Making sure you have proper foot wear is the first and most important consideration; which I addressed here.
Having the right backpack is also of utmost importance. And, considering that I will be walking between 5 to 8 hours each day, keeping that backpack burden down to a reasonable weight is crucial.
I have spent much time looking over packing lists, backpack recommendations, and other issues about what to carry and what to leave behind.
When I was told that "You don't pick the backpack; the backpack picks you." I didn't take it too seriously. I wanted to keep the weight to a minimum, so I went out and bought the lightest weight ultra-light backpack. I found out quickly that it wasn't working, as my shoulders were aching after walking for only a few hours. So I returned the ultra-light and started researching and learning more about backpacks.
They say you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. Yeah, well, I found out it's the same type of deal with backpacks, when looking for a perfect match.
I went to the two biggest outdoor outfitter stores in my area. And they really do take it serious when helping find the right backpack for you. I spent hours with the experts trying on backpacks. They not only fit you for the pack. They load it with weights and have you walk around the store for an hour or 2, to make sure it is "Mr. Right".
When properly fitted, the backpack should rest on the hips and put no strain or pressure on the shoulders at all. The burden is carried on the hips, and it becomes effortless, just like carrying a baby on the hip.
Believe me, it wasn't love at first sight. It took me many visits to both outdoor outfitter stores before I found my prince. And when I did, I knew it the minute I put it on.
Meet Mr. Right. The Gregory Jade 35
So, I happily take my training walks carrying 15 to 20 pounds for 5 or 6 hours very comfortably.
And I learned a valuable lesson...listen to the experts.