The term ‘fast & light’ is being used more and more with regards to clothing, equipment and activity, but what does it actually mean? We’ve put together a rough guide to fast and light hiking, and how shaving off those unnecessary grams can help to make your life easier when you take to the trails.
If you love a hike but are itching for a new challenge, a great way to spice things up is by imposing a time limit. Knowing that you’ve got to complete your route by a designated time will really help you to pick up the pace, and the faster you want to go, the more you’ll want to keep the weight of your kit down, hence ‘fast and light’. The last thing you need when you’re trying to power up a steep incline is a heavy pack slowing you down or a burly jacket making you sweat, which is why so many brands are making the effort to give you the performance you need while keeping weight to a minimum.
What Do You Mean by Keeping Weight to a Minimum?
To make sure that you’re not lugging unnecessary weight around with you, clothing and kit designed for fast and light travel focuses on providing essential protection and storage, while eliminating the bells and whistles commonly found in your outdoor tech.
How To Get Involved?
There are a few ways that you can give your hike a boost.
Set yourself a challenge. There are lots of documented hikes both in books and online that will not only give you an enjoyable route but will tell you how long it should take at an average pace. Why not knock an hour off the estimated completion time and see if you can make it? Once you find your stride you can test yourself further, covering longer distances and more challenging terrain.
Organised Hiking Events
There are many organised events that you can sign up to, during which you and other walkers will undertake tough challenges that offer a fantastic sense of achievement; the Three Peaks challenge for example, involves walking the highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales within 24 hours. Signing up to an event is brilliant fitness motivation and a great way to meet fellow enthusiasts. It also allows you to push your limits in a safe environment where there is access to support and medical assistance should you need it.
If you fancy testing your map reading skills as well as increasing your speed, why not look out for some orienteering events? Orienteering requires you to navigate between a series of points using a detailed map and in some cases, a compass. The objective is to complete the course in the fastest time possible whether you walk, hike or run making it a really accessible sport that you can take at your own pace. Click here to visit the British Orienteering website, for more information.