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#166004 - 02/02/09 02:41 AM Re: How many miles an hour hiking? [Re: Russ]
Desperado Offline

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 1530
Loc: DFW, Texas
Originally Posted By: Russ
Originally Posted By: Dagny
(for one thing I'd have to carry dog food in an evacuation scenario).

Your dog needs a pack so he/she/it can carry his/her/its own food.

Be real careful putting a pack on your dog. There are serious questions that a vet needs to take part in. I have seen several dogs who look perfectly capable of carrying a light weight end up being the weight carried.
I do the things that I must, and really regret, are unfortunately necessary.


#166008 - 02/02/09 03:06 AM Re: How many miles an hour hiking? [Re: ]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2840
Another thing to add is research your area. If your looking at bugging out of work or home start researching the areas. A lot of places now have walking/biking trails or there may be a converted rail trail. Look for paths you can utilize.

#166014 - 02/02/09 03:55 AM Re: How many miles an hour hiking? [Re: scafool]
jaywalke Offline

Registered: 12/22/07
Posts: 172
Loc: Appalachian mountains
On mountain trails with a loaded backpack for 2-4 day trips, I usually average just over 2 miles per hour. That includes a few thousand feet of mild (or at least short, <1000') ups and downs. If I decide to turn it on, 2.5 is easily within reach, provided the footing is good. Loose rock or ice means all bets are off, and more elevation cuts down on the speed. Trying to maintain 3mph on trails isn't much fun, and I backpack on vacation. Fun is what it's about. I average about 15 miles a day on the AT, for up to 7 days straight.

I find that I am better off continuing for an extra hour or so, rather than trying to set a land-speed record. Headlamps (or full moons) are great for night-hiking, which is an experience not to be missed. Thunderstorms, however, or rumors of cold beer at a road crossing on the AT, can twist my throttle.

Longest dayhike I've done (basically unloaded) was the Rachel Carson challenge in Pittsburgh. 34.6 miles, with over 10,000' of elevation change. The elevation profile looks like an EKG.

Toughest hike with a full pack was 19 miles in the Tetons, with 9,000' of elevation change. That hurt.

Edited by jaywalke (02/02/09 03:57 AM)

#166015 - 02/02/09 04:16 AM Re: How many miles an hour hiking? [Re: jaywalke]

Originally Posted By: jaywalke

Longest dayhike I've done (basically unloaded) was the Rachel Carson challenge in Pittsburgh. 34.6 miles, with over 10,000' of elevation change. The elevation profile looks like an EKG.

I just watched a still video at the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge website. I would love to partake in something like that. If I am ever in Pittsburgh during this time....

Here is the EKG that Jaywalke is referring to.

#166016 - 02/02/09 04:25 AM Re: How many miles an hour hiking? [Re: jaywalke]
Dan_McI Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 844
Loc: NYC
I think YMMV is not only hte key statement, it's true for all of us.

Good prior observation in this thread is that the speed of a group will be the speed of the slowest member. Since it is only DW and myself, and we both climbed up Mount Washington in September (4 miles, 4000 feet up and carrying a pack), I have no question we could make that kind of a distance over flat ground. Our packs would likely be heavier, but the terrain would not be as difficult or with as much vertical. The first day, I think 10 miles is doable for us. If some of my family members were involved, well, Mom is pretty much not walking out of anywhere.

The second day is a different story, for the walkers. If you have a group, many will be sore and tired from activity they are not used to. Someone is likely to have blisters, someone may be nursing an injury such as a twisted ankle. If you get everyone going, day 2 should probably be dialed back from Day 1. If no one is hurt, someone is more likely to get hurt walking on those tired legs.

Thereafter, speed should pick up, all else being equal. But from what I've experienced and seen, making 15 miles a day is strenuous throughout most of the northeast. If you are not in good shape at the start, it's going to take a while to get up to making that kind of speed.

In the end, I don't think there are many who are going to get up to walking more than 10 miles a day, unless they stick to it for weeks.

