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Thread: Funding a hike

  1. #1

    Default Funding a hike

    Hey everyone,

    I'm hoping to hike the AT next March but know that it's going to be very tight financially. I'm picking up hours at work but was also wondring if anyone else has found creative ways to help fund their AT hike?

    Any suggestions are appreciated!

  2. #2

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    You can save a lot of money on resupply by begging other hikers for food and supplies. A lot of times if you follow a hiker and hound them constantly they will give you something just to get you to go away. A good tactic is to offer to sell something that every hiker knows you need and can't afford to get rid of, like your sleeping bag...tell them you are that desperate for money and they will just think "how pathetic" and give you some money. You'll want to keep changing your trail name because word will get around quickly. Whatever you do, never offer to work for the money. Setting that kind of precedent will mean you will have to work your way up the whole trail. And talk a lot about Jesus...people really eat that crap up.

  3. #3
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    All kidding aside, the best ways are to work and save, and simplify your life starting now. Sell your car if you can and get used to walking. Get rid of cable tv. Give up the Starbucks or whatever vices you may have. Don't live like a poor person, live like someone with a goal, who's willing to work hard and focus on achieving it. Get a second, part-time job. Sell some stuff you don't really need. You can do it, you just have to alter your mindset.

  4. #4
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    Is it cheaper in the planning stage to put together a crapload of mail drops, or to shop in grocery stores in town and save all the packaging and postage? I saw a photo somewhere of a guy planning his thru. He had a shelf with 37 boxes on it. That's a lot of extra money for postage and boxes. If you have to walk to town to pick up a box, couldn't you hit a grocery instead? I agree with the dropping extras. If I wasn't married I would drop my cable and save $90 a month just to do it. I have to have my 'net though. I don't go to bars or have expensive hobbies (this and Geocaching are about it). Starbucks sucks. Again, if I wasn't married, I'd be an atheist and save money on the whole xmass season. That gets really expensive. Come on retirement....
    Please don't read my blog at theosus1.Wordpress.com
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    I know a guy who used to fund his hiking trips by doing 'drug studies', where he was basically taking a drug for 30 days and these were often drugs that are legal and prescribed in other parts of the world, and would get something like $3000 cash, for 30 days. He hiked half the AT in 1994, thru-hiked the AT in 1995 and thru-hiked the PCT in 1996 using this method. He's alive, healthy and well. That's about as creative as I've heard of.

    For the rest of us it's pretty simple...you work, you save, then you spend what you have on your hike.

    Probably the best way to stretch money is by avoiding towns along the trail, but this is very hard to do for most new hikers. If you resupplied once every 5 days, and overnighted in town every 150-200 miles, you could probably keep your costs down. But then again you might spend $800 just on new gear, I've seen this happen more than once at Neels Gap just 30 miles from Springer. In 2013 for a standard, typical thru-hike...most people would find they would probably need around $3500-5000.

    Work, work, work...and save, save, save.... You have a year to save, even at just $60/week in savings that would give you over $3000 for your hike.

  6. #6
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    Re: Mail drops.

    Those 37 boxes cost a lot of money to purchase and then ship. What happens if you break a leg on the first day? (Happened to a buddy of mine.) Or, more likely, begin to HATE the food in every box. Or drop off the trail for whatever reason.
    Ken B
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    get a shopping cart and collect bottles. just kidding.one of the best ways to save money is to keep a small pad with you and write down the amount every time you spend money. the exercise alone will make you more aware of how much money you just p*** away on sodas, coffee, bottled water? cigs, etc.
    you can also collect bottles and cans, donate regularly to the sperm bank,sell off any unnecessary body parts, do face painting at childrens parties, hold "How to make money in seminars" seminars, as well as a number of other activities.

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    On a website full of smart @$$es this is the greatest reply ever! Well done sir.

    You can save a lot of money on resupply by begging other hikers for food and supplies. A lot of times if you follow a hiker and hound them constantly they will give you something just to get you to go away. A good tactic is to offer to sell something that every hiker knows you need and can't afford to get rid of, like your sleeping bag...tell them you are that desperate for money and they will just think "how pathetic" and give you some money. You'll want to keep changing your trail name because word will get around quickly. Whatever you do, never offer to work for the money. Setting that kind of precedent will mean you will have to work your way up the whole trail. And talk a lot about Jesus...people really eat that crap up.
    Pain is a by-product of a good time.

