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  1. #1
    Registered User tjvol1's Avatar
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    10-13-2006
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    Default Budgeting for the hike

    To you thru hikers out there...just out of curiousity, how much would you budget for the hike and when would you start if you were going from south to north and did not want to hike to much in the hot weather, but also didnt want to die in zero degree stuff?

    Probably a dumb post...but hey...I am the new kid!

  2. #2
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    Not counting the price of all your gear, I wouldn't start at Springer with less than $3000. Minimum.

  3. #3
    Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjvol1 View Post
    To you thru hikers out there...just out of curiousity, how much would you budget for the hike and when would you start if you were going from south to north and did not want to hike to much in the hot weather, but also didnt want to die in zero degree stuff?

    Probably a dumb post...but hey...I am the new kid!
    And I would leave April 1st or so.

  4. #4

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    No such thing as a dumb question. I think the average from most most is around $1.50/mile, or about $3-4,000 for the trip while you're on the trail. That doesn't include travel cost, gear ahead of time, or that sort of stuff. Some will go much cheaper, but that's the exception rather that the rule. I'd want to have at least $5-600/month just to be on the safe side.

    Towns are where you'll spend your money - meals out, beer, hostels and motels, and other random stuff just sucks your money away. Less towntime = cheaper hike (in my opinion)

    Leaving too early in the south to avoid the heat means you'll miss the fall up north. If you're really heat-adverse, consider going south starting around June 15. If you make decent time you'll be done by Thanksgiving, and you'll be in better shape through the Smokies. Then again, you'll probably catch some cold weather, but zero degrees would be the exception. You could plan on it reaching 15 degrees though anywhere from Mt. Rogers south.

    Have fun no matter what you do. Just put one foot in front of the other and you'll get there eventually.

  5. #5
    Formerly thickredhair Gaiter's Avatar
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    When budgeting don't forget about other expenses back home (rent, utilities, cell phone etc.) I meet alot of thru-attempters that were getting off the trail in erwin-damascus because they ran out of money too soon.
    I like Johnny Swank's comment on money:
    Money: Estimate how much you'll need, then take double that amount. Make sure to put some funds aside to live on when you return.
    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=18313
    Gaiter
    homepage.mac.com/thickredhair
    web.mac.com/thickredhair/AT_Fall_07

  6. #6
    AKA - Yahtzee mnof1000v's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    Everyone's budget is different, just as everyone's mileage is different. But I'd say there are some things you ought to consider. You ought to put together a list, that's the first step. Assuming you already have your gear together, included on that list ought to be the following:
    1)Determine what expenses you will have while you are hiking that are unrelated to the hike. By this I mean rent, school loans, basically anything you'll be leaving behind. That number should be relatively solid and predictable.
    2)Then figure out what your meals will likely consist of. A general idea of your diet will give you some indication of its cost. If you're planning to use mail drops consider how many you'll use, and by what method you'll be sending them. (I used priority mail flat rate boxes, which made my number pretty easy to calculate, while others I know used first class mail, which is cheaper.)
    3)Ask yourself if you will be staying in towns. Consider at least $50 per town visit - even more as you get further north. And realistically, if you like towns you might spend more. That's especially true if you become attached to a group.
    4)Expect some sort of injury or setback, and plan accordingly. If you'll be paying for insurance, include that in your list. If not, have some money set aside for this very consideration. You don't want to be forced off the trail due to injury-related expenses.
    5)Consider transportation costs. I don't just mean getting to Springer and getting home. Towns can be off the trail, and it isn't always easy to hitch. And even if you do get into town, there will be times when you need something that isn't available in town (like gear, and whatnot!). Shuttles aren't usually free.
    6)Think about gear... always think about gear. As you start your hike, you'll see things you can upgrade or change, or even send home. Any change in gear, unless you're leaving it in a hiker box, will entail some cost. (I must have spent at least $500 in new gear while on my hike, and $100 sending stuff home...)
    7)Add together everything on your list, and increase the number by at least 15%. In my experience, most people spend at least that much more than they expect.

    And finally, check out the information listed in the Thru-hiking info section of this website. There are some great articles on this very topic.

    My hike cost more than most. I paid for health insurance. I got injured and had to take a month off. I had student loans and other bills to pay while hiking. I enjoyed my time in towns. I hiked quickly and took zeros. My hike exceeded the typical $1.50 to $2.00 per mile estimate that you hear. But I prepared in advance for that expense and that made all the difference. I suggest you do the same. It is always better IMO to finish your hike with extra money than to end it early due to lack of funds.

    And BTW, I started March 1st. It was cold and I had to deal with crowds in the Smokies. If you have time, start later, but expect bugs by NJ.

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