Useful Tips

Hike difficulties


An article about what is ranking, what is its use, the right technique, the choice of equipment plus a training program.

In preparation for the new pedestrian-tourist season, I decided to collect as much information about the fashion hobby called raking.

Simply put, it's walking with a backpack for long distances. Rucking - from the word ruck sack, that is, a backpack. Backpacking sounds funny. This has its own name in the army - a march. In the article, I will stick with the name "ranking" to distinguish walking with a heavy backpack for health from march throws as part of military training.

For us, the ranking is still a wonder, but in the west thousands of people regularly wear backpacks and compete for speed and endurance. The term "rucking" was coined by the American company GORUCK, which produces travel and sports backpacks. Creating a whole movement around your product - agree, a successful marketing move? Well, you know, I’m not against marketing if it helps people tear themselves away from the couch and go in for sports.

So what are the health benefits of what seemed to be so harmful to the back of an activity as walking with a heavy backpack?

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Hike difficulties

When going on a trip, you need to soberly assess your strengths and capabilities. For some trips, you can safely go for the first time in your life, while for others you must have experience of such trips. Campaigns are conditionally divided into “easy”, “medium difficulty” and “difficult”, some trips are recommended for participants with experience, while other trips are not required - such marks are on the page of each trip.

Hiking experience is an understanding of the difficulties that can be encountered on a hike and how to cope with them, but what if there is no experience? What to prepare for? We hope that this article will help beginners to choose the right trip and prepare for it.

So, what factors influence the complexity of the trip? Factors are objective and subjective. Of objective first of all it is:

- mileage per day - how much you have to go, (ride a bike, swim a kayak or a catamaran). 10 km along a dirt straight road and 10 km along a path uphill and then down - these are “two big differences”. The average speed of tourists on a mountain hike (taking into account all the halts of stops) is 1.5 km / h (.) Accordingly, if you have to go 15 km and the group moved out of the camp at 10 in the morning - expect that you will be at the next parking lot by 8 pm .

- nature of the road or trail - soil forest, rocky, talus, grassy slope or generally no path. The nature of the river is calm or rapids, which banks, current. For a bike trip: asphalt, a good primer or all in potholes, a field road or a path with roots, etc.

- sets and descents - in a difficult campaign, the height differences are quite large, you have to walk a lot and up and down, while in an easy campaign these difficulties are less. BUT they are there anyway!

- weather - there is a place with fairly stable weather, and sometimes it is very changeable, where in July you can expect rain, snow, and hail. In Crimea, in the summer, the snow will definitely not go, but in Altai it may well be. As a rule, the higher the mountains, the more capricious the weather. And an important point: even a light hike can turn into a difficult one, if you are not very lucky with the weather.

- autonomy of the campaign - whether all things need to be carried on from the very beginning, or is there an abandonment (the ability to deliver part of the equipment and products to some point on the route). This factor influences the variety in food and its quantity (more food is taken on hiking trips than on autonomous trips without abandonment). A little more about the cast: / faq / # vopros20 and some other factors.

But there is also complexity subjective - this is how the trip will seem to you personally. And this complexity is also affected by many different factors:

- personal experience - Camping, army, student camps and field trips, or just playing sports - all this adds experience to your "piggy bank". It will be easier for someone who is used to sleeping in a tent than for someone who sees a tent for the first time in his life. Sports people who are accustomed to stress, the backpack will seem easier than for beginners, etc. If there is no experience, you can just get it in an easy hike, so that later you can “swing yourself” on hikes more difficult.

- high expectations - A VERY important factor. You should not expect from a hike city comfort, restaurant food, good weather every day, as well as what will be very easy. A hike is not a walk in the park, but especially a hike in the mountains. One participant in a mountain hike, seeing a steeply going uphill path, was very surprised: “I thought we would walk along the valleys, and the mountains would be on the right and left.” But in a mountain hike they don’t walk in the valleys, but walk in the mountains, up and down! Excessive or incorrect expectations make it difficult to cope with the usual hiking difficulties. EVEN trips marked “easy” can be a serious challenge for beginners!

