Tips for Hiking Long Distances

How To Hike 15 – 30 Miles a day

Pack Light – You can hike faster, farther and longer with a lightweight pack than a heavy one. Getting your total pack weight (including gear, food and fuel) under 35 pounds should be your first goal if you want to comfortably (and consistently) hike 15 or more miles every day.

Wear Good Shoes – Your hiking shoes should lightweight, breathable and comfortable (trail runners or light hikers are the best choice.) Hiking all day can cause your feet to swell, so buy a size larger than you normally wear. Don’t forget high quality socks and insoles too.

Get Out Of Camp Early – An early start is the best advantage you can have for hiking long days. Plan to be on the trail hiking no later than 7:00 am (earlier if you are trying for 25+ miles). Organize your gear the night before so you can break camp quickly in the morning.

Hike Before Breakfast – A hot morning meal is good for energy and morale. But it can also bog you down in camp and prevent an early start. Postpone breakfast until your first break, have a quick snack instead, and knock out some early-morning miles to start the day.

Break Long Hikes Into Segments – Hiking 15 to 30 miles at once can be intimidating. But if you divide it into smaller segments, and concentrate on finishing one segment at a time (instead of thinking about your ultimate destination), you’ll be there before you know it.

Rest & Eat Every Two Hours – Frequent rest and food breaks keep you physically and mentally sharp for 10+ hours on the trail. Don’t just eat when you’re hungry and rest when you’re tired. Treat your body like a well-oiled machine and give it regular maintenance.

Take “Power Naps” – Spend the last 15 minutes of each rest break lying down in a quiet place, with your eyes closed, shoes off and feet elevated. Even if you don’t fall asleep (you probably won’t) you will feel more refreshed and rejuvenated for hiking the next segment.

Keep Track Of Time – Unless you have a very good internal clock, you’ll need a way to track your progress and stay on schedule. A wristwatch with a built in interval timer (like the Casio G-Shock Trainer) can automatically alert you when it’s time to rest or start hiking again.

Skip Lunch – If you follow my advice of resting and eating every two hours there is no need for a long mid-day break. Lunch breaks tend to go longer than expected and can bring on bouts of laziness. Keep your momentum going and take regular, short breaks instead.

Pace Yourself – Maintain a moderate hiking pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. If you find that you have to stop frequently in between your regularly scheduled rest periods to catch your breath or rest your legs, you are probably hiking too fast. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

Rest A Full 24 Hours Once A Week – With a sub 35-pound pack you will need to go into town every 4 to 7 days to resupply. Take this opportunity to eat lots of food, enjoy a hot shower or bath, sleep in a bed, relax and recuperate. One night in town should be enough, so plan to get back on the trail within 24 hours. (You’ll spend less money in towns this way too.)


Hike 15 Miles A Day


  Hike 20 Miles A Day

Hike 25 Miles A Day

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