What is the hiking like at Boot Camp and at Marine Combat Training (MCT)?
If you are planning on joining the Marine Corps, then you better get used to the idea of hiking everywhere you go. One of the Marine Corps foundational training methods is forced marches and conditioning hikes. What is forced marching and conditioning hiking? It is putting 150 lbs. of weight into a 90 lbs. pack, grabbing your rifle, your Kevlar and your flak jacket and doing a light run (which the Marine Corps calls hiking). Here’s some details on the hikes that will take place in Boot Camp and during Marine Combat Training.
Boot Camp Hiking
In Boot Camp you’ll hike approximately 120 miles in your 13 weeks of basic training. They will start off as 1.5 mile hikes and a small day pack (assault pack). They will gradually get more aggressive, increasing to a 3-mile, a 6-mile, a 7-mile and two 10-mile hikes with a full ILBE pack, rifle, Kevlar and flak jacket. This doesn’t include your daily hikes to class and during the Crucible. You’ll quickly pack the night before for your hikes, and the Drill Instructors will teach you how to pack, tape up your straps, prep your gear and how to stage your gear.
You’ll hike as a platoon, but the entire company will be executing the hikes as well. Be sure to keep your canteens full. You’ll need the water, especially in the summer.
You’ll be yelling the entire hike. I’m not talking about talking loud either. I’m talking about screaming until your veins pop out and you start sweating blood. This is part of the conditioning process. It helps strengthen your core, and your Corps.
Marine Combat Training
The hikes at MCT are not any better or worse than the Boot Camp hikes. You will only do 3 main hikes. You’ll do a scheduled 5k (3.1 miles), a 10k (6.2 miles) and a 15k (9 miles). You’ll also hike every day to either class, or the range which can be anywhere from 2 miles to 5 miles per day… every day while you’re there. You won’t PT much, but the hiking will keep you from getting fat, just expect to lose some muscle mass during Marine Combat Training.