Fastpacking is a combination of backpacking and running. It offers an ideal blend of long distance running, freedom to camp, and the logistical challenge of carrying exactly what you need but no more.
It can open up opportunities for adventurous exploration in remote places, but it’s important to know in advance that all the gear and systems work. With my running buddy Bo, we decided on a test run from Stockport in Greater Manchester back to our homes in Sheffield.
In particular we wanted to test the dry bag system, food, and to get a feel for the effects of carrying the additional weight for longer distance runs. Our packs weighed just over 6kg each, including sleeping bags and mats, tent, stove, clean dry clothes, food and water.
Within a kilometre of Stockport train station we reached a park and followed a riverside trail through woodland in the Goyt valley. This eventually joined a canal towpath which we followed the all the way into New Mills in the Peak District.
I get a real sense of being on a journey when I run long distance, and as we left the village of Hayfield I felt the change as the landscape became steeper and wilder. Torrential rain began to fall, and I noticed the weight of the pack holding me back on the ascent to Kinder Low.
Having reached the summit we descended steeply down Jacob’s Ladder to find our campsite in Edale. Putting up the tent in a record time of about 3 minutes, we were relieved to see that our sleeping bags and spare clothes had stayed completely dry.
The next morning was warm and bright as we ate an experimental breakfast, a newly invented rehydrate in the bag porridge-cocoa-coffee mix. It actually worked really well, tasted good, and gave us energy for a couple of hours before we felt hungry.
Following a familiar route from Edale to Lose Hill and Hope, we stopped in Hathersage for a posh coffee. Continuing through the Longshaw Estate, we ran across the Houndskirk Road and finally dropped through the Porter Valley to arrive home by Endcliffe Park.
Overall, we had no problems covering the distance, all our gear worked perfectly, and our running food was edible! It was a successful, very relaxed trip – perfect preparation for the longer adventures we’ve got planned.