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#46152 - 07/04/09 12:16 AM Walking Speed? Blisters? Pack Weight? Help Please!
Zadren Offline
New Member

Registered: 21/03/09
Posts: 2
Hi folks, I have recently taken up hiking as a serious pastime and must say I'm loving it. My goal for this year is to complete the Coast to Coast walk in September for the 'Help for Heroes' charity. I am a member of the RAF and will be on my 3rd tour to Afghanistan in July and August, so the time of year I can do this is fairly limited. As a twist, I am aiming to carry out the walk unsupported, without using any lodgings or B&B's, using only what I can carry on my back.

As training for this effort I went on a 2-day(ish) hike round the Brecon Beacons, carrying everything I envisaged needing on the hike across from St Bees, which weighs in excess off 55lbs. The route I chose was pretty stressful, tackling the Northern route to the summit of Pen Y Fan and down to the reservoirs in a big loop back to the base of the mountain again - a distance of some 18 miles or so. The original plan was to kick Pen Y Fan in the arse again from the South and head back to the car from there. Unfortunately, I ran into some issues and (wisely?) binned the walk back over the beacons, which I am hoping you experienced hikers can help with.

Firstly, my pack - a brand new Berghaus C7 felt FAR too heavy right from the start. The problem is, I don't see how I can reduce the weight down from the approx 55lbs without dropping something essential. I am not a small guy, being a 6-footer, but this bag was a proper struggle, the main issue being it cutting into my shoulders.

Having measured the route, I was rather disappointed to see that my average speed along the ground was probably less than 2 mph. This seems atrocious to me, even considering my pack weight, terrain, inexperience and the fact I felt like I was going hell-for-leather in some places.

I have been wearing new The North Face Cedar Ridge boots for this trek, along with '1000-mile' socks which guarantee no blisters. I would state that these socks DO NOT live up to there name and I will be requesting a refund. I developed MASSIVE blisters on day 2 (on the hotspots I treated with Compeed) after I decided to be a smart-arse with my nav and landed up knee-deep in a bog. Not very clever, but I would hope that wet feet alone don't nullify the benefit of good boots and socks? As it was I was stopped in my tracks because of blisters and had I opted to carry on I probably would have ended up being airlifted off the mountain by a colleague! Slightly dramatic maybe, but probably true!

I would like to be able to complete the Coast-to-Coast in about 10-12 days, with only 1 food resupply in North Yorkshire (half way) and carrying everything else I need.

Right now though, this all seems a pretty far-off goal. Any and all advice appreciated.....

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#46155 - 07/04/09 05:50 AM Re: Walking Speed? Blisters? Pack Weight? Help Please! [Re: Zadren]
Lounge Lizard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/05/06
Posts: 2013
Loc: Stafford
Originally Posted By: Zadren

The original plan was to kick Pen Y Fan in the arse again from the would state that these socks DO NOT live up to there name and I will be requesting a refund.
I developed MASSIVE blisters on day 2 (on the hotspots I treated with Compeed) after I decided to be a smart-arse with my nav and landed up knee-deep in a bog.
Any and all advice appreciated.....


Be careful of the language you use on here

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#46157 - 07/04/09 08:33 AM Re: Walking Speed? Blisters? Pack Weight? Help Please! [Re: Lounge Lizard]
Stottie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 21/02/07
Posts: 568
Loc: Derbyshire, England
Ask yourself this: if as a non-runner you'd planned to run a three-hour marathon, would you have started with a 26-mile run?
From what you've told us, your answer will be "yes".
You need to get back to first principles, from boots to rucksack. New boots need gently wearing in. Rucksacks need packing with essentials, and at 55lbs you are carrying more than essentials. And why on earth are you thinking about only one food resupply?
If you want to do what you say, talk to the military. They know how to get people to carry large loads across rough terrain where there are no shops and still be fit to fight at the end. This site is populated by hikers/trampers/walkers from several continents, not paratroopers and commandos.
And by the way, I applaud your intentions and motives. Meanwhile, get a book on hiking and backpacking out of the library and read it while your blisters are healing.
_________________________
Pete

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#46158 - 07/04/09 08:35 AM Re: Walking Speed? Blisters? Pack Weight? Help Please! [Re: Lounge Lizard]
Harland Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 29/04/05
Posts: 1324
Loc: North Yorkshire
You certainly need to reduce the weight. I carried 30 pounds in weight on my 630 mile walk on the South West Coast Path, that included camping equipment and I could/should have cut down on that weight. I am also well over 6 foot. The only difference in weight would have been that I did not carry any cooking equipment preferring to find a pub in the evening and had I not been able to find one then cold food wouldn't have hurt me for a day.

