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Getting in Shape For Backpacking!

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Preparing Physically Pre-Camp

Tue, 03/26/2024 - 09:00

Girls backpacking summer campHow to Get in Shape for Backpacking at Alpengirl Camp...

You’ve signed up for your adventure of choice. You’re starting to pull together all the necessary documents, you've got your packing list printed and a growing pile of gear, and you are preparing your mind for living in the great outdoors for two whole weeks.

As you’re getting your gear ready to come to camp, don’t forget about getting your body ready. You can borrow a sleeping pad, but you can't borrow a strong pair of legs, so physical preparation is the most important thing to do beforehand to ensure that you have a great time at camp! 

How to prepare for your Alpengirl backpacking adventure, you ask? Follow this simple calendar and you'll arrive ready to rock that trail, easy breezy lemon squeezy!

Girls backpacking summer campThree Months Out

The beginning of April is a good time to start training for camp. Hopefully the weather is a bit warmer, the ground isn’t covered with snow, and it’s not getting dark at 5pm, so you'll be a little more excited to venture out.

Start with walking or light jogging (or if you play a sport, practice is great, too). This month, focus on getting into the habit of exercising for a short time 4-5 days a week. Ask a parent or a friend to go on a 30-minute walk together.  If you have the resources and availability, see if you can get out on one weekend day each week to go for a 2-3 hour hike. Nothing too strenuous. You’re goal is simply to introduce (or re-introduce!) your body to hiking. 

Girls backpacking summer campTwo Months Out

Put that pack on! Start practicing with your pack this month. Don't worry, your walking buddy won't laugh you TOO much... At first, carry your pack empty until you get the feel for hiking with a large pack on your back. After about a week of workouts with an empty pack, slowly start adding weight (1-liter water bottles and pairs of shoes work great as building blocks!)

This is also the time when you want to transition into more targeted workouts. Add some uneven terrain, like hills, into your daily walks. See if you can walk, hike, run, or bike for an hour at a time. On the weekends, try to spend the whole day outside. Practice hiking for 30 minutes, taking a 10-minute break, and then hiking again for 30 more minutes. If you have a great hiking buddy, the day will fly by!

Girls backpacking summer campOne Month Out

Get those hiking boots out! Some hiking boots need to be broken in before you spend all day, every day in them. If you just got new boots, don’t wait until you get to camp before you try them on. Start walking in them daily and hiking with them on the weekends. We’d rather see slightly used boots than brand new ones at Alpengirl!

Girls backpacking summer campTwo Weeks Out

Do a practice run (or should we say practice hike). Lace up your hiking boots, pull on your shorts, t-shirt, fleece, hiking socks, and hat, and strap on that pack with about 20 pounds in it. Then, head out on the trails with your hiking buddy or your family and see how it all feels. If you’ve been doing everything we mentioned above, you should feel like it’s hard, but not so hard that you have to stop every 5 minutes. If you feel awful? Keep up the training this week and see if you can get a few long hikes in to help your body acclimate right before camp starts.

Girls backpacking summer campOne Week Out

Take a break. Don’t hike, bike, or run too hard or too fast this week. Get outside and play, but don’t burn yourself out. At camp, we’re outdoors all day and if you’ve prepared yourself using this calendar, you won’t need to do much this week anyway - you're ready to go. See you soon!