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ARTICLE: Fastpacking - Without a Pack

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Whether or not you're reconciled to the term 'fastpacking', there's an undeniable attraction to the ethos, which combines the light-footed pace of running with the freedom of overnight backpacking. But just how minimal can you go? Norman Hadley experiments with a bumbag-only approach.

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 Sans-Plan 20 Jun 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Nice article, i can't see any mention of food in the article or kit list, unless i'm missing it?

I think even if i could (at a push i probably could) fit my kit in a bumbag i would go with a pack or vest, i just find them infinitely more comfortable than a bumbag, each to their own i suppose!

 NormanHadley 20 Jun 2022
In reply to Sans-Plan:

Hi SP. Yes, there wasn’t space to go into every aspect in detail. My approach to food is basically “calories and lots of ‘em”. I have a few snacks (cereal bars, salted cashews) on the hoof but the cornerstone is high-energy dehydrated food. I squeeze in thousand-calorie main courses, 450Cal puddings and thousand-cal breakfasts so my legs still (hopefully) have some oomph on day two.

If you'd like to know more, I have an expanded blog on the subject here. https://expeditionfoods.com/blogs/news/ultralight-fastpacking

As regards hip-versus-back portage, this is what works for me but I’d love to see someone adapt this system (which has been driven by volume as much as by weight) to something like a race vest.

In reply to NormanHadley:

Does that not bounce around a lot?

As for race vests, surely a race vest with some extra storage is, er, a small rucksack?  What you're talking about is a rucksack better designed for running, e.g. incorporating bottle pockets in the straps?

 NormanHadley 20 Jun 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

Hi Neil. As I say in the piece, bouncing hasn't been a problem for me.

A small rucksack will work well for some people. For me, I like having an unrestricted chest for deep breaths and the easy ability to whip a shirt off in warm weather. Bottle pockets would be a big no-no for me because water is incredibly heavy. I have 2.6L of water capacity, which is more than my base weight when topped up. So my strategy relies on knowing where all the highest springs in Lakeland are. 

 plyometrics 20 Jun 2022
In reply to Sans-Plan:

> Nice article, i can't see any mention of food in the article or kit list, unless i'm missing it?

That’s because fastpacking without a pack simply becomes fasting…

In reply to NormanHadley:

But then you mention race vests - what is a race vest if not a small close-fitted rucksack with bottle pockets on the front?

Post edited at 14:31
 NormanHadley 20 Jun 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Hi again, Neil. Yes the phrase "like a race vest" was meant to convey the blurring of boundaries between the categories. A vest might be so small as to barely take two gels and a buff. By contrast, inov-8 do a 25L "pack vest". That might be considered small by many but, to me, it's three times bigger than I need or want.

Bottom line: it's whatever suits the individual. 

 aln 20 Jun 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

I'd love to see a video of the kit being packed into the bumbag!

In reply to aln:

Hi aln. Does this shed any light? It's unpacking rather than packing but you could always play it backwards, watch it in a mirror or stand on your head. It's a little out of date: this is an early configuration with a gas canister stove.  youtube.com/watch?v=nl6ABs1KlDM&

 top cat 21:02 Wed
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Not really that minimalist........back in the '80's we did The ridge overnight with what we could carry in our pockets.

Bum bag?  Race vest?  That's not light!

The bivvi was a bit uncomfortable, but we got enough sleep.

 aln 01:27 Thu
In reply to NormanHadley:

> Hi aln. Does this shed any light? 

Yes, thanks. 

In reply to top cat:

Haha yes, TC, I have my own catalogue of eighties (mis)adventures, which includes trying to sleep in a polybag in Scottish snow and on coiled ropes on various Alpine ledges.

I must be getting soft with all this tent malarkey. 

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

With the heavier bum bag, do you get any issues with lower back pain? I saw 4kg pushing the base of the spine. Interesting concept, thanks.

Post edited at 06:50
 top cat 12:30 Fri
In reply to NormanHadley:

Ahh, yes: coiled ropes!  So much better than a therma rest ).   But naff in the morning when they'd frozen though.  First pitch was always a bit slow

In reply to olddirtydoggy:

Hi ODD. I've not had any problems, no. My analogy would be with someone carrying an 8kg rucksack distributed evenly between waistbelt and shoulder straps. They'd have the same load on the hips as me and the shoulder loading too.

I have also encountered a couple of people online interested in this idea because they have chronic shoulder injuries and can no longer tolerate a rucksack.


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