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  1. #21
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    Nowadays, $400.00 a month would make for a pretty spartan thru-hike. Twenty years ago, when it was generally acknowledged that you could thru-hike on roughly a dollar per mile, well maybe back then you could bring in a six-month hike on thirteen dollars a day, but I sure wouldn't want to try this now. Food, gear, lodging, you name it, it all costs a great deal more than it did even a few years ago; most folks planning a six-month trek on the A.T. will spend between $3500.00 and $5000.00 while en route, and this does NOT count getting to and from the trail nor does it count your equipment/gear costs. While it is certainly feasible to hike on less money, especially if you're really disciplined with the amount of time and money you spend in town, most people could not make it on $2400.00 for the whole trip. Please re-evaluate your trip, and either plan on hiking less than the entire Trail, or maybe wait awhile until you've save up more money. Getting off the Trail cuz you're out money is a really lousy way to end a hike.

  2. #22
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    The cheapest hike I've seen n recent times is ~$700/month [1] factoring in the cost equivalent of the subsidies he received.

    Just do the hike with what you have, enjoy yourself however you can, don't depend upon others [2] and enjoy the hike in your own way. The trail will always be there next year. Section hiking in large chunks may be more enjoyable for the AT at this point anyway.


    [1] Animal did it do it for much, much cheaper. But even by his admission, his methods are unusual and not for everyone
    [2] Another great quote from the book I linked before from 1877 "
    If you cannot travel honorably, and without begging, I should advise you to stay at home”

    Last edited by Mags; 04-11-2016 at 14:05.
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  3. #23
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    I have read over the reply's on this thread and agree with the comfort zone you intend to set yourself.
    I myself have started saving a year in advance to give me around 1000 a month to be able to have for my upcoming thru hike.
    I feel I will spend less as im not really a type of person to spend over amounts of time in hotels or hostels (especially spending a good chunk of change on my shelter choices and my other gear choices). I do understand the uplifting moral support a hot shower and golden corral can bring after a rough week on the trail and hence why I am affording myself the extra amount of money tpo be able to enjoy the luxurys of such things from time to time.
    Could I do it on 100 a week sure I have done treks on less money than that(not by choice).
    Would I had another choice. NO.
    My initial plan is to be A tight wad at first go and keep track of spending on a weekly basis and when I feel the need to splurge on something allocate the extra money in weeks prior being saved and adjust to that.
    I am also planning on minimal mail drops with only A few select ones planned and A box ready to ship shoes and supplies only when needed.
    I am figuring after all final gear is bought(which is as of now) and transportation to and from the trail start to end.(not allocating for shuttles which I will count in on my weekly expenses). I am planning roughly on around 5000/6000 to start my trip.
    I myself feel comfortable with this ammount knowing that my gear is of good quality and that my major expenses are paid.
    That 5000/6000 range is also including mail drops for around 10 maildrops throughout my hike. which I have already set money aside just for that,so the remaining 5000/6000 will be strickly for food,luxury items,shuttles,hostel and or hotel stays,gear adjustments and repairs which will break down to about 250.00/300.00 a week for expenses.
    I feel really confident and comfortable in this range without worrying to much on going broke.
    I acctually believe I possible will come home with some cash to blow along the way lol.
    Anyway my friend good luck on your hike and hopefully next year our paths will cross.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by pickle View Post
    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.
    Out of curiosity, why aim so low?
    Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing​ and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. --Rumi

  5. #25
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    Those that are saying it can be done or know someone that has done it are giving you a false sense of security. Only a few could actually pull it off that cheap and even then they probably use(d) questionable methods. Plan on at least double your queried amount, I personally like the 1k a month figure, and if you have money left over give yourself a gift for your successful thru-hike.
    Lonehiker

  6. #26
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    Towns are fun breaks from hiking. I didn't think I would be going in as much as I did but like someone above said- the reality of the day to day hiking for 6 months is very different than the fantasy I had conjured up. I did see lots of kids having a blast and doing the whole thing on a shoe string budget. Not me- i blew my budget all to hell in the first week and never got it back on track. Loved every second. (well, love it in hindsight, which is just as deceptive as foresight when it comes to hiking)

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mags View Post
    The cheapest hike I've seen n recent times is ~$700/month [1] factoring in the cost equivalent of the subsidies he received.

    Just do the hike with what you have, enjoy yourself however you can, don't depend upon others [2] and enjoy the hike in your own way. The trail will always be there next year. Section hiking in large chunks may be more enjoyable for the AT at this point anyway.


    [1] Animal did it do it for much, much cheaper. But even by his admission, his methods are unusual and not for everyone
    [2] Another great quote from the book I linked before from 1877 "
    If you cannot travel honorably, and without begging, I should advise you to stay at home”

    I did my thru in 2010 for $2300, not including gear. I didn't feel like I was forced to be cheap. Took 5 months though, so might have been cheaper than a 6 month hike. I'm Doing it again this Friday, and plan to spend more, because I have the finances to do so. I'll see how it goes. Not sure if prices went up a lot on food ect since 2010.

