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  1. #1

    Default Thru-Hiking Budget

    I see most talks on budget includes food and hostel/motel stays. I've actually pre-purchased my food from http://wisefoodstorage.com/ , and I will not be spending a night outside of my hammock. I also have a http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jweL_bGP3tY Goal Zero solar panel, so I won't be needing replacement batteries. I've spent 2 years in the bush before, so I'm not concerned with needing that motel bed. My clothing is made to be hand washed and quck drying, I have 2 broken-in pair of boots, and my MSR Dromedary Bag doubles as a shower (yes I bought biodegradable soap). So other than the occasional burger craving and TP needs, what should I really need to budget for?

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    Unless you're at total introvert, some of the best times are spent in town with members of your trail family. Moderation is best. Most folks save money sharing a motel room every now and then. Becoming a "town hound" eats money that's for sure. The lure of cold beer, burgers, and the Internet can be distracting.....

    No matter what you decide to do, have a wonderful thru hike.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by Spokes; 03-19-2012 at 15:47.

  3. #3
    Registered User Maren's Avatar
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    Postage for mail drops, gear replacements, medical emergencies, shuttles, transport to and from trail, and, yes hostels or motels (you never know when you might have to wait out a storm or illness).

  4. #4

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    Visiting town, grabbing a hot meal, and socializing is a big difference from staying in motels and buying All of my food along the way. I do intend to have cash available for small cravings, and small things like postage, but that's not much. And I'm recieving food packages, not sending out mail each week. Say it takes me 5 months, I stop in town once a week. That's 20 times I'd visit town, say I spend $20 each visit on a say a burger and some small snacks, that's only $400. So having $1000 would be more than enough for wiggle room I'd think, no? I'm asking because I've never done the trail before.

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    When planning my thru hike, I created a three ring binder complete with spreadsheets that listed my daily mileage, mail drops, expense projections, etc. It turned out to be obsolete after the first day on the trail.

    So? Things to think about?

    - Will you need to repair replace equipment along the way?
    - What will you do if you miss a mail drop or the post office is closed and you're out of food?
    - What happens if you become sick or injured and need a drugstore?
    - What if you take a fancy to another hiker and fall in love?
    - You get sick of all that food you pre-purchased and want something different?

    Of course, you may be different and none of these apply.

    Report back and let us all know how it worked for you.
    Last edited by Spokes; 03-19-2012 at 16:01.

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    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    have you tested the solar out under tree cover? i've had no luck hiking with solar, but on the kayak its great. looking at the food i was wondering what the calories are per day? or lbs. per day? a friend has stuff like that in his bomb (zombie) shelter.
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

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    You'll need to have money in case anything goes wrong. It probably will--that's part of the nature of long hikes. Injury, illness, missed maildrop, etc.

    It sounds like you've pre-bought everything you think will work. if you can make it work and nothing goes wrong, . Kinda big "if's"

    $400 for town budget is plenty if you stick to your strategy (fruit and/or a budget restaurant visit per town stop) which is a great strategy--try to hit towns early in the day so you don't get 'stuck' in the evening. I'd reccomend plug in rechargers while you're in restaurants/town rather than a solar charger for the AT. YMMV

    You need to get to and from the trail, and be able to live when you get off the trail. Depends on where you live.

  8. #8

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    If you've not done a 5-6 month long distance hike, it's hard to realize how much food you will crave. For most hikers that hunger does not kick in for the first month or two. But, by month three you will think of nothing but food. It's rare for todays AT hikers to carry a weeks worth of food. That's why so many folks visit almost every town the trail passes near. And of course, even after you resupply your foodbag, it's hard to pass up restaurant you walk by.
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    Registered User Edwardo Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saprogenic View Post
    I see most talks on budget includes food and hostel/motel stays. I've actually pre-purchased my food from http://wisefoodstorage.com/ , and I will not be spending a night outside of my hammock. I also have a http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jweL_bGP3tY Goal Zero solar panel, so I won't be needing replacement batteries. I've spent 2 years in the bush before, so I'm not concerned with needing that motel bed. My clothing is made to be hand washed and quck drying, I have 2 broken-in pair of boots, and my MSR Dromedary Bag doubles as a shower (yes I bought biodegradable soap). So other than the occasional burger craving and TP needs, what should I really need to budget for?
    I have to what you are saying next year am planing to mail all my food to PO and going in town to pick up my supply and to get a bit to eat. Every now and then I will stop and get a room. It is my understanding a person can spend some money while in town. Am looking forward in my adventure next year but not going crazy while in town

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    Hindsight is 20/20. If I had to do it over again I would seriously reduce my food drops to those places like Fontana Dam, Harpers Ferry, and Caratunk, ME just for convenience sake.

    And yes you can hike the AT without doing any mail drops.

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    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Just do your clothes washing away from water sources.

    As for money, better to have too much and have it left when you finish then too little and have to get off.







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  12. #12
    Registered User Edwardo Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spokes View Post
    Hindsight is 20/20. If I had to do it over again I would seriously reduce my food drops to those places like Fontana Dam, Harpers Ferry, and Caratunk, ME just for convenience sake.

