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How Many Calories Do You Burn When You Hike?

How many calories you burn hiking depends on how much you weigh. When you go hiking, your body is likely to burn more calories if you are heavier. For instance, a person who weighs 160 pounds will burn between 430 and 440 calories per hour of hiking, while a person who weighs 200 pounds will burn closer to 550 calories per hour of hiking. What we can say for sure is that hiking is a good activity for weight loss.

Besides body weight, the rate at which a person burns calories is also affected by the following:

Fitness Level

The human body adapts to higher levels of physical activity, so the more fit you are, the harder it is to burn calories just by hiking more miles. Keep this in mind if you only want to add more miles to your hike to burn more calories. THE HEAVIER THE PERSON, THE GREATER THE BURN.

Your weight is a big part of how many calories you burn per hour. Generally, you will burn more calories per hour if you weigh more.

For example, a man who weighs 180 pounds and hikes three miles with a 15-pound pack burns 312 calories, while a man who weighs 150 pounds burns about 264 calories.

how many calories do you burn hiking


If you hike faster for at least 45 minutes, you can burn more calories during and after the hike. The steady, fast pace helps to speed up your metabolism, which means that your body keeps burning calories for an average of 14 hours after you finish hiking.

Pack Weight

How many calories you burn while hiking depends on your pack’s weight. A light daypack increases the calories you burn every hour by about 50 to 100 calories. About 200 calories per hour can be burned if you carry a heavier load like you might on a backpacking trip.


Not just your weight is essential. But you also have to think about the importance of your back. The more calories you burn, the more weight you’re carrying. On the trail, like a day pack, you burn about 50 more calories per hour with a light load. Getting ready for a long backpacking trip adds about 100 or more per hour to the number of calories you burn.

For example, a 180-pound man will burn 312 calories hiking three miles on a flat surface with a 15-pound pack, but he will burn 330 calories with a 30-pound bag. Read more here about the best backpack for over-weight and big guys.

The Land

More calories burned, the more complex the terrain. Trails with rocky, uneven ground and long, steep climbs make your muscles work harder and burn more calories.



Men tend to burn calories faster than women because they have more muscle than fat. Livestrong says a moderately active man needs about 2,500 calories daily to stay the same weight. In comparison, a moderately active woman needs about 2,000 calories per day.

(Note that we are not food experts. All the data came from Self, Dietbites, Healthstatus, Nutristrategy, and Outside Online, where estimates were made.



How many calories you burn while hiking has much to do with the trail’s steepness. Walking up a 10% grade burns more than twice as many calories per hour as walking flat. If you hit an incline of 20 percent or more, you will burn over three times as many calories.

For example, a 180-pound man who hikes three miles an hour on a flat trail while carrying a 15-pound pack will burn 300 calories. At a moderate 10 percent grade, the same person will burn close to 700 calories.


If you hike faster, you burn more calories.

Pace affects how quickly you get to your destination and how many calories you burn on the way. The more calories you burn when you walk, the faster you walk. When walking at a moderate pace of three miles per hour, the average person burns 300 calories. If you speed up to four miles per hour, you will burn 100 more calories.



Few people know how many calories you burn while hiking, depending on the terrain. Walking on a flat gravel road will burn fewer calories than climbing downed trees and rock slabs. Walking in sand, mud, or snow will also burn more calories.

Temperature doesn’t matter unless it makes you shiver.

People may tell you that working out in colder weather makes you burn more calories, but that isn’t always true. You will burn more calories in cold weather, but only if you shiver to keep warm. When you hike and make heat, you will burn calories at an average rate. Cold weather will make you burn more calories once you stop walking and start to shiver. (Source)

Why knowing how many calories you burn on a hike is important

If you have a rough idea of how many calories you’ll burn on a hike, you can figure out how much food you’ll need to bring to keep you fueled and energized. It’s also helpful for people who want to make a detailed workout plan and keep track of the calories they eat and burn.

