Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Wow, I Hurt from Backpacking!

You’ve likely heard and said those words many times after a backpacking trip. The unpleasant feeling of soreness. It can come from just carrying a backpack (sometimes with too much weight in it or not properly fitted) to the harsh terrain covered that day on muscles not used to such rigors.
An overstuffed pack coupled with the terrain can make you sore

The best way to minimize such effects after a long day of hiking is to try and preempt them.

First, make sure you are carrying the right backpack for you. Make sure the backpack is right with proper backpack fitting. There are also techniques for how to pack a backpack. to minimize the unpleasantness of weight bearing on tender shoulders. But do expect some pain the first few days. After all, you are doing something you have never done before. It will take time for you to adjust. So be patient with yourself.

Make sure you are not overpacking. Take only what you need. There are ways to cut back on pack weight, simply by reducing ounces (that can quickly add up to pounds). While this may not be that critical on a weekend venture, over long distances, it can attribute to lots of aches and pains. Look over your gear to see what your need and what you don’t. Have other hikers peruse your list online at trail forums to maybe help you reduce weight. Check out this gear list for backpacking for what you need on a long trip. See the Related Blogs below for other ideas in cut in food, specialty gear, etc. 

While hiking, be sure you are drinking plenty of water. Our body is composed mostly of water, and water keeps joints lubricated and less likely to hurt. Carry the means to safely filter your water and bottles to carry it. Eat the right foods also. While enjoying a candy bar might be a good pick-me-up, it won’t help mend the tiny tears in your muscles that is the soreness you feel. You need proteins and vitamins to mend.

Make sure you are getting enough sleep. I tend to crash for at least ten hours, resting myself because I know during that time, the body is repairing. It helps reduce pain. 


If your need to, take some pain medicine but don’t overdo it. Advil products can cause wear and tear on your stomach, leading to ulcers. Preventing pain is better than trusting to drugs. If oyu do need then, try the lesser one, Tylenol. Don't rely on narcotics for pain. If you need that much relief, you need to get off the trail and have your affected limb or issue looked at by a professional. 

Limit your mileage. Don’t try to be cool and do lots of miles you are not ready for. Take your time to adjust to the rigors of hiking. Stop often to rest, eat a snack, and enjoy a view or a flower.

Yes, aches and pains can come, but the joy of the trail, the views, the woods, and times with new friends can make it all worth it!

Related Blogs:

Lighten that Backpacking Load

Top Three Weight-Loss Challenge for Hikers




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