If you wanna hike the AT thats fine, but why not go all out and do the JMT and you could add in sectiosn of the PCT as well. I've done some of the best sections of the AT, and i am more interested in the JMT/PCT/CDT. The AT has more of a community/party aspect than do the above trails. If your looking to hop off trail often and party in town and hang out with people, do the AT. On the AT you will find that community aspect of being with people similar to yourself.
If your looking for a truly wilderness experience do one of the other trails I named. There is also an alternative route to do the JMT that avoids the crowds, cant remember it though.
BTW 90% of my trips are solo.
General tips, you probably already know 99% of it:
If your on the AT you will be fine, otherwise brush up on your navigation, compass, map skills if your doing one of the above trails i mentioned. Of course if your doing one of them you will also need to plan you water sources-of course it never works out the way you plan it, but at least you will have a plan. Make sure all your gear is as light as possible, make sure you have all the proper layers and use as many layers as you can instead of choosing one do-it-all garment. Create bug out points in potentially dangerous sections. Have a plan for emergencies. Practice good hygiene, wash your hands often and dont stick your hand in the gorp bag, instead pour some into your hand. Carry extra batteries for lighting equipment. Carry bleach in a minidropper as backup in case your water treatement system fails. Know how to treat a blister. Know what your feet can handle and cant handle, baby the hell out of them. Get some leukotape for blisters, it is the best. Carry lightweight high calorie food, add olive oil to dishes for massive calories. Use very strong spices to keep meal time from being bland. Make sure your footwear system is layered and your shoe/sock combo is properly fitted to your feet. Make sure it can handle any weather condition, including frozen/wet shoes. Be prepared to swap shoes for different stretches of elevation if needed(mail drop). Carry extra cash for the unexpected. Hiking poles are necessary IMO, they protect your feet from impact and transfer weight to your upper body. They carry up the uphill sections, and cusion your impact on the downhills if you use them right. Go as light as you can on poles, Ti-Goats(with straps) or GG lightreks or lighter. Practice proper bear safety, dont cook where you sleep, be cautions of hovering over your stove as your food is cooking as these odors can attach themselves to your clothing. Always hang your food properly in bear country, the PCT method is best IMO. Don’t carry more water than you need to if you have plentiful sources ahead. If you choose to hike with people who go YOUR pace otherwise your rhythm will be thrown off. Learn to read strangers very closely, pay attention to their faces when they talk, listen to their tone, watch their hands. Feel the vibe. 99% of the people I encounter on the trail are the nicest people in the world but i have also had several situations where i feared for my safety and took the necessary precautions to put distance between me and the threat. Danger is usually close to roads, If my nighttime camp lands within a mile or two of a road, i will hike on to put extra distance between me and the road. Trouble is often close to the road because its too lazy to go too far into the woods, thats a fact. If a stranger asks you where your going, be prepared to give a false location or say something general like: "up the mountain or down the hill." If the stranger has bad intentions, the last thing you want is telling them where your going. Predators are stalkers. I carry bearspray for bears, but it can also be used on humans. While it may be unnecessary in black bear country 99% of the time, i'd rather be prepared for that 1%. It only weighs 7oz anyway. Like i said i just did 70 miles in 3.5 days, so i know for a fact it doesn't weigh me down. Weigh everything, get a scale. I have alot of luxuries (AARN featherlite freedom pack, GPS, hammock setup, food luxuries, etc) and my base weight is still below 12LBS in winter. Dont use a pack that causes shoulder strain, you are there to enjoy your hike, not be in constant irritation and be uncomfortable. If your using an alcohol stove; practice stove safety, keep it away from your feet while its on. Let it burn out all the way and cool off before you touch it. Often the flames can appear invisible. NEVER pour more alcohol on a burning stove or even a hot stove. Let it cool down first. Gaiters are necessary IMO, i never have to remove my shoes to clean out small pebbles or debris when i have them on. This means i hike faster, and have less blisters/foot agitation. Don’t camp below widowmakers and use natural windbreaks such as short trees, bushes, hillsides, etc, to protect your camp from dangerous weather. Carry a signal mirror and whistle, it wont be so heavy when it saves your life. You don’t need a big survival knife, you need a small precise knife and a tiny pair of scissors. I carry CRKT ritter fixed blade, and a tiny tiny pair of scissors. What are the most common outdoor injuries? Blunt trauma from falling, puncture wounds, gashes. Carry some gauze in a sanitary package and you can use the leukotape/ductape your already caryring to wrap the wound after applying gauze. Wear blaze orange in hunting season, its not an option. Bring an extra day of food in case you get slowed down by an injury or need a day off. Always check periodically to make sure you are on the right trail, i sometimes get in a mode where im blazing down the trail and realize later i took a wrong turn. Always have waterproof gear and a visor or lightweight hat to keep rain out of your jacket. Hydropel works great to protect feet from friction, injiji toe socks prevent blister between the toes(get the merino ones). Be respectful, bury your doodoo properly, even though the animals don't. Yoru a visitor, they live there. You dont need to change your underwear everyday. A substance called potassium alum can be used to kill bacteria that cause odor on your body. Research it first though, thats a personal choice. Baselayers should be tight not loose. A sweater is not a base layer. Smartwool zip up wool shirts are the best baselayers i've ever used. A single mid weight has lasted me 4 years thus far. VBL's may be useful, investigate those as well. Especially for hands and feet, they are great in that department. Always do a glove check to make sure you have all your gloves. When not in use, stuff your smaller gloves inside your larger gloves, etc etc. This way they don't get lost. I carry six gloves(3 pair): 1 pair nitrile for water filtering so my insulative gloves dont get wet, 1 pair cheap niki snythetic base layer gloves, 1 pair OR PL 400 mitts as insulation. Mitts should be your main insulative layer as they are always warmer then gloves because they trap finger warmth. Discover the multipurpose wonders of the bandana and employ its methods. Every piece of gear should be multipurpose if it has that ability. This dramatically reduces weight. For example, my sleeping bag is also my main insulative jacket, it has a head hole in the center with velcro. My cuben waders are also my foot VBL at night/waterproof layer for my feet.
I dont know how much of that you know or don't know, but its some of the things i learned.