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$10 a day/$300 month thru hike
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Don (Biloxi) Carter
(donjuan70) - F

Locale: Red Neck Riviera
$10 a day/$300 month thru hike on 12/07/2007 20:04:53 MST Print View

do ya'll think it can be done..thru hike the AT FOR $10 ADAY OR $300 a month and still have an enjoyable hike?comment please

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: $10 a day/$300 month thru hike on 12/07/2007 20:46:00 MST Print View

Kevin Clayton
(kclayton) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Re: $10 a day/$300 month thru hike on 12/07/2007 21:06:31 MST Print View

I have never hiked the AT but it I definitely think its possible. Last summer I worked for the Montana Conservation Corps and we were allotted $7/day for each crew member for food. It helped to buy in bulk as a whole crew, unless you want fresh things, it could be done as a individual. This meant no good power bars. I've heard that on the AT you could also get food from hiker boxes that others don't want. We also worked with forest service guys who got $22/day for food and they definitely seemed to be eating healthier.

Ron Babington
(Ohbejoyful) - MLife

Locale: Greenville, SC
$300 month thru-hike on 12/07/2007 22:02:50 MST Print View

I don't know, Don.. I think that's cutting it pretty close. I felt like I went the lo-fi, economical route, and it still came out to $500 a month ($2000/4). I bought my food as I went, stayed at many (but not all) hostels (and none that were more than $10-$15 bucks), didn't "party" or take a lot of zero days, etc.

But neither was I a "hiker box" hound, so that option is at least open to you.

Ha ha, wow, now that I think about it I remember getting chewed out by some famous hiker for asking this very kind of question on the AT-L.

Anyway, I'd love to chat further if you have any questions: the burly gates at g mail.

Don (Biloxi) Carter
(donjuan70) - F

Locale: Red Neck Riviera
$300 month thru hike on 12/07/2007 22:39:38 MST Print View

yea,I was just wondering about taking the low investment approach.I got 3-4 grand in equpment,clothes,camera so on..and about mid 4 range for the hike but would like to see how cheap I could do it but still have a good time.just the basic's and lots of hiking.only take if I NEED something from a hiker box.take a town day every 7-10 days to cleanup wash clothes contact home .I think you could live on $75 a week .I am not saying this is what I will do but I am really thinking about trying it, to save a little for when it's over

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Yes, it's possible, but... on 12/08/2007 11:26:22 MST Print View

It's MUCH more possible if you go south bound, in my opinion. Typically, southbonders tend to finish more quickly for one thing.

There's no definitive evidence (though Johnny Swank is conducting an extensive study with questionnaire results from several hundred thru-hikers) that hint that there is less socializing for the much smaller number of southbounders when compared to NOBO's.

This hints that SOBO's tend to spend less time in towns (i. e. less $ spent.)

The real key is how much do you enjoy pizza and beer in town with friends versus time out in the backcountry with Liptons? I hiked in '99 and spent about $4500 over 5 1/2 months. (I also took 33 zero-mile days). I knew I was spending a good bit of money, and I didn't mind because it was money in savings. I could easily and comfortably done it for $3000, particularly if I had been heading south and sensing it getting colder as fall deepened (I had no autumn at all - ended September 12).

You're in a really good place. You HAVE the money. So be efficient and minimize early on. If you find you WANT to live a bit more lavishly, you'll have that opportunity. Just remember if you're NOBO, town stops get more expensive up north (at least until Maine). You'll likely hit town, get stuff, and move on. If I had done this more in places like Hot Springs, Erwin, Damascus, and Pearisburg, I would have spent less.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
$10 a day/$300 month thru hike on 12/09/2007 17:54:59 MST Print View

Shawn said it best, "The real key is how much do you enjoy pizza and beer in town with friends versus time out in the backcountry with Liptons?"

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
Seems pretty minimal to me on 12/10/2007 19:34:47 MST Print View

I haven't thru hiked, but I have section hiked some, and there are costs besides food and hostels/hotels to take into account. Little things like laundry, possibly shuttle costs depending on if you can hitch a ride back to the trail or not, first aid & personal hygiene items you may need to buy, postage to mail a bounce box ahead and items you no longer need (i.e. winter clothing in the summer months)home, phone cards, replacement shoes/boots, socks, water treatment, etc. This does not take into account gear that you find doesn't work well for you on the trail & which you may end up replacing, which many thru hikers end up doing. Even shake down hikes don't always reveal problems that can crop up after many weeks of hiking.

Even if you avoid meals in restaurants, also realize that food might be more costly in some of the areas where the only store available might be a convenience store, and after a month or so on the trail you will probably develop the famed thru-hiker appetite, so you'll probably have more food cost then.

Also, the number of nights you opt to stay in lodging of some sort other than a shelter may be determined by the weather and the time of year you start. It's a lot easier to decide to stay on in town when it's cold and wet than if the weather is nicer.

And finally, don't forget lodging in the White Mountains is pretty costly, and you have to stay in the designated areas. From what I've read, only two thru-hikers can do work for stay at the huts and the huts are $80 (maybe more now) per night. As I understand, there are also some shelters or camping areas, but they also charge a per night fee ($8-$9 in the books I've read).

While it would be nice to have money left, it's good you have the option of spending more. It would be a shame to try to do it on such a budget that you didn't enjoy what is a once in a lifetime experience for most folks.

I have a friend who attempted a thru-hike last year (had to leave the trail for family matters), and I believe he spent around $3000 by the Shenandoahs. Yeah, he spent a lot of in-town nights, and replaced several pieces of gear.


Matthew Elam
(slashpastor) - F

Locale: Colorado now!!!
A Cheap Thru Hike on 12/22/2007 20:08:40 MST Print View

I am hiking with my daughter. She is Ten soon to be eleven. I don't have but MAYBE 6 grand. I hope we have enough to finish...

So this interests me greatly!

Chris Lowe
(TNChris) - F

Locale: North Carolina
Re: $10/day on 12/25/2007 11:00:13 MST Print View

A good piece of info over on

It can definitely be done, It all depends on how you operate and how you budget. I hike on the AT often; I've met thru hikers in the smokies that claim to have only spent $4.67 since Springer, to the thru hikers drinking a nice bottle of wine and smoking cigars on Max Patch Mtn, to the thru hikers that stole my food while I was asleep because they were already broke by Mt Rogers. Money is one of the main things (if not THE main thing) that ends thru-hikes early for many. I think almost anything is possible if you make a budget and stick to it.

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
AT for 10 dollars a day on 12/26/2007 15:40:27 MST Print View

I think it can be done. Use mail drops instead of resupplying in small stores. Don't go into town at every road crossing maybe resupply like every 7 days. And hit up every hiker box you can. I really think you could do it for NO money I mean it can't be any harder than being homeless.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Budgets on 12/30/2007 10:27:09 MST Print View

I just finished reading 'Broke through Britain', a story by an author who walks from Lands end 500 miles to Edinburgh with no money at all in his pocket and a dog at his side. When you have nothing it's easier to ask for charity and you find unexpected kindnesses and friendship from strangers.

As a 23 yr old I ran out of money in the south of france and had to busk, beg and borrow until the grape picking season started 3 weeks later. Life really starts to happen when you're broke.

If you have the money available, you'll spend more freely. Leave the plastic at home and take a thin wallet, it weighs less.

Edited by tallbloke on 12/30/2007 10:27:57 MST.