A while ago I posted a news article about a truck driver that got stranded and took 4 days to go 14 miles to safety. That really raised a couple of questions in my mind. How far can someone really walk in a day and what makes it take someone 4 days to go 14 miles?
How far can you walk in a day? A healthy person can be expected to be able to walk between 20 and 30 miles in a day. A person who is more fit will be able to get closer to the 30 miles a day mark. Walkers who do marathons (26. miles) typically can finish in 7 hours without resting.
In a survival situation, you may have to resort to walking to safety. If you had to do it, how far could you go in one day to get to safety?
For most people, the answer is going to be somewhere between 20 and 30 miles a day. This is factoring in rest periods to eat and taking breaks when you need them.
If you happen to be walking through an area where you may have to avoid people or move quietly, then this number is going to drastically decrease. In these situations, I would say a good number is probably going to be closer to 10 miles a day.
The key to being able to go this far in a day is your current fitness level and overall health. Fit people routinely walk marathons in about 7 hours without stopping. This is going to be impossible for someone who just sits on the couch all day.
Health is also a major concern if you need to walk out of a survival situation. People with back injuries, arthritis, lower extremity injuries or even a sprained ankle are not going to be able to go nearly as far. Maybe only a mile or two over the course of an entire day!
Going all out for one day is one thing, but things can change quite a bit if you have to walk for more than one day. The day (or days) after your first day walking could end up being a lot less than 20 miles.
You’re probably going to find that your legs are going to be really sore the next day. This will lessen a lot once you get going again but it’ll be painful for a bit. This is especially going to be true if you’re not in good shape.
Getting hurt during your first day walking then you’re not going to be able to put up the same numbers the next day. This goes for blisters, sprains or other types of injuries that are common when you’re walking.
The main thing to look out for is blisters. If your life depends on you getting out of the area that you’re in, then a blister could be life-threatening.
Keep your feet as dry as you can, and change out your socks every few hours if you can. You should also threat hotspots and blisters as soon as you feel them.
Traveling with a child in a survival situation is going to add a lot of stress and slow you down.
The normal rule of thumb for a child going on a hike is .6 miles for every year of their age. This means a 10-year-old can be expected to be able to walk for 6 miles on a recreational hike.
Keep in mind, these are for recreational hikes. In a survival situation, you may need to push a child much farther than that.
Keep an eye on their feet and check them every time you take a break. They may not know that they’re getting blisters and can end up tearing up their feet pretty quickly if you don’t stay up on it.
Getting injured while you’re walking is going to slow you down a lot. Unfortunately, there’s really no good way to go about it than just pressing on.
Most of us have walked on a sprained ankle before. If it’s just a minor sprain, then you may be able to keep going without losing too much distance.
A bad sprain is going to really restrict how far you can travel. In these cases, you should try to improvise a pair of crutches if you’re able to.
Walking on crutches can be really exhausting if you’re not used to it. Many people would have difficulty even going for one mile if they were new to walking with crutches.
As you get better and get the technique down, you can walk much more efficiently but it’s still not going to be great. I wouldn’t expect any more than 5 or 6 miles a day, and that will be painful.
If you have to improvise crutches for an injury, this number is going to be reduced even more. If you were able to build a pair of crutches that are about as good as manufactured crutches, you should be able to go about the same distance.
If the crutches that you make just barely cut it, then you’re probably in for some very long, very painful days.
How far can you walk before you need to stop and rest? Trained walkers can finish a marathon-length walk (26.2 miles) in 7 hours without taking a break. Unfit people will have to stop to rest every couple of miles.
How far can you walk in an hour? The average walking speed of a person is 3.1 miles per hour. If you’re walking as fast as you can you can reach speeds of about 5 miles per hours but this would be difficult to maintain for an hour straight.