How Many Calories Do You Burn Backpacking?

how many calories do you burn backpacking

How many calories do you burn backpacking will depend on a few different factors, such as how much weight you’re carrying, how difficult the terrain is, and how fast you’re moving. A general estimate is that you’ll burn about 100 calories per mile, but this can vary quite a bit depending on your circumstances. If you’re looking to increase the number of calories you burn while backpacking, try carrying a heavier load or hiking up steeper terrain. Moving at a faster pace will also help raise your calorie burn rate.

How Many Calories Do You Burn Backpacking?

Consuming an adequate amount of calories while hiking is a never-ending struggle. This is especially true for thru-hikers, who spend their days on the trail. We calculate the number of calories you’ll burn each day so you can plan your next hike’s food accordingly.

Calculate Your Backpacking Energy Consumption

Calorie counting is not just for dieters (though it can help them do that chevalier). It is critical to fuel your body properly to maintain a healthy and energetic state throughout your journey.

Knowing your caloric expenditure enables you to optimize your food packing for performance and health, whether your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, or simply make it to the end of your hike without passing out.

The Most Important Factors That Affect Your Burn Rate

Body Weight

When calculating your caloric burn rate, it is critical to know your weight. The general rule is that the more weight you have, the more calories you burn per hour.

A 180-pound man hiking three miles with a 15-pound pack, for example, will burn 312 calories, whereas a 150-pound man will burn 264 calories.

Weight Of Backpack

Your weight is not the only factor to consider. On the other hand, the weight on your back must be considered. The more calories you consume, the heavier you will become. Carrying a light load (such as a day pack) increases your calorie burn by about 50 per hour. A lengthy backpacking trip can consume up to 100 calories of food per hour.

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A 180-pound male hikes three miles on a flat surface carrying a 15-pound pack, while a 30-pound pack burns 330 calories.

Men Require Significantly More Calories Than Women

Due to their higher muscle-to-fat ratio, men typically burn more calories than women. According to Livestrong, a moderately active man requires approximately 2,500 calories per day to maintain his weight, while a woman requires approximately 2,000 calories per day.

Steeper Trails Require A Riskier Energy And Fuel Supply

While hiking, the incline has a significant effect on the number of calories burned. Walking at a 10% incline burns significantly more calories per hour than walking on a flat surface. At a 20% incline or greater, your caloric burn rate will more than triple.

For example, a 180-pound man hiking three miles per hour on a flat trail while carrying a 15-pound pack will burn 300 calories. For the same person, hiking at a moderate 10% grade will burn approximately 700 calories.

Walk At Your Own Pace

Not only does your pace affect how quickly you reach your destination, but it also affects how many calories you burn. Walking at a faster pace burns many calories. For the average person, walking three miles per hour at a moderate pace burns 300 calories per hour. Increase your speed to four miles per hour to burn an additional 100 calories.

Difficulty Grounds Increase The Rate Of Burning

Many people are unaware that the type of terrain they hike in affects the number of calories they burn. Scrambling over downed trees and scaling rock slabs burns far fewer calories than walking on a flat gravel road. Walking in sand, mud, or snow will also help you burn more calories.

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While some believe that exercising in colder weather helps burn more calories, this is not entirely true. If you are shivering to stay warm in cold weather, you will burn more calories. Hiking and other heat-generating activities expend calories at a moderate rate. Only when you stop walking and begin shivering will you burn more calories as a result of the cold.

Why do you expend so many calories hiking?

Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and the active calories you burn while exercising are the two primary components of the calories you burn each day.

Metabolic Rate Of Basal

Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories required to keep your heart beating, your lungs breathing, and the rest of your body operating normally. Your BMR is influenced by a variety of factors, including your gender, weight, height, and age. You can calculate your BMR using online calculators, which will assist you in determining the bare minimum number of calories required to maintain your current level of activity.

When it comes to calculating how many calories you burn each day, your BMR is only half of the equation.

Calorie Requirements In Effect

Being physically active throughout the day burns calories. The more active calories you burn, the more intense or prolonged the activity is. Short bursts of intense climbing can be interspersed with long stretches of power walking on a typical hike. As a result, hikers burn the majority of their calories during the day as active calories.

Hiking burns calories at a slower and more consistent rate than the majority of other types of exercise. For example, running can burn nearly twice as many calories per minute as backpacking, but the average run only lasts 15 to 60 minutes.

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Every day, backpacking burns an incredible amount of calories!!

There is a significant difference between backpacking with a heavy pack and backpacking with a light pack. However, the majority of people do not consider the calories or energy consumed while carrying a heavier pack. The graph below compares the estimated calories burned throughout a five-month hike with a light pack to a heavy pack.

Calories Consumed During a 5-Month Hike

Calculating the calories burned while hiking will assist you in planning your next backpacking trip. While the majority of long-distance backpackers do not consume enough calories while out in the wilderness, they make up for it when they return to town to resupply.

Having said that, when planning your diet, take into account not only the number of calories you’ll need to replenish but also the quality of those calories!

Final Thoughts

How many calories you burn backpacking will depend on a variety of factors including your weight, the intensity of your hike, and the terrain. However, on average, you can expect to burn around 300 calories per hour while hiking at a moderate pace. If you are looking to boost your calorie burn, try hiking on more challenging terrain or increasing your speed. And remember, the quality of the calories you consume is just as important as the quantity!

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