View Full Version : Thru Hike Expense

10-06-2004, 13:46
I plan to take 6 month and hike the trail to enjoy, not being in a rush. How much money do I need to do a THRU hike NOBO ?

Jack Tarlin
10-06-2004, 13:52
Not counting initial gear purchases, and not counting transportation to and from the Trailheads, most folks spend between 2500 and 4500 dollars while en route. Some spend less, some spend lots more. The crucial factor will be how much time you spend off the Trail in towns, and how well you want to live when you get there.

If you're not overly extravagant, you can have a great trip on three to four thousand dollars, and many folks manage on significantly less.

(If you look in the "information" section of this site, there's a great article by Weathercarrot on hiking on a budget.....lots of good advice there).

Lone Wolf
10-06-2004, 18:12
If you like beer, buffets, and beds then figure $4000.

10-06-2004, 19:50
A few guidelines:

1. The longer you are out, the more money you will probably spend.
2. The majority of your trail expenses will probably occur when you take zero days in town.
3. Food on trail is the worst place to cut corners.

To illustrate 1, this summer I hiked about 1150 miles on the AT and spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $750 for all food, lodging, burned out gear that had to be replaced (shoes, etc), fuel, transit, and other on-trail expenses (so, not counting durable gear). That works out to be around 65 cents per mile. Extrapolated to the length of the entire AT, I would have dropped about $1400. However, I crossed that ground in 48 day, so my per day costs were, perhaps, more in line with others.

2. Life on trail is cheap. Life in town is expensive, particularly once you get out of Virginia. A place to stay, lots and lots of food, beer, movies, whatever. The fewer nights you stay in town, the less you'll spend.

3. You'll want to eat a ton when you are hiking. If the choice is between $50 for a motel room or 3 days of food, take the 3 days of food anytime.

10-07-2004, 08:14
Just to carry Chris's post one step further, I tried to keep track of my expenses while thru-hiking. I figure that I spent about $500 to $600 on groceries. Everything else was spent on "town expenses", such as meals & hostels. So, as Chris posted, hiking is close to free. It's how you live in town and how much time you spend in town that costs.

(And don't misunderstand me. I don't advocate that anyone even contemplate a thru-hike on a $600 budget. I'll follow Jack's guidelines.)