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View Full Version : Thru-Hiking on a budget - IDEAS?



Neemor
11-08-2014, 15:00
okay, I've seen a couple posts about money on the trail. but i want to know how much you guys spent in total on the trail?(not including your initial gear) if anyone on here has done it under $1,500?

I was planning to have $4,000 for my thru hike. but....Gear.... ha i got alot nicer gear than i had originally planned to.

I am budgeting to start the trip with $3,000. -having that much on springer mountain, so not including buying my gear and the first load of food.


I was thinking of planning out a "per mile" budget. so every mile of the trail i walk i have $X.xx to spend in the next town. and having about $500 of "emergency" money.

is that a good idea?


what did you guys do to stay on a budget?

P.s. i dont wanna hear that i need more money. ha because I already know that. but it doesnt look like i will have anymore. I am going to be buying food as i go instead of mail drops.

Thanks guys!

jawnzee
11-08-2014, 15:37
Sleeping on the ground outside is really rather inexpensive. Just stay out of towns. Get in, resupply at a grocery store and eat a meal there too while you're at it if you're real good. Spending on one meal at a restaurant isn't so bad either. Never sleep inside, you're not on the AT to sleep inside, ey? Don't get all caught up in thinking that you're going to let down trail friends if you don't spend tons of time and money with them in town, there are tons of amazing people all over the trail and spending time with them on the trail is a lot more fun than spending time with them sitting around inside.

Slo-go'en
11-08-2014, 17:41
Even if you never stay at a hostel or motel (which means you'll almost never have a shower or have clean clothes), the cost of food is insanely expensive. Go to a local convenience store and buy 2-3 days worth of food and see how much that costs. Now multiply that by 100 and you'll have an idea of how much food will cost you. Then budget twice that.

Has anyone finished a thru hike on $1500? - Some claim to but by being beggars and scavengers. You really don't want to be that kind of hiker, always being on the edge of starvation and always with your hand out.

All you can do is try to be frugal (which is easier said then done) and just go as far as the money you have will take you. Starting later in the season them most folks (late April or early May) avoids the worst of the spring weather which drives people into town for a day or two or three waiting out storms. Also building up to big miles as quickly as possible shortens the hike which results in less money spent.

CarlZ993
11-08-2014, 17:44
I'd have extra in reserve in case there are some bumps in the road. You could catch Lyme disease & be holed in somewhere for 3 - 4 days. Also, things get more expensive up north.

If you hiker longer days (start earlier, stop later) & minimize your zero days, you'll finish the quicker. The less time you're on the trail, the less money you spend. When you do get in a town, tank up on calories & chores that need to be done (wash clothing/self, get trail food, etc) & keep going. [Note: I didn't do that. In towns, I grabbed a hostel bunk or got a room - often shared - @ a motel. As a result, I ended up spending about $1,500 more than I expected.]

Good luck on your hike.

4shot
11-08-2014, 21:17
what did you guys do to stay on a budget?

P.s. i dont wanna hear that i need more money.

Thanks guys!

This topic shows up here about every 2-3 days. What did I do do to stay on budget? Figured out how much I would need than saved up 3 times that much. A normal person can't wrap their mind around spending $20 at a convenience store just for lunch which consists of 3 hot dogs, a large bag of chips, 2 snickers and a half gallon each of chocolate milk and Ben and Jerry's pistachio ice cream. and leaving the place hungry.

or you can do what most people do...show up at Springer or Mt. K with what you have saved and then go home when you are out of money. You might make it to Damascus or Dalton in either case. that seems to be the norm for most "thru hikers".

lonehiker
11-08-2014, 21:30
I am budgeting to start the trip with $3,000. -having that much on springer mountain, so not including buying my gear and the first load of food.


I was thinking of planning out a "per mile" budget. so every mile of the trail i walk i have $X.xx to spend in the next town. and having about $500 of "emergency" money.

is that a good idea?


what did you guys do to stay on a budget?

P.s. i dont wanna hear that i need more money. ha because I already know that. but it doesnt look like i will have anymore. I am going to be buying food as i go instead of mail drops.

