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Thread: money

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    Registered User shlugger's Avatar
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    how much money do I need? some say 1000$ a month what do yall say?

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    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    When I first started backpacking about a generation ago, there were respected hikers claiming you could do the entire AT on about $1,000. Even then most people found that to be impossible. Probably $2,000-$3,000 was the norm then.

    Today, I think frugal hikers spend at least $3,000 (not including initial gear purchases), and the majority are well north of $4,000. I have met hikers who freely acknowledge spending close to $10,000 but I think that's a bit extreme (as far apart from the norm as a $1,000 hike).
    Last edited by Skyline; 12-20-2015 at 12:48.

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    Garlic
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    $1000 a month has always worked comfortably for me, and I've been a middle-aged guy with a credit card (and no budget problems) my entire hiking career. Then the bigger question is how long will it take? A younger person with a tighter budget should have no problem spending quite a bit less than that. And, logically, a faster hike is a cheaper hike.

    There's a recent thread from someone who hiked the AT for something like $1200, and on the thread that seems reasonable and well-documented.

    I personally know several people who openly admit to spending over $10,000 on their AT hike. They're the ones who started early, ended late, spent seven+ months out there, and spent a lot of time in motels sitting out the early and late storms. And they had the times of their lives, had the money to spend, and did not regret one cent.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

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    Registered User StubbleJumper's Avatar
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    Within reasonable limits, you can spend as much or as little as you like for a long hike. Some guys never spend a night in town, instead just making a quick in-and-out trip for food, maybe a quick lunch at McDonalds. Guys like that have no trouble getting their costs down to $500/month and they laugh at a $1000/month budget. Other hikers have more money and less tolerance for discomfort and spend more money as a result.

    Personally, I like to spend a night in town about once a week to take a shower, wash my clothes and eat a few solid meals. I prefer to spend the night in my own flea-bag motel room rather than a hostel, so a baseline cost would be $70/night in town, with some places being cheaper and others a bit more expensive. When I am not hiking I currently spend about $400/month on restaurant meals, and that habit follows me to trail towns. I think nothing of going to a pub and ordering a $12 cheeseburger and 3 or 4 pints for $6 each...add on taxes and tip and it's $50. With those habits, my weekly visits to town probably run me about $250 each by the time I re-supply, do my laundry and eat like a pig. If I am planning to leave town to recommence my hike and I wake up to bad weather that looks like it may persist throughout the day, I also do not hesitate to say "Screw it" and spend another night in town. It's nice to have a budget that allows you to avoid hiking on a few days that will obviously have heavy rain.

    Even with my somewhat liberal spending habits, I don't find that I spend any more money on the trail than I would at home. So the big thing for me is not the question of finding sufficient money to fund a hike, but rather to take time off from work.

  5. #5

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    It will probably be a once in a lifetime experience, so save up a little extra cash and enjoy your hike !!!
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    shlugger,
    Check out this youtube channel. This guy is a 2015 AT hiker. He also has a link to a spread sheet which lists a lot of what he spent.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSnAe050qGA

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    Registered User DavidNH's Avatar
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    how much money to hike the AT? how long do you intend to take? (how many months?) plan on a lot of zero days in town? gonna hit all the bars and buffets?

  8. #8

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    I figure between $100 and $200 for each town stop. It's less expensive on average in the south then in the north, but you'll probably stop more in often in the south. You'll spend at least $30 at restaurants for lunch/dinner/breakfast and another 30-40 for trail food. Then whatever the lodging costs. That can range from effectively free to $60 or more for a motel.

    $4000 is about the low end without having to become a beggar and eating mystery meals out of hiker boxes but it does require having frugal habits. 5 grand lets you live in relative comfort and 6 grand is a nice cushion.

    You'll hear stories of those doing it for far less, but that's really hard to pull off and few actually manage to get far. Running out of money is probably one of the top three reasons people have to go home.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  9. #9

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    The amount of money you spend will be directly in proportion to how much time you spend in towns vs. how much time you spend on the trail. Most people do not have the discipline to get into town, get their resupply, wash their clothes, take a shower, get restaurant meal and get out. If you don't want to spend money in town, you have to get in and get out. Which means you plan your town stops for morning or early afternoon. If you roll into town just before dark, you're going to stay.

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    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    What are some good suggestions on money saving tips while hiking? I found I was spending 5 bucks in town just to wash clothes each time, so I "trail washed" more often. Most of the time sleeping at a hostel, I found shortly after there were camp sites along the trail well within walking distance (sometimes closer) to the town/trail than the hostel was. For me, getting a room for the night wasn't really any more comfortable than my air mattress (I"m a little weird like that tho), except for the warm shower. It all adds up in the end, I wish I would have written down how much I spent but I didn't.

