Fastpacking is a marriage of trail running and ultralight backpacking:[1][2] "it is hiking the ups, jogging the flats, and running the downs," depending on the gradient, because of the weight carried.[3] Participants carry a light pack with essential supplies, including a sleeping bag and tent, or similar form of shelter, if mountain huts or other accommodation is not available.[4][5] The weight carried will vary but fastpackers aim at no more than 15 pounds (6.8 kg) and some achieve less than 10 pounds (4.5 kg).[6] This activity may be undertaken either unsupported, self-supported, or supported. "Unsupported fastpackers make no use of outside assistance along the route", while self -supported fastpackers will leave caches of supplies along the intended route.[7]

Fastpacking involves running a covering a considerable distance over several days with a pack, which requires both mental and physical strength. Established, well-traveled long distance trail are used because "with minimal extra food and clothing, getting stuck in the backcountry for an extended period of time can quickly become a dangerous proposition".[8]

A view of Mont Blanc from the Tour du Mont Blanc, 2007
View of Mont Blanc from the Tour du Mont Blanc, seen from the Aiguilles Rouges. A typical fast packing route.


Fastpacking makes use of long distance trails including: in the United Kingdom the South Downs Way, Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk and the West Highland Way; in Europe the Tour du Mont Blanc, the "Alta Via 1" in the Dolomites, and the Alpine Pass Route;[9] in the USA the John Muir Trail in California and the Appalachian trail.[10] In New Zealand world-famous routes such as the Milford, Routeburn, and Abel Tasman Tracks that take hikers several days to walk can be covered by fit fastpackers in one or two days.[11]


On a fast packing trip luxury items are left at home. In addition extra straps can be cut and things made to serve more than one purpose. For example clothes worn during the day are worn at night for extra warmth, which also means a lighter sleeping bag is needed.[12]


Ultralight frameless packs are commercially available in weights ranging from eight to fourteen ounces (200–400 g)[13] and can consist of not much more than a sack with shoulder straps, a return to the simplicity of the rucksack. Some fastpackers make their own "ultralight pack".[14]

Tarpaulin fly tent
An improvised tarpaulin fly tent.


Lightweight footwear is essential because it is estimated that "every pound on your feet equals 5 pounds (2.3 kg) on your back", so that reducing the weight of boots by 2 pounds (0.91 kg) rather is equivalent to "removing 10 pounds (4.5 kg) from your pack".[15] Most fastpackers wear running shoes.[16]


A tarp provides the lightest type of shelter as it can weighs a 1 pound (0.45 kg) or less, and can be strung from a tree, or propped with branches.[17]

Ten essentials

The Ten essentials that are recommended to all hikers.[18]

  • Map in waterproof container and compass
  • Sun protection: Sunglasses, sunscreen, etc.
  • Insulation: Jacket, hat, rain shell (and when necessary glove snd thermal underwear).
  • Headlamp, or flashlight, batteries. LED bulb is preferred to extend battery life.
  • Basic first-aid kit.
  • Fire: Matches, or fire starter in waterproof container.
  • Pocket knife and duct tape.
  • Food: Dry food is preferred to save weight.
  • Water: 2 litres of water and a method of storing and purifying water.
  • Shelter: See section above.
  • Also recommended– whistle and cell phone.

See also


  1. ^ Kate Siber, "Fastpacking: What is it, and why do it?" Runner's World, August 6, 2009.
  2. ^ Clint Cherepa, "Hike Fast, Sleep Hard: Are You Ready to Try Fastpacking?", Appalachian Mountain Club, August 27, 2018.
  3. ^ Clint Cherepa
  4. ^ Ad Crable, "Running wild", Lancaster New Era, June 18, 1993.
  5. ^ Patrick Kinsella, "Run, don’t walk: mastering the art of fastpacking",Lonely Planet, May 2017.
  6. ^ Backpacker
  7. ^ Clint Cherepa
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Lily Dyu, "Routes: Twelve Tried-and-Tested Fastpacking routes", Fastpacking: Multi-day running adventures: tips, stories and route ideas Kendal, England: Cicerone, 2018.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Run, don’t walk: mastering the art of fastpacking", Lonely Planet.
  12. ^ "Hike Fast, Sleep Har: Are You Ready To Try Fastpacking?" AMC.
  13. ^ Colin Fletcher; Chip Rawlins (2002). The Complete Walker IV. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-375-70323-3.
  14. ^ Ray Jardine (1992). The PCT Hiker's Handbook. LaPine, OR: AdventureLore Press. ISBN 0-9632359-0-7.
  15. ^ Chris Townsend, The Backpacker's Handbook 2005, p. 39: "Weight on your feet".
  16. ^
  17. ^ Boys' Life.
  18. ^ "Ten Essentials". National Park Service.
Adventure racing