Thanks guys!

You may not want to hear it, but, you probably need a couple thousand more. That being said, just start and see how far you can go. Who knows maybe you will be able to make it. Just don't be too disappointed if you have to stop early

MuddyWaters
11-08-2014, 22:37
:sunGo shopping. See what food actually costs and do the math.

Lone Wolf
11-09-2014, 07:16
walk til the money runs out. go home, work, then go back out the next year

Jeff
11-09-2014, 08:15
Equipment and shoe failures can blow a tight budget.

PennyPincher
11-09-2014, 09:01
Im very curious why people with tight budgets don't do more mail drops with food and other necessities. I can buy good quality food and prep it at home and then have it shipped to me and KNOW what my food costs are. Or I can buy cheap food cheaper at home in large grocery stores instead of spending three times that money in 'convenience stores' while hiking.

jawnzee
11-09-2014, 09:37
Has anyone finished a thru hike on $1500? - Some claim to but by being beggars and scavengers. You really don't want to be that kind of hiker, always being on the edge of starvation and always with your hand out.
I'm sure this has happened, but this is not a truth.

kayak karl
11-09-2014, 09:43
Im very curious why people with tight budgets don't do more mail drops with food and other necessities. I can buy good quality food and prep it at home and then have it shipped to me and KNOW what my food costs are. Or I can buy cheap food cheaper at home in large grocery stores instead of spending three times that money in 'convenience stores' while hiking.
Have you done a long hike with maildrops? It can really cramp your hiking style.

Neemor
11-09-2014, 10:40
Thanks everyone for your opinions.

So i am thinking it is wise to push my start date back a month to april 3rd so i can work another month. I would only make another $700ish, but it seems like that might help.

Coffee
11-09-2014, 10:50
Im very curious why people with tight budgets don't do more mail drops with food and other necessities. I can buy good quality food and prep it at home and then have it shipped to me and KNOW what my food costs are. Or I can buy cheap food cheaper at home in large grocery stores instead of spending three times that money in 'convenience stores' while hiking.

Regional rate priority mail is usually $6-8 for shorter distances like a few hundred miles and the Regional Rate B box is nearly as big as a large priority mail box costing more than twice as much to mail. Combined with shopping at Wal-Mart or another large grocery (using a loyalty card) and I can definitely see how money could be saved. The real cost is convenience and time, as well as the risk of not being able to retrieve a package from the post office on Sunday or having a package lost in the mail.

Putting aside cost, there's a difference between paying marginally more for food in small towns - even 50-75% more vs Wal-Mart, which I can accept, and being totally gouged ($3-4 Idahoan or mac & cheese, $3 clif bars, etc) that I cannot stand.

garlic08
11-09-2014, 12:45
Thanks everyone for your opinions.

So i am thinking it is wise to push my start date back a month to april 3rd so i can work another month. I would only make another $700ish, but it seems like that might help.

Good plan. Waiting until later in April may save even more money on lodging during snow storms.

A good, comfortable number to budget is $1000/month. A four month hike is possible if you're committed to the hike.

Odd Man Out
11-09-2014, 13:01
...I was thinking of planning out a "per mile" budget. so every mile of the trail i walk i have $X.xx to spend in the next town. ...

I we all had a nickel for each person who said they were going to hike the AT on a budget by not staying in town, but then found that wasn't for them, we would all have enough money to afford a thru hike. Here is another strategy to consider. Instead of starting out with the intention of thru hiking on a budget and risk not having the funds to be successful or happy, why not start out with intention of hiking the way you want to until you funds run out and then guarantee having a successful section hike (unless you make it all the way in which you had a successful thru hike).

Sly
11-09-2014, 13:38
Have you done a long hike with maildrops? It can really cramp your hiking style.

If planned for properly, they shouldn't.

Sly
11-09-2014, 13:43
walk til the money runs out. go home, work, then go back out the next year

I agree. $3K is a good chunk of change and it's possible you may make it, but don't be totally disappointed if you don't.

