"How much does it cost to hike the Appalachian Trail?" Answer: A thru-hike is expensive.
Even a crummy job (30 hours/week at $9/hour) pays $7,000 in six months. You might have school loans, insurance or credit card payments. The average iPhone bill is $110/month. You probably won't have any income while hiking.
The single most important item you will need for a long-distance hike is your pack, and your boots, and your shelter, your sleep system and essential gear.
Be frugal, but only purchase professionally fitted backpacks and boots. Lighter is better and more expensive.
When I asked our pal James at Bluff Mountain Outfitters in Hot Springs, NC, how much it costs to hike the Appalachian Trail, he wisely said, "It depends."
A low figure, if you have some essentials, is around $750, but it's easy to pop $1,500 onto daddy's gold card for good stuff.
Figure out what you need. Check REI's Appalachian Trail Gear List. Mountain Crossings at Neel Gap that has helpful pictures.
Seasons will change. Gear will wear out.
Bearfoot's Hiking Gear Flea Market on Facebook can save you a ton of money.
Count the cost to get to the Trail and home afterward.
Hiking is cheap. Stopping is expensive.
An average hiker can spend a couple of bucks per mile on the 2,189 mile AT. Even $2/mile comes to $4,400 for food on the Trail and random goodies. Don't laugh. You plan to noodle for free fish and happily eat fried tree bark, but you'll crave pizza.
You're going to twist an ankle, get dysentery or have blisters and need a zero day (no hiking) in town. More than once. A hostel can be $30, with no breakfast or coffee.
Think before you quit your job: 75% of thru-hike attempts aren't successful.
A failure to plan is a plan for failure.
That sounds corny. When counting the cost to hike the Appalachian Trail, it's true.
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Published Apr 7, 2014.
Published Dec 3, 2015.