Hauling Tyres: An Unusual Way To Get Ski Fit

Hauling tyres; it’s the madman sane form of training. Using tyres as part of a training program has been a staple of polar explorers training regimes for as long as I can remember.

Hauling tyres is hard work. And the perfect training technique for explorers.
Hauling tyres is hard work. And the perfect training technique for explorers.

NOTE: Add some thoughts about this type of training being personal; explore the idea of building a relationship with/personalities for the tyres.

But where did this idea stem from? Has this exercise always been the preserve of crazy adventurers, or was this activity invented by another group of fitness fanatics?

The first recorded instance of this type of training was way back in 1990. Borge Ousland and his expedition team mate, Geir Randby, built a training rig after seeing race horses hauling tractor tyres as part of their pre-race buildup

Ever since that day pulling huge chunks of rubber and metal has become a key component for the type of skiing expeditions where skiers haul heavy loads in pulks.

The main reason so many people in the adventure and exploration community drag tyres is that it’s a great and specific way to get fit (for hiking and hillwalking too). The friction caused by the rubber as you travel cross country, over tracks and along tarmac roads mimics the effects of hauling a pulk. For anyone who is planning a long-distance ski dragging equipment in a pulka, this is the training style for you.

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How To Choose A Winter Shell Jacket

Today we’re going to look at the most important factors to consider when choosing a winter shell jacket for your hikes and expeditions.

Shell jackets come in two types: winter and summer. For now, let’s forget summer jackets as in most cases you’re probably be using the softshell or walking around in your T-shirt.

For anyone looking for advice and recommendations on other equipment and general advice, head on over to our hillwalking essentials post.

Most hardshell jackets are specialised pieces of equipment designed for the most arduous and testing of environments. I own a number of shell jackets, both hard and soft. Experimenting with outdoor gear gives me a buzz and over the years I’ve built up a collection of shell layers made by different manufacturers.

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How To Choose An Emergency Hiking Shelter

The headline is a little provocative, but I have an admission to make. On two occasions I’ve come close to death whilst hiking or trekking, the second time was within a hair’s breadth. The reasons why are numerous, but the most obvious failure was not learning from my first mistake. The second was not having an emergency hiking shelter to hand!

Not an emergency hiking shelter.
This is not an emergency hiking shelter!

Some of what I’m going to discuss today is already covered in the hiking and hillwalking essentials post. Rather than rehash the points already covered, we’ll be exploring some of the considerations when choosing an emergency shelters for hikers and anyone else who ventures out into the wilds.

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Pulpit Hill to Coombe Hill Circular Walk

This route from Pulpit Hill to Coombe Hill is a circular walk covering about 9.5 miles in length and uses part of the Ridgeway. The trail is a mix of mud track and, in a few places, gravel. As hiking routes go, it’s mostly easy going. Be warned: there are a couple of very steep hills (I’ve noted each one in the details below).

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • 9.5 miles of hiking and hillwalking through the Buckinghamshire countryside.
  • Stunning views, in particular when you stand on the top of Coombe and look out of the surrounding area.
  • A whistlestop tour of various aspects of Buckinghamshire history. This includes Chequers, Coombe Hill war memorial and the neolithic settlements.
  • An plenty of wildlife. Watch out for whitethroat birds, and butterflies (the speckled wood and the peacock being some of the most commonly spotted).
  • Beechwood woodland, much of which dates back to the 1600’s.

My original intention was to walk about 6 miles over the Chiltern hills. Recently I had spinal surgery and I’m still in recovery phase. Walking is easy, vigorous exercise is still a no-go area. Needless to say, my hill walking fitness plan hasn’t been used much over the past month, or so.

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Hiking Training in the Gym (Using Nearly Only Weights)

Hiking training in the gym: it’s an unusual concept considering the best place to train for a hike, or trek, is outdoors. But wait! There’s more to this than meets the eye.

I took some advice from Irene, my physiotherapist, and have now adopted a weight training program that not only mimics the way my body moves when hiking, but also increases strength and endurance in key muscles.

hiking training in the gym will make walking up these hills easy.
Pump iron, then cruise up hills like this with ease!