  8. #28
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rainydaykid View Post
    I did my thru in 2010 for $2300, not including gear. I didn't feel like I was forced to be cheap. Took 5 months though, so might have been cheaper than a 6 month hike. I'm Doing it again this Friday, and plan to spend more, because I have the finances to do so. I'll see how it goes. Not sure if prices went up a lot on food ect since 2010.
    If you can give an accurate breakdown on your expenses (including any food shipped from family and friends, work for stays you did, hiker boxes you mainly resupplied from (a few meals lets say) gear replacements you did, etc). I am more inclined to believe that actual cost.

    But every time someone says I did a super duper cheap hike (as opposed to a frugal hike)...turns out their family mailed them food or even put them up a few days, or they did a lot of work for stays, did not include cost of replacement gear and so on. Again, the only documented (as opposed to anecdotal) exception I've seen is Animal.

    I am not saying your figures are inaccurate, but I've seen too many anecdotal stories over the years with more holes than Swiss cheese at this point. Have the figures, I'm willing to list Animal and you as the two exceptions going forward.


    BTW, according to the CPI inflation calculation, $2300 in 2010 is now equivalent to $2500 in 2016 dollars for what it is worth. That's already $500 a month..or $100 a month over the OPs budget if they do a 5 month hike.
    Last edited by Mags; 04-20-2016 at 21:35.
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  9. #29
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    Mine will be quite expensive as I plan to take a zero once a week to watch Game of Thrones.
    Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing​ and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. --Rumi

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mags View Post
    If you can give an accurate breakdown on your expenses (including any food shipped from family and friends, work for stays you did, hiker boxes you mainly resupplied from (a few meals lets say) gear replacements you did, etc). I am more inclined to believe that actual cost.

    But every time someone says I did a super duper cheap hike...turns out their family mailed them food or even put them up a few days, or they did a lot of work for stays, did not include cost of replacement gear and so on. Again, the only documented (as opposed to anecdotal) exception I've seen is Animal.

    I am not saying your figures are inaccurate, but I've seen too many anecdotal stories over the years with more holes than Swiss cheese at this point. Have the figures, I'm willing to list Animal and you as the two exceptions going forward.


    BTW, according to the CPI inflation calculation, $2300 in 2010 is now equivalent to $2500 in 2016 dollars for what it is worth. That's already $500 a month..or $100 a month over the person's budget if they do a 5 month hike.
    I can, kinda. I wrote down my expenses in the data book every time I bought something. Didn't save all my receipts. I might do it this time, now that I think about it.

    My resupply was $40-60 a week, Dollar General or Kroger, occasionally wal-mart. I did do work for stay at a few places, but this was not hard to obtain. Neel's Gap, Kincora(Bob asked for volunteers, wasn't really to save 8 bucks), Wood's Hole(stay only, paid for food). I don't remember exactly, but I think I only stayed at 12 hostels my whole thru. Split a hotel 3 ways in Franklin and Rangely. Hit free ones when possible, jailhouse in palmerton, helped a guy and his wife in boiling springs with some landscaping in exchange for meals and shelter, had a hiker put us up in Johnson City at his place, bigass barbecue, lots of beer, ect. Main town meals was a meatball Subway footlong. I drank a few times, maybe 2 or 3.

    Had some trail magic, though this has vastly increased from what I heard since my thru. No one mailed me food, I resupplied as mentioned. I preferred sleeping in my tent over a hotel or hostel for the most part, and did nero's to resupply, did creek baths and washed clothes in the woods as well. Took a lot of woods zeroes before resupply. I think those things are what saved me a lot of money. I do wish I had documented it better, but it didn't seem like a huge deal at the time, as I've always been really good with money and I didn't feel like I had suffered due to my budget.

    I did get free shoes in Rockfish Gap by calling Merrell and saying my shoes had lasted 1000 miles or something. Two pairs of Merrells lasted me the whole thru and then some. I bought a cheap bag in Rangely because I dumped my 0 down quilt in Port Clinton and tried a survival blanket and bag liner to Rangely(they don't work well at 45 degrees lol). I am really good with sewing, so I repaired any gear that I needed along the way, other than the bag and free shoes, I didn't replace anything.

    I did resupply from hiker boxes when possible, but I didn't get a lot. It was mostly unnamed ziplocs full of who knows what. Think I got a few ramen sometimes or a tuna packet.

    So say $70 for a town meal and resupply, I remember the north being more, but I never left town spending more than $90 total.

    So even being extravagant and saying 90 per resupply, that's $1800 for 20 weeks(5 months). Like I said, I never did hotels, stayed in hostels of opportunity only when I could get work for stay, or "free" hostels, or had a hiker put us up close to the trail, happened twice. I repaired any gear failures I had, wasn't many. Bought one sleeping bag for $115 in Rangely or another Maine town. Didn't drink much, lots of nero's.

