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  1. #1

    Default $$$ Costs of a thru-hike? $$$

    UPDATE – this is edited, with corrections. ~ Mark

    Costs ($$$) DURING a thru-hike?

    In planning my 2013 thru-hike, I am trying to understand what money I need for what WHILE HIKING the Appalachian Trail.

    * NOT including initial purchases or costs of:
    CLOTHING
    GEAR
    HOME BILLS / Etc.
    or TRAVEL to and from the trail *

    What are the specifics that require money WHILE HIKING the entire 2184.2 miles of the Appalachian Trail? Anything that cost money during a thru-hike.

    Updated List (with help from many, ty!)

    ATM Charges
    Batteries
    Campsites & Shelters in the White Mountains
    Clothing
    Clothing repairs
    Emergencies (health)
    First aide supplies
    Food resupply
    Fuel
    Gear
    Gear fixes
    Hygiene items (soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, etc.)
    Laundry services / supplies
    Lodging (hotels, hostels)
    Mail drops (receiving)
    Mailing bounce boxes
    Mailing home supplies
    Mailing postcards, gifts, etc...
    Maps
    Miscellaneous purchases (cards, books, etc)
    Park Permits?
    Phonecard / cell phone charges
    Restaurants
    Showers
    Shuttles
    Town entertainment (movie, alcohol, etc.)

    Any additions you can think of?

    Thank you all,
    ~ Mark
    Last edited by Toy2boy; 01-10-2012 at 12:23. Reason: My initial question was to vague, confusing many.

  2. #2
    BYGE "Biggie" TOMP's Avatar
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    I find it hard to believe you cant find this info on here. This topic seems to come up about once a week. But here goes..
    Food, fuel, hostels, time off in town, food bought in restaurants, replacing first aid supplies, gear replacements, batteries, mailing (bounce boxes and sending stuff home as well as to you on the trail), beer, In AWOLs book he went to the hospital and rented a car.

    Most of these are not necessary except food and fuel but you should at least have a budget in place for emergencies.

  3. #3

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    Thanks TOMP.

    I just went back more than 2 months of roughly 200+ posts. If you can give me the link to a post answering WHAT specifically is money needed for, that'd be great!

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    jersey joe jersey joe's Avatar
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    Assuming you have your gear, the only thing you really NEED money for is food. You can probably hike the trail and spend about $1000 for food.

    Trail Towns are the second expense. When you hike into town, you may want to grab a cheeseburger or wash your clothes.

    Also, you might want to stay in a hostel or hotel, these cost money.

    Most people here will set 3k as a floor. If you want to hike cheap, stay out of towns and you can hike the trail for under $1500. I did.

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    mountain squid's Avatar
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    Here is what I posted yesterday, to the same question:


    This is a topic that comes up often. Check my 'how to hike' thread out. I've linked to several other threads concerning this very topic. You should get a good idea of how much might be needed.

    But, easy answer is 'way more than you might think'. Having leftover funds will certainly be better than running out.




    See you on the trail,
    mt squid

  6. #6
    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jersey joe View Post
    Assuming you have your gear, the only thing you really NEED money for is food. You can probably hike the trail and spend about $1000 for food.

    Trail Towns are the second expense. When you hike into town, you may want to grab a cheeseburger or wash your clothes.

    Also, you might want to stay in a hostel or hotel, these cost money.

    Most people here will set 3k as a floor. If you want to hike cheap, stay out of towns and you can hike the trail for under $1500. I did.

    Good post - this thread and ones like it are getting tiresome -- $1500 to $15,000 - it depends on who you are, your goals, your speed, your comfort level.
    This is about it --but this thread will go on for pages of people saying the same thing.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by jersey joe View Post
    Assuming you have your gear, the only thing you really NEED money for is food. You can probably hike the trail and spend about $1000 for food.

    Trail Towns are the second expense. When you hike into town, you may want to grab a cheeseburger or wash your clothes.

    Also, you might want to stay in a hostel or hotel, these cost money.

    Most people here will set 3k as a floor. If you want to hike cheap, stay out of towns and you can hike the trail for under $1500. I did.
    prices go up JOE, you hiked the trail how long ago?
    prices are way up since then even. most cant hike that cheap, i think it could set them up for failure.
    even if they can hike that cheap, lets hope they don't have any gear breakdowns
    Last edited by CrumbSnatcher; 01-08-2012 at 18:50.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa D View Post
    Good post - this thread and ones like it are getting tiresome -- $1500 to $15,000 - it depends on who you are, your goals, your speed, your comfort level.
    This is about it --but this thread will go on for pages of people saying the same thing.
    Nice papa!
    YOU MISSED THE POINT.

    And yes, I am delving through years worth of entries here and making a list of
    WHAT MONEY IS NEEDED FOR SPECIFICALLY (must and optional I will determine later)
    To come up with a financial understanding for MYSELF, MY HIKE.

    If I MISS 2-10 things I don't know about, such as camping permits needed in certain state parks (which I keep reading about) yet no one mentions it and I don't plan on it, I could be hundreds of dollars off in just planning.

    Oh, and before the wisdom comes to just plan for endless funds, that is not answering my question either.

    So folks, please continue to list what you actually might need money for.
    (And since times may change things easily, there may be costs today there wasn't 10 years ago.)

    Once I get a comprehensive list, I will post it in a single post for others to "consider" when planning costs.

    Thanks.

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    When i did my thur in 04 which took 4 months i spend 2100 and could of done it for about 1500 if i would of stayed out of towns more, Crumb, you know some people like to hike, not get drunk and stay in towns every 2 or 3 days.... if you are on the trail to HIKE it can be done fairly cheap.

