Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Last minute change from CT to AT?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Nicholas Meadors

Locale: Teh Front Range
Last minute change from CT to AT? on 04/04/2012 21:09:31 MDT Print View

So I had thought I would have 1 month off to do the CT this summer, and have been planning my life around doing that. I recently realized that I could potentially have the next 6 months off, and would love to switch my planning for the CT over to a rushed plan for the AT...if this is feasible of course. Ideally I'd leave before May 1st so I would still have a full 5.5 months to hike before the state park in Maine closes.

My preliminary research makes me think I may have too warm of a sleeping bag, but what other gear differences should be noted between the two? my current list can be found here:

Mostly, I'm wondering if there's any obvious overkill/missing pieces, or just some short but sweet tips and tricks I may not come across while doing 3 weeks of planning.

Samuel Kau
(Skau) - M

Locale: Southern California
Re: Last minute change from CT to AT? on 04/05/2012 13:49:40 MDT Print View

I am kinda curious why not just do the CDT?

James Wall
(jimmyjam) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Last minute change from CT to AT? on 04/05/2012 14:18:48 MDT Print View


I don't see any rain gear on your list. It rains a lot here on the east coast, especially during the spring and then there are the summer afternoon T-storms. You could also do a flip-flop hike if you are concerned about making it to Katadyn before the park closes.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
AT on 04/05/2012 14:18:57 MDT Print View

I would want some bug protection and maybe an extra 2l platy

Nicholas Meadors

Locale: Teh Front Range
Re: Re: Last minute change from CT to AT? on 04/05/2012 16:11:14 MDT Print View

Hadn't thought about the CDT, but now that I do I'm mostly leaning towards to AT for 3 reasons:

1. I'll end in Maine at the beginning of ski season and may just try to find a job at a resort up north, my sister also lives in Vermont.
2. I also assume that the AT is more a more frequented destination, which would allow me to only loosely plan the trip (since it's three weeks away)
3. I don't anticipate being on/near the east coast for any more long periods of my life (i was born in florida), so the likelihood of me visiting any of the areas on the AT is slim

Plus doesn't the CDT take at least 6 months? opposed to the 5 I feel I could do the AT in.

Rain gear, of course. I'm looking at the outdoor research helium for a top, and will probably myog some legs (or just get some cheap tyvek painters pants). I will proabably spend the 3 dollars on a head net as well, even coming from FL where the mosquito is the state insect, i hate them.

For water storage I have a 2L camelbak bladder sitting may be heavier than most, but it's already purchased...that'll probably get added.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
AT gear. on 04/05/2012 16:32:17 MDT Print View

You'll need more warm clothes up north than I see on your gear list.
I don't know if you'll need more in the southern mountains at that time (no experience down there).

For ticks and Lyme disease, spray your clothes with permethrin (good for about 6 washes)
and carry DEET for exposed skin.

Heesoo Chung
(impulse04) - MLife
Re: Last minute change from CT to AT? on 04/05/2012 22:51:38 MDT Print View

It does get cold on the AT. A 30 degree bag and a light insulating top (Montbell thermawrap) should be good for early/late season on the AT.
It does get hot during the summer. I switched to a light summer bag (50degree) sometime in late May.

The AT is definitely doable with minimum preparation. Logistics is very easy and there are lots of people on the trail who will share their thoughts. I did the AT with ~4weeks of preparation time too. That four week period included three weeks of work and moving stuff into storage.
Look at online trail journals and get a trail guide like "The Thru-Hiker's Handbook." It will give you an idea of distances between springs and food resupply. The handbook is plenty for navigation ( The AT is ridiculously well marked. The AT is a great social experience but the rest of the time it can be hot, humid, dull hiking through the green tunnel.

I know a couple people who hiked the CDT as their first long trail. It is doable as a first long trail but I think it requires more preparation time than four weeks. I started part-time preparation about six months out. Check out Yogi's guidebook to get a sense of what is involved (

If you have good backpacking skills and prefer western mountains, I'd recommend the PCT instead of the AT (I have not hiked the PCT). On the other hand, some people really like the lush, green eastern mountains.