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  1. #1
    Registered User eabyrd1506's Avatar
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    Default How many hours in your hiking day

    I was reading through the thread on Hygiene and noticed several references to stopping in the afternoon to wash or do laundry and at lease one reference to hanging-up Hiking clothes to dry prior to turning in. This all got me wondering how many hours do you hike a day and how do you split it up. Are you a early morning 10-hour person or a late starter? Do you do a split shift with one or more long(er) breaks in the middle? How close to dark do you push before making camp?

    Just getting started here so I'm eager to learn by hearing other's mistakes

  2. #2

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    Depends on the season, the weather and several other factors (if I'm solo or with others etc).

    For example, If it's especially hot, or I'm hiking in the desert, I'll get up well before sunrise and bust out some miles and then take a nice siesta during the hottest part of the day. When it cools off some, I'll cook dinner and then hike for a couple more hours to get to camp.

    Typically though, I like to get up at dawn, break camp hike for a couple of hours, take a snack/water break, hike for a couple more hours, lunch and repeat this process until close to dusk. About 45 minutes before sunset I'll start to look for a camp spot for the night.
    Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time -- Steven Wright

  3. #3

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    I only hike in summer and early fall. I am generally a split-day hiker. I am generally up and around by 6:30 but take some time packing up camp. I usually try to wait until the sun hits my tent before I crawl out so it's warmer. I'll hike for a couple of hours and take a break, hike a couple more hours and cook lunch (cooking lunch instead of dinner forces me to take a long break which I usually need), hike a few more hours into the afternoon, taking lots of breaks and try to camp no earlier than 4 and no later than 7pm. In between the longer breaks I'll usually stop for 5 minutes once an hour to eat a snack or water the dogs etc.

  4. #4
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Default

    We're all very different in this respect, so this is just my M.O.

    I get up fairly early, but after it starts getting light at least, have my coffee and a good breakfast, then pack up and hit the trail within 45 minutes to an hour of getting up, then I hike all day. I don't take breaks as I just plain don't feel I need any, but I hike a very modest pace. I just eat and drink while walking for the most part. the only stopping I do is at overlooks/peaks/features to enjoy. Every once in a while I will take a nice break at a high view point. I don't do the "lunch thing", never have (even in "real" life), because I'm a "grazer", I have to eat all day at a slow trickle. I believe this is the most efficient way to use your food energy, but of course, YMMV.

    I then hike until maybe an hour before dusk or so, making sure I get to a decent camp in time to set up and eat in some sort of light, then after dinner and a few quick chores ("chores" amount to about 15-20 minutes a day, tops), I read an hour or so before crashing. In the summer, this amounts to maybe 11 hours of hiking, in the spring/fall, 8-10, but basically I'm hiking non-stop from an hour after first light to an hour before full dark, something like that.

    So, even though I hike slowly, I tend to do fairly big miles on average. Again, this was just my own Modus Operandi (and my wife's as well) for hiking the Appalachian Trail.

  5. #5
    Registered User KDogg's Avatar
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    Default

    I would get up around 0600 and start breakfast and then pack up. I was hiking by 0700. In general I took a couple long breaks, one in the morning and one after lunch, of 10-20 minutes and a lunch break of 40-60 minutes. I would make it to my destination for the night between 5pm and 7pm depending on distance and terrain. My distance would vary between 15 and 20 miles (we were doing closer to 10 in some portions of the Whites). Was usually in bed before dark.

  6. #6
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    12-28-2015
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    Default

    I usually get up as soon as it starts to get light and will be off for hiking when its really daylight, maybe 1/2 or 3/4hrs later.
    Even as I don't take anything for breakfast it takes a surprisingly long time to get everything ready in the mormning - maybe I'm just stiff&slow in the morning, or don't have enough practice.
    I hike in the cool morning for a few hours until I find a nice spot for a late breakfast, which I take my time for, spreading out bag and tent in the sun (if there is any).
    Will take at least another longer break in the early afternoon (more breaks in high summer).
    Usually I have a pretty good idea where I want to spend the next night and aim for this spot, but the body is telling me when its time to stop for the day anyway. I never will try to push for more after some bad experience.
    Usually my hikes are pretty strenuous (heavy pack and big elevations) and after 10hrs the latest I'm done.
    There is plenty time for camp chores, but sometimes lack of energy to really do them. Will creep into the bag very early.
    If there is some washing of clothes or repairing of stuff to be done I try to do this during one of the breaks along the day.

