Tabbing is a military term walking at a fast pace with a weighted Bergen ( Rucksack) .In the British Army loaded marching is considered a core skill and is tested annually in an eight mile Combat Fitness Test carrying 15-25kg depending on the regiment. The term tab has its roots in an acronym, being an abbreviation of Tactical Advance to Battle . Avalanche Endurance Events has been set up by former members of the Special Forces to test civilians under military training situations. has linked up to provide arguably one of the toughest team challenges in the UK.
Our director Gerald Mccarthy has participated in a large number of Special Forces challenges which include both the Winter and Summer Fandance, Point to Point and Ironman. The latter being navigational and time sensitive challenges which push individuals to their limits both mentally and physically. We have received a number of questions regarding tabbing so I would like to explain why and the benefits.
A good place to start for a beginner is to put weight in your bergen equivalent to 10% of your body weight .For example if you weigh 140 lbs load your Bergen with 14 lbs. Once you get used to weight you can gradually increase to 35 lb which is considered an acceptable body strain weight. If you go above this it can start to break down your body.Loading the bergen with weight is the most important part as you do not want the weight all at the bottom. The heaviest items should be packed at the very top or near to the very top of your Bergen’s (rucksack) contents. If the weight is at the bottom of the pack it will put great strain on your lower back and make marching painful, if not unbearable. So we recommend you start with soft and light items like a sleeping bag, which provides good cushioning, and build up from there. You might also want to consider the priority of need with regards to important clothing and utility items. If the weather turns for the worst, it’s not much use having your rainproof jacket at the bottom of your load. Food, water, warm kit and rain/windproof jackets are among the most useful items that should be kept at or near the top of your packing. A small first aid kit might be a good idea too. Your Bergen should ideally sit high up on your back (rather than hanging low) so that it concentrates the spread of weight on the upper spine and across your shoulders. Don’t pull your Bergen up so high that you can’t push your head back and hold an erect posture. This is 99% practice 1% theory, so practice getting your position and fit right sooner rather than later.
Now put on you Bergen and go for a walk or a hike. You can go as long and far as you want ,but if just starting its best to ease into the activity.You may be sore after in some places your normal fitness regime has ignored. Expect the muscles around your knees ,your backside and lower back to feel tender.The benefit however is that the bergen puts you into a great posture ,so you are working muscles that need working.
The benefits of Tabbing are that you do not have to buy new expensive gym memberships or expensive equipment. You are out in the fresh air .I have 2 sayings that I always inspire me .”If it’s not raining ,it’s not training” and ” If it’s not snowing ,I ain’t going” Basically the worse the weather the more you get out of an outdoor session. It takes you out of the comfort zone and afterwards the sense of satisfaction is extremely high.You can do it every morning you take the dog for a walk, or you commute to work on foot, or you ensure you go for a post meal walk. Outdoor exercise is good for the mind. We all stare at computers, mobile phones and televisions .Out having to judge terrain makes your mind work in a completely different way .It is always known to reduce stress and may help you sleep better at night according to the National Sleep Foundation. One of the main benefits however is that the extra weight helps you accelerate your fitness and at the same time reduce weight.