Thinking About Fitness and BOB

(photo from google images)

people backpacking (google)

  • The following is an excerpt from an article by a reader, S.B.

As I stated earlier, I have always enjoyed being in shape. But, being in shape and being prepared to travel long distances, sometimes at speed for prolonged periods while carrying heavy weights, are two different levels of fitness, I can assure you. I trained hard for my first Tough Mudder and GORUCK challenges. However, when I carried a pack for TM2015, I followed the P90X routine for only three months, after a full year off due to injury, surgery, and rehab. This meant I was at a decent fitness level at which I believed I was capable of finishing the event but not at peak conditioning. I can honestly tell you, the next morning I absolutely did not want to put my shoes and pack on for another 11-mile traverse through the mountains.

But what if I had to? What if, rather than being the crazy idiot my friends joke about having carried a pack at Tough Mudder, I was instead carrying 50-ish pounds of critical items, such as food, shelter, clothing, ammo, knife, assorted survival components. Are you counting the pounds as they add up? Did I say ammo? How much of that do I need? That stuff is heavy. What weapon am I carrying? The sweet Armalite AR-10T Ultra in 300 RSAUM will punch big holes at great distances, but it also weighs over 15 pounds and will certainly be left behind. The same is true for that cool 15 commando knife weighing in over three pounds. Remember, what goes in the pack has to be carried along with anything else you strap on, dangle, tie, or otherwise attach to your body, and it all adds up quickly. How many people are in your group? What can they carry? My family members consist of three small-framed women, who cant carry anywhere near what I can, but they need all the same considerations.

Also remember, your provisions may also go away fairly quickly. Water, food, ammo, could all diminish faster than you may want, which means what? You might be required to carry more of some items, depending on the circumstance.

The bottom line to this giant story is that weight is a killer and your life may depend on how you deal with it. Whether in the form of a spare tire from too much good eating, or more stuff in your pack than you can reasonably carry, it is your burden to deal with and plan for. Extra stuff can be dispersed or left behind, but extra personal weight is all ours to bear. If you’ve determined in your mind that you’re bugging out when the SHTF, you’d better pack wisely and be physically capable. If you’re in a situation where you really have to get out (think urban setting), you had better be able to move quickly or have a good backup plan.

The idea that we can jump up and throw our BOB over our shoulder, bounding across the countryside with weapon in hand and the rest of the party in tow, makes for a great Hollywood story. Reality sets in when you’re six miles in, having kept a brisk pace the whole way, and you face another mountain peak to climb and there’s another behind it and another.

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