Neemor
11-09-2014, 14:11
I am not saying i wont stay in hostels along the way. I know for certain i will at least a couple times. but i know 100% i wont be getting those $65+ hotel rooms.

but things like gear, i know how to repair most things. i even make some of my own gear. so i don't think i will need to spend a lot on gear failures. but i may be wrong.

also shoes, i have two extra pairs at home that will be ready for a mail drop.


But thanks guys for helping me with a reality check! I knew i was short but i still find my self buying stupid gear that i probably wouldnt carry very long anyways. i will be more wise in my prep spending and hopefully save a few $$ more.




My family will be in NY for the summer. right near Bear Mountain. we have a camp. so i guess i can have a fall back plan of stopping there and working for 3 weeks or so to earn extra cash if i am running short.

Dogwood
11-09-2014, 15:21
This topic does come up around here very often so you might do some searches on WB for the extensive information already shared. I warn you though trail budgets are so varied because so many variables can enter into the financial equation. AND, please do consider no matter how much you share no one else knows you and what you're capable of.

There are SO MANY but's, if's, and's, or's that can enter into this topic. It often gets WAY OUT OF HAND and WAY TOO DEEP but FWIW, and after a more than a few thru-hikes, I've found my two largest expenditures are food and lodging. I've largely gotten these two expenditures out of the way pre-hike by 1) mailing myself some resupply boxes via USPS Flat Rate Priority which currently cost in the med size box $12.35., after repackaging I routinely get 6 days food in one of these size boxes, this isn't perfect but neither is a $1500 AT thru-hike budget so definitely some compromises have to be made as far as what's going to be convenient and comfortable in your attempt to complete an AT thru-hike. 2) I rarely do full price hotel stays by myself. I suck it up! How you work that out for yourself and still get done what you need in town can be a whole other thread in itself.

This isn't necessarily the cheapest way to do a thru-hike. This is simply a way I reduce my expenditures once on trail. This also isn't the whole story just as we will never know your whole financial story and ALL the details of it.

IMHO, based on what you shared, I would advise you don't attempt an AT thru-hike. As much as you may have bought into the need to do a thru-hike GET OVER IT. Do something simpler, more comfortable, and more convenient budget wise and in regard to other aspects(like weather) - do a long cherry picked section hike. Come back to the AT on different hikes at different seasons. It's a great way to experience a hike and a great way to experience the AT! Heck, you're young enough, you have yrs, and the convenience of being in the vicinity of the southern AT.

4shot
11-09-2014, 16:36
IMHO, based on what you shared, I would advise you don't attempt an AT thru-hike. As much as you may have bought into the need to do a thru-hike GET OVER IT. Do something simpler, more comfortable, and more convenient budget wise and in regard to other aspects(like weather) - do a long cherry picked section hike. Come back to the AT on different hikes at different seasons. It's a great way to experience a hike and a great way to experience the AT! Heck, you're young enough, you have yrs, and the convenience of being in the vicinity of the southern AT.


at the end of the day, I don't get the rush to do a thru hike when you have budget concerns or worries. I guess there is "no harm, no foul" by getting off in Franklin or Pearisburg or Rutland or wherever you run out of cash. But what if you do enjoy the trail and want to complete a thru hike? I think it would have been better for many of these people who get off to put off the hike by another year and have ample cash. then you have one less headache to deal with. One young hiker I knew was fretting about his budget the whole $#%^ way. Why take real world hassles to the trail. isn't that why most of us hike in the first place - to "get away" from day to day stuff?

again, nothing wrong with getting off. But for most of us, the opportunity to take off and hike for 4-6 months is rare. Many never do get the opportunity (or have other priorities). Why not do everything up front to maximize the opportunity to enjoy it?

Neemor
11-09-2014, 17:53
Why take real world hassles to the trail. isn't that why most of us hike in the first place - to "get away" from day to day stuff?

isn't money one of those day to day hassles?

but I wont be able to wait another year, this summer is a transition year. i will be graduation my school and starting my own business. and i feel that once i start my business as a piano technician i wont be able to just get up and leave for 6 months. so i have to try and do it on the budget i am able to make.

but I looked over it again and it looks like i will be able to hit $4,000 when i leave. i decided i don't need a $300 piece of gear, and i should be getting $600+ for my tax return. i had forgotten about that.

