So you got your bug out bag all stocked and ready to go. Your INCH(I’m Never Coming Home) bag is also fully loaded. Now what happens if you are forced to walk? Do you think you can make it? how about your family? How far can you travel in a day? How much can you carry? Have you ever tested yourself?
These are all great things to think about, and also answer. This past weekend I and some other adults took our Boy Scout troop backpacking. It was only for one night and only doing a few miles. Given that we only had one days worth of food, one change of clothes, a sleeping bag, tent, sleeping pad, and water. Now that seems like not much and over even ground its not bad to carry still soon will start to wear on you.
Lets start to add in other factors: natural disaster, societal collapse, pandemic, man-made disaster, predators(two legged and four), and you know a zombie or two. With these other factors you most likely will not be sticking to the roads, and looking to go more overland. This adds a whole new dimension to the stresses your body takes as you go up and down hills as well as how the pack rides on your back. If you have never even put your bug out bag on for more than 10 seconds to carry and stow in the car, you will be in for a rude awakening. Not to mention if you have them for your family as well.
Of course none of the above includes all the items you might include for a 72 hour pack which many people recommend. On top of that many people will want some kind of weapon due to the chance of predators and other unsavory actions and characters out there. Even under our minimal load out, people were struggling. I know for myself, my quadriceps were hurting and were on Monday as well.
SO what can YOU do about this?
I know for myself I have the following plan.
- Identify areas that need improvement and add exercise(Lunges and squats to help with my quads)
- Build up my endurance
- Make my pack reasonable to what I can expect to carry
- Ensure I update my pack with the season change
- Take a test trip with my pack and see how it goes
Its better to find out now and make changes with no pressure than to have to do it on the fly later and possibly lead to injury. It certainly was a wake up call for me on the trail as it had been a while since my younger self did a lot of backpacking. I think I could push through but it would hurt for a few days, not to mention carrying a weapon and ammo or what not.
Stay safe out there, and start planning. Remember its not just the gear, its you as well.