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Fastpacking and Speedhiking; are these different names for the same sport?
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Jorge DeLaSierra
(DeLaSierra) - F

Locale: SoCal
Fastpacking and Speedhiking; are these different names for the same sport? on 07/17/2010 15:34:09 MDT Print View

"As the world turns", folks like me are discovering that, although homping a 50 pound pack while wearing 4+ pounds of footwear might look nice for pics at the trailhead, the fact is that we enjoy the outdoors more when we get to where we are going joyful and strong; not worn out and hurting. Hello UL world.

Although my UL knowledge is limited to BPL postings and online articles, the fact that I am shopping less at REI for my hiking needs tells me I am making progress. However, as I go longer distances with my 50% lighter pack, I wonder about the identity of my newly discovered sport. You see, the lighter pack has liberated me to the point that I can't just walk the trail, I have to run a little too. I go longer distances, enjoy nature and I get to where I'm going faster.

So tell me Ladies and/or Gentlemen, am I fastpacking or speedhiking? Is there a difference? Was Brett Maunne speedhiking when he set the JMT record last September '09? Was Kilian Jornet fastpacking when he broke the TRT's? (I've never seen him wearing a pack though, lol).

I essentially think (considering my naiveness about UL) that there is a difference between the two and I want to invite you all to jump in and discuss this.

Later 'gators.
jd

John Frederick Anderson
(fredfoto) - F

Locale: Spain
Fastpacking and Speedhiking; are these different names for the same sport? on 07/17/2010 16:16:31 MDT Print View

Actually, I think you are fasthiking, or maybe speedpacking.
Whatever you want to call it, enjoy!
50% pack weight reduction- well done, mate.

cheers,
fred

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Fastpacking and Speedhiking; are these different names for the same sport? on 07/17/2010 17:53:59 MDT Print View

here's my interpretation :

Fastpacking - going fast and light.
1. unsupported, or basically completely self contained except for water. food drops ? not sure if this is allowed.
my definiton says no, yours might say yes.
2. going far enough so you must stop and make some sort of camp for sleeping purposes. if you do not make a sleeping camp of any sort then you are not fastpacking, you are simply speed hiking.
3. #2 above obviously implies a multi day effort.

Speed Hiking - going fast and light.
1. may be supported, or not, depending on your plans.
2. you do not stop and make a camp for sleeping. if you do stop and sleep it is at a camp others (your support crew) have set up for you.
3. may be any distance from part of a day to multi day (supported if multi day).

Jorge DeLaSierra
(DeLaSierra) - F

Locale: SoCal
Fastpacking and Speedhiking; are these different names for the same sport? on 07/17/2010 22:20:28 MDT Print View

Thanks for the input John! That was my first thought some months ago; call it whatever as long as I'm having fun!

Art; you are right-on with my observations lately. It seems to me that speedhiking involves some type of contest.

In mid of 2007, speedhiking was declared a sport by the New York Times and shortly thereafter (Aug), the first race worth 25 grand (16 miles) was held at the Sugarbush Resort in Warren, Vt.
While researching for light boots, I have seen that Merrell and Mammut have introduced boots for speedhiking and fastpacking; thus, drawing a difference.

As Art stated, fastpacking have beed defined as "running multiple days on the trail while carrying a pack with food and tent." —Ad Crable, "Running wild," Lancaster New Era, June 18, 1993.

I admire speedhikers and do follow/monitor their reports when available. There is plenty to learn from them. I do have more of a fastpacker attitude. I have a 42 mile fastpack hike coming up in Aug1 out in the eastern Sierras. Although I plan to be done in about 18 hours, I am taking enough gear to be able to change my mind in a moment's notice if I so desire (or need to!) and make it a three day hiking trip; that, I think, is an essential characteristic of a fastpacker -- flexibility.

Keep the comments coming!!

jd

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: Fastpacking and Speedhiking; are these different names for the same sport? on 07/24/2010 08:46:01 MDT Print View

Art
Completely agree with these definitions.

I like to combine both.
Unsupported, or basically completely self contained except for water.
At the same time have no camping equipment or any particular place to camp. Just have enough warm clothing to be able to survive through a 30 minute nap and then keep moving on.

I've had people call this:
Stupid hiking
What are you thinking hiking
That's just crazy hiking

It works for trails such as the TRT or JMT, (my backyard) when the temps are mild and your not out for more than a few days.

When you are going supported and not carrying a pack like Kilian and thus covering the first 100 miles of the TRT in 17 1/2 hours, that's just called supported running.