Maybe i will make it, maybe not. but i will try my best!

Lone Wolf
11-09-2014, 18:02
don't force a thru-hike. many do and regret it. it ai't a marathon

Dogwood
11-09-2014, 18:06
I think you added to my pt and mentioned it yourself. Maximizing enjoyment of a hike can CERTAINLY include not hiking with stringent budget concerns. IMHO, this is multiplied several fold for someone attempting to do their first really long hike. Since time on the trail is reflected in money spent cut the duration and length of the hike down to meet a comfortable budget. Problem solved - in several aspects.

IMO, way too many first time long distance hikers, namely those that attempt AT thru-hikes, buy into this overly sexy and promulgated notion of having to attempt a AT thru-hike to be recognized as a thru-hiker. AT statistics repeatedly clearly point out that MANY, the overwhelming majority, of professing AT thru-hiker wannabees wind up doing section hikes anyway which quite possibly point to the idea they would have been better off committing to a long section hike than attempting an AT thru-hike in the first place.

Inherent in your opinion is what many buy into that definitely is not necessarily so namely that thru-hiking maximizes one's hiking enjoyment. I could argue that a thru-hike, if one really wants to debate, could be defined as nothing more than the section of trail one has committed to hike. That's your thru-hike.

Further, as a hiker who mainly thru-hikes, but has done several long distance trails in segments, I'm having a greater respect than ever, as far as to a hiker's commitment, to hikers who complete long trails in segments. Having a relaxed hiking time frame with an adequate budget, as I notice many section hikers doing, seems to me them having quite enjoyable comfortable more convenient hikes compared to otherwise struggling thru-hikers.

Dogwood
11-09-2014, 18:14
isn't money one of those day to day hassles?

but I wont be able to wait another year, this summer is a transition year. i will be graduation my school and starting my own business. and i feel that once i start my business as a piano technician i wont be able to just get up and leave for 6 months. so i have to try and do it on the budget i am able to make.

but I looked over it again and it looks like i will be able to hit $4,000 when i leave. i decided i don't need a $300 piece of gear, and i should be getting $600+ for my tax return. i had forgotten about that.

Maybe i will make it, maybe not. but i will try my best!

Awesome. It's not a 6 months now or 6 months in the future choice though if you hike the AT in a couple/a few pieces! It could be 3-4 months now and then a month here and there in the future.

I have some questions. What's your backpacking background? What's your longest hike/time spent outdoors in one continuous duration? WHY do you want to do an AT thru-hike? What draws you to commit to an AT thru-hike. Prove your commitment and passion if it's current. Inspire me.

swjohnsey
11-09-2014, 18:24
Mail drops usually add $10 o more to the cost of your food. Most don't make it anyway so might as well at least try.

Neemor
11-09-2014, 18:40
And it might come to that. If i do run out of money i will definitely return later and finish the remainder of the trail. Even if it is a year or two later. But i still want to try. I know about 10 families who live close to the trail, that have already expressed wanting to pick me up and feed me and let me stay the night. So that is a few "hostel" stays for free. (Or for some work in return)

But as to my background, i have done tons of weekend trips with my family and with the boy scout troop i was in (i became an eagle scout through that troop) and the longest i have been out in the outdoors is 13 days. On a canoe trip in Canada. We carried everything we needed for the whole trip. That was planned to be an 11 day trip but a hurricane delayed the float plane 2 days in picking us up.
I have always loved going outside and pushing myself to meet a goal.
This summer i had a goal of biking 125 miles in 8 hours and i trained for it and did it. I know that is a much smaller goal, but i enjoy these kinds of things.

I have read that many people have done the A.T. For $3,500 i just need to be careful to not buy too many $10 burgers and beer.

I am surprised so many people are telling me not to attempt it.

4shot
11-09-2014, 19:08
I am surprised so many people are telling me not to attempt it.

