Fastpacking mixes backpacking and trail running. Here’s what it looks like

Place backpacking and path running jointly and what do you get?

Fastpacking brings together extremely path jogging with light-weight backpacking, letting further exploration into the backcountry.

You really don’t have to be out for fastest acknowledged occasions, though: Common path runners, hikers and backpackers can get started out. It’s just a issue of attaining the ideal equipment, setting up a route and teaching.

Here’s what you need to have to know about fastpacking in Washington.

Getting started off

The to start with stage is acquiring in form — equally psychological and actual physical — in planning for extensive times on the trail. If you’re an avid runner, think about coaching designs for 50K or 50-mile races.

If you’ve by no means trail run and want to commence slower, Seattle-based jogging mentor Trisha Steidl said to think about signing up for a community operating team, like the Seattle Mountain Operating Group or Seattle Functioning Club. People who determine as gals can uncover operating buddies in the PNW Out of doors Females Facebook group, and girls of color can sign up for Trail Mixed for frequent group operates.

Seasoned trail runners can take a look at the fastpacking waters by obtaining a pal to be a part of them for a working day vacation. Commonly, one-day fastpacking trips assortment from 30 to 60 miles, relying on your pace, knowledge and convenience level. And, of class, you can perform your way up to lengthier runs.

Experienced runners can also look at a team journey, which can price several hundred pounds.

Bellingham-based mostly Aspire Adventure Managing organizes multiday functioning adventures across the Pacific Northwest. Visits variety from two to four times and protect as a lot of as 100 miles. Runners can pick out from a range of lengths, destinations and challenges, and journeys incorporate emergency and logistical support (this sort of as permits), and some meals. 

“Fastpacking is a excellent way for runners to crack up a larger sized endurance aim into various times,” stated Abram Dickerson, Aspire program director. “Done perfectly, this style of vacation means entire days of motion, a basic but comfortable right away expertise, and the gain of beautiful sunsets, sunrises and shifting in the daylight to acquire in all the sights.”

Packing the correct equipment

Lightweight equipment is crucial to fastpacking, but the dimensions of the pack is dependent on the excursion. Screening your gear before you head out on your 1st fastpacking journey is key to optimal consolation. 

“While inquiring others what they do may possibly enable point you in a fantastic path, eventually figuring out what to have on [and/or] carry is anything acquired most effective through expertise,” Steidl mentioned. 

Prior to your major operate, head to a common coaching route or go for a short overnight with your loaded pack to get a sense of how it will experience on a for a longer time journey.

Essential gear will fluctuate dependent on vacation size and how minimalist you want to go with your pack just be sure to generally provide the 10 necessities (navigation, headlamp, solar safety, first assist, knife, fireplace, shelter, foods, h2o and clothing). Solitary-day fastpackers should however bring right away equipment and levels in situation of crisis.


You are going to want a functioning-particular backpack for fastpacking, which is light-weight and intended for this kind of adventures. Much larger ability packs selection from about 20 to 35 liters (i.e., 20L to 35L), however you can go a great deal reduced if you dare! Greatest Path and UltraAspire make excellent packs.

Sleeping system

Your sleeping setup will range based on the climate and your convenience degree. And though ultralight equipment is not inexpensive, you can start out out with what you have or borrow from good friends to accumulate new items slowly and gradually.

In lieu of a bulkier sleeping bag, take into account a backing quilt, which usually takes up considerably less place and body weight. As considerably as shelter, the most lightweight alternatives are a bivy sack, hammock or tarp.

Food and water

Katadyn can make gentle flask water bottle filters that in good shape into running backpacks. Considering the fact that you will be managing and covering dozens of miles every working day, packing adequate foodstuff will be significant. 

Lots of runners decide for electricity bars, gels and chews through the operate. It is most likely you will get unwell of these and want some actual food items at the finish of the working day. Backpacking meals are a great alternative since they’re light-weight and large in energy. If you go that route, bring a backpacking stove like a Jetboil.


Levels, levels, levels! You’ll want a hat, gloves, rain jacket and heat jacket for evenings. Merino wool is ideal for sweaty extremely feats due to the fact of its insulation attributes, nominal stink and brief drying capabilities. 

Carry a established of clothing that are your designated dry clothing to modify into right after you finish your operate for the working day. You are going to also be grateful for a pair of sandals you can wear with socks at camp.

Satellite communication unit

Prospects are you won’t have much, if any, mobile reception in the backcountry, so it’s a very good idea to provide a satellite conversation system like a Garmin InReach in scenario of an emergency. A battery pack is also a great notion if you have area.

Organizing your first fastpacking trip

Program for a fastpacking excursion likewise to how you would a backpacking vacation. Make certain you understand any permitting restrictions, drinking water availability, the weather and snowpack (particularly now, in the course of shoulder time). Check out with nearby ranger stations, mountaineering internet sites, close friends and mountaineering teams for current vacation information and facts.

Steidl advised investigating the following routes for beginner fastpackers.

Pacific Crest Trail

“We’re so fortunate to have the [Pacific Crest Trail] in our yard,” Steidl mentioned. She mentioned the PCT is great for fastpackers of all expertise stages mainly because it’s easy to uncover a shorter, a lot easier section — or to deal with a thing extra distant if you have the knowledge.

White Pass/Pilot Ridge Loop

This 30-mile loop off the Mountain Loop Highway in the North Cascades attributes alpine lakes, breathtaking views and lovely wildflowers in the summer months. The route is easy to adhere to and excellent for newcomers or intermediate fastpackers. 

The Wonderland Path

Circumnavigate Mount Rainier on this traditional, perfectly-marked and uncomplicated-to-navigate 93-mile route. Even though most of the path continues to be reasonably remote, its recognition implies there are a few places with features. Permits are essential to full the trail see st.information/Wonderland for far more.

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