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    Default Daily budget on the AT

    I was having a discussion with someone, and is saying you'll average spending $10 dollars a day on the AT for food, fuel, etc. a good estimate?

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    Registered User 4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepokerkid227 View Post
    I was having a discussion with someone, and is saying you'll average spending $10 dollars a day on the AT for food, fuel, etc. a good estimate?
    Store bought food and fuel. Yeah. Doable. And some, but not a lot of "etc." And not likely if one gets town food and/or drinks every 4 to 5 days.

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    Yeah I wasnt really counting in getting a meal in town every time you stop, strictly store bought food, canister fuel, laundry, and the occasional hostel/motel and a meal in town.

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    My trail food alone is already around $10 a day. Add hostels, town food and consumables, and it's easy to double that.

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    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    No way could I hike for $10 a day. Figure you'll have an opportunity to spend money every 2-4 days and sometimes more often than that.

    $25-$30 a day would be the lowest number I'd feel comfortable with. Even at $30 a day for 180 days (6ish months) that's just $5400, which is on the bottom end of what I feel like is enough to allow me to hike and enjoy myself.

    But there is a very big caveat to this. I would never take 6 months to hike the AT. Maybe 4 months on the outside and the faster you hike the cheaper you can hike.

    I still wouldn't do it if I didn't have a bit more $$$ than I thought I needed.

    I am not saying this is how it should be for everyone, or this is a magic number or anything but if I started I would dang well want to finish and one of the top reasons people don't finish is because they run out of money. I would not start an AT hike without a bankroll of $7,000.

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    Registered User 4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10-K View Post
    No way could I hike for $10 a day. Figure you'll have an opportunity to spend money every 2-4 days and sometimes more often than that.

    $25-$30 a day would be the lowest number I'd feel comfortable with. Even at $30 a day for 180 days (6ish months) that's just $5400, which is on the bottom end of what I feel like is enough to allow me to hike and enjoy myself.

    But there is a very big caveat to this. I would never take 6 months to hike the AT. Maybe 4 months on the outside and the faster you hike the cheaper you can hike.

    I still wouldn't do it if I didn't have a bit more $$$ than I thought I needed.

    I am not saying this is how it should be for everyone, or this is a magic number or anything but if I started I would dang well want to finish and one of the top reasons people don't finish is because they run out of money. I would not start an AT hike without a bankroll of $7,000.
    Ya know, if you keep upping your budget, you might as well hire a sherpa. Maybe you should change your name to "$10K".

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    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    Ya know, if you keep upping your budget, you might as well hire a sherpa. Maybe you should change your name to "$10K".
    Nah man... if you check the only number I've thrown out for the past 2-3 years for a thru hike is $7,000..

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    Agree with 10-K. Better to have enough money and maybe even have some left over than to come up short.
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

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    Registered User 4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepokerkid227 View Post
    Yeah I wasnt really counting in getting a meal in town every time you stop, strictly store bought food, canister fuel, laundry, and the occasional hostel/motel and a meal in town.
    Oh, THAT "etc." - you want to do laundry and stay in hostels/motels too? Yeah, that won't happen on $10 per day average. Figure a hostel is $20-30, a motel room is $60+ (a cheap motel). Decent town meals are likely $7-10 for breakfast, $12-20 for dinner. Without drinks. You might be able to get by on $20 per day average if you watch your expenses.

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    alot of people on here will tell you that your gonna need close to 4000 or 5000 to have a comfortable hike that takes 5 months or so. thats close to 1000 a month. to me thats absurd.. 150 days at 20$ per day equals 3000 total. thats 600$ per month. if you cant hike on that then someting isnt rite in my book..when u get to the new england section of the AT your costs will go up for sure. everything costs more in the northeast...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 10-K View Post
    No way could I hike for $10 a day. Figure you'll have an opportunity to spend money every 2-4 days and sometimes more often than that.

    $25-$30 a day would be the lowest number I'd feel comfortable with. Even at $30 a day for 180 days (6ish months) that's just $5400, which is on the bottom end of what I feel like is enough to allow me to hike and enjoy myself.

    But there is a very big caveat to this. I would never take 6 months to hike the AT. Maybe 4 months on the outside and the faster you hike the cheaper you can hike.

    I still wouldn't do it if I didn't have a bit more $$$ than I thought I needed.

    I am not saying this is how it should be for everyone, or this is a magic number or anything but if I started I would dang well want to finish and one of the top reasons people don't finish is because they run out of money. I would not start an AT hike without a bankroll of $7,000.
    i cant understand why so much money is needed. your saying 6mths will equal out to 5400. do you realize thats nearly 1000$ per mth just to hike the AT.. to me thats just crazy. what is there to spend money on that adds up like that. most people share motels unless they are loners...laundry and food surley do not add up that fast...

