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  1. #1
    pickle pickle's Avatar
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    Default Monthly Amount Needed

    I know this can be very different for each person but I want to get everyone's thoughts on how much Monthly money is Needed.
    Could you make it on $400.00 a month?
    This is just a figure that I was wondering if it would be reasonable to survive on the A.T.

  2. #2

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    What does it matter what someone else can make it on?
    Yes, some could do that. Its at the low end of the scale.
    Most will need twice that.

    The only pertinent question is what YOU can make it on.

    There are endless posts here about " how much do it cost"
    The answer depends on speed, food, town stops, alcohol, keeping up with others, etc.

    Running out of money is among the top several reasons people quit.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 04-10-2016 at 11:36.

  3. #3
    Garlic
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    $1000/month is my average for a sustained, multi-month thru-hike. That includes plenty of town meals and lodging, transport at both ends, and gear replacement. I'm sure it can be done for $400/month.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  4. #4
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    You can certainly survive on that amount but you'll have hardly any room for luxury or unplanned expenses. Just buying a pair of shoes in town will knock you down to about $300 a month for everything else. I hiked around a few folks who managed their hike on an extraordinarily tight budget and finished. I saw far more go home short of the end with empty pockets.

  5. #5
    Registered User AlyontheAT2016's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm looking at a budget of around $500/month. It seems more than reasonable, especially since I'm going to minimize my town stays in order to give myself cushion for a few unplanned zeros. I guess people who spend $1000+/month spend more time in town? I'm not a smoker or a big drinker either so that might be why I don't see how I'd spend more than $500 a month anyway.
    AT '16: 1,378 miles GA-NY

    trail journal
    // blog

  6. #6

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    At a minimum it's about what you would spend to stay home. Maybe less if you eat out a lot. Hiking doesn't have to be expensive. Really, most of the time there's nowhere to spend money even if you wanted to (unlike life at home).

  7. #7
    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    Default

    If you spent around 50-75 bucks a week on groceries (which isn't bad if you're not too picky) and around 25 bucks on a hostel and laundry costs each week, you'll be right about there. That's what I was (very) roughly spending. I did spend a little more in a few towns where I wanted a hot shower and a buffet or whatever and that's easily another 20 for dinner and breakfast. It's not cheap, but if you regulate yourself a little bit (especially in towns), the trip doesn't have to break the bank either. Now if you want to enjoy some of the activities the town has to offer (which is a good idea, cause how many times are you able to do something like this), then that can add up as well. Just my opinion and everyone's will vary but I hope this helps a little.
    - Trail name: Thumper

  8. #8
    Registered User evyck da fleet's Avatar
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    Could I survive? Sure.
    Would I enjoy it? No.
    Would I have quit in the first month. Probably. I also would have run out of money at Harpers Ferry had I continued. But I didn't need to hike on that budget.
    To have continued I would have to skip town stays, avoid zeros in town, skip restaurants and side trips to Caverns DC etc and I still would have to quit before the Whites and Maine, which is the best part.

    You can try it if its your only option but be prepared for the likelihood you won't finish. The average person will increase their chances by doubling that budget. But only you can answer whether you are average or can pull it off.

  9. #9

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    14 years ago I did a 4 month hike on the AT for about $400 a month. Were I to attempt a long distance hike on the AT today I would budget for at least twice that. Figure every week you're going to spend $100 in town and $100 on groceries. Can it be done for less? Yes. But most people don't. Do some people spend a whole lot more? Yep. You can spend $10,000 on a thru hike. From the many previous discussions we've had on this topic here I'd guess most people spend between $3000 and $5000 on a thruhike averaging 5 months.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AlyontheAT2016 View Post
    I'm looking at a budget of around $500/month. It seems more than reasonable, especially since I'm going to minimize my town stays in order to give myself cushion for a few unplanned zeros. I guess people who spend $1000+/month spend more time in town? I'm not a smoker or a big drinker either so that might be why I don't see how I'd spend more than $500 a month anyway.
    Its cold, wet and you've been eating mac and cheese and ramen noodles for the last 4 days. You roll into town and you see a warm dry place to sleep and a Pizza Hut. What're you going to do? Easy to say from the comfort of your home...much harder when you are cold, wet and hungry.

    Not saying it cannot be done...I took my zero days on the trail and only did a motel about once a month. But I was the exception rather than the rule.

  11. #11
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    Consider realistically what you spend for food at home. I figure I consume at least $50-60 of groceries a week. That's from a cheap supermarket in the suburbs and doesn't include eating out. And that's mostly from non-processed foods, assuming normal cooking prep.

