Hiking the Appalachian trail is an experience like none other. Appalachian trail routes are beautiful, but hikers should prepare for the dangers and trials it holds. This article discusses packing essentials for the trail. Hiking the Appalachian trail is not for the faint of heart, but with adequate preparation, you can create the experience of a lifetime.
5 Appalachian Trail Essential Items to Buy
Despite its rugged nature, Appalachian trail routes are very well-marked. However, you should always be prepared for unfamiliar situations. Purchase a map, appropriate trail guides, and a compass to avoid getting lost. Some hikers also recommend purchasing a GPS for emergency situations.
Through-hikers will need a comfortable, lightweight backpack for hauling their survival gear. Many hikers recommend a frameless backpack with a capacity of 60 liters. Before making your final purchase, test the backpack’s fit. If you’re unsure what the pack should feel like, visit your local REI. They offer free consultations as well as a great return policy.
3: Adequate Clothing
Pack clothing that is breathable and suitable for varying climates. If possible, avoid cotton. In cold, wet conditions, cotton can aid hypothermia; in hot conditions, it will absorb your sweat, preventing you from adequately cooling down. Instead, choose a base layer that wicks moisture, such as merino wool or synthetic fibers.
4: Hiking Boots
Spare no expense with your boots. Buy a pair that allows for typical swelling but fits snug enough that it won’t incite rubbing. For the best fit, check if they match the same socks you will wear on the trail.
The Appalachian Trail is furnished with lean-tos, but these are no substitute for a reliable shelter. Hammock-tarp combinations and one and double wall freestanding tents are the most common shelters used on the trail. Hammocks can be very effective against bug and snake protection while freestanding tents provide the most insulation and security.
What & How to Pack for Appalachian Trail Hikes
#1. Plan Before You Pack
There is probably one question that continues to pique your brain: How long does it take to hike the Appalachian trail? The answer depends on your physical condition, desired pace, weather conditions, and the length of your hike. Many new hikers also question how long is the Appalachian trail. The trail has 2190 miles from Maine to northern Georgia. Expect to spend around 5-7 months for a through-hike.
Take this into account when planning your trip. Most hikers begin in Georgia in February and end in Maine in August. If you begin in Maine, start your trip in June and plan on arriving in Georgia by December.
#2. Identification, Itinerary, and Money
It is always a good idea to bring identification and some form of payment. Although you will spend the majority of your time on the trail, you will still need to resupply in trail towns. Prior to your trip, share your itinerary with a friend and schedule regular check-ins for your town visits. This prevents missing person reports.
#3. Essentials to Pack
When packing your bag for Appalachian trail hikes, consider the different aspects of your life on the trail, such as basic survival, emergency preparation, and sanitary necessities. Basic survival items include water, packaged food, water filtration devices, all season clothing, and a sleeping bag and pad.
Prepare for emergency scenarios by bringing an emergency whistle, first aid kit, and a cell phone. Sanitary items, such as biodegradable toothpaste and soap, toilet paper, a trowel, and blister treatment, are recommended as well. These items are only the bare essentials.
3 Budgeting Concerns to Consider
REI recommends setting aside a minimum of $2,000 for initial equipment. However, your equipment will wear, and you may need to replenish supplies. This cost can run anywhere from $500-$1000, depending on your personal situation.
2: Room and Food
In many situations, staying at an establishment at some point in your journey is unavoidable. To cut costs, other hikers recommend avoiding campgrounds unless they offer free amenities, splitting hotel costs with other hikers, and staying at hostels. Also, keep in mind that the sweet aromas of in-town food are almost too much for a hiker to resist. Setting aside an additional budget of $1500 may be necessary for room and board, in-town meals, and grocery resupplies.
Transportation should be allocated into your final budget for your hike across Appalachian trail routes. Consider the budget for your transportation to and from the trail, including flights and rental cars. In some areas, shuttles are available. Check the Appalachian Trail Conservation for bus and shuttle schedules. Also, consider transportation while on the hike. Many hostels offer group rides to the local grocery stores.
Summing It Up
Appalachian trail hiking is an exciting yet calculated venture. Preparation for your journey can mean the difference between success and failure. Always take the time to prepare an accurate itinerary, budget carefully, and purchase and pack the items necessary for your trip. Appalachian trail hikes can be an unforgettable experience; with careful planning and determination, you can make this trip one of your greatest accomplishments.