With a little planning and shifting of some moderately sized weights you can reap huge benefits from spending only a few hours in the gym.

Training in the environments where you plan to hike and trek is still key developing your fitness. For example, if you going to do a lot of hillwalking then you need to get out and walk up-and-down big hills. I’ve written a guide full of hillwalking tips for beginners, take a look and let me know what you think of it.

Likewise, hikers have always been encouraged to get out and walk increasingly further and further to build up strength and improve their cardiovascular fitness.

But I also know that gym work plays a vital role in shaping the kind body we need for outdoor activities.

Anyone that’s read any of my posts today will already know what’s about to come…

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How Many Calories Burned Walking Or Hiking: A Useful Guide

Have you asked yourself the question, “How many calories burned walking through the mean streets of Thame? (It’s a small market town in the Oxfordshire countryside).

Yes? Cool. No? That’s fine, the calorie calculation later in this post gives a good indication of calories burnt for walking, hiking and hillwalking.

Dartmoor South West England.
Dartmoor, in the South West of England: a great place to hike with routes guaranteed to ramp up your calorie burn.

Before we delve into the article, let’s consider a few other related questions:

  • Can I get fit walking?
  • Is walking hard?
  • Teach me the right way to walk! And not like an Egyptian.
  • Is there a future to walking, or is it just a fad?
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Lightweight Camping Stove Types (Which is Best for You?)

Choosing a lightweight camping stove should be an easy task, but is it? Many factors will affect your decision and some of the considerations you’ll need to think about include:

  • The environment in you’ll be hiking and camping in
  • Burn time
  • Size and weight of fuel cannisters/duration of you trip
  • Ease of maintenance and repair.

This list is small and is based on my own experience of camping and hiking the U.K, U.S, the jungles of South East Asia and Arctic Ocean. Your adventure might require some additional thought so feel free to use the above bullets as a starting point.

We’ll cover off these points later in the post. First let’s look at the various options available.

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5 of the Best Long Distance Walks: UK Destinations

The UK is criss-crossed by a network of trails, tracks and public footpaths that take you on some pretty magical journeys. If you let them. I’ve had the pleasure to hike and trek all over the world, but nothing gives me more pleasure than a walking long distance through the wilds of the UK. I’m equally at home taking walks near Thame and in Buckinghamshire. But today we’re going to explore some of the best long-distance walks (UK only – I’ll be adding more walks to cater for overseas visitors to my website).

First off, let’s be clear about what constitutes a long-distance hike, or walk: some of my outdoorsy-type friends told me that long distance is the kind of trek or hike that can take days. That’s probably a bit extreme for most so we came to an agreement – any route over 20 miles is classified as long.

Some of the routes below I’ve walked. Others are recommendations from friends. If you have any you think might be valuable additions to this post, please feel free to email me (details over on the contact page).

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Hillwalking Fitness Tips for the Beginner

pen y fan, Wales. A hill walk not for the faint of heart.
Pen Y Fan, Wales. A pretty tough climb, even if you’re already hill fit.

I’ve been using this hillwalking fitness tips for beginners guide for a number of years now. The core components have been borrowed from my military training. Some of the more intense training recommendations are based on a very hard course during which I spent many months marching over huge hills. But don’t worry – this training plan has been built with the beginner hillwalker in mind.

This schedule works equally well for anyone looking for a hiking training plan. If you’re not going to be travelling over hills simply follow the plan and switch your venue e.g. if your route will be along woodland tracks and trails, then walk them instead.

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Garmin InReach vs Iridium GO! Which is the Best?

Garmin InReach Explorer+
Garmin InReach Explorer+. Used during my ski across Greenland.

The Garmin InReach vs Iridium GO debate has been circling for quite some time now. As satellite communications devices go, they both similar and vastly different. I’ve used both the Iridium GO! and the Garmin InReach Explorer+ on a number of expeditions and hikes ranging from the North Pole to the wilds of the UK’s national parks. Each device has its strengths and weaknesses and its these we’re going to explore today.

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