  7. #7

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    I typically plan a 13 hour hiking day which includes an hour lunch and a few 10-20 minute breaks through out the day. I normally stop around 7:30-7:45pm to camp with the goal of being in bed by 9pm.
    If I cleanup, it's done at bed time unless I was at a lake earlier. In which case I did so whenever I arrived at the lake. If I'm going to dry stuff out, I prefer to do so during my long lunch break.

  8. #8

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    I like to get on trail early (as soon as there is light to hike by) and finish around 4 PM during Spring or Fall so I have 1-2 hours to get set up and cleaned up before dark; in summer can finish later; in winter I'm generally not washing up, so 4 PM is still OK. Having said that, I typically have a destination in mind for the day and will keep walking till I get there. I can set up and get cleaned up after dark if I need to.
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  9. #9
    In the shadows AfterParty's Avatar
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    I like to stop and fish for breaks. But I don't like to go more then about 4 hrs in a stretch without a decent break. When I hit the at I would like to get at least 8 hrs a day. once the long summer days hit possibly more.
    Hiking the AT is “pointless.” What life is not “pointless”? Is it not pointless to work paycheck to paycheck just to conform?.....I want to make my life less ordinary. AWOL

  10. #10
    Registered User
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    Default

    I get up and hit the trail early. Breaks as needed. I usually stop surprisingly early (3 pm or so). I use the time in camp to explore the surroundings, hang my stuff to dry, air out the sleeping bag, gather and treat water, hunt for firewood, etc.

  11. #11
    Registered User evyck da fleet's Avatar
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    09-24-2011
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    Atlanta, GA
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    Default

    The birds usually wake me before dawn, which is about when I hit the trail. I like to have two hours before it gets dark at camp, one to setup eat and clean, and one to just chill. At lunch I'll usually look at maps and pick out a destination for the night. Leaving a few hours before dark to setup camp allows me the opportunity to continue hiking on the rare occasion my intended destination is inhabited by a party group or someone who seems off or out of place.

  12. #12
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    I get moving as early as possible, often in the dark. In the summer I can sometimes hike 10 miles by 10 a.m., in the shoulder seasons it's more like 10 by 12. Then another 8 to 15 miles in the afternoon, sometimes more. I've done many "marathon" days and a couple of plus-thirties including a 35 miler. No matter what, my average pace works out to be just over 2 miles per hour (this includes breaks), so it's not a matter of hiking faster, just longer. The thru hikers I've been around talk about getting in their day's "work" -- 20 miles or so-- by mid-afternoon. Then the rest is bonus. Early start is key.

  13. #13

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    When I hiked the AT, I took it easy, only averaging 12 mpd (a 5 1/2 month hike). I got up early, took short breaks every hour, a long one at noon, and then finished mid-afternoon. Since I usually stated at or near shelters, their location determined how early in the day I finished. I was usually the first to arrive at the shelter so I had time to clean up and write in my journal before being joined by others. In the early months I hiked 12-15 mpd, increasing to 18-20 in the middle states, then dropped down in mileage in New England. (The lower overall mileage is from short days into town.)

    On the western trails, my mileage was higher (16 mpd on the CDT, 19 on the PCT). There were no shelters, so we hiked until about an hour before dark. Weather determined how early we got up. In hot weather we got up early and took a long midday break. In cold weather we slept later. Our breaks were every 2 hours or so.

  14. #14
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    Default

    Guess I'm just a habitual night hiker! I usually get up with the sun but rarely make camp during the day light....I'm usually on a tighter schedule so my mpd is normally over 20 and I'm not a fast hiker..I like the challenge of longer days and get bored sitting at camp as I'm usually solo....I avg only 2.5mph...slow and steady but take small 15 min breaks throughout the day. Another reason one of my favorite pieces of gear is the Zebra light H52 headlamp with 300 lumen capability. Every other piece of gear has been changed out over the years with exception to the Zebra light....I did have to replace with current model as a friend borrowed but refused to return....