  9. #9
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    Unless you happen to be one of my kids. Work and save, hike as far as you reasonable can go, then continue working and saving until you have enough to head out again. Pick up where you left off. Repeat until finished.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by radcat21 View Post
    Hey everyone,

    I'm hoping to hike the AT next March but know that it's going to be very tight financially. I'm picking up hours at work but was also wondring if anyone else has found creative ways to help fund their AT hike?

    Any suggestions are appreciated!
    One way to fund your hike, and to reduce the cost of your hike, is by practicing frugality in advance of your hike. Learn and practice how to live and eat frugally. Find out what food is cheapest, while still being nutritious, and save money at the same time. Test your self-discipline by not eating out too much, and living within a budget. Reduce your transportation costs and get in shape at the same time by walking or riding your bike more often. Don't buy any more gear or clothing than you need, and get what you do need at thrift stores, and by making or repairing clothes and gear yourself. Find a local place to hike, and do that to get in shape and save money by doing that instead of activities that cost more money. Consider a morning paper route as a way to get in shape and make some extra money. Good way to test clothing also.

    Live simple. Be frugal. Eat real food.

  11. #11
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    I have a friend that did the drug testing thing (human guinea pig), and donated plasma 2x a week so he could train for rugby full time. He ended up a pro.

    Have a friend that lived in his car for a few months so he could afford the AT.

    I worked 80-100 hour weeks to afford my hikes

    quit alcohol, coffee, soda

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by radcat21 View Post
    Hey everyone,

    I'm hoping to hike the AT next March but know that it's going to be very tight financially. I'm picking up hours at work but was also wondring if anyone else has found creative ways to help fund their AT hike?

    Any suggestions are appreciated!
    go here and raise money to write a book. others have done it http://www.kickstarter.com/

  13. #13
    Garlic
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    To expand on the comment above about getting in good hiking shape, there could be some big savings right there. A fast hike is a cheap hike. If you spend fewer days on the trail, your expenses will be lower. You won't need days off in town to recover. If you get some long trail experience before attempting a thru hike, your town stops will be more efficient and cheaper--you won't need to stay overnight just to buy groceries, do laundry, and find a shower somewhere. And your gear costs will be lower if you start out with tried and true stuff. Good luck getting out there.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket Jones View Post
    ... the best ways are to work and save,...
    Quote Originally Posted by stranger View Post
    ... it's pretty simple...you work, you save, then you spend what you have on your hike.
    .

    Work, work, work...and save, save, save.... You have a year to save, even at just $60/week in savings that would give you over $3000 for your hike.
    Quote Originally Posted by lemon b View Post
    ... Work and save, ....
    Repeat, repeat, repeat...

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Theosus View Post
    If you have to walk to town to pick up a box, couldn't you hit a grocery instead?
    I used mail drops and still found it necessary to go to the grocery store every time for certain items such as bagels, cheese, and margarine.

    Unless you are dehydrating your own meals -- or have certain specific dietary requirements -- there is no need to use mail drops.

  16. #16

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    Get an eBay account -- sell all the useless stuff you currently own that is just sitting around gathering dust. It's amazing how much your useless stuff will be prized by others. Make sure to use the eBay settings to block anyone outside the US from even seeing your ad and cancel anyone's bids that doesn't have at least 10 positive reviews. Also, cancel anyone's bid who doesn't have at least a 98% eBay rating.


    Datto

  17. #17

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    Also, always send the eBay items that you've sold with a delivery confirmation -- or people will claim they've never received the item you sold them.


    Datto

  18. #18

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    From an expense standpoint, focus your gear expenditures on three things that count the most as far as weight savings and quality during a thru-hike:

    a) Sleeping bag
    b) Your tent/tarp
    c) Your backpack

    Also, buy used stuff on ebay for your thru-hike -- I see used Western Mountaineering gear being sold all the time on eBay. Watch for a used but in good condition Granite Gear Vapor Trail backpack to show up on eBay that is your size (that may be the best all around thru-hike backpack of all time).


    Datto

  19. #19

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    Another idea (which I have done but not recommended for most people) -- Download Telechart software from Worden Brothers website (free download, $30 per month service fee), learn how to use that software and trade stocks. Since we're coming out/already out of a deep recession this might be a good time to do this.

    http://www.wordenbrothers.com/


    Datto

  20. #20

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    Crowd funding - Get a web page, add a paypal button and ask for donations.

    It helps if you have some kind of gimmic, like claiming your going to hike 100,000 miles in 3 months or something like that. You also need incentives - high dollar donnors get a T-shirt or to be entered into a drawing for your old boots.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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