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Hiking And Walking Calories Burned Calculator – The Complete Tool


Article Categories: Hiking Tips
Article Tags: Backpacking | Hiking | Hiking Tips

The hiking calories burned calculator allows you to calculate the amount of calories burned while hiking. This will enable hikers to plan food / calorie consumption a bit better, or just understand how many calories they burned on their last hike.


Quick Navigation:
Instructions | Calculator | How Does It Work? | Limitations


How To Use The Calculator

Follow the simple steps below to operate the calculator:

  1. Input the total distance of your hike as accurately as you can.
  2. Input the elevation gain of your hike as accurately as you can. This information usually can be found online, and all of the hiking guides on our site includes this in detail.
  3. Input your bodyweight as accurately as you can
  4. Enter your backpack weight as accurately as you can. No backpack? No problem, leave this blank.
  5. Adjust your speed if you believe you are faster or slower than “book time” or if you are trail running.

We then use a formula to get a pretty close and accurate estimate of the calories burned from your hike. Keep in mind, these are the calories burned on top of your basal metabolic rate, meaning, your body burns an amount of calories every day just staying alive, these calorie estimates are on top of that.


How Does This Calculator Work?

First we take your elevation gain and distance to estimate the duration of your hike and calculate the average grade of the hike. You can adjust the average duration by adjusting your speed. (Average, slower than average, faster than average, trail running).

By knowing your speed, average grade, and weight (including pack) we can take scientific equations gathered from experiments to closely estimate the amount of oxygen you are burning per minute.

We then can take our estimated duration of the hike to determine how much oxygen your body is using per minute to convert that to the number of calories burned over the duration of the hike.


Important Calculations

Oxygen Consumption:
<3.7 MPH = (.1 x Speed [meters/min]) + (1.8 x Speed [meters/min] x Grade)
>3.7 MPH = (.2 x Speed [meters/min]) + (.9 x Speed [meters/min] x Grade)

Hiker Speed:
We use book time to determine hike duration, and adjust it based on your input. Read about book time here.

Average = Book Time
Slower Than Average = 120% of Calculated Book Time
Faster Than Average = 80% of Calculated Book Time – 20%Book Time
Trail Running = 50% of Calculated Book time

Other Calculations You’ll Come Across:

Other calculators may be a little less accurate than this because they aren’t adjusting your METS based off of speed, or aren’t taking all the variables into consideration. Our calculator should be a touch more accurate than others on the web because of the slightly more accurate (and harder to calculate method we are utilizing).

Calories Burned = MET * Weight (kg) * Time (hrs)

Metabolic Equivalent, known as MET is the amount of oxygen the body uses during activities. Science over time has developed MET values for specific activities based on testing. These MET values allow us to calculate how much oxygen is being used, and therefore, how many calories the body is burning during that activity.

So, based on the mileage, weight of pack, and elevation gain, you can estimate METS, and based on the METS, bodyweight, and pack weight, you can estimate your calories burned.

Here is a MET chart with some common activities. Keep in mind that this can get significantly more detailed:


MET Chart

Activity MET
Light intensity activities < 3
sleeping 0.9
watching television 1
writing, desk work, typing 1.8
walking, 1.7 mph (2.7 km/h), level ground, strolling, very slow 2.3
walking, 2.5 mph (4 km/h) 2.9
Moderate intensity activities 3 to <6
resistance training (weight) training, multiple exercises, 8-15 repetitions at varied resistance 3.5
calisthenics (e.g., push ups, sit ups, pull-ups, lunges), moderate effort 3.8
Pilates, general 3.8
yoga, Hatha 3
water aerobics, water calisthenics, water exercise 2.5
bicycling, stationary, 50 watts, very light effort 5.3
walking 3.0 mph (4.8 km/h) 3.3
calisthenics, home exercise, light or moderate effort, general 3.5
walking 3.4 mph (5.5 km/h) 3.6
bicycling, <10 mph (16 km/h), leisure, to work or for pleasure 4
bicycling, stationary, 100 watts, light effort 5.5
Vigorous intensity activities >6
jogging, general 7
calisthenics (e.g. pushups, sit-ups, pull-ups, jumping jacks), heavy, vigorous effort 8
running jogging, in place 8
rope jumping 10


Want To Read More About METS?



Calculator Limitations

This calculator doesn’t take into account various factors that will adjust your overall calories burned. We do this to simplify the inputs and get you a quality estimate. Factors that may affect true numbers:

  • Trail conditions / difficulty (perfect gravel vs climbing, etc)
  • Weather conditions
  • Speed
  • Personal information (gender, height, stride length, fitness levels, elevation, temperature, etc)
  • Negative elevation gain – this might be a little bit off, but still is going to be reasonably close.

We have basically taken your weight, speed, elevation gain and distance to determine how much oxygen your body should be burning through and converted that to calories burned. This gets us pretty close, but numbers still vary.

With all this being said, this should be a solid estimate for what you’d expect to burn on your hike above your metabolic rate.

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, backcountry skier, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued climbed all of the Colorado 14ers, is always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about