Good luck to you on your 3rd tour to Afghanistan.
_________________________
Pennine Way 2005&2014; C2C 2006; SWCP 2007; WHW 2008; GGW 2008; Dales Way 2011; Clev.W 2012; Yorkshire W.W. 2012; Offa's Dyke 2013; Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path 2014; Pembrokeshire Coast Path 2015: LEJoG in stages 2018: Camino 5/2019.

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#46171 - 07/04/09 06:00 PM Re: Walking Speed? Blisters? Pack Weight? Help Please! [Re: Harland]
Slogger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 2892
Loc: West Lancs.
A year following my discharge after 9 years in the RE's I attempted the C2C, and like you had it in my mind to go all the way without visiting a shop, carrying everything I needed on my back for the entire crossing. I also took exactly 100 cash no cards, cheque book or anything. I also only had 7 days to do it. My pack weight was in excess of 75lbs, as I didnt have any lightweight gear at all, my tent alone was aroung 4kg. I set off from St Bees at 2pm and managed 10 mile in 5 hours. The following day setting off from near Cleator Moor, I was hunched over with sore shoulders and realised I was not going to enjoy this trip with all the weight. I made a decission and between there and Black Sail Hut YH, I abandoned all my camping gear, food, etc, but was still carrying around 40lbs. By the time I got to Shap (3 1/2days) after 2 night YHA and 1 night B&B, funds were low and I only had another 3 days to get to Robin Hoods Bay. I was forced to abandon the trip. However realising I had enough money for another couple of night B&B, I spent the next 3 days walking the 95 miles back home to Lancashire.
As said you will really have to skimp on clothing and just about everything, and put up with the discomfort of not having clean stuff available. I would say a 30lb pack is the maximum you should carry, as I did on my 10 day PW, however I did have a pub meal most evenings bar 2. I also had a Bio Flex Burhaus sac, which I was going to use, but soon changed my mind, its over 6lb in weight empty. I purchased an Osprey 55 litre sac instead saving over 4lbs. I also purchase a 1.3kg solo tent, a 3/4 lengh lightweight inflatable sleep mat, a 400gram down sleeping bag, a Titanium cooking pot and a micro folding self ignition stove. Instead of a KFS I took a Spork (Universal plastic Knife cum Spoon cum Fork). The little food I did take was dehydrated, so I just added boiling water, much of which I got from passing streams. I wore shorts and took a spare pair and one pair of walking trousers, I wore two thermal tops and two spare, 2 spare Boxers and 2 spare pair socks. I didnt take a towel and didnt bother much with toiletries, just let the whiskers grow. I wore lightweight boots and took a pair of trainers, small 1st aid pack and lightweight headtorch.
Hope this helps.
Dave.

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#46172 - 07/04/09 06:04 PM Re: Walking Speed? Blisters? Pack Weight? Help Please! [Re: Slogger]
Slogger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 2892
Loc: West Lancs.
Just to add DONT forget the Compeed for blisters, ESSENTIAL!
Dave.

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#46175 - 07/04/09 10:00 PM Re: Walking Speed? Blisters? Pack Weight? Help Ple [Re: Slogger]
Zadren Offline
New Member

Registered: 21/03/09
Posts: 2
Thanks for the replies so far guys. My normal trogging grounds are the North Yorks Moors and the Dales, not carrying more than a 30 ltr pack. This was my first visit to Brecon and my first outing carrying so much. I'm by no means a Para or Booty-being a Chinook engineer, I'm not usually required to tab long distances carrying everything but the kitchen sink and have a fight at the end of it.
I'll list the gear I carried and wore, so maybe you guys can suggest alternatives:

Berghaus C7 pack
Stormshield sleeping bag
Service issue bivvy bag
Service issue roll mat
2 ltr hydration pouch
1 ltr water bottle
Mountain Hardwear sprite tent
Mini Trangia stove
Service issue mess tins
1 ltr meths
KFS
3 x 24 ration packs
Thermal mug
1 medkit (dressings, painkillers, compeeds, foot powder,etc)
Wetwipes
Headtorch
Leatherman
Spare trousers
Spare shirt
Microfleece
Spare socks and shreddies
Map
Compass
Trousers (worn)
Baselayer (worn)
Windproof fleece (worn)
Windproof/goretex jacket (worn)
Hat
Gloves
Boots
2 trekking poles.