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    sorry 02......

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by jj2044 View Post
    When i did my thur in 04 which took 4 months i spend 2100 and could of done it for about 1500 if i would of stayed out of towns more, Crumb, you know some people like to hike, not get drunk and stay in towns every 2 or 3 days.... if you are on the trail to HIKE it can be done fairly cheap.
    so you hiked 10 years ago, prices are still the same i'm sure. i wasn't a drinker when i hiked, 1-2 times i had a beer or two!

  12. #12

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    and the avg. hike is 5-6 months so the OP needs to have that info too
    it will be cheaper to hike 4 months instead of 6 i agree

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    Sorry i just realized that came off 'assholey-ish" i just meant that there are alot of reason to hike, some people enjoy the scocial part more then the hiking and that is 100 precent ok, alot people hike to to make friends and community that pops up around the trail. others are out there to be alone and get back to nature.... everyone has different reason and everyones thur cost a different amount.... if you only have 1500, you need to understand that, that mean you are stayin in the woods almost every single night, no beer. just basics.....

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by jj2044 View Post
    When i did my thur in 04 which took 4 months i spend 2100 and could of done it for about 1500 if i would of stayed out of towns more, Crumb, you know some people like to hike, not get drunk and stay in towns every 2 or 3 days.... if you are on the trail to HIKE it can be done fairly cheap.
    over my last two thruhikes my dog was a little older, so she had some pre-arranged days off. on those days i usually turned it up a little. i can and have hiked many 20's, a few 30's, 3-40's, 1-50
    so yes I KNOW HOW TO HIKE TOO
    Last edited by CrumbSnatcher; 01-08-2012 at 20:01.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by jj2044 View Post
    Sorry i just realized that came off 'assholey-ish" i just meant that there are alot of reason to hike, some people enjoy the scocial part more then the hiking and that is 100 precent ok, alot people hike to to make friends and community that pops up around the trail. others are out there to be alone and get back to nature.... everyone has different reason and everyones thur cost a different amount.... if you only have 1500, you need to understand that, that mean you are stayin in the woods almost every single night, no beer. just basics.....
    NO PROBLEM i'm an *******, and i don't need anyone to tell me :-) over the years i have hiked a little bit of the social thing, mostly solo-with just my dog, did a pack-on white blaze thru, i did a thru with some blue blazing, a flip flop and much more.
    toy2boy sorry for rambling, welcome to WB
    Last edited by CrumbSnatcher; 01-08-2012 at 19:50.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toy2boy View Post
    Costs ($$$) of a thru-hike?

    In planning my 2013 thru-hike, I am trying to understand what money I need for what? I scanned the boards, but couldn’t find this topic regarding what I’m asking. I have seen estimates between $1.50 - $3.00 a mile!

    * NOT including GEAR or TRAVEL to and from the trail *

    What are the specifics that require money while hiking the entire 2184.2 miles?
    Please list or update with ANYTHING you don’t see listed.

    Thank you all,
    ~ Mark
    fuel purchasing
    emergency gear replacement
    mailing home postcards,film,etc...
    occasional town meal
    shower which is usually attached ed to a hostel/hotel cost
    laundry
    phonecard or cell phone charges
    replacing first aid products(sun screen,mole skin,duct tape,etc...)
    food resupply
    possible ATM CHARGES
    so many things--stay out of towns :-)
    i never would but some pay for slacks and shuttles
    Last edited by CrumbSnatcher; 01-08-2012 at 19:48.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toy2boy View Post
    Costs ($$$) of a thru-hike?

    In planning my 2013 thru-hike, I am trying to understand what money I need for what? I scanned the boards, but couldn’t find this topic regarding what I’m asking. I have seen estimates between $1.50 - $3.00 a mile!

    * NOT including GEAR or TRAVEL to and from the trail *

    What are the specifics that require money while hiking the entire 2184.2 miles?
    Please list or update with ANYTHING you don’t see listed.

    Thank you all,
    ~ Mark
    5 grand after gear.

  18. #18

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    not everyone is a jersey joe(happy new year joe)
    i think LW is right on!

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    ~$10 for on trail food. Do the math for 4500-6000 calories, it's expensive, especially when you consider foods that are dense in calories, are palatable in large quantities and the premium you'll pay in trail towns versus buying in bulk in big cities. The cost can be roughly the same if you do mail drops well. Add more for fuel.

    New footwear every 300-500 miles unless you specifically have BOOTS with POLYURETHANE midsoles. Some people need special insoles too.

    I use sock liners, and I need a new one every 200 miles.

    Toilet paper, wet wipes, soap, hand sanitizer, q-tips and other hygiene products. Maybe the occasional nail clippers.

    Every week or two you'll stay in town. Maybe it's a hostel or a motel. Maybe you skip town occasionally. I'd average this to $30 a week. You'll probably eat there too, and I don't want to count this against on trail food, so let's say another $30 for in-town food.

    You might need to buy batteries.

    Add additional costs for getting rides, buying occasional comfort items like books, mailing excess items ahead or home.

    Then there's switching out gear that has failed or isn't as good as you'd like. This is big problem for inexperienced hikers that aren't familiar with their gear and either get gear that's too cheap or too heavy.

    Do a spreadsheet to figure out the total costs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrumbSnatcher View Post
    so many things--stay out of towns :-)
    This is hardest for inexperienced hikers. I imagine that's for several reasons. They're not trail fit, so they're in a lot of pain and need time off to heal. Or maybe they're still acclimating to trail life. Or maybe they don't really love it. Whatever it is, experienced hikers have either adapted, or were among the few that really belong on the trail.

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