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  1. #1
    Registered User skinnbones's Avatar
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    Default May not be able to save enough.

    If I'm unable to raise the funds for a NOBO thru hike next spring, typically how far would $1500 take me if all my gear was purchased? Thanks.

  2. #2

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    many variables, but if you mostly just by food/gas and don't stay in hotels or eat out, you can go around 3 months give or take
    Not much room there for gear replacement, so that could cut down your food $ if you have to fork out a couple hundred after two months because of busted shoe, busted poles, etc

  3. #3

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    Oy.

    Some people, very few people, could make it all the way on that.

    Others wouldnt make it past Damascus

    If careful, you could make it Harpers Ferry.

    How do you feel about wearing thrift store sneakers when your shoes wear out?

    Youd be better off starting a month late, and working longer to save more money. Starting with the crowd will eat some money up early when cold front comes thru and drives you off trail. The less party people you are around, the more you will hike, and not spend money as well.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 05-30-2016 at 11:36.

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    The standard figure is $1000/month. Many do it on less with proper budgeting. So, with $1500, you could get through Damascus and probably quite a bit further into VA. Early season NOBO's spend extra money on hotels and hostels due to bad weather. If you could delay your start until April or May to avoid bad weather you'd save $$$ on those expenses would would help extend your trip. Just make sure you have enough in reserve to get yourself home afterwards.
    Remote for detachment, narrow for chosen company, winding for leisure, lonely for contemplation, the Trail beckons not merely north and south, but upward to the body, mind, and soul of man.


  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinnbones View Post
    If I'm unable to raise the funds for a NOBO thru hike next spring, typically how far would $1500 take me if all my gear was purchased? Thanks.
    There's a lot of available time between now and then; can't you find a little more work or reduce your existing expenditures some?

    $1500 isn't much, but I suspect if you can curtail all unnecessary expenditures, you can come close to completing half the trail. I'm a bona fide cheapskate and found my calling in thru-hiking(!), but then I'm willing to put up with a lot of crap that most would never dare...pilfering hiker boxes, avoiding town stays, using secondhand gear (including shoes) and so forth. I spent just over $2600 for the whole trail (excluding gear already owned). But I never spent money to sleep anywhere and refused to pay for the GSMNP permit...and I bought cheap shoes at thrift stores en route, when needed. And my high-tech hiking poles are made of wood and are found in the forest. If you expect comfort (beer, hostels, etc), that money won't even get you close to halfway. It's hard to know an accurate answer for you, since it's hard to know a person's spending habits, and whether they can be changed.

  6. #6

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    steep climbs/descents combined with horrible weather can cause someone to question their original budget and plan of "sticking to the trail and being cheap"
    So how you respond to those impulses will be a lot of the issue. It could be more fun to do what you can comfortably and finish the rest of the trail later

  7. #7

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    If you only have $1500, do not start before April 15. Maximize your efficiency by avoiding the bulk of the inclement weather. You can also put in higher mileage days with more sunlight. It's good you recognize this financial situation now. If you are dedicated enough, there should be no reason you can't earn another $3-4,000 before next spring.

    As an FYI- I just did 8 zero days nursing a badly sprained ankle. Thankfully I budgeted an emergency fund on top of my budget.

  8. #8
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    This could be a very interesting challenge, have someone send you $300 a month and that's all you get to live on...I see a reality TV series coming. I was going to say, I saw some kids (early 20's) pull off some amazingly cheap thru hikes but that being said they have youth on their side. It's so hard to get out of town after resupply, all the fast food urges, cheap hotels, internet, showers, washing machines, they just call to you like the sirens. You would really have to have a unbendable will to pull something like this thing off, but hey who says it can't be done, the 68 cent challenge!

  9. #9
    Registered User -Rush-'s Avatar
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    I heard one of the guys that works at Neel Gap said he did it on $2/day. He also added that he didn't drink, smoke, or do drugs. I'd imagine if you're focused on hiking most of the day and minimizing days in towns you could pull it off. Having said that, if it's your first time you probably won't be able or want to hike that way once you start having some fun with other hikers and passing cool places.

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    don't pay for any shuttles. hitch everywhere

  11. #11
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    If you dont already start using coupons and put the savings in your hiker fund. Many discourage mail drops but I would buy a dehydrator and start dehydrating food to have mailed to me.

    Ive read posts about paying a dollar for ramen at a convenience store. At the grocery store I can get 6 for a dollar. Not saying you should eat ramen just posting an example.

    I havent tried it yet but I read an article about making your own fuel. Basically melt wax dip cotton ball in and put on wax paper to dry. Supposed to burn for 15 minutes. Also a bit bulky.

    If you have friends and family save wax for you you could have some very cheap fuel.

    Id look on the internet and look for dirtbagging and money saving ideals.

