How Many Miles a Day Should I Go Backpacking?

By Michael Ferguson

Backpacking trips are a great way to explore the outdoors, get some fresh air and exercise, and of course, have a lot of fun. But how many miles should you plan to cover each day? The answer depends on a variety of factors, including the terrain, the temperature, and your level of fitness.

For starters, consider your pace. If you’re a slower hiker, you may want to plan for fewer miles per day.

On the other hand, if you’re an experienced backpacker who can keep up a steady pace even over challenging terrain, you may want to plan for more miles per day. Generally speaking, most people should plan for between five and ten miles per day.

The type of terrain is also important. If you’re hiking in mountainous regions with steep climbs and descents – or even along the beach – it’s essential that you factor in more time for these sections. For example, if you hike five miles in flat terrain on relatively even ground in two hours, that same distance may take three or four hours in mountainous terrain with steep ascents and descents.

Temperature can also be an important factor. In hot climates or during summer months when temperatures are high, it’s essential that hikers stay well hydrated and rest often to prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke. In cold climates or during winter months when temperatures are low, it’s important to dress appropriately and keep your core temperature up by eating warm foods.

Finally, your level of fitness will also play a role in determining how many miles each day is reasonable for you to complete on your backpacking trip. If you’re new to backpacking or not used to strenuous physical activity such as hiking long distances each day over rough terrain or carrying heavy backpacks filled with supplies and equipment all day long – then it makes sense to set reasonable goals for yourself depending on your current level of physical fitness.


Overall, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to how many miles a person should go backpacking each day. It depends on numerous factors such as pace, terrain type, temperature conditions and level of fitness. Most people should plan for between five and ten miles per day but adjust their expectations accordingly depending on their individual situation.