Man and woman hiking across river, low angle view
1. Eat fuel, not meals. “Don’t waste hiking time cooking. Rely on nutritional science when you’re out there,” says Copeland. Meal replacement bars and no-cook meals are quick to pack, and save both hiking time and weight on your back.
2. Hike until dark. “In summer, daylight is so long you can get nearly two hiking days in one.” Say no to dinner parties on the days you plan to hike.
3. Find a good partner. Make sure their motivation, fitness and hiking goals match yours. “Sure, hiking is social, but it can be social with people who won’t slow you down,” says Copeland.
4. Use trekking poles. “Not one, but two—and certainly not old ski poles or a ridiculous Gandalf staff,” Copeland says. “They’ll help you hike faster, go father, in greater comfort, with a greater sense of security on rough terrain, and with far less chance of injury.”
5. Buy good gear. Especially shoes. Use the lightest shoes you can for the difficulty level of the hike.
6. Find the right pace. The more often you stop, the longer your hike will take—even if you hike fast between breaks. Instead, set out at a speed that you can maintain for three to five kilometres (or about one hour), then refuel and get back at it.