    Lodging? Hostels typically ask $10 to $30, hotels/motels substantially more. I'm guessing on average most thru-hikers check into town once a week, if not more. Most folks want to eat something other than Larabars or granola bars when they're in town.

    Other costs to consider: shuttles, slackpacking, occasional gear or clothing replacement, meds or medical treatment if you should get sick or injured.

  12. #12

    Default

    depends if you want to eat pop tarts in the woods during a thunderstorm while a bunch of trail mates you meet go to the hostel and pub lol

    a bit more $ would give you more flexibility on food choice and a few stops.

    If you're more of a solo hiker it also could be a bit easier

  13. #13

    Default

    To quote an older lady that I once met trekking in Nepal, "My income from Social Security is $800/month. At home in CA I would be living in poverty. Here, in the trekking world, I'm considered quite wealthy."

    Hiking the AT isn't much different, if you are talking about comfortable survival rather than spluring at every opportunity.

  14. #14
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    As a tightwad experienced LD hiker for survival I can do it. I'm not going to be eating what I want though with my diet. Nor will I be optimizing my success for completing a AT thru-hike which is always my goal. It might be mentally and perhaps physically painful for others possibly unbearably so leading to thoughts of "I'm going home." You're cutting it extremely extreeeemly close for yourself. Start buying pricier resupply along the way, head into a hotel or a few hostels, etc and that could easily be wiped out in a month leaving nothing for gear replacements, town creature comforts, laying up in town with a injury, etc. If you can do it will you? Go see.

  15. #15
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    I see the one's who started a LD hike who ran out of money adding to the trail town's hobos in Asheville, Damascus, etc.

    Here's an idea, not likely to be seized upon though. That's not being negative that's recognizing the reality of the situation for a great many AT thru-hike attempters. Plan a long AT section hike from the get go. Organize this hike on a style that allows for a $400/month budget. Get your feet wet doing that for a couple months. IF IF you can hack it it's likely to become easier as far as living/LD hiking the AT within that monthly allowance the further along you go IF you finish up a NOBO within a typical thru-hiker time frame.

  16. #16
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    Default

    Another idea is to do a month on the Sheltowee Trace, A VERY NICE HIKE, in your home state for a month on $400. See how it goes. Less problematic should you not be able to adhere to a $400 monthly trail budget IF you did that. You'll learn a lot about LD hiking while sticking to a $400 month budget.

    It's EASY to extend the ST to a longer hike too! Heck wandering around scenic Red River Gorge and Big South Fork River and National Recreation Area while also thru-hiking the ST was a GREAT hiking experience for me with what I had to work with at the time. Don't regret it for a second! Experienced much more beyond that including combining the hike with some caving(locals took me out for two nights in a cave!..,AWESOME!), climbing in RRG(again some KY locals hooked me up!), and fishing. Spent two days in town helping out at a local garden. Don't regret it for a second!

    Heck, I'm not even from KY but I like the ST so much - which is in need of greater support AND USAGE! - I've thru-hiked it twice when I had a more limited timeframe to hike and tight budget. LOVED IT! Adapted to a different trail to thru-hike in relation to those parameters rather that attempting to adapt those limiting parameters to a longer trail. HMMM? WHAT A CONCEPT, HEY?

    AT isn't the only trail in the world!

  17. #17
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    Default

    Don't get caught up in WB fever. Don't let all the WB hype on this site with all the AT chatter or thru-hiking keep you from hiking. From the heart I tell you enjoying hiking is SO SO MUCH MORE than any of that!

  18. #18
    Registered User Water Rat's Avatar
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    Anything is possible... It all depends on you. The slower you hike, the more money you will need. Keep in mind that things cost up north. If you are budgeting, you will need to keep this information in mind so you budget a little more (than you will spend on basics in the south) for that part of your journey.

  19. #19
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    Written in 1877, I think this advice still applies:

    “Estimate the expenses of your trip, and take more money than your estimate.”
    Paul "Mags" Magnanti
    http://pmags.com
    Twitter: @pmagsco
    Facebook: pmagsblog

    The true harvest of my life is intangible...a little stardust caught,a portion of the rainbow I have clutched -Thoreau

  20. #20
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    AWOL's book indicates the necessity of having extra money (or someone at home who can get it to you), with his foot problems and the need to have a place to stay in a town.

    Other than possible health concerns, my guilty food pleasure would be Chinese food; I like to buy books in local places that address the history; natural history; folklore, etc. of a place (and ship them home, but have the funds to buy and ship).

    Something may strike your fancy. Why not have the funds so that you don't have to deny yourself?
    Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing​ and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. --Rumi

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