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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    As far as oatmeal goes---I love it. Never gets old. On trips I often eat it for dinner as it's a change of pace from my usual salty dehydrated meals. Heck, carry 10 lbs of oatmeal and go to a town once every two weeks. Wild edibles also mix well in cooked oats---esp wild mustard greens and violets and chickweed. And a pot of oatmeal accepts cream cheese and/or cheese and butter and peanut butter and almond/cashew butter and honey etc. One more big bonus---You can cold soak oatmeal and eat it w/o cooking. All Hail Therefore the Humble Oat etc.

    Regarding your next quote---
    "Gear doesnít keep you on the trail. Your mind does."

    I read something similar from a guy named Spirit Eagle in his "Thru Hiking Papers". He says---

    ""The Trail isn't about equipment, it's a head game---and a heart game." "If you start The Trail with that realization, you'll increase your chances of finishing immeasurably"

    "Your 'attitude' is infinitely more important than what pack or stove or water filter you're carrying."

    Infinitely more important? Tell that to a winter backpacker at -10F in a 50mph blizzard sitting inside his 4 season tent and wrapped in his -20F down sleeping bag. In such a scenario if I had "attitude" on the one hand and "sleeping bag" in the other, I'd always pick the sleeping bag. Survival is often all about gear and equipment and less about attitude. Just my opinion of course.
    Just to clarify, I have nothing against oatmeal. Iím happy you like it. My point was you donít want to buy six months worth of something only to find out you get sick of it after two weeks. I donít like oatmeal anymore, doesnít mean itís bad. Just my personal preference.

    Also I didnít say your attitude is INFINITELY more important. They are both very important.
    Although if you want to argue,(and I donít) your mind keeps you on the trail, but your gear keeps you alive!!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    As far as oatmeal goes---I love it. Never gets old. On trips I often eat it for dinner as it's a change of pace from my usual salty dehydrated meals. Heck, carry 10 lbs of oatmeal and go to a town once every two weeks.

    Regarding your next quote---
    "Gear doesnít keep you
    You do realize that THRU HIKERS walk more than 1.5 miles per day and donít squat for a week waiting for their pack weight to be reduced from eating, lol.

  3. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boardin12 View Post
    Just to clarify, I have nothing against oatmeal. I’m happy you like it. My point was you don’t want to buy six months worth of something only to find out you get sick of it after two weeks. I don’t like oatmeal anymore, doesn’t mean it’s bad. Just my personal preference.
    Also I didn’t say your attitude is INFINITELY more important. They are both very important.
    Although if you want to argue,(and I don’t) your mind keeps you on the trail, but your gear keeps you alive!!
    Yep. Good gear will keep you alive and on the trail. Bad gear, or poor choices for gear, may not do either. But if your gear is adequate, in the long run it's a mental game. Can you deal with the monotony and the pain for months on end?

    I'm not a big oatmeal fan either. It's light, it's cheap but it doesn't do much for me. I can't eat enough to get enough calories. Yeah, you can add a bunch of stuff to it like nuts and fruit, but then it isn't cheap or light anymore. Give me a 600 calorie honey bun and I'll dance up the trail for a good couple of hours.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  4. #64
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    I hope this assists someone. It's detailed but could offer personally applicable insight in what is a complex topic - what it cost to thru hike.

    Thru hikers should assess their likely personal expenditures and the process by which these accrue if they are to target financial frugality. Here are mine and what I have observed. YMMV:

    The majority of my long distance backpacking expenditures in N America where I reside are food and overhead lodging. These two expenditure categories can blow up my on trail budget more than anything else. I suspect for those that do LD hike somewhat regularly this is also the case. More importantly seeking these these on trail cascades into accruing greater expenses.

    I much prefer to account for the majority of my LD backpacking expenditures pre hike. This has multiple benefits once on trail for myself with ultimate cost savings one of the primary objectives. In analyzing how my expenses accrue I've found it's not accurate for me to say going in to town is the blame. It's how, why and what I do in town. It's the mindset and behavior I exhibit that is most responsible. If I can avoid or limit a spending and consumption oriented mentality that limits my expenses. One of the activities I realized that most triggered a spending mindset for myself is going in to town to buy food. Thinking about going in to town because I had to buy food triggered my spending and other behaviors that often were not supporting frugality and other thru hiking completion goals... It tended to escalate into getting a room, greater consumption, restaurant outings, gear purchases, ever greater self indulgence, etc. Basically, even before I stepped into town I was priming myself to accrue greater expenditures. If I can limit a spending mentality I tend to get in and out of town faster. But, even if I do stay in town I'm not focused on buying stuff, spending money. My primary focus can be worthy experiences instead of shopping. I can actually go into town and add to the thru hiking experience by engaging other worthy experiences that don't require major financial expenditures.