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    Hiking is cheap. backpacking is cheap. Towns are not cheap. If you have a few pints of beer in town and stay in motels split with others and town meals it can add up. It will be hard to stay on a budget when most people are enjoying their town stays. Just Nero's will cost let alone zero days. I find the trail cheaper than staying home because I don't take my wife out to dinner on the trail twice a week No gas, etc. Some folks apparently consider part of the back packing experience to take a vow of poverty when backpacking. I don't. I really enjoy hiking but if it the AT was Inn to Inn I would be happy. I just tolerate camping.
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    food 15$ per day = 450/month
    lodging 30$ per week =120/month
    laundry 6$ per week = 24/month

    unexpected spending 2nd pr of shoes = 100/hike

    i suppose the 700 per month total here is not too far off from the 1000 per month i thought was ridiculous...i think my estimates may even be conservative, hmmmmmm....

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    Quote Originally Posted by 10-K View Post
    No way could I hike for $10 a day. Figure you'll have an opportunity to spend money every 2-4 days and sometimes more often than that.

    $25-$30 a day would be the lowest number I'd feel comfortable with. Even at $30 a day for 180 days (6ish months) that's just $5400, which is on the bottom end of what I feel like is enough to allow me to hike and enjoy myself.

    But there is a very big caveat to this. I would never take 6 months to hike the AT. Maybe 4 months on the outside and the faster you hike the cheaper you can hike.

    I still wouldn't do it if I didn't have a bit more $$$ than I thought I needed.

    I am not saying this is how it should be for everyone, or this is a magic number or anything but if I started I would dang well want to finish and one of the top reasons people don't finish is because they run out of money. I would not start an AT hike without a bankroll of $7,000.
    I would agree with $10K that, $7K would surely give you a comfort level that would enable you to buy whatever you wanted (just about) get a hostel or pizza or beer whenever you happened to hit a town but the trail (and that by going faster you spend less) but long distance backpacking (AT and elsewhere) can be done much cheaper and often is. I hiked in 1985 on less than $2500 including all of my gear which (using an inflation calculator would have been $4904.00 (roughly) in modern money. I also had money left over. I ate lots of oatmeal, peanut butter, instant rice, and cheap instant coffee and got two (I think) hotel rooms the whole way (and a half dozen pay campgrounds where they had showers). Instant potatoes, tuna, instant oatmeal, granola and even snickers are still cheap --- it's just that most people roll with Mountain House, stop in all the towns, pay for shuttles (vs hitch-hiking) and eat restaurant meals and beer (this is fun and makes it a LOT easier trip than what I did) -- it just depends on your style. I'd revise 10Ks numbers like this:

    $1200 -- it could be done - absolutely NO frills whatsoever - you'd need hiker box help, used gear - most spartan ways possible -- no beer unless it's given to you
    $2500 -- the cheapest most people should probably try - share a hostel every couple of weeks now and then - really watch it hard in groceries - use hiker boxes a lot - tall PBR every 2 weeks
    $4000 -- very doable - you would rarely stay in a hostel and would have to watch your money carefully - you could probably get a $10 bunk every 10 days and split a 6 pack every week
    $7000 -- 10Ks number - this is full fare - pay for shuttles, hostels, replace gear, drink micro-brews - do what you want to
    $10,000 -- now you have so much luxury available for a thru hike, I think you miss the point

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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa D View Post
    I would agree with $10K that, $7K would surely give you a comfort level that would enable you to buy whatever you wanted (just about) get a hostel or pizza or beer whenever you happened to hit a town but the trail (and that by going faster you spend less) but long distance backpacking (AT and elsewhere) can be done much cheaper and often is. I hiked in 1985 on less than $2500 including all of my gear which (using an inflation calculator would have been $4904.00 (roughly) in modern money. I also had money left over. I ate lots of oatmeal, peanut butter, instant rice, and cheap instant coffee and got two (I think) hotel rooms the whole way (and a half dozen pay campgrounds where they had showers). Instant potatoes, tuna, instant oatmeal, granola and even snickers are still cheap --- it's just that most people roll with Mountain House, stop in all the towns, pay for shuttles (vs hitch-hiking) and eat restaurant meals and beer (this is fun and makes it a LOT easier trip than what I did) -- it just depends on your style. I'd revise 10Ks numbers like this:

    $1200 -- it could be done - absolutely NO frills whatsoever - you'd need hiker box help, used gear - most spartan ways possible -- no beer unless it's given to you
    $2500 -- the cheapest most people should probably try - share a hostel every couple of weeks now and then - really watch it hard in groceries - use hiker boxes a lot - tall PBR every 2 weeks
    $4000 -- very doable - you would rarely stay in a hostel and would have to watch your money carefully - you could probably get a $10 bunk every 10 days and split a 6 pack every week
    $7000 -- 10Ks number - this is full fare - pay for shuttles, hostels, replace gear, drink micro-brews - do what you want to
    $10,000 -- now you have so much luxury available for a thru hike, I think you miss the point
    nice. BUT if i had 10,000 saved for a hike i would spend 5000 on the hike and the other 5000 in hawaii or something like that...

