Self-Care On The Trail: Take Care Of Your Back

swinging an axe

I don’t like to comment on gear until I’ve had it for a few years and used it hard. And I am wary of gear reviews on the internet. Now, after several hard years of use, I’m ready to spill the beans on something I bring with me on all trips. (Note: I don’t get anything for writing this up. I am not sponsored in any way by this company. I am writing it solely to inform our audience as to what we’ve found has worked for us.) It is a back roller called a Chirp Wheel (scroll down for a picture). I have several sizes but the 6″ version is the one I bring with me. It fits easily inside the small blue barrels (20 and 30 liter). They have larger and smaller versions, but this is the one I like. Your mileage may vary.

It is basically a short piece of thick plastic pipe sheathed in a rubber cover. Although these are rugged, I did once crack one. The company stood behind their product and sent me a replacement, so it was all good. Here’s a link.

After a long day paddling, carrying stuff, being hunched over, I occasionally feel every one of my years, and then some. But after rolling out my back, and hearing all the cracks and pops which sometimes sounds like popcorn being made, I feel good as new. It’s like a trip to the chiropractor, but you only pay once and it goes with you on far-flung expeditions. Usually by the end of any trip, the people with me are asking to borrow it.

I’m not advising you to get one, or to use the same routines I do in order to take care of the body on longer trips. I am definitely advising you to learn what works for you, and to take care of your body. Both on long trips and at home. In addition to restorative practices such as rolling out your back, this includes knowing when to call it a day and not push too hard. The majority of the injuries we see on trips are from people pushing too hard. Take care of your body and it will take care of you.
chirp wheel, 6"

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