I think you have misinterpreted things. Most, if not all, are saying give it a go. best wishes. if you have $4k, your gear and some willpower you have what you need to start.

Neemor
11-09-2014, 19:10
Ahh okay. Thanks!

4shot
11-09-2014, 19:16
Inherent in your opinion is what many buy into that definitely is not necessarily so namely that thru-hiking maximizes one's hiking enjoyment. I could argue that a thru-hike, if one really wants to debate, could be defined as nothing more than the section of trail one has committed to hike. That's your thru-hike.

Further, as a hiker who mainly thru-hikes, but has done several long distance trails in segments, I'm having a greater respect than ever, as far as to a hiker's commitment, to hikers who complete long trails in segments. Having a relaxed hiking time frame with an adequate budget, as I notice many section hikers doing, seems to me them having quite enjoyable comfortable more convenient hikes compared to otherwise struggling thru-hikers.

My first experience on the AT was a thru. Since then, I have done many section hikes. they are 2 completely different experiences and, if I were completely honest, I think that section hiking is a bit more fun. I like the idea of being out for 2-3 weeks at a time without any "goals" other than to enjoy myself. Don't get my wrong - the thru was a great experience but in terms of "fun", I'd say the trail in smaller increments is more relaxing.

To your second point, I have the utmost respect for the 2,000 milers who complete the trail over time.

swjohnsey
11-09-2014, 19:18
And it might come to that. If i do run out of money i will definitely return later and finish the remainder of the trail. Even if it is a year or two later. But i still want to try. I know about 10 families who live close to the trail, that have already expressed wanting to pick me up and feed me and let me stay the night. So that is a few "hostel" stays for free. (Or for some work in return)

But as to my background, i have done tons of weekend trips with my family and with the boy scout troop i was in (i became an eagle scout through that troop) and the longest i have been out in the outdoors is 13 days. On a canoe trip in Canada. We carried everything we needed for the whole trip. That was planned to be an 11 day trip but a hurricane delayed the float plane 2 days in picking us up.
I have always loved going outside and pushing myself to meet a goal.
This summer i had a goal of biking 125 miles in 8 hours and i trained for it and did it. I know that is a much smaller goal, but i enjoy these kinds of things.

I have read that many people have done the A.T. For $3,500 i just need to be careful to not buy too many $10 burgers and beer.

I am surprised so many people are telling me not to attempt it.

I probably spent about that much. I think I drank two beers You can buy a weeks worth of groceries for the price of one restaurant meal. I ate mostly fast food in town when it was available. I also used about a dozen mail drops that included food and other consumables, batteries, toothpaste, soap, etc. Of course not many motels, mostly hostels.

Dogwood
11-09-2014, 19:43
Mail drops usually add $10 o more to the cost of your food. Most don't make it anyway so might as well at least try.

That's one approach to a hike and life, however, I'll offer another one. It could prove more beneficial far beyond the reaches of hiking.

Miyagi (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001552/?ref_=tt_trv_qu): Now, ready?

Daniel (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001494/?ref_=tt_trv_qu): Yeah, I guess so.

Miyagi (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001552/?ref_=tt_trv_qu): [sighs] Daniel-san, must talk.

[they both kneel]

Miyagi (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001552/?ref_=tt_trv_qu): Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later

[makes squish gesture]

Miyagi (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001552/?ref_=tt_trv_qu): get squish just like grape. Here, karate, same thing. Either you karate do "yes" or karate do "no." You karate do "guess so,"

[makes squish gesture]

Miyagi (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001552/?ref_=tt_trv_qu): just like grape. Understand?

Daniel (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001494/?ref_=tt_trv_qu): Yeah, I understand.

Miyagi (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001552/?ref_=tt_trv_qu): Now, ready?

Daniel (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001494/?ref_=tt_trv_qu): Yeah, I'm ready.



Or, as Yoda said, "do or do not, there is no try."

