Sol Fitness Adventure’s Marx Finn has trekked through remote wilderness areas around the world. He’s an outdoors adventure guide who gives tips for backpacking. He also is an expert fitness trainer, and an Athleta sponsored athlete. And he loves helping people get connected to their bodies and their outdoor adventures!
If you’re heading out on a backpacking trip you’ll need a bit of advice for a successful adventure. Plan your next wilderness escape with these five tips from him.
Here are the five important tips for backpacking you can follow in your camping, trekking tour or your favorite trail hiking.
Naturally, the first thing you need to do is get in shape! The most important muscles for backpacking are those that make up the core: butt, back, and stomach. They’re the biggest muscles in your body, the central point where all the forces exerted on the arms and legs transfer and will take the brunt of the extra weight in your pack.
There are a number of ways to strengthen your core: with Pilates, abs classes, and dynamic warm-ups. Finns concept of combining all the exercises you like, “flowing with core fitness” and doing “what feels good next” is a great way to train on your own.
Start by noticing your breath, coordinating it with your movements, and check in from time to time to see how your body feels doing the exercise you’ve selected. Your goal is a harmony of the mind, body, and feelings. It’s okay to pause and think about what your body wants to do next, but don’t be afraid to just go with something that feels good now!
Backcountry camping has come a long way since our caveman ancestors slept in caves under skins of animals. Go to your local outdoor store and you’ll find thousands of high-tech items along with the backpacking hammock tent to choose from. But it’s not enough to buy the latest and greatest backpacking gear if you don’t know how to use them. Take that gear for a test drive before you use it in the wilderness—you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble.
Case in Point: “Last year I led one of Sol Fitness Adventures backpacking trips in the Zion Outskirts when one gentleman, an accomplished outdoorsman, brought his new water boots. Within an hour his toenail had jammed to the point that blood was spilling out from under it and he was limping in pain,” Finns explained. “He was a good sport about it and cut the toe of the boot out, covered it with duct tape, and soldiered on; but had he not been willing to do so it would have been the end of the road for his trip.”
Proper research for a successful backpacking trip is critical. Boxes to check off include:
You should consider acquiring wilderness first aid skills. If you’re heading out into the wilderness you should know how to recognize common illnesses such as hypothermia, dehydration, anaphylactic shock, as well as deal with accidents such as broken bones, lacerations, and head injuries from falls.
There are several certifying bodies offering Wilderness First Aid courses, which are more practical than the average First Aid classes for treating injuries in the wild.
Don’t rely exclusively on Search and Rescue teams or your friends when you’re out there. You have a responsibility to your backpacking partners to educate yourself before heading out.
The Navajo people begin teaching their children how to listen to the elements at a very young age. John Muir, who spent his adult life exploring the Yosemite, California, region, used to say: “Go to the woods, and hear their glad tidings.”
Take advantage of being far away from the negative energy of other people and the city buzz and get in touch with your prehistoric DNA. Not only will it enhance your life back in the real world, but also your instincts will help you detect many things in your environment: changes in the weather, danger, peace, joy, and abundance, which could end up saving your life, if not enhancing your adventure to the outdoors altogether!
Looking at the bluest sky, I forget all my stresses. Going through the green I try to breathe, more than I do in my reality. So, that's why I love camping.