We’ve been revisiting some of the posts we’ve made earlier and are getting out and doing refresher exercises, getting some land navigation and other tasks in. This one will deal with everyone is SF’s favorite pastime … rucking.

Everyone has their own tips of the trade and the vast majority of them are good. The main thing is that you have to find what works best for you. What I’m doing here is just giving you the benefits of my own experiences and hopefully, they’ll work for you. They did for me.

I recently got an email from Sean T. who asked a good question about rucksack marching and specifically in how the load was packed. He wrote, “I’ve read numerous articles about how the load of your rucksack should be distributed over your hips. I’m having issue [sic] with rubbing on my hips and low back pain. Is it because I’ve packed the weight too low?”

I take it from Sean’s message that he took the “distribute the weight over the hips” bit to mean that he was packing his load down low. No, and it is a common mistake among beginners and people carrying heavy rucks for the first time.

Your weight should be packed up high between the shoulder blades. If your ruck has radio pouch up high, that is where the sandbag or weight plates belongs. I prefer sandbags because it will mold to your pack and back and doesn’t have any sharp edges that can rub you on a ruck.

The guys over at GoRUCK sell some nice molded plates that will do the trick and they take all the guess work out of it. But like I said, I prefer the sand routine but use whatever works for you. In the video below, I have a 45-pound bag in my small ruck that I use for short hikes that we take with us.

We covered boots at length in our earlier article. I have several broken in pairs that I take on hikes depending upon the conditions. For the purposes of this exercise, I wore my heavier duty Merrell Sawtooth boots. We had a bunch of rain that dropped over an inch overnight and it was still misting out there on the day we did the video. Later we got another inch plus. The trail was muddy, very deep in places and the Sawtooth’s deeper tread pattern was probably a bit better for that day.

Water and staying hydrated is very important even on a day where it is a bit raw out and is raining on you. You’ll still sweat and dehydration is a killer. On this particular day, although it was raining a bit, we still drank constantly, keeping the hydration level up.