That Time of the Year Already?

It isn’t quite time for the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department members who want to be wildland fire certified to do the annual Pack Test but it will be here before you know it. And unlike the people in the Conservation Corp we do the test outside usually with black flies biting. We also do it on gravel roads with hills not in the flat and smooth hallway of the Excel Center.

The first few times we did the pack test we didn’t have the fancy weighted vests either. I recall placing dumbells and free weights in a Duluth Pack to use the first time I did the test. Let’s just say that didn’t work or feel very good. The next time I got smarter and used sandbags and after that a smaller backpack and then finally our department borrowed and purchased the weighted vests. After that the pack test is a breeze, like walking around the Excel Center 12.2 times!

Conservation Corp Minnesota

When was the last time you hiked three miles carrying a 45-pound pack in 45 minutes or less? Young adult corps members must do exactly that to pass the work capacity test ― called the pack test ― administered at the beginning of their service term, immediately following orientation. The test certifies they are fit to carry equipment required for working with fire, which is another part of their training. Check out a video of some Central crew members who took the pack test on February 24. This year’s crop of crew members were oriented the week of February 17 and are eager to complete training and get out in the field.


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