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    Quote Originally Posted by bamboo bob View Post
    I just tolerate camping.

    Here it is in a nutshell.

    Do you hike the Appalachian Trail to get away from civilization and be in nature for months on end - or do you hike between hostel/motel/hotel beds and restaurants bars?

    If you can be honest with yourself, figure out your limits, figure out what limits you're willing to push and calculate from that - then you'll find yourself with the budget that works for you.
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    What I like is hiking, I like the trail and what i can see in the wild areas. Camping gets old fast for me. So yeah I like the long trails because its something new every day. But you know I like nature and I also like civilization. I don't find liking them mutually exclusive. It's rare that you don't hear hikers talking excitedly about getting to town. And the AT more than other trails is like that because people camp together and go into town together. The PCT you mainly camp alone so towns are where you get to meet people. If I really want to get "away" I don't think the AT is that kind of place. As "months on end" I just don't see the AT like that. I love it and enjoy it but apparently in a different way. People exaggerate so much of the AT life. Ever hear about the dudes who say they have to sleep on the floor when they get home? Really? After sleeping in hostels and motels once or twice a week for five months they can't sleep in a bed. I think of the AT more an exploration of America than a wilderness trip. Andrew Skurka, now that's a wilderness trip.
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    Quote Originally Posted by F-Stop View Post
    Do you hike the Appalachian Trail to get away from civilization and be in nature for months on end - or do you hike between hostel/motel/hotel beds and restaurants bars?

    If you can be honest with yourself, figure out your limits, figure out what limits you're willing to push and calculate from that - then you'll find yourself with the budget that works for you.
    You make a good point but it's tough to "figure out your limits" from the comfort of home.
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    Agree with Bamboo Bob --pick your pain level - are you out to party or hike? --- but - I really did get by on peanut butter mixed with oatmeal - we bought the big canisters and big boxes or Idahoan Potatoes - a gallon ziplock of each --burned white gas and even gasoline at times that was nearly free because you could lift up the hoses when gas stations closed and there was residual in the lines - instant rice and cheese was a luxury - if there were things like Mountain House, I don't think I knew about it. Here are 2 budgets: the full fare budget is probably how most people do it -- if you are willing to commune with nature a lot more, party a little less, and learn the art of hitch-hiking and the occasional yogi-bear food beg (like hang around and talk to the boy scout campfire for 10 minutes) you can work with budget #2 (or close).

    Here is a Full Fare Budget:

    Canister Fuel - $10 week
    food, $50 week
    new socks / supplies etc, wash dry and fold service, $25 week
    shuttles hostel etc. $50 week
    restaurants and booze, movie theater, etc. $50 week
    other supplies $25 week (at least)
    That's $200 per week x an average of 21 = $4200
    Gear and Gear replacement = $1500
    Transportation to / from trail = $1000
    This is a grand total of $6,900

    Here is the $2500 budget: now before you micro-brew, hydroponic plant growing types scoff, remember the style that Earl Shaffer and Gene Espy Hiked - this would be luxury by old-time standards:

    $50 week for food and fuel - lots of potatoes and make use of hiker boxes x 18 weeks (like 10K says - go fast) = $900
    you can probably get $10 in food out of nearly every hiker box - better like kool-aid and oatmeal, but I've found Mountain House - really!
    Hitch-hike and nearly no hostels or ones where you can make a $5-$10 donation - please don't stiff hostel owners
    Gear - get used, sierra trading post, yard-sale, craigslist, and scrounge - $800
    Transport to / from by bus or hitch-hike $300 - think like the HOBO you are
    Misc. and occasional luxury - hostel, movie, postcard, paperback, some very cheap party supplies now and again - $500

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    Stir Fry
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    Look at it this way. Find the most expensive place you can buy a days worth of food and see what you spend. I just went into my local mom and pop.

    Breakfast
    2 breakfast bars $1.89 ea. $3.78
    Snacks 2 snickers bars $ 1.25 ea $2.25
    Lunch pack of tuna $1.99 $1.99
    Dinner Mack and cheese $1.99
    Add tuna of chicken $1.99 $3.89

    Total for 1 day $12.00
    Lets say you find it for 20% less its still. $9.40

    Now you can decide if $10 a day is enough. Oh, by the way thats less then 2500 calories.
    If it do'nt eat you or kill you it makes you stronger
    'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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