Originally posted 26 March 2014.
Spring Summer is FINALLY here, folks might want to again consider getting out and do some road work so they can actually carry their packs or do a multitude of basic tasks when practicing for WROL or grid down scenarios.
A few articles over at Mosby’s blog demonstrates how a SHTF load can get heavy, for example, our recommended load out at DTG for self-sufficient long term GOOD foot movement weighs in at about 60 – 70 pounds, give or take. Sure, some folks will scream, ‘too much!’, but based upon our contingency requirements, it’s about right. And yes, we consistently review what we’ve got stuffed in the ruck and adapt to changing situations, conditions, and so forth. The important thing here is that whatever you plan for, you should practice carrying it. After all, you know your own physical capabilities, area concerns and topography better than anyone, so use that to your advantage and build your pack list and adapt your PT program to meet those conditions.
Practicing ‘ruck’ or road marches means that besides your normal PT program that you’re doing (right? RIGHT!??!?), you must add varying lengths of ruck marches with your pack regularly if you wish to be able to do more than fall to the ground exhausted when you stop during a real crisis.
You can do your ruck marching in your neighborhood, too. Sure, being out in a rural area for a nice, long day trip rucking is ideal, but if you live in the ‘burbs or in a city, you can still work it into your program. Now, so as not to alarm the residents that may see you passing by, common sense would dictate that you take anything off your ruck that looks like it could be lethal or ‘too military’ to help ensure you don’t have to waste time being checked out by the local LEO called by a nervous neighbor to check you out. Be friendly, smile and say, ‘hello’ when you pass people. Being friendly goes a long way in setting people at ease. You’d be surprised at the regularity I see guys walking with an old school ALICE or more modern pack through the city! I’ve never seen one bothered; I’ve almost always seen them be polite and engaging when passing by.
You won’t be humping your LBE or Personal Protection Rifle (PPR) with you, either. You could wear a slick plate carrier with plates under a coat or light jacket if it was cool enough, but if not, don’t sweat it. The important thing is to get out and ‘hump’ the ruck! You can replace items you take off the outside of your ruck with canned food inside the pack if you don’t like the thought of making your pack lighter. Many ways to filet this fish; just a little imagination is in order.
As with everything physical, don’t over do it and start out slow. Especially if you’re North of 40 or have not done any long distance walking in a good long time, let alone with a 50 pound pack (or heavier). You may have to start out just by building up to be able to walk at a 15 minute mile pace in your sneakers. You may have to start with short walks to get ot that point. Don’t think you need to do this all at once. Consistency does pay off, though.
If the day ever comes (and many think it will sooner than a lot of people think), you’ll be glad you made the sacrifice and put the time in.