Rucking 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Carrying a Backpack and Getting Fit

Well, what is Rucking?

Rucking is a popular outdoor activity that involves walking or hiking with a weighted backpack or rucksack. Rucking is an effective way to improve physical fitness, build strength and endurance, and explore new trails and landscapes. It is also a great way to challenge yourself and push your limits, as you can increase the weight of your rucksack to make the activity more challenging. I hope you find this beginner’s guide to rucking helpful in getting yourself started.

Rucking is similar to hiking, but it typically involves carrying a heavier load and maintaining a faster pace. This means that rucking can be more strenuous and demanding than hiking, and it requires a higher level of physical fitness and preparation. However, the benefits of rucking are numerous and well worth the effort.

One important aspect of rucking is proper equipment and gear. Trekking poles are highly recommended for helping you maintain your balance and support your body weight, especially when carrying a heavy rucksack. 

They also provide additional traction and stability on uneven or slippery terrain, which can help prevent falls and injuries.

Rucking is a challenging and rewarding outdoor activity that offers many benefits for physical fitness and mental well-being. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rucker, give this activity a try and discover the magic of rucking for yourself.

Why is rucking good for fitness and weightloss?

Rucking is a good way to improve fitness and lose weight because it involves walking or hiking with a weighted backpack or rucksack. This added weight increases the intensity and challenge of the activity, which can help improve cardiovascular fitness, build strength and endurance, and burn calories.

Rucking is also a low-impact activity, which means it puts less strain on the joints and muscles than other high-impact exercises, such as running or jumping. This makes rucking a good option for people who are recovering from injuries or who have chronic pain or mobility issues.

When you are rucking outdoors, this provides an opportunity to enjoy fresh air, sunshine, and nature. This can improve mental health and well-being, and reduce stress and anxiety. 

Rucking is also a social activity, as it can be done with friends or other rucking enthusiasts, which can provide a sense of community and support.

It is a good option for fitness and weight loss because it is challenging, low-impact, and enjoyable. It can improve physical fitness, build strength and endurance, and burn calories, as well as provide mental and social benefits.

What are the benefits of rucking? Here are nine that you should know:

  1. Improved cardiovascular endurance: Rucking involves walking or hiking with a backpack, which can be a great way to get your heart rate up and improve your cardiovascular endurance.
  2. Increased strength: Carrying a backpack filled with weight can help you build muscle and strength, especially in your legs and core.
  3. Better posture: Rucking can help improve your posture by strengthening the muscles in your upper back and shoulders, which can help reduce pain and improve your overall posture.
  4. Improved mental health: Rucking can be a great way to reduce stress and improve your mental health. The combination of physical activity and being in nature can help improve your mood and reduce anxiety.
  5. Weight loss: Rucking can be a great way to burn calories and lose weight, especially if you carry a heavy backpack.
  6. Increased bone density: Rucking can help increase bone density, especially in the legs and spine, which can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and other bone-related issues.
  7. Increased mobility: Rucking can help improve your range of motion and flexibility, especially in your hips and ankles.
  8. Improved balance and coordination: Rucking can help improve your balance and coordination, especially if you walk on uneven terrain.
  9. Enhanced teamwork and leadership skills: Rucking can be a great team-building activity, as it requires cooperation and communication to complete a goal. It can also help improve your leadership skills, as you may have to take charge and guide your team through difficult terrain.

How much more calories do you burn when rucking as opposed to just walking?

The number of calories you burn while rucking depends on a number of factors, including your weight, the distance you walk, and the weight of your backpack. As a general rule, however, rucking tends to burn more calories than just walking.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a 155-pound person burns about 223 calories per hour while walking at a moderate pace (about 3 mph). However, the same person would burn about 330 calories per hour while rucking at the same pace with a 20-pound backpack.

So, while the exact number of calories burned will vary, you can generally expect to burn more calories while rucking than while just walking. It’s worth noting, however, that the weight of your backpack can make a significant difference in the number of calories burned. The heavier the backpack, the more calories you are likely to burn.

How do you prepare your Rucksack

In general it really depends where you are rucking. Packing can be simpler when you are rucking in an urban area. But if you are planning to ruck further into the woods, here is a list for you to look at:

  1. A comfortable and durable rucksack or backpack, with enough capacity to carry all your gear and supplies.
  2. Water bottles or a hydration bladder, to ensure you have enough water to stay hydrated during your ruck.
  3. Snacks, such as energy bars, trail mix, or fruit, to provide fuel and energy during your ruck.
  4. A first aid kit, containing essential items such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and insect repellent.
  5. A map and compass, to help you navigate and orient yourself during your ruck.
  6. A flashlight or headlamp, in case you need to ruck in the dark or in low light conditions.
  7. A knife or multi-tool, for cutting, slicing, and other tasks.
  8. Sunscreen, to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
  9. Insect repellent, to keep bugs and mosquitoes at bay.
  10. Clothing and gear suitable for the weather and terrain of your rucking location, such as a jacket, hat, gloves, and hiking boots.
  11. A charged phone and a power bank, to stay connected and to take photos and videos during your ruck.
  12. A trash bag, to collect and dispose of any waste or litter during your ruck.
  13. A whistle, to signal for help in case of emergency.
  14. Any other items you might need, depending on your personal preferences and the specifics of your ruck.