I'm pretty sure there's a few more bits to add that I can't think of right now also. I can identify a few items I can change or bin, but nothing that would save substantial weight without undue risk. I could switch out my cookset for a lighter model, swap the rollmat for a thermarest, reduce the size of medkit, and thin the rat packs of some of junkfood.

Another issue I ran into was the effectiveness of my sleeping bag. A Stormshield XT-900; it is quite light, but as the temp dropped below freezing I was freezing cold. Hard to get good rest when your teeth are chattering!

Cheers guys smile

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#46180 - 08/04/09 01:48 AM Re: Walking Speed? Blisters? Pack Weight? Help Ple [Re: Zadren]
canmal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 18/10/00
Posts: 482
Loc: Toronto,Ontario,Canada
Hi Zadren,
Re your walking speed..if it helps, over a long(ish)distance on mixed terrain,(say 8hrs+) I nearly always come in at about 2mph average including reasonable stops for lunch etc.(ie total elapsed time) I plan for less,and even though I think sometimes I'm going really fast, I never seem to improve!
If you're blister prone and can stand it, slather your feet in vaseline before you set off.
Drop lots of weight. Where are you stationed?..can you get a weekend or two with an R.A.F. Mountain Rescue team?..they will (should) give you some advice... St. Athan (S. Wales) and Valley (N.Wales)used to have M.R. teams in my day.
Good luck on your tour

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#46184 - 08/04/09 05:54 AM Re: Walking Speed? Blisters? Pack Weight? Help Please! [Re: Slogger]
Lounge Lizard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/05/06
Posts: 2013
Loc: Stafford
Originally Posted By: Slogger
I just added boiling water, much of which I got from passing streams. Dave.

! ! ! !

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#46195 - 08/04/09 08:11 PM Re: Walking Speed? Blisters? Pack Weight? Help Please! [Re: Lounge Lizard]
Slogger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 2892
Loc: West Lancs.
Well spotted, it dont half bubble though.
Dave.

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#46196 - 08/04/09 08:19 PM Re: Walking Speed? Blisters? Pack Weight? Help Please! [Re: Slogger]
Slogger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 2892
Loc: West Lancs.
I would definetly cut out the thermal mug and get a cheap plastic one, weight almost nothing. Other things I would drop replace with something lighter are : Windproof fleece, mess tins, cooking set(small micro gas folding gas stove with smallest gas cartridge lasted me 10 days and was still half full) 2 x 500mil bottles instead of hydration pouch and litre bottle, leatherman,walking poles and if carrying tent why take a Bivvy bag, even in winter, if cold just sleep in clothes.
Dave.

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#46202 - 09/04/09 01:02 AM Re: Walking Speed? Blisters? Pack Weight? Help Please! [Re: Zadren]
The Lost Walker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 26/10/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Grimsby
Hi Zarden
Great choice for your cause......I'm ex forces, you guys n girls are doing a great job out there, BZ to all of you, (cant say I agree that you should be there but we wont get into politics) I,m just a bit bitter lost, 20 shipmates on HMS Sheffield in the Falklands Conflict, (only 18 yrs old, bad crap stays with for a long time & it was my 1st ship)

Anyway back to the thread...when do you start your walk, two of us start on the 17th Sept plan to be RHB on the 28th Sept. Hope we can meet somewhere along the route.

The only advice that I can give you is start on shorter walks and easier terrain....get used to your kit and build up the weight slowly. Increase the distance and level of difficulty of terrain with each walk. Just done Lose Hill, Mam Tor Winnits Pass from Hope, only covered about 8 miles, but it was the first walk with some half decent hills since we started training, took about 5.5 hours, could have done it quicker but didn't want to rush off the hills, was carrying about 10 kgs which is a lot more that we intend carrying on the c2c. When we first started training we jumped straight into a 25 mile walk, carrying weight and suffered (we thought we could do it because we spend all day walking in ours day job)

Lesson learnt, advice from this forum taken on board and now enjoying the training. Don't over estimate your abilities (we did!!!!)

Can't give you advice on what to take as we are using the Sherpa Van service to carry our kit, but will still be taking the bare minimum, some on here may think we are wimping out but we want to enjoy the walk, so will only be carrying a daypack. We are also camping at most locations, you can get good quality pop up tents which only weigh about 2 kgs and other quality light weight equipment.

Unless they have drastically changed what they issue these days, I would ditch the military issue kit, from what I remember it is big, bulky and weighs a ton (but I left in 1990) so they may have moved on from World War 2 kit issue!!!

Keep safe on your next tour smile

Good luck

TLW

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