I get a chuckle from the hundreds of weight-loss programs that exist. Losing weight is really a simple thing - make your body use more calories than you eat. That's it. There's no secret magical program that will make weight disappear. It takes a change in lifestyle for many people, eating a little less and moving your body a little more. Hiking is a perfect activity to move your body. Hiking a moderate amount over many months is a great way to gradually lose and keep weight off. But, using a strenuous long-distance hike to lose weight is dangerous.

Many people don't realize that food needs can double on a hike, depending on distance, temperature, and elevation. The fat in your body supplies lots of energy as it is slowly burned, but needs to be supplemented by food. If you run out of food, your body consumes muscle for fuel and that results in fatigue and degrading performance. Plan your food supply so you have a cushion of extra food in case of emergency.

Calorie Calculator


Hiking is work and work burns calories. But, just how much extra fuel is needed depends on how much you weigh, how far you hike, and how much elevation you gain.
The speed at which you move also makes a difference in how many calories are consumed. There is a jump when you change from walking to running because you are exerting many more muscles, but this calculator assumes walking. Whether you walk at 2mph or 4mph, there is only a small change in calorie consumption.
Calculate your calorie needs. For 'elevation', add up the total uphill parts of your hike and ignore the downhills.

Click Here to use Calculator on your Site!

Hike On: Dayhike Food


Comments:
 Mar 25, 2012 - Doug Swam
Niiiiiice tool. I've bookmarked it. Thanks and goog luck on your hike!
Mar 27, 2012 - Barry
Units of measurement for Weight and elevation gain might be a good idea with the calculator
Mar 17, 2013 - parry
hi
Awesome information. I am off to Nepal to climb Mt Everest this april. I weigh 80 kilograms. My height is 176 cms and are 46 years old. How many calories do you think I will burn in my climb from the base camp to the summit and back over a perod of 8 days. What should be my daily diet intake including water and how much do you think i will burn daily.
Thank you, your tips would be invaluable to me.
Mar 18, 2013 - Hiking Dude
Parry - Climbing Everest is a completely different beast than hiking.  I'm sure the guide service you are using knows exactly how much food and water is needed per person and all of that is part of the trek plan.
Jul 19, 2013 - Adrian Hurtado
Your web is awesome!

Is the weight int Kilogram or Pounds?
Jul 19, 2013 - Hiking Dude
@Adrian - pounds
Jun 21, 2014 - Mags
13 hours hiking in a difficult terrain, 17 miles in total, 6500 ft uphill and only 1800 kcal? my sore body says I must have bured more :(

maybe type of terrain should be taken into account?
Jun 22, 2014 - Hiking Dude
@Mags - If you are scrambling over and around rocks, and down trees, and gullies, and ...  then you are moving your body a lot more than a 'hike'.
Even if you step onto and then off of each rock, you are moving up and down a small amount with every step - you wind up climbing more elevation.

But, to move 150 pounds 17 miles only takes about 3 Big Macs worth of calories. :-)  You burn additional calories throughout the other 10 hours of that hiking day, too.
Aug 18, 2014 - Carrie
This is handy - thank you!  I would agree that it feels to me like I've burned more than what the calculator says on certain high-elevation hikes, but I think this is a really handy tool to at least calculate the calories you need to pack with you. I see far too many people doing long hikes at elevation with not enough food and not enough water. Making sure you have calories on you to replace what you've calculated is a really good starting point. Thanks again!
Aug 19, 2014 - Joel Goldberg
I like the tool. Is it possible to adjust for altitude? For instance, how many more calories do you burn at, say, 8000' vs. sea level?
Aug 20, 2014 - Nick Beef
Does this include the 2,000 calories that my body needs every day or is the calories that are calculated reflect additional calories just for the hike?  Thank you
Aug 21, 2014 - Hiking Dude
@Nick - This calculator is just for the hike.  See Food Resupply page for a more thorough calorie needs calculator for multi-day hikes.

@Joel - There's no significant increase in calories required for the same amount of work at higher altitudes.


Oct 13, 2014 - Mike Faulkner
A terrifically helpful calculator, thank you!
In your reply to @Mags there is a little nugget of a comment that many (including myself initially) might not have considered and that is their caloric consumption for the balance of the 24 hours per day not spent hiking.  If I am correct in this assumption, according to www.caloriesperhour.com/index_burn.php, my calorie burn for the 17.5 hours left after hiking 16 miles at 2.5 mph amounts to an additional 1500 cal, bringing my total daily requirement to 3870 cal.  (I assume an all-up weight of 215 lb, 16 miles and 5000 ft of elevation gain.)

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