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  15. #15

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    8-10, some'll all but double those.

  16. #16
    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    Default

    I like to get up right around the time it starts getting light out (I'm usually one of the first on the trail each morning). About 1/2 hour after packing up and getting ready, I head out. Eat breakfast at a good spot like an overlook or just some quiet place with a good spot to sit at. Then go about my day and eat on the run. Get into camp around dusk and by the time I eat and have everything set up for the night, it's almost dark or close to it. Shortly after that, I'm out and start it all over again.
    - Trail name: Thumper

  17. #17
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    Default

    Early on when keeping the mileage lower I had all sorts of extra time on the trail, but once I hit Virginia it seemed like all I did was hike all day, make camp in the late afternoon and hopefully be able to set up the tent eat dinner and hang my bear bag before it was time to go to sleep. I know I missed a lot of cool side trails and other sights but it just seemed like I was always up against the clock and more importantly the calendar with the fear of not making Katahdin by October 15th.

    You will find out as you go just exactly how much leisure time you have at lunch or camp, as I'm sure you can see there are a thousand different answers to your question, but one thing is for certain, we will all be jealous of you when you are out on trail figuring it out.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    We're all very different in this respect, so this is just my M.O.

    I get up fairly early, but after it starts getting light at least, have my coffee and a good breakfast, then pack up and hit the trail within 45 minutes to an hour of getting up, then I hike all day. I don't take breaks as I just plain don't feel I need any, but I hike a very modest pace. I just eat and drink while walking for the most part. the only stopping I do is at overlooks/peaks/features to enjoy. Every once in a while I will take a nice break at a high view point. I don't do the "lunch thing", never have (even in "real" life), because I'm a "grazer", I have to eat all day at a slow trickle. I believe this is the most efficient way to use your food energy, but of course, YMMV.

    I then hike until maybe an hour before dusk or so, making sure I get to a decent camp in time to set up and eat in some sort of light, then after dinner and a few quick chores ("chores" amount to about 15-20 minutes a day, tops), I read an hour or so before crashing. In the summer, this amounts to maybe 11 hours of hiking, in the spring/fall, 8-10, but basically I'm hiking non-stop from an hour after first light to an hour before full dark, something like that.

    So, even though I hike slowly, I tend to do fairly big miles on average. Again, this was just my own Modus Operandi (and my wife's as well) for hiking the Appalachian Trail.
    My hiking hours and habits are almost identical to these, with the exception that I knock off a little earlier than Rob. Hiking from about 7 am to 5 pm, give or take, is something I have enough daylight to do any of the months I like to hike (May through October). I don't like to hike in the dark.
    Life Member: ATC, ALDHA, Superior Hiking Trail Association

  19. #19
    Clueless Weekender Another Kevin's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm only rarely out for longer than a long weekend.

    I find that the first couple of days of any trip, I have to plan short mileage, because it's a given that I'll be extremely short of sleep, trying to settle things with work and home and get packed and ready to go. I don't have a lifestyle where I can just jump over the back fence like Muir. So I plan to oversleep the first couple of nights out.

    With few trips longer than a long weekend, I don't know if I actually settle into a routine, but by the fourth day, I find that I'm ready for more. On a 140-ish mile hike a couple of years ago, I found that on the fourth day I was rolling maybe half an hour after sunrise, put in my planned mileage by mid-afternoon, wasn't ready to stop and put in another couple of hours. It gave me a few hours more to lallygag on my next town stop.

    That said, I'm a compulsive map-maker, photographer, note-taker... so I have to plan on a certain amount of unaccountable time that evaporates on these activities.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  20. #20

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    hiking solo I go about 8-10 hours hike time at about 2 mph
    Hit the trail around 730, take a good lunch break, and enjoy all viewpoints and other natural features

    I get in around 6 to camp, often later when the days are long

    More than 10 hours hike time makes me stop enjoying it

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