This thru-hiking philosophy can work better. It's based on a commitment a strong REALISTIC informed non overly romantic long term commitment that first time long distance hikers, namely AT thru-hikers, may be lacking. If you're going to commit might as well count the costs - literally. If not, wander with a lack of focus, knowledge, and budget and the stakes are higher for AT first time thru-hiker wanna bees to quit which makes these hikers section hikers anyhow! I see them in AT trail towns hanging out many seemingly lost confused trying to hang onto something they have quit some becoming something of a pariah in the town. AND, IF these same people love hiking that much or must complete a trail like the AT that would have them coming back as section hikers anyway. IMHO, for the most part, I don't see that though - people labeling themselves as AT thru-hikers not completing their anticipated AT thru-hikes coming back to finish their hikes. So, IMO I would like to see more people who are labeling themselves as AT thru-hikers more strongly considering and committing to section hikes. Not for my sake but for their own!

Thru-hiking the AT is overly hyped possibly nowhere more so than here on WB. Lone Wolf said it best, and I'm not saying this applies to the OP, "don't force a thru-hike." Obviously, AT thru-hiking statistics bears it out that most AT thru-hikers, or those doing their first long distance hikes, become section hikers anyway and quite possibly would have been best off from the start committing to section hikes - NOT forcing a thru-hike. We put this thru-hiking agenda on a pedestal though. Thru-hiking is not right for all people in all situations. With a lack of budget, as a first time long distance hiker, this certainly can be so. This is not something all people want to hear or will consider though.

Sorry for the thread drift Neemor. I'm not saying this applies to you either. I think it good to consider though. As I stated these threads do come up frequently. I wish you the BEST on your hike. :)

This isn't all aimed at you SWjohnsey either. :)

freightliner
11-09-2014, 19:49
How about a southbound hike that'll give you a couple more months of work and then everything will be closed and you won't have to worry about spending money on anything just hike

kayak karl
11-09-2014, 19:50
Budgeting needs to start way before a thru. a dollar here, a dollar the adds up. i don't buy coffee on the way to work. i pack my own lunch and rarely eat out. this saves me about 12-15 a day. i do this all year so i don't need to skimp on vacation.

Neemor
11-09-2014, 19:51
swjohnsey (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/member.php/29731-swjohnsey) cool! how long did you take on your thru-hike? I appreciate hearing from someone who was able to do this.


Dogwood (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/member.php/13828-Dogwood) that makes sense. I will think about doing a long section hike, but we will see how money plays out. who knows, i might find a bag of money :)


I appreciate the honesty

Neemor
11-09-2014, 19:55
freightliner (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/member.php/55309-freightliner)I had thought about this, but That would add the initial bus or plane cost getting to Katahdin. the way i have it worked out I will have a free ride home if i hike North.

But if i need to do that i guess i might be able to make more money because i could probably find a bus ticket for under $150ish

dangerdave
11-09-2014, 19:56
Hikers are goal oriented by nature, I think. You just have to ask yourself: Is your goal to enjoy your hike, or to get to a certain place at a certain time, within a certain budget, no matter what?

I'd rather have a light heart than a light pack (or a light budget) on the AT. I've never done more than a few days in a row hiking, so I want to make it as easy on myself as possible. "Easy" being relative. We all need to be cognizant of the failure rate, and why people fail an attempted thru-hike. Money, loneliness, unreasonable expectations, injury, illness, etc. Many, if not all, of these can be mitigated with proper mindset and planning. I believe that being here, asking questions, seeking advice from those who have succeeded, gives us an an edge already. And I want to do everything I can to stack the deck in my favor before I take that first step.

Still, a failed thru-hike is a successful section hike. It's just a matter of perspective. :)

Neemor
11-09-2014, 20:12
dangerdave (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/member.php/54360-dangerdave) That is an excellent point!

Dogwood
11-09-2014, 22:23
.....Dogwood (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/member.php/13828-Dogwood) that makes sense. I will think about doing a long section hike, but we will see how money plays out. who knows, i might find a bag of money :)

I appreciate the honesty


You must be Irish and be looking at the end of rainbows. :)

Thanks for taking my tirade in context. WB is a better place when people do that. :)

MuddyWaters
11-09-2014, 23:24
Good advice given here.

