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M How Far, How Fast, How Heavy?
Calculating the range for unsupported, long-distance hiking

by Roman Dial

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Article Summary:

The problem is stated simply; how far can you go, on foot, and self-contained? No food drops, no foraging, no wheels, no motors. Everything you need, including food, you carry on your back. How far can you go and how long will it take? We can call this your maximum range.

No doubt you will say, "My maximum range depends on a whole host of factors." And I will agree, that, yes, it depends, but it will depend on less than you think. And by that I mean the predictions will meet with observations surprisingly well and without all the messy details that most of us would insist should be included.

In some ways this question of "How far, how fast?" is a variation on adventure racing. However, as far as I know, nobody has organized a competition to see what the extreme maximum range might be: 50 people toed up at the start line, the only rule that everything needed is in the pack and the race is over after all racers have run out of food and marked their distance would help answer it. I offer some predictions.

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Calculating the range for unsupported, long-distance hiking"