About six months ago in our SFAS training tips, we hit the trails with our rucksack and were hitting the hills as they present issues that as a Selection candidate that you will encounter in the various courses that the services will offer.

With the rain, we had in the area as the remnants of a hurricane dumped some needed moisture in the forest, what better time is there than to get out in the rain and mud and carry a rucksack? The one good thing is that the trails would be empty as most people that time of morning decided that hiking in the rain and muck isn’t the most fun way to start the day.

It should be noted, that my training companion bailed on me. My bulldog took one look outside at the rain and wind and gave me a look like, “you’ve got to be kidding me?” and flopped, not rolled over, flopped on her side with her back to me. Sigh. I was on my own.

On another side note, besides the training value of rucking for those of our readers who are aspiring Special Operations candidates, going out on an early morning hike/ruck is a great stress reliever for a bit. For those who need to clear their head and decompress, it is a wonderful tonic for the cluttered brain. And there has been plenty of that lately…Nuff said.

In getting the weight right for the rucksack, which should be a 45-pound minimum, I went back to using a sandbag that I placed in the top radio pouch of the rucksack. Back a few months ago, we got several questions about using bricks, which you can and for the purpose of that one exercise I did. But to me, and it is just my personal opinion, bricks are bulky and it takes quite a few of them to get the weight right.

For the purposes of training and just for the plain ease of getting it right, a sandbag is much easier and foolproof. But there is no right or wrong answer here, whatever works for you is fine as long as the weight is correct. And that is what it is all about…

We’ve posted some tips based on our experience that we feel will be of good value to you. I don’t claim to know it all, but after many years in SF, these tips and techniques worked for me and hopefully, they’ll work for you as well.

So, the weight, in this case, the sandbag should be packed up high between the shoulder blades as much as possible. The ruck that I’m using has radio pouch up high, that is where the sandbag was placed. And it bears repeating that I prefer sandbags because it will mold to your ruck and back and doesn’t have any sharp edges that can rub you on a long-distance ruck march.