    And yes you can hike the AT without doing any mail drops.
    Well let me tap into "if you have to do it over again..." As am planing out my trip for next year for next year am planing to mail all my food to the PO. Right now my mind set is trying to keep my pack weight down, am looking about about 15lb as my base weight. Am hiking the JMT this summer to work out my gear and a few other things, now there is one point where I have about 8 to 9 day between resupply point. I will be starting off with 4 days of food between resupply point. I found out last year on the JMT that carrying allot of food slow me down and make it hard for me to climb up the passes. If you will to do over again how many days of food will you be carrying

  13. #13

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    Some times a long shower with ever lasting hot water is worth any price...
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    I'm not saying you will do this...however alot of hikers would end up tossing 70% of the food you have already paid for becuase it's either not suitable, or they would grow tired of it. You WILL go into town and spend MORE money than you think. How much? That's up to you.

    Every night in a hammock? I'd bet against that, but I'm sure it's 'possible'. It's possible to win the lottery as well.

    For a very fit, experienced and disciplined hiker, $1500 might, might get you through. For a first time hiker, I would say $2000-2500 minimum, just because you are going to spend alot of money you don't know about yet. Unless you have substantial long-distance experience already, you are going to spend money...you just don't know it yet.

    In any case go for it, but give yourself a shot at success, and like it or not, hiking costs money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwardo Rodriguez View Post
    ?.....If you will to do over again how many days of food will you be carrying
    Edwardo, I averaged carrying only 3-4 days food depending on the section. You'll get pretty good at reading your guidebook and planning out how much food you need before the next re-supply point. It was always tough walking out of town with a full pack. My favorite trick was buying a deli sandwich or left over pizza when leaving town and eating that as my dinner the first night back on the trail. Yum!

    BTW, congratulations on your 15 lb base weight pack. Sounds like your system is coming together nicely.

    Cheers!

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saprogenic View Post
    I see most talks on budget includes food and hostel/motel stays. I've actually pre-purchased my food from http://wisefoodstorage.com/ , and I will not be spending a night outside of my hammock. I also have a http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jweL_bGP3tY Goal Zero solar panel, so I won't be needing replacement batteries. I've spent 2 years in the bush before, so I'm not concerned with needing that motel bed. My clothing is made to be hand washed and quck drying, I have 2 broken-in pair of boots, and my MSR Dromedary Bag doubles as a shower (yes I bought biodegradable soap). So other than the occasional burger craving and TP needs, what should I really need to budget for?
    How does that wise food taste? Have you tried it for several months nonstop? Hopefully it is delicious. I am curious and would like to hear you opinion after you finish your hike.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saprogenic View Post
    I see most talks on budget includes food and hostel/motel stays. I've actually pre-purchased my food from http://wisefoodstorage.com/ , and I will not be spending a night outside of my hammock. I also have a http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jweL_bGP3tY Goal Zero solar panel, so I won't be needing replacement batteries. I've spent 2 years in the bush before, so I'm not concerned with needing that motel bed. My clothing is made to be hand washed and quck drying, I have 2 broken-in pair of boots, and my MSR Dromedary Bag doubles as a shower (yes I bought biodegradable soap). So other than the occasional burger craving and TP needs, what should I really need to budget for?
    Come on, this question was really just an excuse for you to be able to write about how awesomely self-sufficient and pure your hike will be.

    Go try to replicate Andrew's Yukon Hike. Oh wait, there wouldn't be any pack mules or partiers to feel superior to.

    What a tool.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Murphy View Post
    Come on, this question was really just an excuse for you to be able to write about how awesomely self-sufficient and pure your hike will be.

    Go try to replicate Andrew's Yukon Hike. Oh wait, there wouldn't be any pack mules or partiers to feel superior to.

    What a tool.
    Not sure what your talking about. The reason I wrote what I did is because I see a lot posts where people ask for more information to answer the question. And I've tried the Wise, it's impressively good. I've had other brands like Mountain House, but honestly, if I didn't know it was dehydrated/freeze-dried, I would never have guessed. I emailed them for a free sample first. I went with the long term storage packages instead of the boil-in-bag ones just because the packages are more compact. 2 servings is filling. And they come as sets, giving you some of everything, and they do have a good variety, don't see myself getting sick of it.

  19. #19
    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
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    Wow that is a lot of mail drops for food....just the price of shipping you your food to places along the way is costly. You can still do it but it would of been cheaper to buy your food along the way. Realistically you need $1500- $2500 if you are not staying at hostels or spending a lot on town stops. You have to factor gear breaking down, footwear to be replaced, hitches where help on gas money is requested (especially with gas prices going through the roof), toilet paper, etc, etc, etc. You will also crave a real shower...along with copious amounts of foods and beverages.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Murphy View Post
    Come on, this question was really just an excuse for you to be able to write about how awesomely self-sufficient and pure your hike will be.
    I was thinking it, but didn't want to say it. The post is 95% "blah blah blah I've got this stuff figured out" followed by a token question that he should already know the answer to if he's been reading about budgets. It's essentially goading people into expressing doubt at his hardiness or applauding the extent of his forethought or both at the same time. Either way, it's not structured toward a discussion that's going to help the other 99% of people who don't plan on thru-hiking that way.
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