Many of us are searching for an adventure on our own two feet. Maybe it’s a race, maybe it isn’t. In the end what we want is exploration, challenge and a good time. Here’s where fastpacking comes in. The “Highest Hundred” project’s Justin Simoni calls fastpacking “the space between ultra running and backpacking.” A strong resolve and endurance are requisite but how about gear; what’s the right mix for being prepared, safe and happy without being so burdened that you lose speed and fun? Today’s blog post author–UD ambassador Jen Segger–has been planning and executing fastpacking trips for years. Here are five items, in Jen’s words, that will help you get started on multi-day fastpacking trips.

1. Pack Choice
“I’ve been using the Ultimate Direction FastPack 35 for 3 years now and it gets me through a 3 day trip with comfort. Sometimes I will opt for my FastPack 45 when more space is needed. I always recommend a 2 bottle system (or even just 1 pending your location and water access) instead of a bladder as filling in streams is much easier. One bottle can be purifying while the other is for drinking. The pockets on UD Fastpacks holds bottles perfectly. I love the large mesh external pockets for carrying all the essentials that you need quick access to (jacket, food, map, In-Reach, hat etc.).”

Tony Krupicka wears the UD Fastpack

Photo: Fred Marmsater

2. Sleeping Bag & Thermapad
“Look for a lightweight, warm and yet compressible sleeping bag. Don’t go so lightweight that you will freeze at night. Remember that your body has been working hard all day so you will sleep colder and will still be burning calories. My current thermapad is the Exped Downmat HL Winter which we used to cross Baffin Island two years ago during a winter expedition. For a sleeping bag I use a -7 C degree bag because I sleep ‘cold.'”

Jen Segger Fastpacking

3. Bivy & Tarp
“After using an alpine bivy that was good for all elements, I wanted to find a lighter weight option that wouldn’t take up as much space in my bag. I was very excited when Ultimate Direction came out with the new FK Bivy. It’s super lightweight, taking up virtually no pack space. I also appreciate the fact that the fabric will not sit right on your head. The quick set up bubble is perfect for good sleep. Pair this with the FK Tarp for a super quick and easy set up in bad weather. And get this, you can use your trekking poles (I use the Black Diamond Z) to stand it up.”

Fred Marmsater UD Fastpack

Photo: Fred Marmsater

4. Cooking & Food Prep
“The only way to go (in my opinion) is a JetBoil for heating water. The JetBoil makes the most sense with the boil time being anywhere from 2-3 minutes. Carrying only 1 canister of fuel and using the JetBoil as the pot is perfect. You can even use the Jetboil as a coffee press (most come with this attachment). For food, my main meals are eaten right out of dehydrated bags and I carry a small mug that can be used for drinking or eating. A “spork” is all you need to complete your fastpack kitchen. I’ve recently spent time looking to see what new food products are out on the market that are healthy and NOT full of crap. Here are two brands that you might want to look at: Good Too-Go and Nomad Nutrition. Both are tasty and you will feel good about what you are consuming.”

Jen Segger UD Fastpacking

5. Lighting
I don’t mess around with lighting on any adventure. In fact, I consider it to be one of the essential items for success and safety so whatever you do, DO NOT skimp of having a reliable light. If you run a disposable battery unit, of course be sure to bring extra batteries. I’m in love with Lupine Lights; I’ve come to rely on their incredible 1200+ lumen output for fast movement on the trails during the night. I use the Piko set-up and love it (it’s lightweight and waterproof and pumps out huge light.) I always carry 2 batteries with me on any outing.”

Jen Segger UD Fastpacking