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  1. #1
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    Default How much does a thru hike cost?

    Hello and much respect to any and all who have sucessfully completed a thru hike! I have this ever growing itch to plan a thru hike, but I need two major peices of info. How much does an average thru hike cost and how long do I need to train before hand. I did more than one forum search before making this post, so if there is an old thread about this...sorry, I did not find it. I don't want major specifics, just a general number from the "experienced ones"!

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    $4000 after gear purchase. no "training" needed. just don't start out as a fat ass and you should be fine.

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    Default $$$

    Quote Originally Posted by chefjason View Post
    Hello and much respect to any and all who have sucessfully completed a thru hike! I have this ever growing itch to plan a thru hike, but I need two major peices of info. How much does an average thru hike cost and how long do I need to train before hand. I did more than one forum search before making this post, so if there is an old thread about this...sorry, I did not find it. I don't want major specifics, just a general number from the "experienced ones"!
    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/show...highlight=cost
    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/show...highlight=cost
    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/show...highlight=cost

    a few others have also asked? LW is right. i put away $5000.
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    $4000 after gear purchase. no "training" needed. just don't start out as a fat ass and you should be fine.
    That just ticks me off! I searched and got squat! Anyway, thanks for the numbers. I already have half of the gear i will need. The big $ # is food. And I am not a fat ass, at least by MY definition, but I thought I might need to build my legs and lungs a bit. But then again, I am not running a marathon.

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    AT 4,000 miler, LT Blissful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    just don't start out as a fat ass and you should be fine.

    Hey we did! We lost 80 lbs total. No better weight loss program where you can eat what you want and lose weight.

    Anyway chefjason, my son did the trail and was a total couch potato going into it. It's all mental.



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    I already have a "vacation" account going. I think I will just use that and plan for a 2011 NOBO thru. That should give me enough time to make all the plans/purchases/arrangements. So I guess I should join the 2011 thread eh?

  7. #7

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    Not counting getting to and from the start/finish locations of the Trail, and not counting initial gear purchases, if you're wondering about en route expenses, I would say that most folks spend between $3500 and $5000 for a thru-hike.

    Some spend less. Some spend more. Questions to ask yourself: How much time do you expext to spend in town? And when there, are you going to pamper yourself? I.e., will Wendy's work for you, or do you want a full steak dinner in every town? Will you get your own motel room or do you plan to share with other hikers? Do you drink? If so, do you drink a lot? Are you a cigarette smoker? Are you a pot smoker?

    And so on.

    There are all sorts of factors that will affect your budget. The number one, of course, is how much time you end up spending in towns or in trailside facilities, as opposed to the time spent actually in the woods and mountains, where daily expenses are minimal or non-existent. The number two factor is your gear, as ill-prepared hikers that end up replacing a lot of their original equipment can add hundreds and hundreds of dollars to their budget.

    But all things being equal, assuming you're not some town rat, and assuming you discipline yourself with off-trail time and expenses, I think Lone Wolf's figure of $4000.00 is about right for most folks. It can certainly be done for less, and plenty of folks spend more, but that's up to them.

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    Registered User Monkeywrench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefjason View Post
    And I am not a fat ass, at least by MY definition, but I thought I might need to build my legs and lungs a bit. But then again, I am not running a marathon.
    No. A marathon only takes a few hours. A thru-hike takes months. It's certainly better to be in hiking shape than not. As to money, I think I'll probably spend around $8000 before my hike is over. That's probably at the high end, and I certainly indulge myself with steak dinners and motel rooms pretty much whenever I want them. But don't underestimate the cost. You'll likely find yourself craving creature comforts more than you anticipate.
    ~~
    Allen "Monkeywrench" Freeman
    NOBO 3-18-09 - 9-27-09
    blog.allenf.com
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    I have to say it takes self discipline and motivation, you have to want it enough in order to get it. 2010!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Tarlin View Post
    Not counting getting to and from the start/finish locations of the Trail, and not counting initial gear purchases, if you're wondering about en route expenses, I would say that most folks spend between $3500 and $5000 for a thru-hike.

    Some spend less. Some spend more. Questions to ask yourself: How much time do you expext to spend in town? And when there, are you going to pamper yourself? I.e., will Wendy's work for you, or do you want a full steak dinner in every town? Will you get your own motel room or do you plan to share with other hikers? Do you drink? If so, do you drink a lot? Are you a cigarette smoker? Are you a pot smoker?

    And so on.

    There are all sorts of factors that will affect your budget. The number one, of course, is how much time you end up spending in towns or in trailside facilities, as opposed to the time spent actually in the woods and mountains, where daily expenses are minimal or non-existent. The number two factor is your gear, as ill-prepared hikers that end up replacing a lot of their original equipment can add hundreds and hundreds of dollars to their budget.

