it doesn't help for downhill or side hilling but it's still better than nothing. I usually have to haul elk out of a canyon, 30lb packs dont cut it. I've always been glad I worked out with the heavier packs when im humipn an elk out.
50 lb sack of concrete in my pack, along with some of my other gear. That and a bottle of water is enough for me. Still heavier than my normal load.
I do use poles training as well, as much for the down as the up.
I follow Bob's routine but I usually skip the hiking with the pack part. :-)
Thanks for the guidance all.
Bob, you crack me up!
Kyle, good stuff once again. Thanks for posting the link and doing the interview way back when.
Bought a set of knee sleeves. Thanks for the tip.
I still have too much insulation and that's coming off quickly. Healthy eating and no alcohol.
Mental preparedness is as important as physical preparedness ....
I bought a 30# bag of kitty litter, haven't used it yet but I'm ready whenever winter losses it's grip and my days off and the proper weather match up! I thought it would be good idea, won't attract vermin, bag is kind of a thick plastic and I can always use it to soak up oil spills etc.. Good weight to size and I can add water bag etc to bump weight up as the summer progresses.
I use bags of dog food, which I figure might keep a bear busy if the need ever arises.
When I went on my goat hunt 20 years ago I would strap a 50# plate to my cabelas pack frame and hike 7/8 miles every night up and down neighborhood hills...
At the time I would run up the stairs in the WTC on the way to work....now 4 back surgeries later taking the escalator makes me tired....good luck and be ready for more than you need...
Is there a sizable college or high school football stadium in the vicinity? Go climb stairs with your pack and jam-out to Pandora or your iPod as you climb. If there isn't a stadium, is there a large office building in town with multiple stairs that you can access?
Climbing lots of stairs with your pack and hunting boots will get you in shape. It worked for me on my AK sheep hunt.
And I'll stress again what has already been mentioned countless times, whether you are old or young, trekking poles are an absolute must.
My 2 cents - if you're already over your pack weight, keep it at 46 and up the duration and intensity (not necessarily at the same time).
Don't know if you live at altitude, but that overweight is a good way to get a similar burn. If you might be carrying additional weight out (hopefully), maybe add a water container or a sandbag with gravel in it going uphill so you can dump it out before you head downhill. That way you are training with and preparing for potential trip weight but don't have the downhill pounding on your joints.
Pay attention to yourself. If you're getting wobbly dump weight immediately. As folks have mentioned, poles are a no-brainer.
Look at the kitty litter next time you are at discount store, don't remember the brand I bought, but it was 30pounds, a nice shape and a very durable bag and the contents won't attract vermin to your bag like corn and after you're done with it, you can use it to soak up oil are get traction in your driveway when it's icy. Its a good base weight that's easy to build on.
using the knee pads during each hike. Like them for sure.
Pack weighs 48 and its fairly easy for my two hour hikes.
Added 10 lbs and cut the grass this weekend. My neighbors think I'm nuts.
Looking for that stadium or stairs to get a serious burn going in the legs. Haven't found it yet. All the gates have been locked.
My weight is still dropping. Started at 212, this am was touching 190. Don't really miss the junk food, but a glass of wine would be nice.
Pushups suck, but doing them nightly 5 days a week.
Some kind of stair routine is really valuable. Mountains are steep, and so are the staircases (or bleachers). And as Muskeg mentioned, mental stamina/toughness is just as important as physical stamina/toughness. Prepare yourself mentally AND emotionally for the adventure at hand. It's no walk in the park in goat country!
Do some 'dry runs' by camping and backpacking. That will help you arrange your pack, find out what works, and what doesn't.