What’s a Good Hiking Pace?

It’s important to know your hiking pace so you can accurately plan your hikes. For example, you don’t want to give yourself 2 days for a 30-mile backpacking trip if you really need 3 days. While knowing an average hiking pace can help you estimate, it’s best to keep track of your own personal pace.

What’s a good average hiking pace?

While there is an equation you can use to calculate how long it will take you to complete a hike, there’s not really a good answer for average hiking speed. There are far too many contributing factors to give a definitive answer.

Most people can average anywhere between 2 and 4 miles per hour walking on flat ground without a pack.

Going by this average means that you could cover 14 miles or 28 miles in a full day of hiking. Needless to say, this is a significant range, which can make planning a hike difficult.

Of course, adding in other factors can complicate average hiking speed even further.

Things that factor into average hiking speed

  • Change in elevation
  • The weight of your pack
  • The difficulty of the terrain
  • Weather conditions
  • Your personal level of fitness
  • Your mood
  • The amount of food and types of food you eat

How to dial in your hiking pace

Since there are so many factors that influence how fast a person hikes, it doesn’t always make sense to use a generic average to plan a hiking or backpacking trip. It’s better to determine your personal hiking pace instead. There are a couple of ways that you can do this.

You can clock your speed on a treadmill. Load your hiking pack, hop on the treadmill, and up the speed until you are at a pace that you could comfortably sustain for an extended period of time. This gives you a rough sense of your average hiking pace on flat ground.

If you don’t have access to a treadmill, you’d feel silly loading up a pack and heading to the gym, or you simply don’t want to put that much effort into figuring out your pace, you can just track your hiking pace as you go.

Make note of your start times and finish times, and divide the hours it takes to hike by the distance you travel. Also note the terrain, changes in elevation, the weather conditions, and how hard you pushed yourself.

This can help you get a better understanding of your personal hiking pace.

Come see us for hiking supplies and backpacking equipment!

Be sure to stop by Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters for Backpacking supplies and equipment in Fayetteville, Arkansas!

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