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  1. #1
    Registered User strebor's Avatar
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    Post Cost of a Thru-Hike

    I have read the help on this sight in regards to costs of actually doing a thru-hike. I have done some figuring on what my actual costs might be.


    I will post it here and everyone can tear it apart and give it their comments. This is for a estimated 7 month trip. I included the seventh month as a saftey.

    $35.00 per week for food x 4 weeks x 7 months = $980.00

    $500.00 for the trip for replacing/repairing or buying new gear.

    $500.00 for town visits restraunts/hostels.

    I plan on hiking and staying out of towns unless I have no other choice. Of course resupply.

    I have seen figures on here where people have spent $12,000.00 on a thru-hike.

    I have planned on $2000.00 for my hike and that will be all I take with me. This is not including the rides to and from the A.T.
    "I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth".....Steve McQueen

    NO MATTER WHAT HAVE FUN!

  2. #2
    Hopeful Hiker QHShowoman's Avatar
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    You've only budgeted yourself $1.67 a meal? Does this amount not include mail drops? If that's all you're budgeting per meal, mail drop or not, that's still pretty meager. I am sure it can be done, but I hope you like Ramen.

    I'm budgeting $5000 for my actual hike and $5000 to cover the cost of covering my other expenses while I am away (student loans, car payment, storage unit, health insurance, etc.). I work two jobs and I put $100 from each job away in a special savings account every 2-week pay period. I know this seems like a lot of $$$, but its what I've worked out and it will allow me enough of a "cushion" so that I can take a little time after my thru to reacclimate to the "real" world.

    I think there are definitely ways to do it on the cheap, but I think $2000 is a pretty big challenge (which may add or detract from your thru-hike experience).
    you left to walk the appalachian trail
    you can feel your heart as smooth as a snail
    the mountains your darlings
    but better to love than have something to scale


    -Girlyman, "Hold It All At Bay"

  3. #3
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    Quick thoughts--

    You'll probably discover that $35.00 a week for food won't get you very far. I know folks who manage to spend that much every time they shop on snacks and fruit, never mind other stuff.

    Also, a $500.00 budget for hotels/restaurants works out to just over sixteen dollars a week, assuming you're out for 30 weeks.

    Sixteen dollars will not get you a hotel in any Trail town, in fact it won't pay for many hiker hostels, never mind hotels.

    While I wish you all success with your trip,and while I know folks who've thru-hiked on a $2000.00 budget (or even less), with all respect, I suggest that you try and add at least $500.00, and preferably more to your bank account somehow. I think you'll be glad you did.

  4. #4
    Registered User strebor's Avatar
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    I will not be doing any mail drops other than what is needed. I have read that in a few locations it is hard to resupply. As far as food I will be eating mostly ramen, and lipton. I will not be the first to do it. I cannot remember what the guys name was, but he did his thru-hike on around $1200.00.

    I figure if I am not staying in hotels and eating in restraunts and blowing my money on alcohol. I will be fine and will be able to use most of the money I figured in for towns for additional or better quality of food from time to time.

    I want the full experience of the trail, not the trail towns.
    "I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth".....Steve McQueen

    NO MATTER WHAT HAVE FUN!

  5. #5
    Registered User strebor's Avatar
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    While I wish you all success with your trip,and while I know folks who've thru-hiked on a $2000.00 budget (or even less), with all respect, I suggest that you try and add at least $500.00, and preferably more to your bank account somehow. I think you'll be glad you did.
    Thank you for your comments. It is not that $2000.00 is all I can afford to take with me, and if I need additional money I have it. I would not go if all I could aford was a $2000.00 budget.

    I want the feel of the trail and the wilderness and some solitude. I plan on hiking the trail. Leaving the trail only when I have to (resupply and emergencies only) and other than that I will stick to the trail. As one of the many military persons on this site. I can go for extended periods of time without the comforts of a bed and the luxuries of a town. Not to say that others cannot hack it. I'm saying that I have done without and handled it great. I am sure I will at some point stay at a hostel or hotel or eat in a restraunt. But, it is not on my list of things to do.

