Hiking pace testing

Hiking pace testing

There is a lot of questions and answers about this matter in Internet: What is an average hiking pace, how fast should I hike, how far should I get in this and that time. As in everything that has to do with hiking, there are a lot variables to keep in mind: is there a lot of altitude changes, how much are you carrying stuff, what kind of weather it is, and during the winter most importantly: WHAT KIND OF WEATHER IT IS?

My hiking pace philosophy

Although army is long time behind, I can still put on some mileage with heavy gear (or so I believe), but when nights nor the days are warm I find myself trying to minimize all possible sweat (and moisture) there is. Did I mention the weather yet? So here is this thing weather, which dictates all your gear and speed. I’m aiming to move on a speed where I don’t break a sweat but still can cover some distance in relatively fast. It may sound unrealistic but that’s the goal, finding the sweet spot between generated heat versus speed. I’m also a walker. I need to walk and see the scenery change to stay happy: camp spot is the scene and still moment, hike trail is the feeling when you’re walking away and taking distance (gaining perspective) to things.

My, rucksack Savotta Jääkäri XL. Greatly expendable with MOLLE-system.

Even if you invest more than average money on winter gear you’re going to be carrying around a lot heavier rucksack than during summer. Basically you need more of everything. More clothes, more food, more insulation to your sleeping system, and more gear like snow shovels and snow shoes. All adds up to load you are carrying (possible) in deep snow while wearing snow shoes or skis.

Estimating my winter hiking pace

Assuming many of the blogs are right about how much slower hiking pace in winter will be, I’m facing at least 25-50% decrease in speed. As I’ve never clocked my walking or hiking speed I started be clocking part of my hike last weekend.

Picture from clocked hike

Route I took was very variable. There was climbs, dense forest, hard down hills (vertical drops) and rest of the walk was light up hill. In an hour I had done three kilo meters. In that time I had stopped only briefly to check the map. All gear adjustments done before, I think this is reliable result.

I’m going to calculate my final route (before final testing in deep snow environment) so that I would be 50% slower. I hope that’s a safe margin, as I also found this post giving a lengthy list of risks solo hiking. Although I think the greatest risk still is moisture and lack of warmth due to it, I’m still going to double check I have all risks minimised. Oh and the wolves… I still need to figure out what to do about the wolves.

Find out my questions about wolves and other winter hiking mysteries here!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *