About a month ago, B and I went on an beautiful, memorable, challenging, and downright epic 42 mile backpacking trip here in Colorado. About a week after we got back from Europe, we set out to start our trip on the Fjällräven Classic. The Classic in the USA is a 3 day trek through the mountains with about 200 like minded people from all over the world organized and facilitated by the Swedish outdoor brand Fjällräven. Here is more info on the story behind the Classic, and info on the USA Classic.
The Fjällräven Classic concept is simple: to encourage and enable more people to get out and enjoy trekking.
You can read more about B and I on the trek here on B’s Blog.
I’ve been backpacking before, so between B and I, we already have the necessary gear. With everything I needed, my pack rang in at just around 30 pounds, give or take a few with/without water. I use B’s hand-me-down pack, an Osprey Aether 70 which fits me really well even though (or because) it’s a men’s pack. For sleeping, I have an REI bag that is rated down to 20˚F and a air pad that frankly is not thick enough. I can never sleep well camping. I wake up ever 20 min or so with aching hips, so I end up tossing and turning all night, every night, no matter how exhausted I am. B and I share a Big Agnes tent, and a Jet Boil stove, and the rest is pretty standard. I have old Keen hiking boots that have never once given me a blister, and I wore light weight Arcteryx hiking pants with sweat wicking t-shirts from Costco. The one and only new thing for me on this trip was trekking poles. They helped propel me up steep grades, tempered steep downslopes, and I’m very, very glad I had them for this type long distance climb. My poles came off of a snowshoeing kit I bought at Costco over the winter, so they’re are not fancy at all, but definitely useful.
We bought tickets back in April, and I quickly realized that I would very seriously need to start training. The route description even gave B pause, so I took a brutally honest evaluation of my fitness level and started planning out my training routine. To ease me into exercising, I started yoga once or twice a week at my neighborhood studio, The Yoga Mat. Prior to this, my exercise came strictly from sporadic 7 minute workouts at home, snowboarding, and walks. To prep my weak and injury prone low back for the weight of a backpack, I started pilates once a week at my neighborhood pilates studio, Manna Pilates and signed up for 3 private lessons spaced out over 3 months. Gradually, I added in running (a mile at a time – I loathe running) once or twice a week, and supplementing my yoga and pilates classes with the Nike Fit App workouts at home. In May, my friend Melissa introduced me to spinning classes at Endorphin. We both bought a 3 month unlimited package, and I started going to their classes 2-3 times a week to work on my cardio endurance, which has always been non-existent. To train for the elevation and just the realities of the trek, B and I went on training hikes every weekend with fully loaded packs in the mountains close to Denver. By the time the classic came around, I felt ready. My cardio endurance was 5 times better than it was, I had stronger core strength, and I knew I could make at least 10 mile hikes with no problems.
B and I are planning to do this same trip again next summer, and we will probably rope some of our friends and family in to join us. The price is a bit steep – as is essentially everything Fjällräven branded – but I really think you get your money’s worth and more.If you’re curious for more, check out the tag #fjallravenclassicusa on Instagram, and Fjällräven’s Facebook page.
All the photos here were taken by B and I, with the exception of the very last one, which was taken by Ali Vagnini.