Fast Hiking

There’s a running movement growing. It’s fast, it’s heavy, and the strength of its pull is drawing in trail runners, hikers, and campers from all around the world. Fast hiking is the new niche discipline for runners who are after a new challenge, one that will really test their mettle. A hybrid of hiking, running, and backpacking, fast hiking is a test of endurance and flight of foot over multi-day journeys. It gets the heartrate rising, the fat burning, and the adrenaline pumping.


To the purists, fast hiking is the rudimentary hiking model, in the positive sense, giving runners a chance to experience nature in a very primal way. Pack only what you need, plot your route, then out into the wilderness you go, only return when you’re tired, sore and full of stories to share. 


An activity like this is not something you can just rock up to, it requires the right footwear, the right pack, and accessories to optimise your hike, trail running shoes offer the best blend of lightweight frames, comfort, and endurance, and would certainly be something to consider if this discipline sounds up your street (or mountain). The appeal of fast hiking isn’t just for fitness, it’s an opportunity to traverse new grounds, exploring new valleys and peaks in a totally different way. The views up a mountain top that took you three days to reach makes the reward all the more gratifying. But fast hiking, like many other activities, has variations in styles and distances. From lighter packs to longer journeys, and how you sleep are all entirely up to you.


For example, a popular way of fast hiking across the alps is hut-to-hut running, through a strategic network of communes across the mountain range provide places to sleep, and food to eat, so your travels are lighter, and your bellies are full. It’s a great exercise to do as a couple, a group, or of course, by yourself, as the reward of the exciting new places you conquer, not to mention the physiological benefits make fast hiking the complete package when it comes to hybrid adventures. 


Given fast hiking’s compound nature, it makes sense that the activity is covered by a hybrid of retailers, Runners Need’s partnership with Cotswold Outdoor is borne from an impassioned drive to make the world healthier, in every way we can. Stocking the highest quality product and offering genuine and bespoke advice for the improvement of your mental and physical wellbeing, not simply for profits. Cotswold Outdoor’s shop-in-shop on Runners Need’s site reflects this, as you may not find exactly what you need on our site, but Cotswold Outdoor may just have the right equipment. A perfect example of this is packs and rucksacks - an essential for fast hiking, these are not stocked at Runners Need, so we’ll guide the way.  


While most fast hikers tend to venture out for just a few days, there are some true adrenaline junkies who simply can’t stop. Elise Downing of the UK fast hiked Britain’s coastline over 301 days and nights, camping, staying with friends, and breaking records. Fast hiking is simple in its constitution, but how you choose to tackle your own adventures is entirely your call, if this sounds like your next pursuit, pack a bag and take on the wilderness this summer.



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