- incorrect equipment - as our experienced water instructor said: “How much your equipment matches the chosen route depends on whether this trip will be a cool adventure or survival in severe weather conditions.” Equipment should correspond not only to the route, but also to certain requirements, which are indicated in the list of equipment for each trip. They don’t go to mountains in slippers-slippers, they don’t ride a bicycle with a backpack, - of course, in such cases it will be very difficult. Take camping gear seriously! Article about equipment: / page / odezhda /

- established contact or his absence with an instructor and a group is an important psychological component. The interests of the group must be taken into account, the decision of the instructor is the law, and so on. People who find it difficult to work and be in a team can be very hard on a hike. Everyone is tired and soaked, but you need to look for firewood, then pull the tent over the fire, then the attendants must prepare dinner - all this is very, very difficult, especially if that day you got the duty (3-4 people on duty - more about this here: / faq / under "Nutrition Questions")

And so on. There are many personal factors.

A few words about the "easy" campaign.

Our coordinators periodically have to face high expectations regarding trips marked “Easy” and “Medium difficulty”. At the end of such trips, it turns out that some participants were counting on an easy walk in the park and did not expect to encounter difficulties at all. Marks on the difficulty of hiking are made on the basis of our many years of experience and the opinions of the majority of participants, but still all people are different, and what is very easy for one may seem hard for the other. If you have doubts whether to go on this or that campaign, then answer your questions:

1. Do I have any hiking experience?
2. Do I do any kind of sports with endurance loads (yoga, Pilates, etc. are not considered)?
3. Did you have to wear a backpack weighing at least 10 kg?
4. Did you have to climb the mountain for at least half an hour?
5. Did you have to walk at least 10 km per day?

If the answers to all or almost all of the questions are “no”, then the “easy” approach for you can be called “difficult”, “medium difficulty” - “very difficult”, and going to “difficult” is generally contraindicated before acquiring the necessary experience.

In the “Light” campaign you have to walk an average of 10 kilometers per day - when was the last time you traveled such a distance, and even uphill, and with a backpack on your back?
“Light” is a backpack weighing 8-12 kilograms. How often does a city (and especially an office) person have to carry such weight on his back?

For a “rehearsal”, you can fill your backpack with books and climb the stairs several times to the 10th floor and back. If after this the desire to go camping did not disappear, then get ready for difficulties and pack a backpack! :)

Note! Climbing to the 1st floor of an ordinary city house is a climb of about 3 meters. In the hike in the mountains you will climb 500-1000 meters per day. Considering that it is much easier to go up the stairs than along an uneven path, the load on the trip will be equivalent to climbing 300-500 floors up every day!

For an adequate assessment of difficulties water trip You can do this. (Experiment from May to September.) Put on your rafting gear. Stand in the cold shower for a few minutes. Now go for an hour outside, preferably in windy weather. On the alloy will be something like this!

To test the wetsuit: get a bath of cold water and try to lie therein for 3-5 minutes. If you are still comfortable, feel free to go on any water trip! :)

What difficulties can tourists face on a hike?

Heavy backpack - so it may seem in the early days of the campaign, and also, if you collect a lot of extra things off the list. But even if everything is assembled correctly and there is nothing superfluous, and the first trip in life it will be hard anyway. It is also not true to think that experienced hikers are not hard - even as it happens! The only difference is that seasoned people know what it is, and beginners do not.

Fatigue - usual for every trip. Fatigue from physical activity is completely different than fatigue from hours of sitting in the office. The legs are buzzing, shoulders are tired, the back hurts - the body is rebuilding to a new rhythm, this is normal. At halts you can do each other massage. The first 2-3 days will be the most difficult in terms of load and fatigue, but then it will become easier.

Cold - Even on summer trips, it is very cool in the evenings, and frosts are possible in some regions on a summer night. If you gather with the calculation solely for the heat and do not take warm things on the list - then you have to pretty much freeze.

Lack of familiar comfort - sleeping on a foam in a tent is not as soft as in your own bed, and you can’t stretch out in a sleeping bag as under your favorite blanket. But you can’t drag a bed with you on a camping trip, if you want to see hard-to-reach places, you will have to endure some discomfort.