    Anywho, thanks
    "I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth".....Steve McQueen

    NO MATTER WHAT HAVE FUN!

  6. #6
    Hopeful Hiker QHShowoman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strebor

    I want the full experience of the trail, not the trail towns.
    Well, aren't the trail towns, hostels, and people you meet along the way all part of the "full experience of the trail"? For me, the AT is less about a backcountry wilderness experience than it is about the camraderie you share with other thru-hikers and the people and places that have become fodder for AT lore over the years. I plan on camping along the trail as much as possible, but there are some places that I don't want to miss, like Miss Janet's, the Doyle, and Rusty's. Of course, HYOH, but it's just something to think about.
    you left to walk the appalachian trail
    you can feel your heart as smooth as a snail
    the mountains your darlings
    but better to love than have something to scale


    -Girlyman, "Hold It All At Bay"

  7. #7
    Hopeful Hiker QHShowoman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strebor
    I want the feel of the trail and the wilderness and some solitude. I plan on
    Have you ever section hiked the AT during thru-hiker season? Wilderness and solitude are definitely not the two words that come to mind for me. If this is your aim, I'd suggest a SOBO hike (as I will be doing) and plan your start date for the "off" months.
    you left to walk the appalachian trail
    you can feel your heart as smooth as a snail
    the mountains your darlings
    but better to love than have something to scale


    -Girlyman, "Hold It All At Bay"

  8. #8
    Peakbagger Extraordinaire The Solemates's Avatar
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    dude, heed jacks advice, and add more money. add as much as you can and believe me, you won't be eating ramen the whole way.
    The only thing better than mountains, is mountains where you haven't been.

    amongnature.blogspot.com

  9. #9
    Registered User strebor's Avatar
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    There are places I would like to visit, such as Ms. janets. But, it does not have to cost me alot of money.

    People, well I will meet them on the trail. I am sure I will meet alot of you on the trail at some point. And for me, these people (Hikers, Outdoorsman/women) are the ones I will charish meeting.

    Solitude for me isn't always being alone. It is being away from the hustle and noise and problems you find in dealing with everyday life. Those you deal with in towns, work, and so on.

    I guess that is the best I can explain the feeling I have about doing the A.T

    Am I right? More than likely NO!

    But this is my dream, my goal, and it is something that I feel very strong about. And I hope that you have extreme amounts of fun on you SOBO hike.
    "I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth".....Steve McQueen

    NO MATTER WHAT HAVE FUN!

  10. #10
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    Fantasy and reality are two different things. The AT is gonna show you that.

  11. #11
    Donating Member/AT Class of 2003 - The WET year
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    I didn't keep exact figures but I would estimate that, not counting gear or transportation to/from the trail, I spent close to $4000.

    My appetite grew as I hiked and I consumed more food and snacks. As delis and restuarants became more available up north I took advantage of them. I also hiked at a slower pace than many of the hikers I met in 2003 because I found out (after the fact) that I had done the trail with pretty bad kidney stone disease. I don't think I "overdid" towns, hotels or zero days but as time went on I did grow to appreciate taking better care of myself. If that meant a night in a hotel/motel then that was what I did.

    Everyone's hike and needs are different but I sincerely doubt that you'll get from one end of the trail to the other on $2000.

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  12. #12
    Registered User strebor's Avatar
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    Fantasy and reality are two different things. The AT is gonna show you that.
    Well, lets see based on your post I should save up $12,000.00 and stay at every hotel and hostel I come across and maybe bring my 90Qt. marine cooler with me.

    Or, mabye you are one of those people that feel the need to attack others. Because you have no dreams, fantasies, or ambitions of your own. Hmmm I think you are.

    It is kinda like guys you meet in the military. Think they know all there is to know about everything because they pulled guard duty on a fence in North Korea and when the first scud hits the ground they are crying like babies.
    "I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth".....Steve McQueen

    NO MATTER WHAT HAVE FUN!