    Most often in analyzing financial costs to mail resupply boxes it's stereotypical this is not considered. Most often folks analyze shipping costs and the 'stuff' in the box. I include considering my behavior and the processes by which it occurs and how I can be more responsible in directing it in saving money, time, impact on other resources, staying mentally strong, contributing to others, being a good trail ambassador, etc. I tend to focus less on my own desires that are triggered by shopping for myself. I call it thru hiking with intention with a bigger picture plan.

  5. #65
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    To add to the fast thru hike without hiking fast...

    going to sleep at nine, waking at five and being on the trail by six gave me about thirteen hours to hike during the daylight and still set up by shelters without disturbing others. If I take two hours for lunch and breaks I can cover 25-27.5 miles a day by cruising at 2.5 mph. There’s a reason it’s called the green tunnel. Throw in the occasional 16 mile day when you do find that view point and averaging twenty for hiking days can be done comfortably.

    I did try to plan 12 mile days into town by noon so I could load up on lunch dinner and breakfast before leaving the next day. I didn’t save a lot on food by hiking fast. I’m burning the same calories to hike 2190 miles but I did cut out the calories for the additional days I didn’t need to complete the trail. I saved money on town costs by missing every other one.

    i probably only stayed at ten campsites including less than five unofficial and night hiked just once.

  6. #66
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    Some define mailing resupply boxes as food or creating unnecessary time delays and costs. I don't perceive boxes that way...and don't experience it that way. If someone is organizing a AT thru for financial frugality of typical 4.5 - 6 month duration perhaps they shouldn't either.

    I mail using a hybrid approach for my own reasons - meds/hard to conveniently obtain supplements, stricter diet, saving precious on trail time attempting to locate harder to find items, and saving money on trail doing so. For myself, with my tendency towards Organic Foodie dieting ways I actually don't save much money if any on the food alone by mailing it. I gain convenience and eating a diet which I know supports my on trail and overall 'health' goals. The food can be one possible cost savings for others when done personally appropriately in some cases. For myself, and I suspect for some others, my possible "in the box" cost savings are the non food items. For example, I still prefer paper maps or supplementing with them on some hikes(maps bought while on trail can be expensive and hard to find the maps I prefer, time and money spent on trail I'd rather prefer not to experience), insect protection/bug juice, pricier and sometimes harder to find hygiene products(this can be important cost considerations perhaps more so for females, a cost which some men don't account), tweaking kits with gloves, fresh merino socks, trail runners, etc and things like Li batteries is where the larger costs savings cumulatively come in for me. These items can be expensive on trail in terms of costing more money and inconveniently costing more time trying to locate and time hassles/delays having gear shipped from gear manufacturers while on trail. Cumulatively, the most expensive items in a resupply box can be the non food items, hence can be the largest potential savings. YMMV.

    A hybrid resupply approach offers me the greatest flexibility in cost savings, diversity, flexibility, convenience, on trail time management, and getting the items desired. Garlic talked about mastering the near "0." That's what mailing a box to key places where there's less risk of longer in town durations helps. I can get in, get out faster with less temptation of spending money in town. The longer I'm in a town and the more most are too the more we are often influenced to spend money. Again, the one place and activity I find myself most exposed is shopping for food and other items. Non food items were third. From what I can, while disregarding gear financial costs, that fits the majority of AT thru hiker on trail financial costs. If I can reduce those costs my on trail budget can be ridiculously minimalist. If I shared my on trail budgets I wouldn't be believed.

    Here can be a typical in town scenario when in the LD "zone" for myself. I pick up my box first; head to the laundromat next. As laundry is being done I'm unpacking my box and doing any gear maintenance. Maybe, get a bite to supplement the on trail diet and I'm back out hiking or to the trail all in the same day...if I want. That doesn't have to be all the time. By allowing myself to judiciously buy along the way at larger grocery stores and at towns that I've anticipated support the items and style I prefer ON SOME OCCASIONS I get the flexibility of attaining maybe something I had not thought of or anticipated including in the mailed resupply box. We can't, no one can account for every possible situation. This way when I go into town or a resupply I'm not habituating my activities to shopping and spending or having to spend as much time there if I don't want. Supplementing food and supplies by doing smaller less focused on shopping in and outs or as I pass can do the similarly. One ancillary benefit is that it can address the "your tastes may change, you'll get bored with your food" often cited against mailing some boxes. This adds diversity and flexibility of possible food choices and tastes. It also allows for some tweaking of on trail dietary and dietary related performance concerns as one gets deeper into the thru hike. YMMV. Weigh your own pros and cons. You don't necessarily need to adopt other's opined dogma against recognizing benefits of mailing at least some resupply boxes for your own hike.


