Forum Index » Philosophy & Technique » High Speed Backpacking - why


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Mark Regalia
(markr) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz
High Speed Backpacking - why on 03/19/2010 18:09:20 MDT Print View

I am not making a judgement here I am just curious about why any of you are attracted to high speed packing. What is the appeal? It doesn't seem to be part of the wilderness experience that I seek? Just curious - I do some things that puzzle people myself.

John Drollette
(tradja) - F

Locale: Central Oregon
speed vs... on 03/19/2010 18:13:04 MDT Print View

I'm not into speed per se, though I do enjoy trail running as well. I like seeing lots of terrain comfortably and enjoyably, preferably in multi-month chunks. There aren't too many "fastpackers" here. We're more into # of nights out and comfortable carry rather than MPH.

Edited by tradja on 03/19/2010 18:14:20 MDT.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
High Speed Backpacking - why on 03/19/2010 18:13:05 MDT Print View

Time off from work is probably a factor. We are doing the lost coast trail in two days 'cause we got to work Monday. Pushing ones limits is another. Resupply is another. Remember to HYOH.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: High Speed Backpacking - why on 03/19/2010 18:22:36 MDT Print View

It's an interesting question. There are probably as many reasons for people getting out in the woods as there are people on this site. And probably quite a few different definitions of high-speed backpacking.

For me, getting out is as much about the expenditure of energy as it is about being out in the woods/wilderness and being away from crowds. I like to move all day. I don't take breaks (or don't like to), and I don't like ambling. Nothing wrong with either of those things, just not what I'm into. I don't sit still well. And I'm much more relaxed on the move than standing around or moving slowly.

Interestingly, I've seen things that others, hiking slower, have missed. I may be 'moving,' but I'm quite aware of my surroundings.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: High Speed Backpacking - why on 03/19/2010 18:28:01 MDT Print View

Blistered feet, sore legs, dehydration, sunburn.
Salt in the eyes, chaffed thighs, and a blackened toenail.

Looking up and thinking "If I don't make that ridge in one hour I'm gonna be caught in a lightning storm..." and then pushing as hard as you can for an hour, lungs screaming at 13,000 feet.

You're starting to bonk, blood sugar dropping, legs going jelly-like, you crumple at a stream, drop your pack and eat some goo, wondering what the f#ck you're doing there when everyone else you know is lounging on couches. Your clothes are soaked from the rain and you still have 30 miles and 2 major passes to go...

By the time you're hitting the trailhead and savoring the thought of collapsing into the seat of your car your legs are getting so stiff you look like a zombie and you're swearing that you'll never ever do it again.

But within hours you drink your first iced beverage in days, eat a real meal, take a shower, sleep in the SOFTEST bed you've ever felt...and drifting off you say to yourself:

"F#ckin' A!!!! I can't believe I just did that!".

And in your own way you become a warrior and you know that you'll always be able to do it.

Edited by xnomanx on 03/19/2010 18:30:45 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: High Speed Backpacking - why on 03/19/2010 18:31:32 MDT Print View

Yep. +1

So very well said.

Edited by greg23 on 03/19/2010 18:32:09 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: High Speed Backpacking - why on 03/19/2010 18:32:39 MDT Print View

Gosh Craig! I'm not quite sure if I'd really like to backpack with you, or if I don't ever want to backpack with you! ;-)

At least, if I did, I'd know the conversation would be intelligent and thought provoking.

Jarrett Lambright
(jlamb) - F

Locale: Western PA
My reasons on 03/19/2010 18:33:21 MDT Print View

This question is the subject of many arguments between me and my wife. I really like to move fast, she likes to stop and smell the roses! For me, I enjoy the workout in addition to being in the outdoors. There is no good explanation, it is just the feeling or high it gives me when I move quick and feel really tired at the end. I have a local dayhike that the dog and I do on a regular basis, it is about 8 miles in all and we try to do it very quickly. A strong power walk with no breaks or stopping. My wife went once and seemed pretty pi55ed off cause she said I rushed her the whole time. Just different strokes!

