How to start or find instructor for trail running fast packing offpeaks

Why don’t we try… Fastpacking?

Do you like hiking? Do you enjoy running? Then you should LOVE fastpacking. I discovered this sport by accident, while hiking my way around the Mont-Blanc in France on my honeymoon (I know…). Due to bad weather, we’d have to cover 70km in two days rather than the planned three. This meant covering more ground faster, and to do that, we repacked lighter and hiked/ran our way through the mountains.

Fastpacking in the Alps. Photo by Roy BelchamberSince then, I learned that this is a bona fide sport called fastpacking, which basically involves packing light and going for a hike/run on the trails for two days or more. To do this, just follow those basic guidelines:

  • For your first trip, plan your overnight stay in a basic shelter or hut rather than going full backcountry
  • Go with a friend and make sure you cover basic outdoors safety – weather check, telling someone of your itinerary etc.
  • Alternate hiking and running. Fastpacking is not about speed records – it’s about enjoying yourself and the views! I personally run the flat bits and some of the less technical downhills – but I hike all the ups
  • Take food that doesn’t need to be cooked
  • Pack a spare pair of socks – no one likes to sleep in soggy ones!
  • Want to go all out first time? Why not hire a local guide so you don’t have to worry about maps – and so you learn about the local fauna and flora?

Fastpacking is very easy to get into, whether you’re a hiker or a runner at heart:

1. Fastpacking for hikers – getting started in 3 steps

  • You like it slow, but are itching to see more? Add 20% kilometres/miles to what you’d normally cover in a hiking day
  • Pack light! Ditch the 60l backpack – you won’t need all that stuff. Limit yourself to a toothbrush and a piece of soap, a microfiber towel, a light sleeping mat and a sleeping bag (if you choose a hut, sometimes a sleeping liner will suffice if blankets are provided)
  • Swap the hiking boots with sturdy trail running shoes, and the trousers with running shorts or leggings. Layer technical tops and pack a compact duvet jacket for the evening

2. Fastpacking for runners – getting started in 3 strides

  • You like it fast? Slow down to make sure you enjoy it – without no fear of blisters or hitting the wall
  • Get a comfy running backpack, and pack more than your essential running gear – those flimsy running shorts won’t serve you well at 10pm at night
  • Pick a comfy, sturdy running shoe rather than a fast, light one: your feet will thank you after those hours on the trailFastpacking in the Alps. Photo by Roy Belchamber


About the Author Julie Freeman

Marketing @ OffPeaks. A Swiss expat to London, passionate about the mountains - hiking them, running them or biking on them. Also passionate about helping sports instructors grow their business.

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