Tabbing is a military term that means 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 is an abbreviation of Tactical Advance to Battle.
At Pegasus we have broadened the spectrum of loaded marching to encompass all physical abilities. We have people who carry a very light rucksack with under 12lb (5kg) right through to members loaded with a military type backpack weighing 35lb (16kg).
Our tabbing sessions are absolutely awesome and a really effective alternative to running or as a new addition to your cross training.
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 140lb (10st) load your bergen with 14 lbs.
Once you get used to the weight, you can gradually increase to 35lb, which is considered an acceptable body strain weight. NB 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 top. 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.
We recommend you start with soft and light items like a sleeping bag, which provides good cushioning, and build up from there.