  11. #11
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I figure between $100 and $200 for each town stop. It's less expensive on average in the south then in the north, but you'll probably stop more in often in the south. You'll spend at least $30 at restaurants for lunch/dinner/breakfast and another 30-40 for trail food. Then whatever the lodging costs. That can range from effectively free to $60 or more for a motel.

    $4000 is about the low end without having to become a beggar and eating mystery meals out of hiker boxes but it does require having frugal habits. 5 grand lets you live in relative comfort and 6 grand is a nice cushion.

    You'll hear stories of those doing it for far less, but that's really hard to pull off and few actually manage to get far. Running out of money is probably one of the top three reasons people have to go home.

    Good response. I think the OP was looking for a realistic assessment, not the extremes (low or high). What you wrote, in my opinion, is spot on.

    Sure, it's possible that a few people do it on far less. If they enjoyed their hike, great for them. That is actually kind of a feat and they have a right to boast a little. And I'm not at all envious of those who take a luxury tour of the AT costing in the five figures. Both are what HYOH is all about. But the norm, today, I think could be set at $4,000 to $5,500 not including initial gear.

    Even at $1,000/mo. that is less than what most people need to survive today in their traditional (non-Trail) lives. Those hikers who essentially shut down their pre-Trail lives temporarily (give up most of the things that cost them money) while thru-hiking actually see a financial benefit of sorts. Of course, they usually have no job-related income accruing while hiking so they would be spending savings or using a credit card. Thru-hikers who can't get rid of their off-Trail expenses while hiking can wind up in more debt if they don't plan ahead financially, or already have enough disposable income to rely on.

    I've met people who were literally homeless (prior to hiking) on the AT who lived out of hiker boxes. And I've met hikers who were multi-millionaires out there too, who lived any way they pleased (BTW one in particular was intentionally frugal but didn't need to be). We all got along pretty well, and those extreme financial scenarios were not very relevant on the AT. Tough climbs, cold, heat, rain, dehydration, etc. and all the good things we experienced were what prevailed during conversation at the end of most days, not money.

    Another thought: If a hiker was truly concerned about financing a thru-hike, why not consider section hiking? Without a doubt, it will cost more in the long run because of logistics/travel/hiking slower at the start of each segment--but section hikers can finance each segment for hundreds of dollars (vs. thousands for a thru-hike). Kind of a pay-as-you-go plan. It works (worked) well for some, including me.

  12. #12

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    A Whiteblaze article from 2012...Ideas for an Inexpensive Thruhike.


    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/cont...(Hiker-Advice)
    Order your copy of the Appalachian Trail Passport at www.ATPassport.com

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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by shlugger View Post
    how much money do I need? some say 1000$ a month what do yall say?

    $25.00/day.

  14. #14
    Registered User ny breakfast's Avatar
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    more then you plan to spend, always best to end the trip with money in your pocket then coming off the trip trying to readjust and struggle to have money when you get home, or end your trip early. save as much as you can and spend wisely

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kontiki View Post
    shlugger,
    Check out this youtube channel. This guy is a 2015 AT hiker. He also has a link to a spread sheet which lists a lot of what he spent.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSnAe050qGA
    But, prospective thru-hikers should note that while he documents spending $2158 total (without transportation or gear), he stayed with family friends (10 to 12 times per the video) in many places along the trail, including food, showers, laundry, shuttles to resupply and to/from trail. He stayed in 6 hostels and motels on his own, which sounds about right - 20 zeros or so total, once per week. Add also that his family met him and paid for motel stays 2 or 3 times and a friend payed for one resupply, etc. That equates to a lot of free stuff that most hikers would have to pay for - shuttles, lodging, meals, showers, laundry, etc. That's 12 to 15 town days/zeros, meals, laundry, etc at what he correctly estimates are likely $100 or more per stay. So add about $1500 minus approx $100 in beer and smokes to his $2158 costs = $3558, which sounds more reasonable for someone even while watching their expenditures. Another item to watch is that he admits eating a lot of Ramen and Pop Tarts. Not the best foods to keep your health up on the trail.

    So $3500 over 150 day hike = $23/day or $700/mo or $1.60/mile which sounds believable but on the low side for a reasonably frugal hike - without beer and/or smokes or other vices/luxuries. Hiking on less is certainly possible, but it would be very difficult.
    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 12-31-2015 at 15:55.

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    I would like to make another atmept to thru hike, but need to raise the funds to do it. I spent 6 1/2 months making this quilt. It has 2,024 two-inch squares, each individually hand quilted. If you know of anybody who might be interested in purchasing it, I would be grateful for your referal. It is on display at a library right now for $4500. quilt at mckee library.jpg

  17. #17
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    1,000 a month.
    Lonehiker

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