Adventure racing (also called expedition racing) is typically a multi-disciplinary team sport involving navigation over an unmarked wilderness course with races extending anywhere from two hours up to two weeks in length. (What Is Adventure Racing Video) Some races offer solo competition as well. The principal disciplines in adventure racing include trekking, mountain biking, and paddling although races can incorporate a multitude of other disciplines including climbing, abseiling, horse riding, skiing and white water rafting. Teams generally vary in gender mix and in size from two to five competitors, however the premier format is considered to be mixed gender teams of four racers. There is typically no suspension of the clock during races, irrespective of length; elapsed competition time runs concurrently with real time, and competitors must choose if or when to rest.

Adventure travel

Adventure travel is a type of niche tourism, involving exploration or travel with a certain degree of risk (real or perceived), and which may require special skills and physical exertion. In the United States, adventure tourism has grown in recent decades as tourists seek out-of-the-ordinary or "roads less traveled" vacations, but lack of a clear operational definition has hampered measurement of market size and growth. According to the U.S.-based Adventure Travel Trade Association, adventure travel may be any tourist activity that includes physical activity, a cultural exchange, and connection with nature.Adventure tourists may have the motivation to achieve mental states characterized as rush or flow, resulting from stepping outside their comfort zone. This may be from experiencing culture shock or by performing acts requiring significant effort and involve some degree of risk, real or perceived, or physical danger. This may include activities such as mountaineering, trekking, bungee jumping, mountain biking, cycling, canoeing, scuba diving, rafting, kayaking, zip-lining, paragliding, hiking, exploring, canyoneering, sandboarding, caving and rock climbing. Some obscure forms of adventure travel include disaster and ghetto tourism. Other rising forms of adventure travel include social and jungle tourism.

Access to inexpensive consumer technology, with respect to Global Positioning Systems, flashpacking, social networking and photography, have increased the worldwide interest in adventure travel. The interest in independent adventure travel has also increased as more specialist travel websites emerge offering previously niche locations and sports.

Allelomimetic behavior

Allelomimetic behavior or allomimetic behavior is a range of activities in which the performance of a behavior increases the probability of that behavior being performed by other nearby animals. Allelomimetic behavior is sometimes called contagious behavior and has strong components of social facilitation, imitation, and group coordination. It is usually considered to occur between members of the same species. An alternate definition is that allelomimetic behavior is a more intense or more frequent response or the initiation of an already known response, when others around the individual are engaged in the same behavior. It is often referred to as synchronous behavior, mimetic behavior, imitative behavior, and social facilitation.

Allelomimetic behavior is displayed in all animals and can occur in any stage of life, but usually starts at a young age. This behavior will continue throughout life, especially when an individual is living in a large group that emphasizes group cohesion. Cohesion is seen as a prerequisite for group living, with synchronous activity being crucial for social cohesion. However, animals in large cohesive groups face trade-offs when allelomimetic behavior is adopted. If the behavior is adopted then the risk of predation or capture decreases significantly but the inter-individual competition for immediate resources, such as food, mates, and space, will increase when cohesion is still stressed. Many collective group decisions in animals are the result of allelomimetism and can be explained by allelomimetic behaviors. Some examples are the cockroaches choosing a single aggregation site, schooling behaviors in fishes, and pheromone-based path selection in ants that allows all the workers to go down the same path to a specific food source. Allelomimetic behavior can also be seen as an animal welfare indicator. For example, if cattle do not have enough room to all lie down simultaneously then it indicates that there are not enough resources present and this can result in lameness of the animals that are forced to stand. Allomimicry is affected by circadian rhythms and circadian cycles of activity within groups which can give the overall appearance of poor animal welfare, if allomimetic behavior were to be used as a welfare indicator then it must be measured several times throughout the course of a day. It should be noted however, that most mechanisms involved in performing allelomimetic behavior do not require circadian rhythms to function. Decisions at the individual level are, more often than not, enough to encourage allelomimetism. Patterns of allelomimetic behavior can vary from species to species and can possibly explain other behaviors seen in the animal kingdom.