Simple food - There are no yoghurts, vegetables and fruits, and not even your favorite scrambled eggs for breakfast. Lunch can be replaced with a high-calorie snack if the day is long. But on arrival in civilization, you can enjoy plenty of the taste of your favorite food forgotten in a week.

Nowhere to wash in the campaign you begin to understand that all the achievements of mankind in the form of hot water, a toilet and the like are a real miracle. But what tricks tourists can go to wash themselves on a hike - you have never dreamed of this before! :) An instructor and more experienced comrades will teach a thousand and one ways to wash themselves on a camping trip (see the article "Hygiene on a Campaign")

Insects and animals - mosquitoes, ants, ticks, snakes, mountain goats in the Caucasus, bears in Kamchatka - you will not meet on a trip. But if you follow basic safety rules, then there will be no problems.

Strangers in a group - At first it seems unusual to go with a large company of strangers to each other, but already on the second or third day of the trip it seems as if you have known each other for a long time, and after the trip it is very sad to leave everyone.

No cellular connection, no internet - I really want to call my beloved guy (girl), complain or, conversely, share my joy - but the phone does not catch. I would upload a couple of pictures in the “contact”, but there is no network. For some, this is a way to break out of the world of electronics, but for some it may be unusual. In some trips, cellular communication works for several days for the entire route, in others it does not work at all. Before going to the route, be sure to call your relatives and let them know that you will get in touch at that time, and ask them not to worry earlier.

No shops - It’s not such a difficulty, but if it seems that you cannot survive a week without your favorite chocolate bar, you can take it with you in reserve (if you are not too lazy to drag it).

Grated shoes - This is a fairly common problem when hiking. It can be avoided if you go camping only in frayed shoes and in the "right" socks. And if you feel that you are starting to rub somewhere - you should rather glue this place with a band-aid, this will save from further rubbing.

In order not to be hard on the trip, you must:

1. Carefully read the description of the route, see photos, read reviews. Make sure you want it there. If in doubt, whether you will “pull” the hike, choose a simpler one or go on a weekend hike to test your strength. A great choice also is hiking without backpacks.

2. Understand your expectations (if any), talk with the coordinator of the chosen trip, ask all questions, even those that seem to be the most "stupid". You need to make sure your expectations are not too high. Ask what the food will be, whether it is expected to rain, how cold it will be at night, etc.

3. To think over your equipment and assemble it clearly on the list. Without anyone there: "I thought it would not rain."

4. Be prepared for any weather, and if you are going on a long hike, then take it for granted that there will be rain (snow). Believe me, if it will not be - you will not be very upset. View the weather forecast 1-2 days before departure is useful, but the forecast can be wrong, in the mountains in one valley there is a thunderstorm, in the other sun, and the weather is constantly changing.

5. To think over personal hygiene, stock up with all sorts of useful devices. Useful article about hygiene in the campaign: / page / gigiena /

6. To be prepared for physical exertion, to expect that in the early days will not be easy. And then when it is “difficult” to come - it will not be perceived as a disaster.

7. Be prepared to fulfill the requests of the instructor and take into account the interests of the group.

It turns out something like “Be ready!” - “Always ready!”.

Most of the difficulties in the trip are associated exclusively with overpricedexpectations - find out in advance what awaits you, tune in to difficulties and think about how to deal with them - and then everything will be fine! Everyone once started!

What is ranking, and what is its use?

Everything is simple. You take a backpack, put a weight in it and leave the house for a walk. Of course, in the ranking there are subtleties, more about that below, but, in fact, it’s just walking with the load located behind.

Compared with regular walking, walking with a backpack has advantages:

Racking improves posture and gives the muscles a natural load

If you sit all day at the computer in the office or at home, your body is under severe stress. The vertebrae are compressed, which leads to a deterioration in blood supply and pain, some muscles are overstressed, others, on the contrary, are turned off from the natural rhythm. All this leads to discomfort and contributes to the emergence of various diseases.

During a leisurely walk with a backpack, all your muscles are actively working, including the most important - the heart. You have to keep your back straight (which brings the vertebrae to a normal position) and turn on the muscles that fix the back.

It is believed that the transfer of goods on the back harms the health of the lower back and creates an excessive load on the knees. That is true, but with the right approach to business, you can reduce the risk of injuries to zero. We will talk about this a little further.

