How To Efficiently Break Down a Long Day Hike

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Given there are a couple of days in New Zealand where we will be hiking 25-30kms, I thought it might be useful to detail how we are going to tackle these seemingly long days.

And do it with ease.

Similar to my theory on how to tackle those damn hills, it’s all a mental game when it comes to hiking 25-30kms.

Don’t get me wrong, when the thought of hiking 30kms entered my brain a few years ago, I, too, thought: “this is going to be painful”.

But, it really doesn’t have to be.

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The key lies in how often you rest both in the sense of how many times during the day, and how long you rest for.

For instance, in our case, we’re going to try and average around 4kms per hour/15 minute kilometres.

Most days we will be breaking camp at 8am and aiming to be done by 5pm, but this may blow out to 6pm due to a number of reasons.

These include: some days where we might be slower than others, hills and the weather just to name a few.

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Below is a sample itinerary of a what a 30km day will typically look like for us.

8-10am – 8kms

10-10:15am – break for 15 minutes (have a snack and drink more fluids)

10:15-12:15pm – 8kms

12:15-12:45pm – break for lunch (could go longer if you wanted to)

12:45-2:45pm – 8kms

2:45-3pm – break for 15 minutes (snacks and drinking more fluids)

3pm-5pm – 6-8kms

And you’re done!

As I previously mentioned, if your break it down in sections, you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish in a day.

Not only did we apply during our last trip in New Zealand, but we also started doing this in the lead up hikes to it.

I’ve also applied this method to all the 20-30km day hikes I’ve done with our MeetUp group.

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Please keep in mind that this is merely an example, and shouldn’t be followed as gospel.

We all have different capabilities and fitness levels, and you’d be able to adjust the above to suit your fitness levels.

So, to summarise, the key points for efficiently completing a long day hike are:

  • Take your time
  • Break regularly
  • Take your pack off, sit down, have something to eat and drink during your breaks
  • Relax and stretch any sore muscles
  • Set yourself little goals along the way
  • Allow an extra hour or so to factor in slow days

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