Backpacking (wilderness)

Backpacking is the outdoor recreation of carrying gear on one's back, while hiking for more than a day. It is often but not always an extended journey, and may or may not involve camping outdoors. In North America tenting is common, where simple shelters and mountain huts widely found in Europe are rare. In New Zealand, tramping is the term applied though overnight huts are frequently used. Hill walking is an equivalent in Britain (but this can also refer to a day walk), though backpackers make use of all kinds of accommodation, in addition to camping. Backpackers use simple huts in South Africa. Similar terms used in other countries are trekking and bushwalking.

Backpacking as a method of travel is a different activity, which mainly utilizes public transport during a journey which can last months.


Camping is an outdoor activity involving overnight stays away from home in a shelter, such as a tent. Typically participants leave developed areas to spend time outdoors in more natural ones in pursuit of activities providing them enjoyment. To be regarded as "camping" a minimum of one night is spent outdoors, distinguishing it from day-tripping, picnicking, and other similarly short-term recreational activities. Camping can be enjoyed through all four seasons.

Luxury may be an element, as in early 20th century African safaris, but including accommodations in fully equipped fixed structures such as high-end sporting camps under the banner of "camping" blurs the line.

Camping as a recreational activity became popular among elites in the early 20th century. With time, it grew more democratic, and varied. Modern campers frequent publicly owned natural resources such as national and state parks, wilderness areas, and commercial campgrounds. Camping is a key part of many youth organizations around the world, such as Scouting, which use it to teach both self-reliance and teamwork.

Columbia Montrail

Columbia Montrail is a sub-brand of Columbia Sportswear that manufactures and distributes shoes for trail running, hiking, and general long distance running.

Fell running

Fell running, also sometimes known as hill running, is the sport of running and racing, off-road, over upland country where the gradient climbed is a significant component of the difficulty. The name arises from the origins of the English sport on the fells of northern Britain, especially those in the Lake District. It has elements of trail running, cross country and mountain running, but is also distinct from those disciplines.

Fell races are organised on the premise that contenders possess mountain navigation skills and carry adequate survival equipment as prescribed by the organiser.

Fell running has common characteristics with cross-country running, but is distinguished by steeper gradients and upland country. It is sometimes considered as a form of mountain running, but without the smoother trails and predetermined routes often associated with mountain running.


Hiking is the preferred term, in Canada and the United States, for a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails (footpaths), in the countryside, while the word walking is used for shorter, particularly urban walks. On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, the word "walking" is acceptable to describe all forms of walking, whether it is a walk in the park or backpacking in the Alps. The word hiking is also often used in the UK, along with rambling (a slightly old-fashioned term), hillwalking, and fell walking (a term mostly used for hillwalking in northern England). The term bushwalking is endemic to Australia, having been adopted by the Sydney Bush Walkers club in 1927. In New Zealand a long, vigorous walk or hike is called tramping. It is a popular activity with numerous hiking organizations worldwide, and studies suggest that all forms of walking have health benefits.

