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I've travelled long distances, but I've always had my backpack and used transport, and can get by that way fairly easily in general.

I've been reading about long-distance walkers - people who walk across America in 87 days, for example. I'm assuming they can't carry a 15kg pack on their backs this whole way, or food and drink - do they usually have support?

Put it this way, if I (or you) were to do it, what would one need to achieve a long-distance walk (aside from being fit and slightly mad :)), and how would you ensure you had enough supplies?

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I met a fellow walking cross country. He was doing about 18 miles a day. He did have a large backpack. Of course, he didn't have enough food and water for the whole trip, but he probably had a couple of days worth. – Joel Spolsky May 14 '12 at 20:00
IF the 15kg includes a week's worth of food, then it is quite possible. – Michael Hampton Aug 16 at 2:21

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

From my experience it is practically infeasible to carry food supplies for more than half a week and water supplies for more than a day. Unless you have porters or mules. Freeze-dried food can furthermore reduce the weight you have to carry.

There are a lot of people walking the Way of st. James which takes about one month. The best prepared have less than 5kg backpacks. Everything around 10kg or more is going to spoil your walk. All you carry is a small sleeping bag (100-300g in summer), one change of clothes, flip-flops, toothbrush, raincoat, snack for one day and water. Everything else you either do not need or buy on the way. You can find a lot of gear left somewhere on the way :)

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I have followed several long distance walkers, one on a blog and an other in the book they published about it, as well as seeing blog items that I do not follow long term. They use wheeled transports, dragged behind them, for parts of their trip or even for the whole.

Here is a link to the blog I followed. Only a small part is in English, but it is enough to show what he used. Jan Vroomans walked from the Netherlands, with no destination in mind, towards the east and decided it was enough when he was in China. Early on, maybe even from the start, he used a two wheeled luggage, at this time I can not find it on internet, the nearest I can find is a 'Burley travoy urban bike trailer', which might do the job.

One of the others used a more conventional hand kart which he dragged behind him, gripping it with one hand. And he only used it for the areas where re-supply would be very hard, like in the USA deserts.

I would say, having done it, that a 15 kg backpack is within reason for carrying, if on the heavy side. People I met traveling were carrying 30 kg backpacks, without training and out of an office job, they did suffer from back and knee complaints a few days in.

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