Like marathon training, you’ll also want to work up to the number of miles you plan to clock each day of your trip before you embark. “An average of 15 miles a day is a good starting point,” says Lisa Pulsifer, an experienced hiker and ALDHA-West executive board member. “A more experienced hiker or a hiker who’s been on trail for months will be able to average 20 to 30 miles per day.” Chalk out a training plan that can progressively get you to these levels.
Pack lightweight, calorie-dense foods like those from Laird Superfoods.
Gear and nutrition
Day hikes are about grabbing some essentials, a bit of water, and maybe a protein bar or a packed lunch. Multi-day hikes require being responsible for your own survival, while also carrying everything you need on your back. REI offers free Virtual Outfitting appointments where you can schedule a one-on-one online or phone discussion with a hiking expert and discuss the details of your trip for product recommendations.
Make sure to pay attention to size and fit when selecting gear, Elbert says. “Think small as well as light,” he says. “And make sure the pack fits you—like hiking boots, [backpacks] take some breaking in.”
In terms of meal planning, be aware that you’ll need to consume more calories than usual when walking all day long—as most do on thru-hikes. In addition to planning three meals a day, load up on healthy, nutritious snacks. While 3,000 to 4,000 calories is what many thru-hikers require daily, that can be a lot of weight to hold. Look for lightweight, calorie-dense foods, such as those from Mountain House, Good To-Go, Patagonia Provisions, and Laird Superfoods.
Modern Adventure offers guided trips in Alaskan backcountry.