Dayhiking w/ Full Pack

How do you prepare for the rigorous physical requirements of high elevation adventure? Strength and endurance are key, but are only part of a more complex equation. How do you prepare for changes in altitude, exposure, diet, etc.? How do you mentally prepare? Learn from others and share what you know about training in advance for outdoor adventures.
User avatar
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
Posts: 1956
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:14 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Redondo Beach

Re: Dayhiking w/ Full Pack

Post by Jimr » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:04 am

Sounds like you have a solution. Permit.

When I was in my 20's, I used to do day hikes every weekend. As I got closer to a Sierra trip, I'd wear a 22lb diving weight belt to add a bit of weight.

“Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”

-John Adams

User avatar
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Posts: 2970
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 10:22 am
Experience: N/A
Location: Fresno

Re: Dayhiking w/ Full Pack

Post by giantbrookie » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:29 pm

I can't but be reminded of my dad. That guy would carry so much stuff on dayhikes. He did in fact dayhike with a full external frame pack on many occasions. On two occasions the top-heavy nature of this rig led to scary falls--once descending Mt Banner and another time coming back from a failed ascent of Mt Sill. I didn't see the latter, but the first one was scary, although there was no injury. The 2nd time he didn't break anything but he had a lot of surface damage and bled a lot (the spiral blood path down his walking stick reminded me of the barber pole).

As for training he would do Black Mtn above Palo Alto as his off season training with quite a bit of load but he throttled back after he took a head over heels tumble on one of those training hikes.

I can't help but think of my dad's biggest dayhike epic, though, which was when he climbed Shasta with some much younger co-workers. He told me in advance he didn't think they were his equals and he felt he needed to carry a bigger load to slow himself down so he wouldn't have to wait so long for his buddies, so he waffled between carrying a 5-gallon collapsible water container (filled) in his external frame pack (for the super long dayhike) or whether he'd throw a full watermelon in there. Now the water weighed more and that's what he ended up carrying, but I still wished he had taken the watermelon to the summit of Shasta because that would have made for better theater.

As for me I do not prefer to carry super big loads on my conditioning dayhikes. When I did Mission Peak above Fremont as my off season conditioning hike I'd carry a regular rucksack, I would take extra water for weight--sometimes up to 5L--but I sure didn't carry a full pack up there.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: ... ayshi.html" onclick=";return false;

User avatar
Topix Fanatic
Posts: 1201
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:27 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Madison, WI

Re: Dayhiking w/ Full Pack

Post by fishmonger » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:34 am

sgenise wrote:Training for the JMT this summer, and I'd love to do some long dayhikes with a full pack. Last year I frequented Clouds Rest from Happy Isles as my go-to training hike, and always with a full pack, but I read recently that if a ranger catches you in the wilderness with a full pack they're going to assume you're backpacking, and that if you don't have a permit they'll cite you.

Has anyone had experience with this? I'd like to continue dayhiking with my full pack, but I'd also like to avoid any conflicts with rangers. Thanks!
Other than in Yosemite, I don't recall ever having to show my permit to any ranger, except on Whitney exit. The permit checks seem to focus on the high demand trailheads, and Half Dome/Clouds Rest Tenaya pretty much are at the top of that list next to Lyell Canyon and Whitney main trail.

I rarely do anything in terms of training or warmup hikes, as I live where the world is pretty flat and private property surrounds me. I stay fit on a bicycle so cardio and strength and all that other good stuff are close to where I need it to be when I arrive in the mountains

Once at elevation, I use my first two or three days on the trail to re-acclimate to my pack, the altitude and everything else. The schedule usually begins with a half day slowish start, high elevation overnight camps, and then distances and duration increase each day. I do the training part at home, so when I get out in the mountains, I spend minimal time prepping my trip logistics prior to the actual hike,

User avatar
Topix Regular
Posts: 241
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 11:24 pm
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker

Re: Dayhiking w/ Full Pack

Post by sambieni » Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:45 pm

I get the need to grab permit to avoid the fine, but isn't that also a potential permit away from someone who really will need it for an overnight?

User avatar
Topix Addict
Posts: 2748
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:18 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Bend, Oregon

Re: Dayhiking w/ Full Pack

Post by oldranger » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:44 pm

I don't understand the issue. Fill as many gallon milk jugs as you want, add your day use 10 essentials an go! Really easy to demonstrate you are not going over night if you don't have sleeping bag, cooking equipment, ton of food, shelter, sleeping pad, changes of clothes etc. On my training hikes I just use dumbells and pillows plus day use gear and way more water in my pack than I carry when actually backpacking.

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests