Hi, my name is Elizabeth and i work at Great Outdoor Provision Co. I am beginning my thru hike this march (2006) so i finally finished planning it all. Starting to plan a thru-hike on the A.T. is a huge job and can be daunting. In this forum i will put up any information that might be helpful to someone planning a thru hike or a long section hike. also, while on the trail, ill be checking this message board from time to time and can try to answer any questions you have. anyone else with advice should also post stuff! i certainly dont know it all.

  • Food Resupply
  • Schedule
  • Money
  • Gear List

Those are pretty much the main things you want to figure out before your hike. A good book to get you started is the Thru-hiker’s Handbook by Dan “Wingfoot” Bruce. This book has milage along the trail, side trails, town locations, facilities in towns, motel prices, etc. Its has been the most useful piece of information in helping me to prepare. This book is sold at Great Outdoor Provision Co. The author also runs a website www.trailplace.com. it is a forum where thru hikers and potential thru hikers talk strictly abotu the A.T. I planned my itinerary and food resupply locations from the data in that book.


There are two options for getting your food along the trail. you can purchase it ahead of time and have someone send it to different post offices along the way for you to pick up. or you can purchase food in towns along the trail. also, you can do a combination of the two.

i chose to send myself mail drops because first of all, i am a picky eater and wanted to be able to have exactly what food i wanted, and because i am on a limited budget and (although it may not end up being much cheaper with all the postage cost) i figured at least i would be able to shop around for the best prices and know my budget better before i went to hike. there are certain perishable things ill buy along the way, but most will be mailed to me by my mom.


Don’t even ask me about money, i cant seem to figure this one out. There are all kinds of estimates of how much money it will take you to hike the trail and i have never gotten one clear definition of what these estimates include. They generally range from $2000-$4000. i guess you just gotta figure out how much all your gear is going to cost, all your food, varisou hostels, showers, All you can eat buffets, travel too and from the start and end of the trail, unexpected gear failure, etc. i have all my gear now, almost all my mail drop food, a few gear back ups, and $2000 in the bank. i guess we will see how this will hold up.

dont forget that if you want to have health insurance then you’ll have to pay for 6 months of that, people with mortgages, rent, storage center bills, car insurace, cell phones, etc. there seems to be so much stuff left at home that you still have to pay for while you are gone. im getting rid of all those bills except for the health insurance.


there is so much debate about what gear to carry, what weight your pack should be, bla bla bla. i have been backpacking enough to know generally what kinds of things i like to have with me. if you are a beginner, go on some weekend trips with borrowed gear or rented gear. i know that great outdoor rents some items out. also, talk to different people abotu what kinds of stoves, packs, sleeping bags, cooking utensils, etc. that they like to use. the staff at any of the great outdoor locations know a lot about backpacking from personal experience and all good gear heads love to talk about it (hehehe). the website i mentioned earlier is also a good place to go ask questions and find many different opinions.
it is also a good idea to do research on your own. buy a backpacker magazine (they always have gear test info). go to websites of different manufacturers and look at their products, descriptions, and prices. (do that after you have a general idea of what you need)