Hi, I’m new to the forum and new to backcountry backpacking. My husband and I are doing a 4 night backcountry trip to Yosemite in a few months. Since this is our first trip, we booked through a tour company that provides a guide and our equipment (backpack, tent, sleeping bag, etc). We start our trip up Yosemite Falls Trail, which from what I understand is about a 5 mile hike at a 10-12% grade via switchbacks. We are both athletic (runners/cyclists/lifting) and are actively training, but I’m a little anxious about how carrying a weighted backpack will feel.

My question is about training with a weighted backpack. Since this is our first experience and the company is providing our backpacks, what is the best way to train for carrying a weighted backpack? We were told the packs will be 32-40lbs. Since they are proving the packs and we aren’t sure if we’ll enjoy backcountry backpacking yet, we don’t want to invest in an expensive backpack just for training. We’ve also heard that putting weight in a regular backpack (like a school bag type pack) could cause injury to your back and shoulders. Does anyone have a recommendation on a good way to train for the weight? I would be willing to spend some money on a cheaper backpack, understanding that you get what you pay for, but I’m not sure what to look for in terms of size, fitting, brand, etc. Then, if we decided we will be doing more hiking in the future we could upgrade. We have a few steep hills in the area but they are very short, so we plan to add in hikes up and down stadium stairs and on an inclined treadmill.

Thank you for your help. We really appreciate any advice you have for us!