How Many Miles Can the Average Person Backpacking in a Day?

By Michael Ferguson

Backpacking is an increasingly popular way to explore and enjoy the great outdoors. But how many miles can the average person realistically expect to cover in a day?

The answer depends on a variety of factors. The terrain, climate, and altitude all play an important role in determining how far someone can hike in a given day.

More rugged terrain with steep inclines will slow down your pace, while gentler terrain with fewer changes in elevation will allow you to cover more ground. Hot and humid climates will tire out hikers faster than cooler climates, while hiking at high altitudes can result in altitude sickness and other issues that reduce overall endurance.

Individuals also play a major role in determining how many miles they can backpack during a day. Someone who is relatively fit and well-prepared may be able to cover 10 miles or more in a single day, while someone who is less fit may struggle to reach 5 miles or less. Fitness level and overall preparation are the two biggest factors when it comes to backpacking distances.


The type of equipment you have plays an important role as well. If you have lightweight gear that is easy to carry on your back, you will be able to move faster and farther than if you had heavier gear that is more difficult to manage.

It is also important that your gear fits properly so that it does not put too much strain on your body.


The average person’s ability to backpack long distances depends on many factors such as terrain, climate, altitude, fitness level, preparation and equipment used. Generally speaking, someone who is fit and prepared can expect to cover around 10 miles per day while those who are less fit may struggle to reach 5 miles or less.