What Is The Average Hiking Speed (+ 4 Ways To Increase It)
Hiking is not a sport; it is about recreation, nature, and body and soul. There is no competition. It’s all about the hiker. As a result, in general, hiking speed is irrelevant.
Nevertheless, many readers ask what the average hiking speed is. This article will show you some interesting numbers about hiking speed, what factors influence it, how to measure your personal hiking speed, and tips on how to increase your pace.
What Is the Average Hiking Speed?
Because hiking is recreational in every sense, there is no such thing as an ideal hiking speed.
Not all hikers are the same. Differences between hikers range from age and gender to their level of physical fitness. No one can determine a good hiking pace for you except yourself. Hikers of all skill levels can cover daily distances of any length.
According to some sources, adult hikers average 2.5 miles per hour without stopping, with a 1.5 to 3.5 mph hiking speed range. The important takeaway from this discrepancy is that the average hiking speed is entirely subjective.
6 Factors That Influence Hiking Speed
There are no equal hikers. However, your hiking speed can be impacted by various factors that must be considered anytime you intend to hike:
- 1. Elevation/Incline: Hiking on level terrain is one thing; hiking on an elevated one can be daunting. Hills and mountains are examples of elevated surfaces. It is typical to slow down when traveling uphill owing to the additional effort needed.
- 2. Weight of Your Hiking Gear: This is a significant factor when it comes to hiking pace. Hiking with a hefty backpack will undoubtedly reduce your pace. In other words, if you want to increase your speed, you should keep your bag as light as possible.
- 3. Personal Fitness level: This, however, is quite essential. Cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and general health all play a part in hiking pace. If you’re new to trail running or elderly, it’s expected that maintaining your top speed for the duration of a long hike is improbable.
- 4. Weather: Different seasons significantly affect hiking. Heavy rain, high temps, strong winds, and snow are all factors that can slow down your hiking speed. This means that you will need to seek shelter when the need arises.
- 5. Terrain: The complexity of your terrain will also influence your pace. Leveled trails are the best for moving at your maximum speed. Trails that are rocky, muddy, snowy, or icy, on the other hand, will certainly slow you down.
- 6. Knowledge of the Hiking Trail: A trail with which you are unfamiliar will naturally force the hiker to be more cautious, slowing the hiker down and prolonging the amount of time it takes for the intended goal. The more familiar a path is, the faster you are likely to be.
How to Find Out Your Personal Hiking Speed
You may want to keep track of your hiking speed not just for competition’s sake but also to time your progress and be aware of your limitations. Hiking speed can be measured in a variety of ways.
Here are some of them:
- Use of Google Maps: Google Maps is available on most smartphones and is an excellent tool for viewing trails, highways, and buildings. This application allows you to create waypoints while on your trip. While you’re doing so, the app keeps track of the distance covered. This distance is the trail length. To determine your average hiking speed, you must first know your hike’s start and end times. You can find your average hiking speed if you know the distance you covered and the time it took. The formula for speed is speed = distance ÷ time. For example, if you hiked for a distance of 10 miles in 4 hours, your hiking speed was 2.5mph.
- Use of Google Fit: Google Fit is an app that automatically records your overall daily steps, burned calories, and the distance you have traveled (Further reading: Why Does Hiking Burn So Many Calories?).
- Use of a Pedometer: This is an electrical device that counts steps by detecting the motion of the person’s hands and hips. It measures the number of steps you take within a minute. These pedometers automatically calculate and display your hiking speeds in preferred units.
4 Tips on Increasing Hiking Speed
Whether you want to increase the intensity of your workout or simply want to be able to keep up with your fast-walking friends and family, here are four tips for increasing your average hiking speed:
- Reduce the Weight of Your Backpack: A heavily loaded backpack can slow you down. Most hikers tend to overload items they don’t always need, resulting in a heavy pack that slows them down. It would help if you reduced the weight of your backpack to hike faster.
- Good Pace: A steady pace will keep you consistent, which will yield a good result. Hiking too fast will only cause you to tire quickly, but you can try to go faster than your usual hiking speed.
- Consistent Breaks: Taking regular breaks while hiking uphill is another way to improve your performance. Taking frequent, short, consistent breaks, especially when hiking on a hot day, is an excellent way to keep you moving quickly uphill to the next break and drink some water. Before going on a hike, make sure you have enough water with you. If you’re running low on physical energy, snack breaks can help.
- Exercise: Hiking engages several muscles in your legs and core. When you increase your speed, especially uphill, you put more strain on your muscles. Increasing your speed over time will improve your leg muscle endurance. However, some exercises can help speed up the process, such as squats, lunges, step-ups, calf raises, treadmill walking, and climbing stairs. These exercises help you gain the strength you need to increase your uphill hiking speed.
Conclusion: What Is The Average Hiking Speed?
Hiking is a recreational activity that should be done at the personal speed. As a result, determining an average hiking speed can be difficult.
Hiking at a pace that allows you to take advantage of the numerous benefits of hiking is essential. Hiking speed doesn’t matter; focus on yourself!