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Pack Test

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  • Pack Test

    Hey all. I am preparing for my first season as a wildland firefighter, and as you can imagine, I'm very anxious. I was hoping I could find some information on the actual difficulty of the Pack Test. 3 miles with 45 pounds in 45 minutes, correct? While that doesn't sound incredibly difficult, apparently it is. Any insight on how difficult it is and what kind of individual fails it? Also, other than actually running the hike, what other effective methods of preparation are there? Thanks.

    Be safe. Stay Low.

  • #2
    Spend some time training. Work up to carrying the full 45 pounds - if you are not used to carrying the weight you're more likely to injure yourself and lose training time recovering. Wear comfortable clothes and boots - preferably the ones you'll test in. Break in any new gear well before the test. If you use your own pack make sure it has a suspension appropriate for a 45 lb load. A bad pack suspension will make 45 lbs feel like much more.

    One trick that I've used in training for high altitude climbs is to fill some 2 liter (or similar) bottles w/water and use them in your pack for weight. You can dump weight easily as necessary. Train in weather conditions that are similar to what you'll test in.

    Practice pacing yourself so you don't go too fast or too slow. Remember - it is not a race so don't let ego get you into trouble. Running is not allowed. Start out fully hydrated.


    • #3
      DON'T wear boots

      to test with... in fact they shouldn't let you anyways. Hopefully you will be wearing a vest with weights instead of a pack. The vest is by far the best way to go. But like MtnRsq said.. if you have to use your own gear, get it adjusted and broken in at least some before the test.

      The test does sound easy, but it's surprising how fast a pace you really do have to keep up. If the FS is giving you the test (as I imagine they will), you do get some additional time for elevation, so if you are taking the test at the HQ of the Modoc, you will probably have an additional 30 sec to completet the test. Take a few practice laps to get an idea of the pace you will need. One important thing to remember, if testing in a pack formation, don't try and keep up with the fastest guy out there unless you really can and not burn out.
      Stopping controlled burning DOES NOT stop the burning, only the control!


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