Racing promotes weight loss

In addition to strengthening your abdominal muscles while walking with a backpack, you also burn a hell of a lot of calories - several times more than with regular walking. During a half-hour walk at a speed of 5-6 km / h, a 60-kilogram person will spend 80-100 kcal. Multiply by 3, we get 240-300 kcal. About the same amount of people will burn in half an hour of continuous running or swimming. For a walk with a backpack is quite tempting, is not it?

Racking Technique

To get started, you only need two things: any simple backpack and the weight that you put in it. All.

As the weight, you can use any heavy things of a more or less regular shape that will not stick into your back. This can be, for example, sandbags, water containers (make sure that the water does not swell), fabric-wrapped bricks or pancakes from the bar.

It is very important that the load rests on the back, and does not hang down below, destabilizing the spine. Adjust the straps and try to fix the load as high as possible so that the load falls on the shoulders and muscles of the upper back. Remember, we don’t need a load on the lower back.

For the sake of experiment, you can go 5 km with a load in the upper part and 5 km with a load in the lumbar region - the sensations will be different, and in the second case, you definitely will not like them.

As for clothes and shoes, for short distances (up to 10 km) it’s unprincipled what you will be wearing. The recommendations here are the same as for walking - you should be comfortable, the body breathes and sneakers do not rub.

When you are ready to go with more serious weight over long distances, it makes sense to upgrade your inventory.

How to choose a backpack and shoes for long trips?

In our country, at the time of writing, special backpacks for racing are not yet sold, so we will pick up a backpack in ordinary sports or tourist stores. For day trips, an ordinary 20+ liter city backpack will fit, in which, in addition to cargo, you can put food, change clothes and everything you need. For hiking for 2 days or more, look for backpacks starting at 40 liters (depending on what you take with you).

When writing this article, I did not set out to talk about how to choose a backpack for tourism in general, so I will limit myself to just a few points regarding the specifics of raking.

Вам понадобится рюкзак, в котором будут:

  1. Возможность регулировки спины рюкзака по росту
  2. Удобные лямки – мягкие, не слишком узкие и не слишком широкие
  3. Грудной ремень с возможностью регулировки по высоте и длине для предотвращения съезжания лямок.
  4. Поясной ремень, снимающий на себя часть веса с плеч и позвоночника, с удобной, легко расстёгивающейся пряжкой. The lumbar lining, which performs the same functions, will also be useful.

It is convenient if there is a place for a hydraulic system in the backpack - this is such a thing that helps you drink water without removing your backpack.

In second place after choosing a backpack for a long hike is the choice of shoes.

Soft, flexible running shoes with good cushioning and a wide segmented outsole are well suited for walking on asphalt. It is also important that the sneakers are light - in long trips, every extra gram of weight leads to unnecessary waste of energy.

Rugged sneakers will be needed for cross-country walking. The best option for not too hot weather is trail cross-country. As a rule, their soles are hissed, the heel and nose are closed from blows with rubber patches, the ankle is better protected from dislocation. This is the only way to protect your legs from minor troubles in the form of sticks or stones. The upper part of the sneakers is made of waterproof materials. Sneakers for suburban walking are heavier than urban ones, but in any case lighter than hiking shoes designed for multi-day trips.

No matter what kind of sneakers you buy, make sure they sit well on your foot. A little rubbing, which you do not pay attention to, after a few hours can turn into a bloody callus, and you simply can not go. Due to the fact that you have a backpack behind you, the load on your legs and the likelihood of corns increase. So do not be surprised if you have to try several pairs before you find shoes on the foot.

How to train?

Any good training plan assumes that you will gradually increase weights and distances, and will exercise regularly. Do not immediately try to go half marathon with a 20-kg backpack - this is fraught with problems, even if you are physically well prepared.

If you want to get the most out of the ranking, then do it little by little, but every day or every other day. It’s not difficult to allocate half an hour a day, and, as I wrote above, ranking is easily integrated into everyday affairs. Having spent time in the beginning, you will gradually find that you have become an amazingly fast and hardy person.

Important notice!

