Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail: A Complete Guide

Are you planning to hike the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) but are new to overnight or long-distance hiking? If so, there is a lot to learn before you select gear and hit the trail. I know, because that is the situation I was facing when I decided to thru-hike the A.T. in 2019. Since I had very little experience with multi-day hikes or camping, I did what anyone would do and started researching online. I also reached out to a friend that had recently completed a thru-hike, and joined several A.T. groups and forums. This guide is my attempt to organize and present all of the useful things I learned as part of that research.

I admit that you won’t find many secrets here that you cannot find for free on YouTube, blogs, forums, and Facebook groups. But, that’s exactly the problem—the good information online is scattered and since you don’t know exactly what you need to know, finding it is a game of chance and requires a lot of wasted time and effort. My goal is to provide a one-source, complete guide, so that you won’t waste so much time getting prepared.

In this book you will find everything I learned from my research, conversations with other hikers and my own personal experience successfully thru-hiking (I reached the summit of Katahdin on August 24, 2019). Throughout the book are relevant external resources, and I have provided a list of these and some others in a separate resources section at the end of the book. These will point you to online sources of help in case I have missed anything.

Contents

  • Introduction
  • Understanding the Appalachian Trail
  • Pre-Hike Preparation
  • Gear
  • Food | Resupplying
  • On the Trail
  • After the Trail
  • Appendix I: A.T. and Hiking Terminology
  • Appendix II: Quotations
  • Appendix III: Resources
  • Appendix IV: Analyzing My Thru-Hike — Expenses and Statistics
  • Appendix V: International Hikers