I am the beginner hiker in this blog. Since the last time I went on an overnight hiking trip was about 49 years ago. I will take you with me on my journey of training and acquiring gear. By writing, sharing pictures, and some videos of the trails that I am going to be training on.
Benefits of Hiking
- Having fun.
- Getting in physical shape is an excellent reason for hitting the trail.
- Get in touch with mother nature. In my opinion, nothing compares to the wonders of mother nature.
- For the challenge. Can you carry on your back enough supplies to stay out for 2 or 3 days?
- When acquiring and using your hiking gear you will have an emergency go-bag and have the skills to use it.
- By getting out hiking and camping you will have personalized gear that fits your needs. Not some generic fit all kit.
- In a grid-down situation, some good camping and hiking equipment could make life a lot better. You could camp right at home or hit the trail if need be.
- If you have children teach them some valuable skills by hiking and camping, plus quality family time. Mistake number 1 not making time to get out and hike/camp.
Training Day 1
So here I go to start my training at Bennett Spring state park I did 1.5 miles in the morning and two 2 miles that afternoon with a lite pack maybe 10 or 15 lb.s. I was expecting the hike with the pack to be a lot harder but really wasn’t. The afternoon trail was also a little more of a challenging trail. I did change my work boots for some tennis shoes in the afternoon. So I feel some good lite weight hiking shoes are going to be a got to have for me.
The only thing I noticed about hiking with the pack was going downhill it seemed to push me little when stepping on loose rock. Also climbing up I realized real quick you don’t want to turn sideways.
I did purchase 3 backpacks for the family. So far so good they are comfortable with plenty of space to carry supplies. When purchasing 3 of everything I have to be budget conscience. Found the backpacks online for over half off the normal price. Less than $100.00 for all 3. They seem to be constructed very well. I will do a full review after I have put them to use. Mistake number 2 bought cheap sleeping bags that are too big to use for backpacking and are of poor quality. They will work for car camping or around the house.
Training Day 2
It will be at Bennett.
It was a nice spring day for some get in shape hiking. Did not have much time but done about 2 1/2 miles on natural tunnel trail at Bennett with a 15 lb.’s pack. This trail is a 7 mile with some 10% grade hills and creeks to cross. This trial will be good training for the Ozark Trail. Sorry to say but there is no camping on the trail. Bennett Spring Park has all kinds of camping from R. V.s to tent camping just not on the trail. And some of the best trout fishing in the state.
Training day 3
I was fortunate to get to hike on some private land only did a little over 1 mile. Done some driving around with landowner to scope out where I will be doing my first overnight campout. That morning did 3.5 miles at natural tunnel with the wife and my 12-year-old boy. I was a little concerned about loading my boy down with a 15 Lb.’s pack but he did fine. Really done well he was ahead of us waiting most of the time. He was even running with that pack on sometimes. Oh, the memories of being young and strong.
I was able to do some swimming at my local Y in between training days 1 and 2 about 200 meters. Also done some physical labor with a grubbing hoe now let me tell you that will get your heart rate up.
Training Day 4
Done some camping not backpacking. Loaded my camping gear in a boat and camped on the lake. Had everything I needed to be comfortable and had a great time. Plus I got some camping experience. Bonus on the trip was I caught a few fish.
Training Day 5
With a 15 lb,.’s pack hiked 1 mile down river and back. It was more like bushwhacking than hiking on a trail. Word of caution allow more time for bushwhacking. Be extra careful hiking game trails there were several Groundhog holes or Armadillo holes that could easily twist an ankle. At one point was hiking about 4 inches from a 10 foot drop off into the river and didn’t really know it because weeds and bush had drop off concealed. So bushwhacking is a lot harder than hiking a trail even a tuff trail. I would not take off into the woods or down a riverbank unless you are experienced or take someone with you that is would be best. It wasn’t that enjoyable I was wet from the waist down from the dew off the tall grass and weeds. The bonus did catch 2 nice sized trout.
Training Day 6
Hiked the full 7 and a half-mile natural tunnel trail at Bennett spring. Had an 18 lb.’s pack with gear and food for 2 days and one night at least. I did not camp. No camping allowed on that trail. I did filter some water and had hot coffee with my hot lunch. Cooked with a backpacking stove. I really got some good experience using my gear. Mistake number 3 should have bought the open-top bag to collect water with, had a little problem collecting water in the bag that came with filter done it but took some time. It was a fantastic day had a great time and got more training time in.
Training Day 7
I went on an overnight camping trip drove to the campsite in my truck with only backpacking gear. This was an excellent training exercise for me. I knew it was going to rain that night so I got I to make sure I could keep myself and gear dry without being stranded out in rain on foot. My tent did a good job keeping me dry. Also went after dark to see how it would be sitting up camp in the dark. Since it was the first time setting up my one-man tent I did use the headlights from my truck. But could have done it with a headlamp if I ( mistake number 4 ) would have had it with me don’t forget your headlamp. Did have a good flashlight with me. Got to use backpacking stove again cooking some breakfast. It started raining after I eat so I got back in tent with a good survival book and read a little before falling back to sleep for a couple of hours. It was really more comfortable than I was expecting since it was raining. Another great training day!!
Training Day 8
At lake Pomme De Terre set up a big cabin tent me, my son and granddaughter slept in it. I had not set it up in years the tent was in good condition which kind of surprised me. It is a 25-year-old canvas tent made by Wenzel. I had forgotten how to set it up so another good training exercise. I would not recommend waiting until you have to set up your tent in a bug-out situation to do it. For sure you would not want to mess up a fun weekend camping trip.
Training day 9
At Spring River in Arkansas. Done some day hiking about 2 miles. Kayaked the river and camped all weekend with family and friends. I had a great time and got in more camping experience plus hiked a few miles.
Day hiking and truck camping is good training for a backpacking trip.
- Very enjoyable
- Builds confidence
- Knowing what to expect on the trail such as hills, hiking in creek beds, and how many miles you are comfortable hiking (etc.
- Getting familiar with your gear and using it.
- Knowing how much water and food you need ( to my surprise on my return of the 7-mile hike 3.5 miles, I thought 1 pint of water would be sufficient but drank 2 pints glad I filtered that extra pint the temperature was in the 80s Fahrenheit. Plus I was eating snacks that were making me thirsty.
- Getting physical shape ( I feel a lot stronger and hiking the miles is getting easier)
- Knowing what gear you need and don’t need.
I highly recommend getting out do some day hiking and camping for your training to go on an overnight backpacking trip. It is working quite well for me!!
Just get out and hike, camp, and have fun. By doing so you will be prepared for many different emergency scenarios.
Here is a link for a list of things you might want to include in your camping supplies or bug out bag.
If you have any questions or would like to share your backpacking and camping experience.
Drop a note in the comments below.
Just Be Ready