#166020 - 02/02/09 07:37 AM Re: How many miles an hour hiking? [Re: Dan_McI]
Ian Offline

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 198
Loc: Scotland
Have you never come across Naismith's rule?

Naismith's Rule, Wikipedia

#166023 - 02/02/09 08:58 AM Re: How many miles an hour hiking? [Re: scafool]
bilojax Offline

Registered: 01/18/09
Posts: 36
Second on researching your area if you contemplate bugging out on foot. For example, in modern urban living we tend to ignore waterways but in a disaster the bridges might be down or they might be dangerous congestion points.

Also, consider what other people are likely to be doing. If you contemplate bugging out on day 3-7 after a disaster, keep in mind that members of this forum will likely be much better equipped with material goods than the average man on the street, but you may not be much better armed. In that case, youíll want to proceed very cautiously and keep self-defense in mind.

If you plan on having packs prepared to carry gear, and especially if you live in an urban area and/or will be traveling with family members not used to hiking, does it make sense to invest a little money in a wheeled assist? Something like a suitcase carrier, only with bigger and higher quality wheels, could ease the strain of carrying a pack. Even in rural areas, odds are you will try to make use of roads to speed your progress. However, donít let the wheels tempt you into carrying too much stuff.

#166025 - 02/02/09 10:35 AM Re: How many miles an hour hiking? [Re: bilojax]
Tom_L Offline

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
There is a good reason why experienced folks always measure distances in hours, not miles when traveling on foot. The mileage itself is just meaningless in difficult terrain.

3mph is doable on a day trek if you're very fit, travel light and the terrain is flat and clear (well marked trail or road). In heavily wooded but not too hilly terrain 2mph is a good daily average for a fit man. Add any major slopes however and the time required becomes much more difficult to calculate. Even Naismith's rule is not that accurate. I've seen a chart somewhere that seemed closer to my own experience, I think it was devised by some Swiss mountain climber but I can't remember the details off hand.

Anyway, weather and climate are two other major factors to consider. In general, I believe any healthy person should be capable of covering at least 15 miles in one day, carrying a moderately heavy load over reasonably flat ground. Anyone who can't accomplish that is seriously out of shape and should focus on improving his fitness first. Keep in mind that in a bug out situation motorized transport simply might not be available and if that happens, going on foot will be the only option.

#166036 - 02/02/09 12:57 PM Re: How many miles an hour hiking? [Re: Russ]
Brangdon Offline

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1201
Loc: Nottingham, UK
Originally Posted By: Russ
Bug out on foot? Not going to happen. It's too far to any kind of better shelter than what I have right here and both directions necessarily cross the major earthquake faults so the damage would increase.
It does depend on the scenario, though. I have a sister who lives on a farm about 120 miles away. I keep enough petrol on hand to drive there, but if for some reason that wasn't practical it could be an interesting journey to make on foot.
Quality is addictive.

#166046 - 02/02/09 01:28 PM Re: How many miles an hour hiking? [Re: Brangdon]
benjammin Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
It can vary, but the range is from 2 to 4 mph. In the city, under little or no load, on average terrain figure 4 to be a good pushing average. In the hills hiking under moderate load, figure 3. Under heavy load, or rugged terrain, figure 2 mph.

If forced, I can walk about 5 mph on easy terrain under no/minimal load, but I smoke my shins doing it, and day two would not be so good. I can do twenty miles or so a day on easy terrain under no load, 10 miles a day with moderate load on moderate terrain, and 5-6 miles a day on rough terrain or under heavy load. It's a bell curve.

No matter what I've tried, heavy load over time hurts. Either it gets my hips, or my shoulders, and no amount of ergonomics or padding is going to make an 80 lb pack ride any easier on me without bruising one or the other. I suppose if I did it regularly those areas would toughen up, but day two and three are usually quite painful strapping on the pack first thing in the morning.

It's been a few years since I've been on a good hike. I will have to let you know how the hills treat me this spring.
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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