Make sure that the ranking does not turn from aerobic cardio into a power anaerobic exercise - Perhaps this will help in the development of the muscles of the back and lower back, but it can lead to injury and nullify the fat-burning and restorative effect to zero. I’m saying that if it’s really hard and painful for you to carry the load, then think about it - you may have overdone the load. If you have a heart rate monitor, make sure that the heart rate does not go beyond the aerobic zone. If not, then use a simple indicator - when approaching the anaerobic zone, it becomes difficult for you to speak on the go due to the fact that breathing is lost.

And one more tip - never run with a backpack in your workouts if you are not in the army or you are not a pro running with a backpack :) Save your back and joints.

The initial weight in the backpack is 5 kg. The initial distance is 5 km. Exercise regularly and increase your workload and distance by no more than 10% per week. The following test can be used as control points: to go at a speed of 5-6 km / h with a backpack for a long time (half an hour, an hour). If it turns out, it means that the body normally perceives the load, and you can begin to increase it.

When you get used to it, here are a few more control points:

  • walk 5 km from 20 kg in less than 40 minutes
  • walk 10 km from 20 kg in less than 1.5 hours
  • walk 30 km with 20 kg in less than 5 hours

After each workout, be sure to stretch your back and shoulders for several minutes.


During my hiking trips, I often go with a backpack - this is usually the way from work to home (11 km) or a long distance (15-20 km). But I had never before taken walking with a backpack as an exercise; rather, a backpack was a necessary necessity. Now I will try to walk with a backpack purposefully - let's see what happens. In any case, it is too simple and effective not to try to try ranking.


It burns calories. For example, a simple 30-minute walk for an average man burns about 125 kcal, but you should add a backpack with a small weight, and 125 kcal turn into 325 kcal (according to the collection of physical activities).

Dan John, a well-known trainer and author of Can You Go, believes this type of training is especially effective for burning fat.

It alleviates or prevents back pain. This is especially important for those who spend most of their working day sitting. Then, going to the sports club and starting to lift the barbell or sitting down at the simulator, you risk injuring your back. At least that's what Stu McGil, the doctor and professor of spinal biomechanics, author of Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance, says.

People who have earned an intervertebral hernia often lean forward while walking. This only worsens the situation and puts more pressure on the hernia, since the body has to give an even greater load on the back muscles in order to keep the body in an upright position.

The lightweight backpack, as a complement to your walk, helps keep your back upright, so your muscles no longer need to work so hard.

This is a safe way to develop stamina. Jason Hartman, a trainer for special forces soldiers in the U.S. Army, believes that the cardioproduct benefits of walking with a backpack are comparable to long jogging. But, unlike running, which is quite traumatic (the probability of injury is 20–79%, according to the British Journal of Sports Medicine), ranking makes you less prone to injury. It helps to develop stability in the hips and posture in general and makes your other sports activities safer.

Thanks to the development of endurance, the effectiveness of your workouts in the gym will also increase.

It is cheap and makes you go out. As we said above, this type of fitness does not require special uniforms or equipment. All you need is you and a comfortable backpack with a small load. All. You can leave a spare backpack at work and go to workout at lunchtime. This is a great way to relax from the monitors and screens that surround us from all sides, and just relax.

Getting started training

Choose your weight. So, first you need to determine the optimal weight of your cargo. For the first time, it may be 10% of your body weight. For example, if your weight is 68 kg, you should take 6.8 kg with you. After you feel comfortable with such a weight, you can increase it to 15 kg.

But immediately you can’t take a lot of weight! You can carry a 15-pound backpack for days or even months after training, but if you immediately take that weight, it can break you.

What is the best download? Here you can already let your imagination run wild. It all depends on what you have on hand. It can be dumbbells, pancakes from the bar, a sandbag or bricks. To prevent the weight from hanging inside the backpack, it is better to wrap it in a towel.

For light weight you can use any backpack, but for a heavy version (the same 15 kg) it is advisable to find a backpack with good support.

Forward! Now you can go for a walk, light run or a small hike. If before this you didn’t go camping with backpacks or didn’t do much at all, your muscles may begin to hurt in places quite unexpected for you: the muscles around the knees, buttocks and lower back.

And do not forget that you can not only walk, but also run with a backpack. But this option is exclusively for trained people without injuries to the knees and back!