Day hikes are usually simple affairs that start and end at the door of your vehicle at a trailhead, or maybe at your own front door.
When you get the urge to travel further than your legs can carry you in a day, the affair becomes a bit more complicated. More skills, gear, food, and planning are required for a successful multi-day hike.
No two people hike the same. We each have our own pace, endurance, nutrition and comfort needs, as well as sources of enjoyment. Some are willing to sacrifice comfort to cover many miles while others prefer slower, more comfortable, and possibly heavier hiking.
Nomads have carried their homes along with them for eons. You will be a nomad on your long hike, taking your home along mile after mile. Choose a lightweight, comfortable shelter that protects from the environment.
Cowboys used to throw down their saddle for a pillow and wrap up in an old blanket. That can still work for you, but there are other options to stay warm and comfortable through many cold, wet, windy nights. Flexibility to work with varying temperatures is a good goal for your sleeping system.
There's nothing wrong with planning a completely non-cook menu for a multi-day hike. You can live for days and weeks eating crackers and cheese and jerky, but at some point, you'll be ready to kill for a hot, steaming meal. On long-distance hikes, there are quite a few options for cooking your food so you can choose which works best for your trek.
Hiking in 5 miles and back out the next day is a great weekend trip. A 40-mile loop through the mountains over a week is a real challenge. But, what happens when you get the bug to really hike far? There are special concerns when hiking for weeks or months on end, but the rewards are immeasurable.
Depending on the trail you hike, there may be permanent shelters, established campsites, open camping, or no legal camping allowed. Decide what kind of camping you are willing to do and then plan your day hikes to end where you are able to camp.