5 ways to increase your hiking speeds!



Hiking is a learned skill. Sure it is simply walking but we can always improve our techniques to allow for faster hiking speeds. Here is a list to help you begin increasing your hiking speeds.

1. Invest in your footwear.

Finding the right shoes and socks are key in helping you increase your speeds. When I say investing this means both money and time. Maybe this means switching from thick socks to thinner socks. It could also mean that you switch from a heavy hiking boot to a light weight trail runner. Finding what works best for you can take time but it is well worth the investment. Having shoes that feel as if they were created just for you helps your speeds up by creating less strain on your foot, ankle, and knees. Also finding the right sock and shoe combination to help decrease foot perspiration and the creation of hotspots also helps. The happier your feet are the happier you are.

2. Finding your pace and getting into a rhythm.

Your pace will adjust based on the terrain you encounter, but getting into a rhythm or cadence is key. Your cadence is the length of your stride on every step, how you place your feet, how you swing your arms, and how you control tour breathing. Everyone will hit their stride and forget that they are hiking. This cadence allows you to keep a steady pace and keeps you in a comfortable mindset. The quicker you can find that rhythm and the longer you can stick with it the quicker your hiking will become. Each person is different and if you are hiking with a group you might not be hitting your cadence because you are trying to keep up with the group or fall into the troop mentality. A troop mentality is when everyone is hiking, walking, or marching at the same pace matching strides and body movements. It happens with a large group of people or even when its just another person. You begin to match their stride and pace and the next thing you know you are 100% in sync with their movements. This can be good if you both have the same natural cadence but if not it can wear you out quickly.

3. Eat Fuel not just food.

Making sure that you body is properly fueled up for the hike is key. No matter if you are going on a day hike or thru hiking a long trail. Making sure your body has the proper food and hydration will help you maintain your hiking speeds. If you do not eat enough calories your body will begin to consume the nutrients already in your system and can cause what is called “Bonking”. “Bonking” is a term used mostly by runners and cyclists to explain when the person has hit a point in which they have become sluggish and tired. When you begin to feel like your pace has slowed and it is harder to hike than it had been you need to immediately stop grab a snack and hydrate. I always enjoy some type of food bar or GORP.  Loading up on the calories at night and in the morning will keep you going but always plan to have several snacks during the day.

4. Take breaks.

Taking breaks will help break up the day but will also allow for a nice recharge. Drop the pack take off the boots and get comfortable. Have some food hydrate and relax. I am not saying that you need to sit there for several hours but let your body recover. Depending on the length of the hike for the day you might want to take more than one break. Having breaks like this not only helps your body but it also helps your mind relax.

5. Learn to use and properly use hiking/trekking poles.

Using hiking / trekking poles is an acquired taste. Those who use them love using them. They help with your cadence, they provide stability, and they transfer away stress from your hips knees, and ankles. Make sure they are properly adjusted and if they are at any way hindering your cadence you will most likely will just end up throwing them in your pack. Learning to use them takes time but once you can get comfortable using them you will find that it is easy to also find your cadence. They are not for everyone so do not get discouraged if you truly do not like them. Try using one pole instead of two. Switch hands to see where the one pole fits into your cadence. It takes adjustment so you will need to try it a couple of times before completely writing them off.

How have you sped up your hiking pace? Have you used any of these techniques with success?

Update on the “Art Vandal” Casey Nocket

10/23/2014 — 12:20 MST – Update: A huge congratulations and thank you goes out to to Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd of calipidder.com who brought the vandal’s art to the attention of social media as well Casey Schreiner of Modern Hiker  for being incredibly instrumental in hopefully bringing the vandal to justice in the near future.

The National Park Service Issued a press release earlier today in regard to the vandals actions. The National Park Services is waiting for each of the 10 parks to confirm that the parks and locations in the parks had been vandalized. You can read the full press release here!

Earlier in the day there have been reports that she has made her Instagram account private and then later deactivated both of her Instagram and Facebook Accounts.  There has even been a meme created in her honor.


Just remember folks “Don’t be a #caseynocket!

Is creating “art” at national parks vandalism or Art?

An Instagram user Creepytings aka Casey Nocket has posted several photos of her so called art at national parks and is starting to gather some hatred for her work. This morning I have seen several comments and threads started on Facebook as well as Reddit.   There has also been several people including myself asking what is being used to create the art. So far there have not been any responses by the artist.

The "Art" in question

The “Art” in question

I am a fan of art but to me this is not art. This is vandalism! If this art is permanent this person has ruined these areas in so many ways for so many people. This was all done her own pleasure, “fame”, and “art”, who knows.  The other confusing thing is why put your name on something that if permanent can get you into a lot of trouble. All it takes these days is a quick Google search to find out all kinds of information about people. I am not saying we should all show up to this persons house and fill up their front porch with poo, but there are much more radical people than I.  If the artists comes out and says that she is using something that is not permanent and is creating the art in chalk lets say takes a photo and then given a little time it fades and disappears. Does that still justify the actions?  Like many things this it will stir up a lot of attention, but will eventually fade and this person as will their “art” will become forgotten!

What do you think about what this person is doing? Do you think it is art or vandalism? I would love to hear your opinions!

#AdventureMonday 10/20/2014

Welcome back to another edition of #AdventureMonday! Another great week of awesome photos to showcase. Please make sure to tag your photos with #hikingthetrail to have a chance to be featured next week. Happy Adventuring


Cowboy Camping and why all adventurous people should do it at least once!

Cowboy Camping as defined by Urban Dictionary as “Sleeping outside in the backcountry without an overhead shelter (such as a tent or tarp), usually done in the context of backpacking.“



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