Solo Hiking Advice from Record Speed Hiker Joe McConaughy

Allan I. Fleming

We all need some house. The motivation for all points vacant and wide-open is only amplified by coronavirus vacation restrictions and remain-at-property mandates. If you’re suffering from the aspect-effect that is cabin fever, trail inspiration can support. Joe “Stringbean” McConaughy has a great deal to share. He holds the pace-file (FKT) for each the Pacific Crest Path and Appalachian Path. McConaughy just launched an 8-7 days on the internet expedition-setting up course with backpacking legend Andrew Skurka. The objective is to support all hikers prolong distances by establishing a method and system to prepare for their to start with (or tenth) right away journey. Get pleasure from the free of charge movie documenting McConaughy’s journey solo via-mountaineering (and placing the forty five.five-day file) on the two,190-mile-very long Appalachian Path, as very well as a couple of of the new conventional-setter’s guidelines for how finest to hike distances on your own, what you need, and how to realize success.

Courtesy Columbia


Men’s Journal: What do you like about solo mountaineering (versus with teams)?
JOE McCONAUGHY: I uncover a whole lot of men and women are uncomfortable with the concept of paying out a whole lot of time by by themselves without having every day interruptions. People today complain about being terrified, not realizing what you are carrying out and acquiring bored. While these can be legitimate considerations, backpacking and mountaineering isn’t rocket science. And with a tiny setting up, you will have an remarkable time. The real truth is, solo mountaineering is the finest style to hike when you want to do the journey you want to do. You can hike the place you want, when you want, how you want! Astounding!

Do you bring any additional gear when you hike/camp by by yourself?
You do need to make guaranteed you are self-reliant when camping by by yourself. That usually means you have made your possess journey itinerary, you have an exit system in scenario you are wounded and you carry all your gear and meals with you. I often do a double examine of my gear to make guaranteed I’ll be heat sufficient and have primary to start with aid kit materials if I am going to be out for far more than a day.

Do you ever get worried about security when you are mountaineering on your own? From other men and women or challenges like temperature, falls, bee stings, and so on.?
Humans have a all-natural dread of the woods. It is an unfamiliar spot, crowded with trees and no civilizations. We have hunted out all the major, massive animal threats with pretty much no exceptions apart from the grizzly bear. Maps and the inventions of the GPS make it very challenging to get misplaced, so you should retain each on hand. Usually let men and women know the place and when you will be mountaineering solo. Allow them know when they should be expecting to hear from you, and what to do if they really don’t. Also, being a man, I can only communicate from my viewpoint regarding mountaineering solo and worrying about other hikers, but I know a whole lot of women who have completed multi-thirty day period via-hikes all about the United States solo with no security challenges.

Wicklow – Courtesy Columbia

Do solo hikers just about every be part of up with other solo hikers, or is there a “code” of interaction?
Communities made via mountaineering are some of the strongest I know! When you are huddled less than a tree in the center of a downpour with a full stranger, you can not support but turn into instantaneous friends. Some solo hikers will test to uncover a team beforehand—hiking clubs and Facebook teams are a great spot to commence. Really don’t be shocked if the human being in the campsite about offers you a quick sip of rum and a seat at their hearth, it has transpired to me several moments. That being reported, several men and women camp to get absent from other men and women, so do be respectful and thoughtful.

Has the danger of COVID-19 minimal your mountaineering selections?
Totally. Nationwide and State Parks are shut. Stay-at-property orders simply call for you to remain at property, not push three hrs to the closest massive mountains via a handful of small cities. I was hoping to do some exciting multi-day hikes this summer season, like the Wind River Variety and the John Muir Path, and now I am doubtful if these will transpire if they are months absent.

Any guidelines on pacing? Deciding what length you can vacation?
Mountaineering length is managed by two components, time and pace. I have established two earth documents on trails. I can not hike far more than three.five miles an hour via reasonably hard terrain for a sustained period of time. Even for anyone who isn’t in the finest shape, you are on the lookout at two-three miles for each hour depending on components like the elevation and specialized character of the trail. To be far more blunt, we all stroll pretty sluggish. So, what can you handle? Time! If I want to hike thirty miles just about every day, I hike for 9 hrs. If I want to hike for ten miles, I hike for three hrs. Rather uncomplicated, right?

What does your typical mountaineering kit consist of? Do you bring emergency gear in scenario you have an emergency bivy?
I crack my kit into the next groups. By paying out a little bit of time dialing in on my gear, I can have a foundation body weight of ten lbs rather of 25 lbs. Your foundation body weight is calculated by full backpack body weight minus meals, drinking water, and worn clothes:

  • On-trail clothes
  • Stop and sleep clothes
  • Sleeping shelter (tent, rainfly, and so on)
  • Sleeping tools (sleeping bag, sleeping pad)
  • Foods
  • Cooking kit
  • Own objects (cell cellphone, rest room paper, toothbrush, and so on)
  • Hydration

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