Long-distance running

Long-distance running, or endurance running, is a form of continuous running over distances of at least eight kilometres (5 miles). Physiologically, it is largely aerobic in nature and requires stamina as well as mental strength.Among mammals, humans are well adapted for running significant distances, and particularly so among primates. The endurance running hypothesis suggests that running endurance in the genus Homo arose because travelling over large areas improved scavenging opportunities and allowed persistence hunting. The capacity for endurance running is also found in migratory ungulates and a limited number of terrestrial carnivores, such as bears, dogs, wolves and hyenas.In modern human society, long-distance running has multiple purposes: people may engage in it for physical exercise, for recreation, as a means of travel, for economic reasons, or for cultural reasons. Long distance running can also be used as a means to improve cardiovascular health. Running improves aerobic fitness by increasing the activity of enzymes and hormones that stimulate the muscles and the heart to work more efficiently. Endurance running is often a component of physical military training and has been so historically. Professional running is most commonly found in the field of sports, although in pre-industrial times foot messengers would run to deliver information to distant locations. Long-distance running as a form of tradition or ceremony is known among the Hopi and Tarahumara people, among others. Distance running can also serve as a bonding exercise for family, friends, colleagues, and has even been associated with nation-building. The social element of distance running has been linked with improved performance.In the sport of athletics, long-distance events are defined as races covering three kilometres (1.86 miles) and above. The three most common types are track running, road running and cross country running, all of which are defined by their terrain – all-weather tracks, roads and natural terrain, respectively. Typical long-distance track races range from 3000 metres to 10,000 metres (6.2 miles), cross country races usually cover 5 to 12 km (3 to 7½ miles), while road races can be significantly longer, reaching 100 kilometres (60 miles) and beyond. In collegiate cross country races in the United States, men race 8000 or 10000 meters, depending on their division, whereas women race 6000 meters [2]. The Summer Olympics features three long-distance running events: the 5000 metres, 10,000 metres and marathon (42.195 kilometres, or 26 miles and 385 yards). Since the late 1980s, Kenyans, Moroccans and Ethiopians have dominated in major international long-distance competitions. The high altitude of these countries has been proven to help these runners achieve more success. Mountain air, combined with endurance training, can lead to an increase in red blood cells, allowing more oxygen to be passed through the veins. The majority of these East African successful runners come from three mountain districts that run along the Great Rift Valley.

Long-distance trail

A long-distance trail (or long-distance footpath, track, way, greenway) is a longer recreational trail mainly through rural areas used for hiking, backpacking, cycling, horse riding or cross-country skiing. They exist on all continents except Antartica.

Many trails are marked on maps. Typically, a long-distance route will be at least 50 km (30 mi) long, but many run for several hundred miles, or longer.

Many routes are waymarked and may cross public or private land and/or follow existing rights of way. Generally, the surface is not specially prepared, and there are often rough ground and uneven areas, except in places such as converted rail tracks or popular walking routes where stone-pitching and slabs have been laid to prevent erosion. In some places, official trails will have the surface specially prepared to make the going easier.

Mountain running

Mountain running is a sports discipline which takes place mainly off-road in mountainous terrain, but if there is significant elevation gain on the route, surfaced roads may be used. In this it differs from fell running; also its courses are more clearly marked and avoid dangerous sections. It is a form of trail running if it is run on unpaved surfaces. Mountain running is a combination of running, jogging, and walking, depending on how steep the trail is.

It is recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations and governed by the World Mountain Running Association that since 1985 organizes world championships.


Orienteering is a group of sports that require navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain whilst moving at speed. Participants are given a topographical map, usually a specially prepared orienteering map, which they use to find control points. Originally a training exercise in land navigation for military officers, orienteering has developed many variations. Among these, the oldest and the most popular is foot orienteering. For the purposes of this article, foot orienteering serves as a point of departure for discussion of all other variations, but almost any sport that involves racing against a clock and requires navigation with a map is a type of orienteering.

Orienteering is included in the programs of world sporting events including the World Games (see Orienteering at the World Games) and World Police and Fire Games.

Outdoor recreation

Outdoor recreation or outdoor activity refers to recreation engaged in out of doors, most commonly in natural settings. The activities themselves — such as fishing, hunting, backpacking, and horseback riding — characteristically determine where they are practiced.

They are pursued variously for enjoyment, exercise, challenge, camaraderie, spiritual renewal, and an opportunity to partake in nature. Though the activities are inherently lean to sports they nonetheless do not all demand that a participant be an athlete, and competition generally is less stressed than in individual or team sports organized into opposing squads in pursuit of a trophy or championship.

When the activity involves exceptional excitement, physical challenge, or risk, it is sometimes referred to as "adventure recreation" or "adventure training", rather than an extreme sport.