8 steps to take to prepare for a rucking activity:

  1. Check the weather and the trail conditions, and plan your rucking route accordingly. Make sure you have the appropriate gear and clothing for the expected weather and terrain.
  2. Make sure your rucksack is in good condition and properly fitted to your body. Adjust the straps and buckles to ensure a comfortable and secure fit.
  3. Fill your rucksack with the necessary items and supplies, such as water, snacks, first aid kit, map, compass, and other gear. Make sure the weight is evenly distributed and that the rucksack is not too heavy or too light.
  4. Stretch and warm up your muscles before starting your rucking activity. This will help prevent injuries and improve your performance.
  5. Tell someone about your rucking plans, such as a friend or family member. Provide them with your itinerary, route, and expected return time, in case of emergency.
  6. Bring a charged phone and a power bank, in case you need to call for help or to take photos and videos during your rucking activity.
  7. Stay hydrated and nourished during your rucking activity. Drink water and eat snacks regularly to maintain your energy and endurance.
  8. Listen to your body and pay attention to your physical and mental state. If you feel tired, sore, or unwell, take a break and rest. Stop your rucking activity if necessary and seek medical attention if needed.

5 ideas on how to form a rucking group

  1. Reach out to friends and family members who are interested in rucking or outdoor activities. Invite them to join your rucking group, and encourage them to invite others who might be interested.
  2. Join local rucking clubs or organizations, and attend their events and meetings. This is a great way to meet other ruckers and learn more about rucking.
  3. Use social media and online forums to connect with other ruckers in your area. Join rucking groups, follow rucking pages and profiles, and participate in online discussions and events.
  4. Organize rucking events and challenges, such as group hikes, ruck marches, and fitness competitions. This is a fun way to get more people involved in rucking and to promote your rucking group.
  5. Collaborate with local businesses and organizations that support rucking, such as outdoor gear shops, fitness centers, and community organizations. They can provide resources and support for your rucking group, and help you reach a wider audience.

There are several places where you can find rucking groups:

  1. Online forums: There are many online forums and communities where people who enjoy rucking gather to share tips, advice, and information about upcoming events and challenges. Some popular options include Reddit, Facebook groups, and online forums specific to rucking.
  2. Meetup: Meetup is a website and app that connects people who share similar interests and hobbies, including rucking. You can search for rucking groups in your area and join their events and activities.
  3. Local gyms and fitness centers: Many local gyms and fitness centers offer rucking classes or events. You can check with your local gym or search online to find out what’s available in your area.
  4. Military bases: Rucking is popular among military personnel, and many military bases offer rucking events and activities. If you have access to a military base, you may be able to find rucking groups there.
  5. Outdoor adventure stores: Some outdoor adventure stores, such as REI or Bass Pro Shops, may offer rucking events or have information about local rucking groups. You can check with your local store or search online to see what’s available.

It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to join a formal group to go rucking. You can simply grab a backpack and start walking with friends or on your own to get the benefits of this activity.

Rucking, or walking or hiking with a backpack, is a popular activity that offers a number of benefits for physical and mental health.

It’s a great way to get your heart rate up and improve your cardiovascular endurance, and it can help you build strength, especially in your legs and core. Rucking can also help improve your posture and reduce stress, and it can be a great way to burn calories and lose weight.

In addition to these physical benefits, rucking can also have mental health benefits. Walking or hiking in nature can be a great way to reduce stress and improve your mood, and rucking can be a great team-building activity that requires cooperation and communication.

It can also help improve your leadership skills, as you may have to take charge and guide your team through difficult terrain.

Rucking is a relatively low-impact activity that can be enjoyed by people of all fitness levels, and it’s a great way to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty of your surroundings.

If you’re interested in trying rucking, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the distance and weight of your backpack as you get more comfortable. It’s also important to wear appropriate footwear and clothing, and to follow all safety guidelines when rucking in unfamiliar terrain.

Overall, rucking is a great way to get fit, improve your mental health, and enjoy the outdoors. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, build strength, or just get out and enjoy nature, rucking is a fun and rewarding activity that has something to offer for everyone. It can be a great addition to your fitness routine.

So there you go! Hope you found the information here helpful. Do share your comments below. We’d love to hear from you 🙂


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