    But all things being equal, assuming you're not some town rat, and assuming you discipline yourself with off-trail time and expenses, I think Lone Wolf's figure of $4000.00 is about right for most folks. It can certainly be done for less, and plenty of folks spend more, but that's up to them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Monkeywrench View Post
    No. A marathon only takes a few hours. A thru-hike takes months. It's certainly better to be in hiking shape than not. As to money, I think I'll probably spend around $8000 before my hike is over. That's probably at the high end, and I certainly indulge myself with steak dinners and motel rooms pretty much whenever I want them. But don't underestimate the cost. You'll likely find yourself craving creature comforts more than you anticipate.
    Quote Originally Posted by lndwlkr View Post
    I have to say it takes self discipline and motivation, you have to want it enough in order to get it. 2010!
    Well the screen name is not just for show. I am a classically trained chef with many years of experience. Any of you who have ever worked in a REAL restaurant will know that chefs don't usually eat well. We taste all the food to make sure it is prepared properly, but then we eat a p.b.&j. for ourselves. So, I doubt I will be heading into town for steak dinners ever night. I can sleep any where, and I am not too proud to share a room. I do not drink, except for a really nice glass of wine to accompany my four "white table cloth meal's" each year. So alcohol will be a non-factor. Don't smoke, any thing. Kills the taste buds. I imagine that the only thing I would blow money on would be chiropractic adjustments/massages. If there are any places along the way to get those services.

    I want it enough, I am just concerned about leaving behind the day-to-day life responsibilities for a full five months!

  11. #11

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    In that case, Jason, you should be able to bring in your hike for hundreds of dollars less than most folks. For an awful lot of people, tho, two of the biggect expenses on their trip are restaurant meals and beer.

    (And if you're looking for decent white wine out there, lotsa luck!!)

    But seriously, if you eat on the cheap and stay out of Trail bars, you can, in all likelihood, bring in your trip on a lot less than 4 or 5 thousand.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Tarlin View Post
    In that case, Jason, you should be able to bring in your hike for hundreds of dollars less than most folks. For an awful lot of people, tho, two of the biggect expenses on their trip are restaurant meals and beer.

    (And if you're looking for decent white wine out there, lotsa luck!!)

    But seriously, if you eat on the cheap and stay out of Trail bars, you can, in all likelihood, bring in your trip on a lot less than 4 or 5 thousand.
    That's good news! I have not drank a beer in since culinary school (bev i.d. class). And I would wait until Katadhin to have that glass of Sangiovese. What about those chiroprators and massage therapist? Are there any along the AT?

  13. #13
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    got a couple of masooses here in damascus

  14. #14

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    I should think every Trail town has people that can help you, even little places like Hot Springs. When you get to a Trail town, ask at the hostel or outfitter, as I bet they've been asked this question before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Tarlin View Post
    I should think every Trail town has people that can help you, even little places like Hot Springs. When you get to a Trail town, ask at the hostel or outfitter, as I bet they've been asked this question before.
    Good. I am starting to get excitied about this.

  16. #16
    AT 4,000 miler, LT Blissful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    got a couple of masooses here in damascus

    At first I thought this said moose...
    We got moose in VA?




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  17. #17
    AT 4,000 miler, LT Blissful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefjason View Post
    Good. I am starting to get excitied about this.

    It gets even more exciting as the date draws near.



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  18. #18
    Melt-N-Metal GeneralLee10's Avatar
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    It would be nice to see someones total cost for the whole Hike. If one was willing to do such a thing and keep a record of it. Just the Hike alone from your very 1st step to the last step, not the cost 2 and fro or the cost of gear. I tell myself now not then now to stay out of town other than to resupply and pick up needed maps. I will see how that goes when the time comes. The original idea is to keep the cost low as possible so I can apply the leftover funds to the next walk. Hoping nothing happens before or during this one.

  19. #19
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    Default Watch the south...

    I agree with the view that the major costs for many hikers are beer and meals in restaurants, and also replacement gear. However in the beginning I've seen hikers blow hundreds before the Smokies more than once.

    It's important to be disciplined in the south, where you have opportunities to spend money amost every other day in places. For example, between Springer and Hot Springs, a distance of 270 miles, there are 8 places to spend money:
    - Neels Gap
    - Hiawassee
    - Franklin
    - NOC
    - Fontana Dam
    - Gatlinburg
    - Standing Bear Farm
    - Hot Springs

    That works out to one (town, hostel, meals, outfitter, bar, etc) every 34 miles, so it's easy to blow some decent coin if you don't watch it.

    But saying that, if you are experienced and start in decent shape, you can send a food drop to Neels and blow by Hiawassee without spending a single dollar in Georgia, although a couple hot dogs and a coke at Mountain Crossings might prove worth it : ), and Franklin is a cheap town to go into for your first overnight.

  20. #20

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    I spent $4950 for on trail expenses including travel to the trail from Indiana for my Year 2000 northbound AT thru-hike. I had a fabulous time and wouldn't have missed it for the world.

    Datto

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