Realize that a thru hike is not an extended camping trip. Its a job. Its hard work. Beds and town food are necessary to rejuvenate you. It doesn't take long to get tired of eating the crap in your foodbag.

I've spent more on a 3 week hike than some want to try and do a 6 month thru for.

rickb
11-10-2014, 08:13
How about a southbound hike that'll give you a couple more months of work and then everything will be closed and you won't have to worry about spending money on anything just hike

+1

Not so much because some place will be closed later in your hike, but because you won't be quite so likely to get sucked into the contemporary norm of spending so many nights in town, and so much at restaurants.

Thousands of people had great hikes with less, but doing without is hard if you are surrounded by others who are not.

kayak karl
11-10-2014, 08:34
Good advice given here.
Its a job.
if i quit my thru hike can i collect unemployment ? ;)

RED-DOG
11-10-2014, 13:21
Im very curious why people with tight budgets don't do more mail drops with food and other necessities. I can buy good quality food and prep it at home and then have it shipped to me and KNOW what my food costs are. Or I can buy cheap food cheaper at home in large grocery stores instead of spending three times that money in 'convenience stores' while hiking.
Most folks just simply get tired of the same old thing every day and your appetite will increase considerably as you making your way up the trail and then you have to buy food to supplement your mail drops so at that point Mail drops becomes obsolete.

Dogwood
11-10-2014, 15:51
if i quit my thru hike can i collect unemployment ? ;)

No, you have to be fired or layed off from your thru-hike job. :) More than a few have thru-hiked while collecting unemployment supposedly while looking for a job as unemployment mandates though.

Just Bill
11-10-2014, 15:56
You could sell the computer you are using to access this forum, as well as any other electronics, odds are decent that could give you a $500-1000 bump in budget. Same with anything else you don't want or need. If you have a good thru, you're likely to re-examine your purchasing and consumer choices upon your return- why not have that garage sale now and use the proceeds to help fund your hike.

Dogwood
11-10-2014, 16:22
Most folks just simply get tired of the same old thing every day and your appetite will increase considerably as you making your way up the trail and then you have to buy food to supplement your mail drops so at that point Mail drops becomes obsolete.

Good pt Red Dog which I originally learned from Baltimore Jack's well done resupply article here on WB. I can say I learned much from Jack. However, as with any information you get from anyone each of us would be best served to consider how it applies specifically to us and hopefully improve on the info shared. That's my goal. And, with anything I share I too sincerely hope others improve on it not always follow it to the letter. Observe. Consider. Be creative. Adjust for your hike. HYOH. That's what I did when I first heard of this possibility as you mention getting bored with the same old trail food mailed in resupply boxes. There's a very simple solution to it too. Don't mail resupply boxes with the exact same food in it every time. Mix it up. Ramen, dries mashed potatoes, Knorr's Sides, tuna, stuffing, etc aren't all the possible trail food options. Nor does one mailing resupply boxes have to take a second mortgage out on the house to fund trail food exclusively opting for pricey dehydrated pre-packaged meals every night either.

As far as supplementing, whether one mails resupply boxes or not, every hiker I've ever met supplements somewhat usually in town or nearby or on trail by eating at restaurants, buying some extra, etc. Heck, lots of possible food supplement possibilities right on route for the AT.

I'm like Penny Pincher, not that what we do or believe is right for everyone, but I like to know what my basic food costs are pre-hike. Then, with what money/budget I have on trail it's gravy as far as additional food costs.

Further, and this is equally important with kit wt conscience hiking styles, I can take the time pre-hike to dial in my daily food wt, caloric content, and other nutritional beta goals. All distances between resupplying are not always going to be the same either. So, on those shorter mileage sections I know I can afford to add a little food in terms of cals, wt, variety, etc even with a UL hiking philosophy.

I've made some mistakes by throwing mailed resupply boxes into the resupply equation/mix but like anything with experience, observation, and the willingness to adjust/to improve we can get better and more efficient at it.