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: High Speed Backpacking - why on 03/19/2010 18:33:51 MDT Print View

Douglas -
....if you could carry on a conversation between gasps.

Edited by greg23 on 03/19/2010 18:34:30 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: High Speed Backpacking - why on 03/19/2010 18:51:42 MDT Print View

It can't always be like that, but it's good when it is.

I'm currently looking forward to a SLOW trip I have planned this summer: Heading up to Sixty Lakes Basin and finding a quiet spot to spend ~5 days. I'm packing in good food, a big tent, a packraft for fishing, and art supplies. I can't wait...the Shangri-la 3 WITH the inner tent is a verifiable one man palace! Might even go buy a cushy air mattress! Drawing, writing, fishing alpine lakes, and staring at the clouds...probably leaving fatter than when I went in!

There's a place for everything.

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
High Speed Backpacking - why on 03/19/2010 18:53:23 MDT Print View

To better understand myself, my limitations, and for the personal satisfaction I get from the trips.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: High Speed Backpacking - why on 03/19/2010 18:55:07 MDT Print View

Just guessing, but I would bet that most (but not all) folks here don't necessarily hike all that fast. Maybe many hours, but probably a 3 or 4 mph pace.

I think a lot of the 'Fast and Light' stuff is from marketing of companies. Stuff sounds cooler if its FAST and light, as opposed to just light.

Personally I prefer slow and light. Or maybe saunter and light. But def. NOT sashe and light.

Although it is cool to bust it up a ridge and turn around and realize what you just did.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: High Speed Backpacking - why on 03/19/2010 18:57:30 MDT Print View

"if you could carry on a conversation between gasps."

;-)

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: High Speed Backpacking - why on 03/19/2010 19:07:44 MDT Print View

Sometimes it's just a matter of logistics. You have a certain amount of time or there trail junctions every *** miles and you are trying to finish the section. You could also ask why people run, bike, or go to the gym...it's good to push your physical limits a bit.

I will say that it's more fun/easy when hiking with someone just a little bit slower than you...that's why I like hiking with Andy Clark!

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"High Speed Backpacking - Why" on 03/19/2010 19:17:32 MDT Print View

Honestly I can't envision doing a backpacking trip any other way! My decision is one part necessity and two parts physical makeup. If you ever hike with me you'd quickly discover how long my stride is. I discover great reward and edification in trips that are succinct but content rich and faster paced trips always seem to provide that for me. I'm an active and healthy young man with a budding family and strolling along leisurely through the woods just doesn't cut it for me right now. I trail run and race so the itch to move quickly, lightly and to take in a lot in a days time is too overwhelming and most often overcomes. When I'm mature and my family has sprouted wings I'm sure I'll slow down some but for now I enjoy challenging myself and find fulfillment in long hard days with bigger miles.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: "High Speed Backpacking - Why" on 03/19/2010 19:34:07 MDT Print View

I am just about as opposite to Eugene as you can get. I like to go slow, take in the scenery, take pictures and "smell the flowers" along the way.

But I think that's the great thing about hiking the outdoors: hiking can be a sport -- and it can be a hobby -- or any mix in between! There's something for everyone.

Edited by ben2world on 03/19/2010 19:35:08 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: "High Speed Backpacking - Why" on 03/19/2010 19:49:00 MDT Print View

"I am just about as opposite to Eugene as you can get"

Well, yes, he did say he was young..... ;-)

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"High Speed Backpacking - Why?" on 03/19/2010 19:51:54 MDT Print View

"...hiking can be a sport -- and it can be a hobby -- or any mix in between! There's something for everyone."

Very well said Ben. Honestly, I'm itching for the days when I can "stop and smell the flowers" and have the time to take a long midday nap next to an alpine lake, read a book at camp, maybe take up fly fishing, engage in photography specific trips. I suppose I'll naturally progress towards those sort of trips in time.

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"High Speed Backpacking - why" on 03/19/2010 19:56:14 MDT Print View

Eugene - What exactly do you mean by "mature"? ; )

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: "High Speed Backpacking - why" on 03/19/2010 20:05:04 MDT Print View

Yeah Eugene, what do you mean by "mature"?