    People complain and focus on challenges... and leave it at that. The world and Whiteblaze can be a negative oriented place. For success in LD hiking and in life it's good to understand potential problems. To be successful we have to find acceptable personal solutions...to move forward beyond majoring on the challenges. I've considered the common resupply box issues. There's an excellent article on AT resupply here on Whiteblaze done by Jack"Baltimore Jack" Tarlin. There's another article here on WhiteBlaze on how a thru hike was done for about $1000 done by Carrot Top(?). This is good info we can learn from without having to personally go through the trial and error learning process. Now find solutions to those problems presented in those articles that make it a workable situation for your hike. That's what I've done. That's HYOH! In mailing, as a guesstimate, some 250 resupply boxes in N America on 30K+ and counting backpacking miles(Yes that's correct, I count) I've had a TOTAL of three(3) boxes temporarily delayed, one(1) lost box, and had a TOTAL of four(that's 4) times(Yes I counted them) where I couldn't get in and out experiencing time delays by immediately obtaining a resupply box. OVERALL, weighing the pros and cons, for myself that vastly equates with spending less time than necessary in a town and being less exposed to being influenced to spend money. That's where the larger picture of on trail financial frugality is created for myself.

  7. #67
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    AT NOBO Thrus are typified as NB's. I was too so don't hate on me. I was once instructed "don't despise small beginnings." That was good advice considering how far so many have evolved as backpackers and in life's varied other endeavors. Consider Andrew Skurka and so many other serial LD backpackers first very long hike was on the AT, basically as Newbs. As such one of my greatest on trail expenditures as a NB on that first AT thru hike was new gear purchases. In hindsight, this financial expenditure could have been less if I had completed a wk backpacking trip, and two 5 night + trips would have been better, in yielding greater gear costs savings as well as other frugality goals prior to the AT NOBO thru hike.

    Want greater efficiency and frugality on a thru hike start BEFORE the thru hike by doing some extended overnight backpacking trips. Those trips can translate well to an AT NOBO.

  8. #68
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    I agree about not staying in town. Honestly, we feel that if we are really that tired and are aching for a night in a real bed, we'd hike half the day since most hotels you can't check in until mid afternoon anyway. But my feeling is, the farther from town we are, the less likely we are to make bad choices financially. For example, we have what we need, but we get close to town, get a whiff of fresh cooked pizza, and poof! Our budget is blown and our bellies are full for one evening rather than a possible week's worth of supplies.

  9. #69
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    [QUOTE=Dogwood;2233734 People complain and focus on challenges... and leave it at that. The world and Whiteblaze can be a negative oriented place. For success in LD hiking and in life it's good to understand potential problems. To be successful we have to find acceptable personal solutions...to move forward beyond majoring on the challenges. I've considered the common resupply box issues. There's an excellent article on AT resupply here on Whiteblaze done by Jack"Baltimore Jack" Tarlin. There's another article here on WhiteBlaze on how a thru hike was done for about $1000 done by Carrot Top(?). This is good info we can learn from without having to personally go through the trial and error learning process. Now find solutions to those problems presented in those articles that make it a workable situation for your hike. That's what I've done. That's HYOH! In mailing, as a guesstimate, some 250 resupply boxes in N America on 30K+ and counting backpacking miles(Yes that's correct, I count) I've had a TOTAL of three(3) boxes temporarily delayed, one(1) lost box, and had a TOTAL of four(that's 4) times(Yes I counted them) where I couldn't get in and out experiencing time delays by immediately obtaining a resupply box. OVERALL, weighing the pros and cons, for myself that vastly equates with spending less time than necessary in a town and being less exposed to being influenced to spend money. That's where the larger picture of on trail financial frugality is created for myself.[/QUOTE]


    Thank you for referencing the other articles. I will definitely seek those out. I agree that people tend to lean more towards the cons than the pros because we're a society that relies on its instant pleasures, but I feel like maybe I have a little more patience. I don't plan on hitting the trail expecting all the comforts of home. If I wanted glamping, I wouldn't be considering the trail in the first place. So I'm already considering the costs of things that won't matter like going out for drinks/beer, or staying in hotels and hostels very often, although I do fall into the certain dietary differences category. I try to shop organic, but if I can't get it, I don't need anything brand name. But I also have certain allergies (dairy) so I know the frustration of going to a quickie supermarket or gas station for snacks and not being able to find anything appealing once I've scanned every nutritional label. I've lived a couple months eating plain oatmeal twice a day, so while I may crave chinese takeout every now and then, what I understand is this: I have a set amount of funds that I need to stretch for 5-6 months (with hopefully a remainder left over) so a tub of plain old oatmeal will do me just fine. At the same time, I dont want my thru hike to be absolutely miserable.
    BUT I digress...what I MEANT to say was, thank you all for your input. I have a little over a year to consider my options and feel that perhaps the best way for me is to create an inventory of a few things and set up a few drop boxes, set up some good communication with family members, and at the same time prepare for resupplies in town shopping at Dollar Stores and Walmart. I tend to stress a lot about money and usually end up having more than enough in the end, so instead of worrying about it, I'll simply spend my year planning and saving as much as possible.