Other traditional examples of outdoor recreational activities include hiking, camping, mountaineering, cycling, canoeing, caving, kayaking, rafting, rock climbing, running, sailing, skiing, sky diving and surfing. As new pursuits, often hybrids of prior ones, emerge, they gain their own identities, such as coasteering, canyoning, and fastpacking.


Rogaining is an orienteering sport of long distance cross-country navigation, involving both route planning and navigation between checkpoints using a variety of map types. In a rogaine, teams of 2–5 people choose which checkpoints to visit within a time limit with the intent of maximizing their score. Teamwork, endurance, competition and an appreciation for the natural environment are features of the sport. Championship rogaines are 24 hours long, but rogaines can be as short as two hours.


A trail is usually a path, track or unpaved lane or road. In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland path or footpath is the preferred term for a walking trail. The term is also applied, in North America, to routes along rivers, and sometimes to highways. In the US, the term was historically used for a route into or through wild territory used by emigrants (e.g. the Oregon Trail). In the USA "trace" is a synonym for trail, as in Natchez Trace. Some trails are single use and can only be used for walking, cycling, horse riding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing; others, as in the case of a bridleway in the UK, are multi-use, and can be used by walkers, cyclists and equestrians. There are also unpaved trails used by dirt bikes and other off-road vehicles and in some places, like the Alps, trails are used for moving cattle and other livestock.

Trail running

Trail running is a sport-activity which combines running, and, where there are steep gradients, hiking, that is run "on any unpaved surface". It is similar to both mountain and fell running (also known as hill running). Mountain running may, however, include paved sections. Trail running normally takes place on good paths, or tracks which are relatively easy to follow, and does not necessarily involve the significant amounts of ascent, or need for navigating skills, normal in fell running. Unlike road running and track running it generally takes place on hiking trails, often in mountainous terrain, where there can be much larger ascents and descents. It is difficult to definitively distinguish trail running from cross country running. In general, however, cross country is an IAAF-governed discipline that is typically raced over shorter distances.

The number of organized trail races grew 1,000% from 2008 to 2018, from 160 to more than 1,800 globally. Runners often cite less impact stress compared to road running, as well as the landscape and non-urban environment, as primary reasons for preferring trail running. This move to nature is also reflected in a large increase in competitors in non-traditional/off-road triathlons and adventure racing in the 2010s.

Ultralight backpacking

Ultralight backpacking is a style of backpacking that emphasizes carrying the lightest and simplest gear safely possible for a given trip. Base weight (the weight of a backpack plus the gear inside & outside it, excluding consumables such as food, water, and fuel, which vary depending on the duration and style of trip) is reduced as much as safely possible, though reduction of the weight of consumables is also applied.

Although no technical standards exist, the terms light and ultralight commonly refer to backpackers and gear who achieve a base weight below 15 pounds (6.8 kg) and 10 pounds (4.5 kg) respectively in the Contiguous United States, 3 Season; elsewhere the definitions are commonly given as lightweight being under 15 kg, and ultralight under 10 kg. For comparison, traditional backpacking practices often results in base weights above 30 pounds (14 kg), and sometimes up to 60 pounds (27 kg).


An ultramarathon, also called ultra distance or ultra running, is any footrace longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometres (26.219 mi).

Walking in the United Kingdom

Walking is one of the most popular outdoor recreational activities in the United Kingdom, and within England and Wales there is a comprehensive network of rights of way that permits access to the countryside. Furthermore, access to much uncultivated and unenclosed land has opened up since the enactment of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. In Scotland the ancient tradition of universal access to land was formally codified under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. However, there are few rights of way, or other access to land in Northern Ireland.

Walking is used in the United Kingdom to describe a range of activity, from a walk in the park to trekking in the Alps. The word "hiking" is used in the UK, but less often than walking; the word rambling (akin to roam) is also used, and the main organisation that supports walking is called The Ramblers. Walking in mountainous areas in the UK is called hillwalking, or in Northern England, including the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, fellwalking, from the dialect word fell, for high, uncultivated land. Mountain walking can sometimes involve scrambling.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.