  13. #13
    Registered User Phreak's Avatar
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    I think your plan is possible and I wish you nothing but good luck on your hike.

    I too plan on a lower budget hike, probably in the $2500-3000 range max. My only plans for staying in town are the weekends (2 or 3) when my wife is visiting me on the trail. I don't drink, so I'll save by not consuming alcohol. I don't eat processed foods of any sort, so I'm relying almost exclusively on maildrops except for areas where a resupply in town is the only option.

    I already have all of my gear, haven't needed to buy anything specifically for the thru hike.

  14. #14

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    Strebor-4 of the 5 people who replied to your post are successful thru hikers. 2 of them are multiple thru hikers. That's not to impress you, but they do know what they are talking about. You did ask for people to tear apart and comment . That doesn't count Phreak, he posted while I was reviewing this.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
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  15. #15
    James Sodt Time To Fly 97's Avatar
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    Slogger is right on...

    There are MANY unknowns if you haven't done some long distance hiking.

    I was eating 8000 calories a day in New England, much more than I had planned on. I went through 2.5 pairs of boots. I wanted a steak and a real shower when I got to town every once in awhile. Even little things like laundry or taking a zero day or buying a friend a beer is $10 bucks here, ten bucks there. The Whites (huts) are expensive. It adds up.

    If you can't get more than $2K...the most important thing is to get out there and hike...so go for it. But you'll have more fun and peace of mind if you bump that up a little IMHO. If you do go low budget, save your money for the more expensive Northern sections.

    Happy hiking!

    TTF

  16. #16
    Registered User strebor's Avatar
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    Strebor-4 of the 5 people who replied to your post are successful thru hikers. 2 of them are multiple thru hikers. That's not to impress you, but they do know what they are talking about. You did ask for people to tear apart and comment . That doesn't count Phreak, he posted while I was reviewing this.
    I did ask for comments and so on. I did not ask for L. Wolf's personal attack.

    I will head the advice of you and others to increase my budget. I will however still only plan on a $2000.00 budget. If needed I have the money to increase my budget 10 times that amount.
    "I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth".....Steve McQueen

    NO MATTER WHAT HAVE FUN!

  17. #17
    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
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    A person does not live on ramen and lipton only. If you are like me, you will crave greasy foods, like burgers and fries (also ice cream). That can blow the budget very quickly.

    Also, if you are planning a 7 month thru-hike, that usually means more days off, and days off are usually taken in towns. Thus, your costs are going to increase.

    For a normal duration hike of 5 1/2 to 6 months, $2000 is probably on the low side. For a 7 month hike, it is definately too little.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by strebor
    I did ask for comments and so on. I did not ask for L. Wolf's personal attack.

    I will head the advice of you and others to increase my budget. I will however still only plan on a $2000.00 budget. If needed I have the money to increase my budget 10 times that amount.
    They're the ones in the know, not I. As long as you have it in reserve, exceeding your budget won't kill your trip.

    As far as LW, all I can say is, well, he's hiker trash .
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

    Whiteblaze.net User Agreement.

  19. #19
    Registered User strebor's Avatar
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    For a normal duration hike of 5 1/2 to 6 months, $2000 is probably on the low side. For a 7 month hike, it is definately too little.
    I am only planning on a 5 1/2 to 6 months. However my planning invloves including month number 7 as a cushion in my planning as far as the actual costs. It is the military part of me saying plan for the unkown.

    I do realize that a $2000.00 budget is going to prob. be pushing it. But I am determined to stick with it.
    "I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth".....Steve McQueen

    NO MATTER WHAT HAVE FUN!

  20. #20
    Donating Member/AT Class of 2003 - The WET year
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    Quote Originally Posted by strebor
    I do realize that a $2000.00 budget is going to prob. be pushing it. But I am determined to stick with it.
    ============================
    Although I'm not going back on my earlier statment ...I will admit that if you budget more you will inevidably spend it. Kinda like having extra space in your backpack. Somehow it mysteriously gets filled with stuff.

    Heck, give it a shot. I admire your discipline and determination.

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

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