    Thank you all! I appreciate the feedback so much and I'll definitely be back with more questions

  10. #70
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    Maybe, because you do consider your spending and consumption habits you have more money than might be presumed? Maybe, that also makes you more adaptable...which is a great trait to have if you're thru hiking? HYOH I can see you and your friend working out your hike with a good attitude.


    BTW, I primarily grew up in the Pinelands and on the Jarzee Shure. Knew many who lived in PA and at The Shore. Forked River, Toms River, Red Bank, Little Silver, Rumson.

  11. #71
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    It's funny because I'm actually in a small little spit of a town in central PA, though most people confuse it with THE Jersey Shore hahaha. I've never been to the real thing.

  12. #72

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    My thru in 2010 cost me $2,300 including a bus from Maine to Nashville. I did lots of woods zeroes, didn't drink much in town, rarely stayed in a hostel, and took creek baths. I know a lot more now, and could probably do it even cheaper. I wasn't trying to be cheap, I had 5k budgeted for the hike, I didn't feel like I was limiting myself.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by LShuman024 View Post
    I'm new to this page, but I figured it would be the best place for advice and knowledge about the trail. My boyfriend and I are planning to hike nobo in spring of next year. We're both pretty frugal, as we've had to deal with financial hardships in the past. Additionally, we prefer the DIY approach as often as we can. I'm working on learning as much as possible about mail drops. My question is...is it possible to survive solely on mail drops for food source?
    I do understand that things happen and resupplying in towns may be needed due to accidents, weather, falling behind schedule, etc.
    My goal is to buy bulk foods and get a decent inventory of dry foods (oatmeal, dried fruits, etc.) and separate them into boxes that would be enough for a week's worth of food for an average of 6 months. Our families have agreed to mail these for us.
    We plan on saving as much money as possible before starting our thru hike, but we would like to use as little funds as possible.

    I'd love to hear any advice or opinions on this matter.
    As a world traveler and LD hiker often with a financially frugal approach I've found many times I trade more time for less financial input.

  14. #74

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    Youth
    Time
    Money

    For the A.T., pick any two...
    (trailname: Paul-from-Scotland)

  15. #75

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    I live in NJ and I didn't do a frugal thru in 2013 but if you cannot do a full hybrid approach b/c of diet restrictions, I recommend a partial hybrid approach: as previously mentioned your costs go up north of Mason Dixon Line...it is not frugal to buy in bulk in PA and ship to the southern part of the trail. Give yourself a starter kit mailed from home and identify the first town you can do a major resupply and bounce it to yourself with flat rate box. Be honest with yourself on the limited flexibility of this approach--you will have specific towns for resupply. If you need to bounce your box forward (vs use 100% of contents of a box) and you will need to be sensitive to PO schedule.

    I think you could plan resupply towns for bouncing box to yourself (this might mean overnight stay with trip to PO) and towns where you only ship the food for the next section (more flexibility--ship to hostel, outfitter, PO).

    I ended up using an approach like this. I had purchased food for areas with no food stores and had them ready for my support person in NJ before I left. I knew I didn't want to be solely mail resupply b/c I need variety so I was not planning food for 2k miles but for specific places. I started my bounce box (Priority Mail) at Neels gap with things like travel laundry detergent, shampoo/conditioner, nail clippers, next section of guide book and even a lightweight pair of jeans! This box went to towns where I planned on zero's. I did do some food only boxes --no planned stay/rest--just food..and hostel/outfitter/hotels are great for these b/c of longer hours for pick up and no need for shipping services.

    Having that starter kit helped for the hostels where shampoo or detergent were not available but that is not common. Today I would add packing tape b/c PO are making hikers buy tape now. Soon I realized how cheap everything is down South and I cancelled my planned boxes for south of NJ. I bounced my food only and starter box filled with food to myself from the trail b/c the food was cheaper and the postal rate was consistent.

    I had extra food in NJ at end of hike. Didn't go to waste; I ate it before I got my next job so I don't consider it wasted money.

    You have been provided good advice in this thread on start time, diet, social life vs cost. Like most things it's about prioritization. Remember you will need to be flexible and have fun to complete the hike. BTW, sounds like you live near good training hikes like the Black Forest Trail!

    ~Dimples -2013

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