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Although I carried a pack with me on every hike prior to the 2017 Kinabalu trip, I wasn’t diligent about carrying the right pack, or one that was heavy enough. Depending on the distance and difficulty of the hike, I switched between a waist pack, a gym sack, and my actual backpack. This time, I practiced carrying the backpack I would take to Kinabalu with me on every hike and walk, short or long. It weighed about 5kg, and I put in everything I needed for Kinabalu, even the stuff that I would pass to the porter. My load included: two litres of water in a hydration bladder with an additional 500ml bottle, a small zip lock bag containing a couple of muesli bars, about 20 dates, a fruit of some kind, and a Snickers bar, a small First Aid kit, a headlamp, a rain poncho, a light water resistant hoodie, a quick-dry lightweight hand towel, a buff, a cap and gloves, my wallet and hand phone, a power bank, a whistle, a packet of wet wipes, lip balm and a lighter, a pair of leggings, a set of thermals, a thick hoodie, a long-sleeved T-shirt, a puffy winter jacket a small bottle of shower gel, sun block and moisturizer. They say “the best training for a hike is a hike!” and it’s true. Training with the exact pack I would carry during the climb helped me to learn to move with the weight. Plus, I became familiar with what I had, and where they were in my pack.
The science behind it: According to the experts at REI, you should mimic anything you’ll be doing on trail as closely as possible when you train, and that includes packing and carrying the weight you’ll be taking with you on the mountain. The company says this will help you become familiar with the conditions you will face.
Tip: Edit, edit, and edit your pack. Yes, every hike is different and your gear requirements are different, so change up what you carry to see what’s most beneficial. But keep the weight the same or heavier than what you’ll need for Kinabalu to be on the right track.