    Cheapest AT hike I ever heard of was $800 by an Army Ranger a few years back, like for the whole thing. I could see myself doing it for $1500 if I really had to be cheap from the get go. I've turned down a hotel room after 2 days of being rained on, I've been in far worse conditions than what I handled on the trail.

    I'll try to save all my receipts and document everything, but none of what I did seems groundbreaking or anything. Nero's and work for stay mainly.

  11. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miel View Post
    Mine will be quite expensive as I plan to take a zero once a week to watch Game of Thrones.
    The books were insanely good, at least the first 3. I read them before this whole craze blew up, in 2008 or so. Show was really good. Books got pretty boring about halfway through the 4th one. I'm hardcore lightweight about packweight, but I always had a fat novel in my pack on my thru.

  12. #32
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rainydaykid View Post
    I can, kinda.

    . I do wish I had documented it better
    I see.... We'll put it in the anecdote category.
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  13. #33

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    A trait special to humans, once a challenging goal is selected, is the refusal to do what is necessary to succeed. An attempt is made to fit the world into a boxed situation rather than accepting what the world has required and moving forward from there.

    Failure is always an option.

    If you're a 2017 AT northbound thru-hiker in-planning intending to walk by every blaze in a single calendar year while carrying your full backpack (which is an AT thru-hike), you should have $5.000 in cash available to you when you leave your home to head for the AT. That is the (highly) likely cost for a northbound AT thru-hike, door-to-door. You have an entire year to gather that money if you don't already have the cash in-hand.

    Running out of money is one of the more common reasons AT thru-hikers stop their hike and head home. If your chances of finishing an AT thru-hike are already at a low 15% and you have an entire year to prepare, why would you choose to deliberately reduce your already slim chances? Are you planning for a leprechaun to show up on-trail and deliver to you a pot of gold in Pennsylvania? Good luck with that -- as long as you're in dreamland, you might as well plan on having that leprechaun remove all the Pennsylvania rocks for you too.


    Datto

  14. #34

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    The other part of this situation is that sometimes ugly people try to get into modeling.


    Datto

  15. #35

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    My standard reply on a hike for cheap threads is that I have personally met potential thru hikers over the years in the whites who have to get off the trail after the whites due to running out of money. I can usually detect a "hard luck story and these seem to be legit. They are usually running low before the whites but stretch what they got and then catch the bus in Gorham NH south or start their hitching home there. The majority have a very similar story, they were doing good until New England and then the expenditures started going up. Some what like the comment that Me, NH and VT may only be 20% of the distance but 50% of the effort, the daily cost for that 20% seems to be 50% of the budget. Unlike the south and central atlantic there aren't a lot of dollar stores close by the trail so those who elect to resupply from local sources end up paying a premium. Options for free or work for stay hostels are far rarer.

    There is also an annoying new trend just starting to pop up in Gorham NH where thruhikers stand at traffic lights at popular intersections and hold up signs for cash to continue their trip. There may be some legit folks but I expect the majority are just doing it for the kicks. It may work with tourists but I don't think they get much from locals or the welfare crowd from western maine that spends their checks at the local Walmart. I expect that given the remoteness of the Maine AT trail crossings that this practice does not propagate much further north.

  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Datto View Post
    The other part of this situation is that sometimes ugly people try to get into modeling.


    Datto
    A lot of that is networking as well, though. I did modeling a few years back, and I had people much less attractive and less well spoken than me get the gig, and I didn't. It's not much like you would think, be hot and show up. I got bored of it and preferred to use my mind, so I went back to school to finish my chemistry degree. Taking a break from college with 2 classes left, for medical reasons. Need to just hike and travel for awhile.

    For the running out of money part, I could see that being a problem, but I wouldn't let money stop me from finishing something that is likely to be a once in a lifetime thing. Get gear from hiker boxes, food stamps, work a short term job in a trail town, anything to finish.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by rainydaykid View Post
    The books were insanely good, at least the first 3. I read them before this whole craze blew up, in 2008 or so. Show was really good. Books got pretty boring about halfway through the 4th one. I'm hardcore lightweight about packweight, but I always had a fat novel in my pack on my thru.
    Haven't read the things yet. Looking forward to it, though! I too plan on having some books with me, will have to reduce pack weight elsewhere . Here's a cute little column from today's Boston Globe:

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/tel...ed_Box_Article

    I totally agree with the author - Daenerys and Jon Snow share a common mother. I'm hoping for a Sansa/Daenerys alliance at the end, with Arya becoming something like Secretary of State to any worlds that might exist beyond the two islands.

    Maybe by the time I do my thru in 2021, GRRM will have finished the sixth volume! I'll carry it with me. (I have a child to put through college before then - you know, tuition and stuff.)
    Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing​ and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. --Rumi

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