Slo-go'en
11-10-2014, 16:31
+1
Not so much because some place will be closed later in your hike, but because you won't be quite so likely to get sucked into the contemporary norm of spending so many nights in town, and so much at restaurants.

I don't need peer pressure to drive me to town when the weather sucks or to a restaurant when I'm hungry. Okay, once I got talked into going to a DQ which was a ways off the trail and then into a hotel room as it got too late to head back. Plus I needed a shower anyway...

Dogwood
11-10-2014, 17:08
You could sell the computer you are using to access this forum, as well as any other electronics, odds are decent that could give you a $500-1000 bump in budget. Same with anything else you don't want or need. If you have a good thru, you're likely to re-examine your purchasing and consumer choices upon your return- why not have that garage sale now and use the proceeds to help fund your hike.

Besides, in the 4-5 months it takes to thru-hike the AT when you come back your electronics are likely to be outdated and you'll be pressed to buy new electronics anyhow. :)

That's just anti American to suggest selling our electronics. Don't you know we NEED them....umm, in case of emergency....says the guy with 8000 posts. :)

Coffee
11-10-2014, 17:26
Liquidation of assets can be a quick approach to raising cash. However, if those assets will be needed right after the trip, then the cost of replacement items has to be figured into the equation. Since buying new electronics is going to cost more than the liquidation of old electronics, this strikes me as a false economy unless an upgrade is being contemplated anyway.

Another good example of this type involves what to do with a vehicle prior to a long hike. I'm probably going to just store my car for the time I'm on the PCT. It is tempting to sell it so I can rent out my parking space, eliminate insurance needs, and avoid the risk of mechanical issues coming up due to disuse. However, since I would want a vehicle again after the trip, I would have to account for buying another one and I doubt it would be cheaper that keeping my current well maintained car where I have understanding of its entire maintenance history and all records.

Neemor
11-10-2014, 22:57
I have thought about things to sell, but i keep a very minimal amount of "things". I have a small recording studio that i use my computer for, and plan to continue doing that so the comp will stay :p but i am going to try and sell my piano. That would give me another 1,500 and give me a much more cushy budget.

shelb
11-11-2014, 00:21
Also, things get more expensive up north.



That is true~

hikehunter
11-11-2014, 00:53
There has been a lot of negative posts in this thread.....
If you want to make a budget ....make it....
You can set it for high/med./low.....................your choice....
eat "roman noodle" for months or "mountain house"
make a mix of both............
stay in hostel or a hotel..........................if you can stay in your tent/hammock I say do it to save some cash.....

set some "big stops" and set some "low stops"
you may find some people along the way that might split the cost of some hotel stops.....

"Dogwood" had a good post about doing the AT.....

Hike the hike you want to hike......make it something that is of little or no stress......
If yo get to the 1000 mile mark great.....or the 1005 mark that is just as good....
Set a goal and go for it.
If you got to do it over time so be it....

Hike the AT to find your limits/self.....to hell with the crap that others throw in to block your path....

Booshay
11-11-2014, 09:09
If you wear diapers you can **** on the run and save a ton of time over a 6 month hike, which means you spend way less cash.

squeezebox
11-11-2014, 11:26
Nothing wrong with a section hike until you run out of money.

swisscross
11-11-2014, 11:43
Nothing wrong with a section hike until you run out of money.

Many consider a thru hike a badge of honor.

jdc5294
11-11-2014, 12:22
I did it on $2,000 (after buying gear) with no mail drops. You'll be fine.

Neemor
11-22-2014, 19:20
how many hotels/hostels did you stay in?

Connie
11-22-2014, 20:41
Maybe a grant, for a master's in sociology?

Mags
11-22-2014, 20:51
eat "roman noodle" for months or

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonara

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrabbiata_sauce

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pasta_al_pomodoro

Sounds pretty darn good ;)

Lone Wolf
11-22-2014, 21:53
Many consider a thru hike a badge of honor.

it's a vacation. nothin' honorable about it

July
11-22-2014, 23:41
it's a vacation. nothin' honorable about it
Just checkin'