Hiking vs. Walking and how to log it

Hi MFP! :heart:

I've done a great deal of googling on this subject recently, as going for very long walks..or hikes...or whatever....is one of my favorite activities.

Today I did a 5k hike/walk/thing which took about two hours, so I figure I was moving at around 3 mph.
The trail had some decent inclines, twists and turns, and was only really 'flat' or 'level' in a few areas.
The trail terrain was either gravel track or plain old earth w/tree roots and rocks and whatnot.

When I came home to log my activity, I noticed that 'hiking' allows almost twice as many calories as 'walking - 3 mph, flat track'.
I don't want to cheat myself by logging this as plain ol' walking, but don't want to give myself credit for calories I didn't earn either!!

In your opinion, what is the difference, and how should I log this activity? Hiking or walking?

Food for thought/The results of my googling:


  • ehh.. cheap answer is to buy a heart rate monitor. Thats the best way
  • If it were me, I would split the time in half or whatever adjustments neccessary to equal two hours. Example: 30 minutes 3.0 walking flat track and 90 minutes hiking.
  • karisma81
    karisma81 Posts: 79 Member
    I wouldn't be surprised that trail burns twice as much as flat pavement. I get a lot more winded walking on a trail.
  • lstnlondry
    lstnlondry Posts: 1,824 Member
    I do some hiking and do a lot of walking where I hike. My normal walking speed is about a 17 minute miles whereas my hikes are more like 20. When I log under hiking I always adjust my number because its smaller than mfp.
  • UpEarly
    UpEarly Posts: 2,566 Member
    Get a heart rate monitor! I log my walks as hikes because I'm not on a sidewalk and the route I cover is extremely hilly. (I live on the side of a mountain) I actually burn *more* calories than MFP estimates, even using the 'Hiking, climbing hills (carrying 10-20 lb load)'.
  • skadoosh33
    skadoosh33 Posts: 353 Member
    Walking doesn't burn many calories per hour. Hiking up trails is much more difficult and gets your heart going. A good heart rate monitor with have a calorie counter as well. You don't really burn many calories until you hit at least 120bpm. When I walk 3.5mph on the treadmill to warm my legs up, my HR is only 95-100bpm burning very few calories. However when I am hiking and going up some steep trails my HR gets up to 160+ and burns about 3x as many calories for same distance/time. It also works more muscles and helps strengthen them.
  • deedah1216
    deedah1216 Posts: 16 Member
    I also do a lot of hiking and walking. If I'm on a hiking trail with all the ups and downs and twist and turns as you described, I log it as hiking. I also use a pedometer that keeps track of my steps, distance and calories burned based on my weight when I set up my pedometer. I also note the time I start and end my hike. Like you, I try to be as accurate as I can when logging my food and my exercise. I've found that sometimes all I can do is find a happy medium. I log my exercise, but very rarely use the extra calories earned. I don't know if I've been much help, but keep up the good work and happy trails.
  • Sageyoku
    Sageyoku Posts: 71 Member
    If it were me, I would split the time in half or whatever adjustments neccessary to equal two hours. Example: 30 minutes 3.0 walking flat track and 90 minutes hiking.

    Thank you everyone for the suggestions!

    I have done the quoted 'time compensation' before, and will do it for this particular trek because MFP said I burned 700 calories, and that just can't be right!!
    HOWEVER, there are other trails that I walk regularly that I would have logged as 'hiking'.
    This trail was somewhere in-between.

    A heart rate monitor would be great, and I will invest in one when I can. Many of the good ones seem to be $90 and up, and being relatively stingy, I'm loathe to invest in one for now.

    Thanks again! :heart: