View Full Version : How many overnight backpacking trips prior to thru-hike?

08-01-2014, 09:40
I'm curious how many multi-night backpacking trips you'd done prior to taking on an AT thru-hike. I've done quite a bit of all day hiking and a few one or two night trips in college. Not as many overnights since starting graduate school since grad school eats lives.

08-01-2014, 09:53
For me, lots. Boy scouts, and then just trips with friends, and I can't even count how many. At least a couple a year through my teens and into my early 20's pre-thru hike. But I'm uncommon, from what I've come to understand. Most people have little to no overnight experience going into a thru.

08-01-2014, 10:08
I did several section hikes ( multiple nights ) with my father in the late 80's and early 90's then i did a Solo long distance section hike in 94 from GA to DWG prior to my 96 Flip-Flop thru-hike and now i have accomplished an 2006 thru and a 2012 thru, The most important thing is to know is how to use the gear you are going to be carring, I have known people with zero hiking experience and do mean not even a one nighter go out their and hike the entire trail and he/she couldn't even set up a tent or use their stove, so yeah it doesn't matter how much experience you have just get to know your gear and how to use the trail will teach you the rest

lemon b
08-01-2014, 10:12
Thousands, I was doing bag nights soon as I got out of diapers. My son was doing them when he was still in diapers. Heck his middle name should be Greylock. Except that was also the name of the Mill his grandfather was making paper in for a long time.

08-01-2014, 10:15
And Hey :welcome to WB, Have FUN

08-02-2014, 01:38
Thanks for the responses

08-02-2014, 08:53
The length of the trip is not as much as having enough shake down overnights to get your food and cooking system that you will be actually using worked out.

Another Kevin
08-02-2014, 09:08
In the unlikely event that I ever do a long hike, my answer to "how many bag nights beforehand?" will be "a pantload." I've been a clueless weekender for a long time. And I didn't hike a lot in grad school either. Not only because it eats lives, but also because I did my doctorate in Illinois, which is not known for its great hiking.

lemon b
08-02-2014, 10:13
One thing I love about hiking is on the trail we are all as one. Another Kevin a Doctor myself never the brightest bulb on the tree. However, much common ground with mother nature.

08-02-2014, 12:10
I haven't dont a thru but I can tell you my experience about picking up hiking with no experience. It took me about three trips of three days and one week long trip before I felt comfortable with my gear's limitations, my food packing, and my mental prep. I don't know if that's enough for a thru but I do feel comfortable going on week long trips now. Hope that helps.

08-02-2014, 12:43
I had less than 10 backpacking overnights prior to the first thru-hike which was the AT. I did have countless day hiking adventures and overnights though just not in an overnight backpacking situation.

12 yrs later I still haven't made it a priority to complete the last two classes required for a Masters in Horticulture. It was a long road getting that far completing classes one or two at a time while also juggling owning and operating a Landscape Design company, relationships, finances, and other life issues.

evyck da fleet
08-02-2014, 14:04
Zero overnights before my thru. Just something else to get used to.

08-03-2014, 15:22
ive done countless of day hikes but only two overnights and those overnights were only done to test my equipment,knowledge,routine and find more efficient ways of doing certain task that would otherwise have seemed annoyance. i will be doing a section hike through virginia SNP area at the end of this month

08-03-2014, 21:42
A single night overnight trip prior to my 05 thru. Had plenty of prior wilderness camping experience but not backpacking.
I don't think having more prior experience is strongly correlated to finishing a thru hike.
It is more strongly correlated with having problems in the first week though.

None yet
08-04-2014, 20:55
The first time I set up a tent was the first night on the AT - BA FlyCreek UL 2. It's quick and easy to set up and take down and carries well in my pack.

Don H
08-05-2014, 06:26
I had lots of nights camping and backpacking, I've been hiking since I was a kid in Scouts. I had sectioned over 800 miles of AT (Waynesboro, VA or Dalton, MA) prior to my thru. However I met more than a few successful thru-hikers who had little to no experience backpacking. I think it's a lot easier with some experience though.

I think most people quit early because they don't understand what hiking day after day in all kinds of weather is really like.