Why Winter Rucking Makes For a Better Workout
What is Rucking?
To get a more in-depth look at rucking we have a guide here for beginners, but this is a more basic rundown. Rucking involves carrying a deliberately heavy pack while trekking. Rucking is mostly used in military training and strength-based sports to strengthen a person’s endurance and power over time.
What is Winter Rucking?
So essentially, winter rucking is just rucking but with an added level of difficulty as if it wasn’t already tricky enough. However, winter rucking comes with even more benefits than regular rucking, as it adds even more challenge to already strenuous activity and provides excellent training.
With winter rucking, you don’t want to be going out in a full-on blizzard, that’s just asking for an accident to happen especially if you are rucking near a road. Instead, the weather picks the day after a blizzard when there’s fresh snowfall and the weather milder. You are just trying to add a bit more of a challenge to your regular rucking experience after all, not make it full-on impossible.
Since it is already a pretty intense workout, running when rucking is not necessary – especially in snow/ wintery conditions! When you’re tackling paths of slippery snow, ice and slush it’s quite dangerous, you don’t want to risk toppling over and hurting yourself while carrying huge weights. You are most likely going to slip at some point anyway, but you don’t want to be adding to the risk even more. Instead, go at a regular trekking pace, you don’t need to add more stress to your knees, back or ankle by attempting a run.
When you are rucking in snow it will build up the muscles in your legs, think about how difficult walking in the snow can be sometimes, you feel like doing a full-on leg workout sometimes. Well now imagine that with weights too, now it is a workout!
Winter Rucking Gear and Tips
With rucking, you don’t typically need a much new kit, it’s one of the many great things about it. For better information on what weights you need, how to choose weights best suited for you etc, I again suggest our ‘Rucking for Beginners Guide’, as you just need the same weight equipment as in that. We will get into the main essential items you need, but first, let’s discuss some important tips for winter rucking.
Tip 1: Always take some lip balm with you. It’s obviously going to be cold weather while you are winter rucking and your lips are bound to get very dry and crack, potentially even splitting and bleeding later on. To prevent this, take some lip balm with you so as soon as you feel your lips drying up you can put some lip balm over them and feel better. Lip balm is also great for if your nose starts getting dry too,
Speaking of noses, tissues are also a necessary item. Again you know the side effects of being in cold weather, you’ll probably get a runny nose which can get very annoying, so take some tissues with you to make yourself less irritable.
Tip 2: Wear wool products – not cotton. Wool is an excellent insulator, it’s why it is so commonly used on winter items as it is great for keeping you warm in colder weather as it can maintain its insulating abilities even when wet. Cotton is not, once wet it loses its insulating abilities, meaning it is no longer keeping you warm and therefore can be pretty pointless if that’s what you are wearing that clothing item for. Since you are winter rucking this is essential to keep in mind.
Tip 3: Dress in layers. This should be an obvious one, but people can sometimes forget the importance of wearing layers. For starters, weather can change, you want to be as flexible as possible and be dressed appropriately for the conditions you are in, but also be able to remove or add layers if circumstances change. For example, overheating while winter rucking is very possible, the last thing you want is to be sweaty and wet, which isn’t the most pleasant experience. You can downgrade as you go.
You’re trying to be as comfortable as possible considering the intense activity you are doing and layers will help with that.
Tip 4: Again an obvious one, but you need to be carrying water on you. Lots of it too. You are doing an intense workout and will get thirsty.
Gear You Will Need for Winter Rucking:
Jacket and/ or Windbreaker if you know it will be quite windy.
Sweater / Sweatshirt
Hat – you lose a lot of heat from your head, wearing a hat will keep your head warm in colder weather while winter rucking.
Gloves – cold hands make for an uncomfortable rucking experience, keep your hands warm whether that’s using lightweight gloves, mittens, and hand warmers, the choicer is up to you and what you prefer/ how extreme the weather conditions are.
Neck Gaiter / Buff – meant to keep the neck warm, this item is a combination of scarf and face mask. Heat can escape between your jacket collar and face in a significant amount so wear these to prevent that heat loss.
Socks – they are important to wear whatever time of year you are going rucking and should be a regular part of your rucking kit. They need to be able to keep your feet warm and protect your feet from any rubbing/ blisters. A lot of people tend to have one light pair of socks on as an inner layer, then use a thicker and heavier sock on top. You should also always bring an extra pair of socks in addition to these, in case your feet get cold or wet you can swap out which pair you are using.
Boots – you should be wearing a pair that are made to be suitable for cold weather, snow, ice, slush, etc.
Hopefully, this guide has given you a taste for what winter rucking is like and why next time there is some snowfall around your area, you should maybe get your rucking gear out and attempt to brace the snow and coldness. Good Luck.