    Oh yeah if you can stop spending your change and statt saving it. You might be suprised how much it adds uo.

  12. #12
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    Sorry just posting again so I can subscribe to the thread.

  13. #13

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    Figure out a cause you care about and go door to door in the right neighborhoods with the right message and you will fund your hike plus thousands for the cause. Should be easy enough to save if time is on your side.

  14. #14

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    That's really unethical, using a cause to fund your vacation.

    Go out and earn the money to do what you want to do. As others have said, if working longer will give you extra funds, then consider starting later, doing a flip or even doing a SOBO. Sometimes that doesn't work if your living expenses equal your income. One thing you might do is let your family know that instead of presents, you'd like contributions to your hiking fund for Christmas and birthdays. Do you have anything worth selling?

    I hiked around some really really cheap hikers. (I was low budget, but not cheap.) Doing a really low budget hike means denying yourself a lot: no pizza, beer, cigarettes, hostels, showers, etc. It means avoiding spending time in towns, no matter how tired you are or how hungry. It means filling your food bag from the hiker box, if there's anything there when you get there. It means having a very limited repetitive diet. (i.e. Ramen). One guy I hiked with bought pasta in large bags, along with bologna and cheese. That was lunch and dinner for the first two weeks. Check out Weathercarrot's article here on the site. He did very low budget hikes. Some people are okay with that kind of denial, but others are not. It takes luck (no injury or equipment failures, no major snow storms that keep you in town for several days). On the CDT, I met some hikers who did maildrops that they packed ahead of time, taking advantage of bulk buying. On the trail they allowed themselves $25 in each town to spend as they wished. For them, that meant beer and cigs, plus the occasional burger not motels or laundromats, but YMMV. They relied on the kindness of people they met along the way who invited them home to get an occasional shower and laundry or offered them meals, but that is pretty uncertain, especially on the AT. They had some scary encounters as well as good ones.

    I agree with the advice to start later so you avoid getting stuck in town to wait out bad weather.

  15. #15
    279.6 Miler (Tanyard Gap) CamelMan's Avatar
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    In China, they eat rice with every meal. On the AT, make oatmeal your staple food. If you get bored and want something else, cook. Prepared food (esp hiking food) is a terrible deal. You'll miss out on some things that are calorie dense, so you'll carry a bit more weight, but you'll probably save a ton of money. That was my plan--oatmeal. Instead of a dry bag you can take a tupperware container from town to town and cook your own food in hotel microwaves. I did this on my failed thru in 2010 because I'm vegan and even if I weren't, I want my leafy greens, but it works for saving money too. When the container was clean it held my cell phone, wallet, whatever.

    When shopping, calculate the price of something per 1000 calories, or calories per penny, to get the best deal.

  16. #16

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    Just hike as far as you can on what cha got, come back next year and do the same...problem solved.

  17. #17
    Registered User DavidNH's Avatar
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    1500 bucks will (MIGHT) get you as far as Harper's Ferry if you are frugal. No hotel nights, minimize hostels (only stay at cheapest) don't go near bars or restaurants. Prey you don't have to replace any gear. After all that it will still be a challenge on 1500.

  18. #18
    Registered User skinnbones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    Just hike as far as you can on what cha got, come back next year and do the same...problem solved.
    At first I had the attitude its all the way or nothing, but now I'm at peace if I turn into a section hiker. My gear is about 75% complete and I'm sure I will save a few more bucks than $1500 by next spring. I was just curious how far that amount would go. I thank everybody for their reply.

  19. #19
    Registered User ny breakfast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    Just hike as far as you can on what cha got, come back next year and do the same...problem solved.
    i did exactly this last year with about the same amount of funds to spend,be frugal now save as much as you can, i got about 1200 miles in last year. when i got injured i took bus home. worked and recovered from injury and flipped up north took a total of 3 weeks off i even rented a car from NH to make it home for a wedding. i did have experience in backpacking before hand. but learned alot on being frugal i splurged in town on food and beverage alot maybe $100-150 in town but i didn't stop in every town maybe every 100-150 miles or so. I only planed my trip in two days and got on a bus. just save every thing you can now, cut out any luxury now, that's the position i'm in now to finish up what i have left, hopefully do some of it this fall. starting later will save alot of money i think i started around June 2nd probably could have eat for nothing all the way to VA and brought no gear at all with the way things are left behind.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    Just hike as far as you can on what cha got, come back next year and do the same...problem solved.
    Ya, I been section hiking since the '60's, I like to pick a starting point of a section and leave the ending up to fate. Doesn't have to make a difference whether a hike is one based on miles hiked and money spent. Nothing wrong with searching for and discovering the best brew pubs, bars, local eateries or free showers and on the way and stop at all the terrific scenic views or colorful mushrooms. That can be a big plus for the next time you do that section. Just sayin'.

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