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Fast Hiking

ACTIVITIES - 6 min. read

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Fast hiking is a niche within hiking that more and more people are discovering. But what actually is it, who is it for, where do you do it and what kind of equipment is recommended? In the spirit of fast hiking, here’s a crash course on this new hiking trend.

What is Fast Hiking?

A straightforward question with many different answers, but we'll keep it simple. The name says it all, really. Fast hiking. Here, we’re talking about hiking that maintains a consistent fast pace. In terms of speed, you should stay at a pace somewhere between walking and running. The goal is to maintain a high rate of progress and cover large distances in a short time.

And time is a clear indicator. The word “hiking” indicates that the trip has a significant length, in terms of both distance and time. If you're planning a fast hike, you will need to set aside at least half a day, but preferably a whole day.

In other words, fast hiking is an activity for those who thrive at a moderate to high heart rate and who can keep it up for long periods of time.

Where is Fast Hiking done?

Many fast hikers will probably claim that this is a mountain activity, because mountains offer varied terrain where you can hike over large distances and cover a large span in altitude meters, while experiencing amazing nature. But, you can of course also fast hike in the lowlands, as long as you find a hilly landscape and you can mainly stay on trails.

What kind of equipment is required?

The most obvious characteristics of fast hiking clothing and equipment are that they are lightweight and highly breathable. The point of the activity is to move quickly and efficiently through the terrain, so your equipment should weigh as little as possible. You should also only carry what is strictly necessary. So leave the hot chocolate flask at home.

Another characteristic is hiking with poles. These make it possible to use the whole body to propel you, both upwards and forwards. The correct use of poles also relieves the legs and helps you balance on more rugged terrain, and when walking down steep hills.

When it comes to footwear, being lightweight and breathable are also the most important characteristics. You should also look for good support and good grip in the soles. Fast hiking on trails will give your shoes a real beating on the outside, so you might want to choose shoes with a durable outer material.

Who is Fast Hiking for?

It is the perfect way to hike for those who want to experience as much nature as possible in the shortest possible time, and those who believe that physical exertion is part of enjoying nature. The stereotypical fast hiker is an endurance athlete who wears sports glasses, whose enjoyment of hiking comes from the number of peaks that they reach and the number of kilometers and vertical meters they cover.

That said, you don't have to be a highly trained athlete to give it a try. Start by increasing your pace on your usual hikes and see what you think. If you like it, you can simply gradually increase your speed. Before you know it, you'll be a fast hiker too!

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