this is my first question.

I want to know how many miles can walk a person in different terrains. The terrains are:

  • Flat (Prairie)
  • Snowy
  • Desertic
  • Boggy

If a person have a backpack with some weight... How this weight affects his speed? How much it decrease?

  • 4
    There are far too many variables to answer this as it stands. For example, you can't just say snowy, what kind of snow, how deep, how cold. How much accent, etc, etc.
    – user2766
    Aug 19, 2015 at 16:26
  • 4
    How many miles per hour can a person travel a day on foot? Aug 19, 2015 at 19:12
  • 2
    "it depends on a lot of factors." is the only possible answer here.
    – njzk2
    Aug 19, 2015 at 20:18
  • 30 minutes per mile is a good pace for me carrying 30 - 40 lbs of gear. Most here in the big FL are a bit faster. If the terrain gets thick then I slow down considerably because you have to respect the jungle,
    – bobbym
    Sep 6, 2016 at 16:34
  • I'm a fast walker (at least, everyone says so), and I can maintain a 4 mi/hr speed on flat ground or shallow hills (not carrying anything). Snow is slippery, so you have to reduce your stride length. Light rain doesn't really affect things, unless it's clay or bog. Desert is basically prairie, but you need to drink more if it's hot.
    – user18163
    Aug 22, 2019 at 13:13

4 Answers 4


I hike a lot in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and around here our 'book time' is based off of a book called the White Mountain Guide. It assumes that you will take half an hour for each horizontal mile and each 1,000 feet of elevation gain, so a 10 mile, 3,000 foot hike would take 6:30 by book time.

This number can be useful for planning purposes, but it should never be taken literally; I'm far from the fastest hiker around, but on a good day and a decent trail I could beat book time by 30%, and of course there are many who could go much quicker. On the other hand, someone not in great shape or taking things slow could easily take longer than the book predicts. So personal ability is a huge variable in that regard.

Terrain also matters considerably- on a fairly flat trail, 3 mph is a reasonable speed (50% faster than predicted!). On a particularly steep or rocky trail, you slow down considerably. There are instances where taking a longer trail with the same elevation gain will actually be faster because of the ease of navigating. Even with the fairly constrained context of trails in this one region, the variance is huge.

And then we get to weather. Rain can definitely impede progress, but snow is the big kicker- if you end up postholing through thigh-deep snow, your speed could be well below 1 mph. On the other hand, if you have good traction and you're on a solid-packed trail, you can go faster than in the warm season (especially going downhill).

Basically what I'm saying is that there are way too many variables to give you a reasonable estimate. If you set Scott Jurek (recent AT record-setter) down in Kansas on a nice day, he could probably do 60+ miles and feel good about it. Put some average person in that same area in a whiteout snowstorm and they'd probably struggle to make it from their front porch to the mailbox. There's just no way to make an estimate with massively narrowing the scope of your question.

  • 1
    Good answer... "There's just no way to make an estimate with massively narrowing the scope of your question", yet you did provide enough guidelines so that the OP knows what those variables are.
    – Roflo
    Aug 19, 2015 at 18:10
  • Group size has a big impact - especially in difficult terrain.
    – user5330
    Aug 20, 2015 at 3:39

It depends on training and the ability to survive the training. It also depends on the load you are carrying.

After disembarking from ships at San Carlos on East Falkland, on 21 May 1982, Royal Marines and members of the Parachute Regiment yomped (and tabbed) with their equipment across the islands, covering 56 miles (90 km) in three days carrying 80-pound (36 kg) loads.


Much more context is needed for a full reply.

  • Yomped I found ("Royal Marines slang describing a long-distance march carrying full kit." But "tabbed"? The definition I found was "To be slightly depressed and incredibly lethargic". Is this a test?
    – ab2
    Aug 20, 2015 at 0:24
  • 1
    @ab2 No, it's common slang for a loaded march, just like yomping. I think it's mostly used in Commonwealth forces, but I've come across it in other contexts as well.
    – Patrick N
    Aug 20, 2015 at 0:53
  • Not a great example - unlike most of use, where "nearly dead on arrival" is success, when the Parachute Regiment get where they are going, their job has only just started - they have to be fit to fight.
    – user5330
    Aug 20, 2015 at 3:38
  • In the British armed forces the Royal Marines use the term 'yomp' for a long march often cross country, with a very heavy weight. Tabbing (sometimes attributed the the acronym 'Tactical Advance to Battle) is associated with the Parachute Regiment and light Infantry in general and tends to imply a more intensive pace, often intermittent walking and jogging over a relatively shorter time. As with most Army terminology you will get different answers depending on who you ask. Apr 1, 2016 at 19:15

As a teen I took an Outward Bound winter mountaineering course in the Cascade mountains (lots of elevation change) in which I traveled 7-10 miles per day for 10 days, carrying a 70+ pound backpack (I weighed about 120# at the time) and wearing another 20 pounds in ski gear and clothing.


Giancarlo Ventura

The scientific answer is for you to do it and the then apply your observed progress to future events. However for planning purposes most people unloaded on flat terrain walk at about 20 minutes a mile. If you are moving for extended periods make it 25-30 as you will stop to eat and such. Keeping going without stopping is harder than people think and I often hear people say about how far/fast they can go. Its always seems too fast and they are often clearly speaking from zero experience (based on their body fat percentages).

Other factors are: climbing where 30 minutes a mile may be the best you can do, even descending steep slopes can be 20 min/mile because you have to pick your way down. Heat, humidity and fitness for the task are all factors (fitness being not just cardio and muscle conditioning, but also skin hardening on feet and areas that get chaffed). Developing a sense of pace will also allow you to maintain a constant out put hour upon hour, day to day. It does not take practicing mega miles to get there but some training is essential (body, mind, pace and nutrition) .

You asked about walking but I have personally covered 100 miles in a day in mountainous terrain using walking and running, carrying light loads (others have done it in under 15 hours, yikes). The more you practice you will develop a sense for what your pace will be. Also load carrying is a pace killer, so pack only what you really need.

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