Look for a backpacking calorie estimator on the internet that considers your body weight, pack weight, hiking speed, and the slope of the terrain you’ll be hiking on.

Estimating The Number Of Calories, You Burn Hiking And Backpacking

Hiking is a great way to get in shape because you burn a lot of calories, it’s a lot of fun, and who couldn’t use another reason to spend time in nature? Unsurprisingly, hiking is a great way to live a healthier, more active life since you’ll work your heart and muscles.

How Many Calories Does Hiking Burn?

On average, an adult hiking on moderate terrain will burn between 300 and 400 calories per hour. For instance, a person who weighs 150 pounds can burn about 360 calories per hour by hiking on moderate terrain.

For more challenging terrain, like hiking uphill, the average person burns between 400 and 550 calories per hour.

Everyone burns calories at a different rate, and your total will depend on things like your body weight, your pack weight, the distance you walk, how hard you work, your metabolism, and more. Read on if you want a better idea of how many calories you burn.

Calculating How Many Calories You’ll Burn During Your Next Hike

If you have a smartwatch or another device that tracks your fitness, you already have a tool to help you figure out how many calories you’ve burned. You could also get a piece of paper and a pencil to do the math.

First, determine how many calories you burn per hour based on your weight. 

Figure out a number for easy terrain (flat or downhill) and rugged terrain (uphill). Then, multiply each of these numbers by the distance in miles that you hiked on each type of terrain. For every kind of terrain, divide these two numbers by your speed. The total number of calories burned can be found by adding the two numbers together.

How many calories do you burn when you hike?


Here are some starting averages:

350 calories per hour (moderate terrain)

500 calories per hour (rugged terrain)

Speed: 2.5 miles per hour (intermediate terrain)

Speed: 1.5 miles per hour (on rough terrain)

You can also find a calculator online. Here are two options:

Remember that these aren’t scientifically sound results, and the numbers you get will probably vary depending on the tool you use. No matter what, calculators like these are a great way to get a general idea of how many calories you’ll burn on a hike.

The Effect Of Body Weight On Caloric Burn

The number of calories burned during physical activities, like hiking, depends significantly on how much you weigh. During the same exercise, a person with a higher body weight will burn more calories than someone with a lower body weight.

Estimates show that an adult who weighs 160 pounds burns between 430 and 440 calories in an hour of hiking. Compare that to the 550 calories burned per hour by someone who weighs 200 pounds, and you can see that the more you consider, the more calories you’ll burn over time.

More Calories For A Heavier Pack

More calories will be burned the more you carry. If you want a great workout that burns many calories, add a gallon of water or something heavy to your pack. Just be careful not to hurt yourself, and make sure you’re using a backpack that’s made to carry a heavier load.

You can get more exercise from a hike in other ways as well. Try sprinting or lunging up hills, using strong tree branches for pull-ups, jumping over logs, or turning your walk into a trail run.

Burning Calories Is Great, But Don’t Forget About Hiking’s Other Perks

But remember that hiking isn’t just a way to work off the pizza you ate last night.

The best thing about hiking is out in nature, which is good for your mind and body in many ways besides burning calories. When you go hiking next, try to enjoy the chance to move around outside and feel your worries disappear as your legs and lungs carry you down the trail.

With this information, you should get a general idea of how many calories you’ll burn on your next hike, which will help you pack the right food. Check out our healthy, light meals.


Why does hiking make you burn so many calories?

There are two main parts to the calories you burn every day: your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and the calories you burn when you work out.


Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories you need for your heart to beat, your lungs to breathe, and the rest of your body to work. Your gender, weight, height, and age can affect your BMR. 

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


The more you move around during the day, the more calories you burn. More calories will be burned during an activity if it is more intense or lasts longer. During a typical hike, you might have short spurts of hard climbing and long stretches of fast walking. Because of this, these active calories make up most of the calories that hikers burn daily.

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