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  1. #21
    Leonidas
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    NAH... gear is still cheap.

    A decent dinner and drinks costs $100. The crappiest nastiest motel you can find is $40. Hell some campsites cost $35 now for primitive sites.

    You can gear up a pretty nice kit for $1000. That will last you 6 months of hiking. $1000/180 days is $5.55 a day. Not exactly 'the cost of a cup of coffee' to save the starving children but pretty darn cheap for a vacation in America. Pretty darn cheap for anything overall.

    Most people spend more getting to the trail. Sleeping off the trail. Eating or drinking off the trail than they spend on gear.
    The problem is they start with gear so it seems daunting.

    If you want to dirtbag it:
    Buy gear good enough you don't need to bail to town every 4 days.
    Buy gear light enough to keep moving decently to reduce time on trail... or conversely warm enough that you can take your time.

    Don't buy gear... if you are gearing up from scratch for a thru hike. It might dawn on you that perhaps you should do some hiking, overnights at your state park, or actually camp. Not only will you still be working (presumably) while you acquire gear; but you have time to bargain shop. Try things, return things, test things, and generally sort out what the hell you're doing. Many hikers spend nearly as much money replacing gear (at trailside $$$$ outfitters) as they go. A whopping single tune up trip or a few weeks of camping in the backyard would have eliminated most of those costs for many of these folks.

    Learn what the hell you're doing. Read a library book. Just one even. Not AWOL or Bill Bryson but Colin Fletcher, Ray Jardine, Skurka... just one little book that teaches you something about camping or hiking. A how to book. Stop dreaming or reading about peoples adventures and read a book about actually walking in the woods and what that entails, what gear might or might not be needed. How do you that something is a good deal if you don't know what you are buying?

    Hike locally. Cracks me up to hear about 'dirtbag' hikers complain about shelling out $300 for a warm sleeping bag that will last five years who spend $500+ on a plane ticket, shuttle, hostel, and getting to the AT when there is probably a trail near them they can reach for free or close to it. It's a big country. Do you want to be in the woods for cheap or do you want to be ON THE AT.

    If you are poor... the AT is about the worst trail I can think to hike. Hike a trail with nobody on it to drag you to town. No bars to buy beer. No hostel tempting you in to recover from all that crappy cheap gear you got. Hike a trail that doesn't pass through a town every few days or run through some of the most expensive real estate in the country.

    Resupply less often. It's remarkably cheap to live in the woods, quite expensive to live in town. Since you're a homeless dirtbag what does it matter if you do 7-10 days between resupplies? You got no place to go.. stay out of town. If it turns out that you don't actually like being in the woods that much, maybe see if there is a hostel you can work at so you can hang out with hikers.

    Get a job. No offense- that's not in a condescending old man voice... that's in a seriously you can afford to hike for months at a time but you can't manage to stealth camp someplace, shower at the gym, and save up a grand or two? If you're really a dirtbag then be one. Be homeless, work some, buy some decent gear and you can live off that for years. Go be a migrant farm worker, ski bum, or some other drifter type job you can score some money. Hiking is not free. It's not the $1000 of gear. It's eating every day that costs money. Rent might be cheap on the trail but it isn't free. You have enough money to do this everyday somehow... which means you somehow had the ability to earn some sort of money at some point... which means you can probably afford gear.


    Go work at an outdoors store; score pro-deals, learn something about gear. Fix the gear that gets returned for pennies on the dollar. Make some money, pre-buy cases of food on the cheap for your hike.

    Go work at a guide service or outfitter; same deal... plus you're actually camping and nobody cares if you are homeless or smell. You might not even be homeless since they often will put you up in a bunkhouse.
    Get an REI membership and buy REI gear. There is lots of house brand stuff that is cheap, light enough, works well enough... and if it breaks or you change your mind you not only have a year to return it... but actual stores available to return it too. Much of this gear comes with a lifetime guarantee.
    That's great you scored a deal on some internet site from on some gently used gear... until you have a problem. Gear replacement is a huge cost for on trail hikers. Simply having an option to return, get a replacemetn or get a viable replacement is cheap insurance. REI seems happy to let you abuse their policy because it's reflected in the pricing. It's 10% more than amazon because you can't go to amazon after a thru hike and return your tent for a new one just because you felt like it. The garage sale stuff is half off for brand new... even the used stuff gets inspected before it's sold. You can't call amazon and say 'I'm a thru hiker on trail; please help me'. You can call most of the cottage vendors or REI and they will do ridiculous backflips, cartwheels, and make epicly poor business choices just to keep you happy.



    Buy ugly stuff. I hate puke green and blaze orange.
    I have a puke green down vest and a blaze orange down vest.


    Most important of all- The trail isn't going anywhere.
    If all you can scrape together is $1500 bucks by April Fool's day. It's okay to wait until may 1st to start.
    It's okay to wait until next year... or not finish this season... or whatever.

    If you are really there for the trail, and it's really some deep calling;
    Then figure out a way to make it happen right... work hard to make your dream come true.

    If your dream is really in jeopardy because you couldn't sort out how to put together $500-1000 for gear then you probably shouldn't go.
    This needs to be a sticky.
    AT: 695.7 mi
    Benton MacKaye Trail '20
    Pinhoti Trail '18-19'
    @leonidasonthetrail https://www.youtube.com/c/LeonidasontheTrail

  2. #22
    Registered User greentick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    .....
    Buy ugly stuff. I hate puke green and blaze orange.
    I have a puke green down vest and a blaze orange down vest.

    ...
    .
    LOL. Throw in being tall and you're outlet color choices dwindle. Function over form!

    OP: don't forget .mil surplus. Field jacket liner still rocks. The old quarter zip poly-p is also pretty good. Depending what you did in the military Spartan living is easy... and much lighter without bombproof gear, shooting iron(s), bullets, batteries, body armor, etc.
    nous dťfions

    It's gonna be ok.

    Ditch Medicine: wash your hands and keep your booger-pickers off your face!

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by greentick View Post
    LOL. Throw in being tall and you're outlet color choices dwindle. Function over form!

    OP: don't forget .mil surplus. Field jacket liner still rocks. The old quarter zip poly-p is also pretty good. Depending what you did in the military Spartan living is easy... and much lighter without bombproof gear, shooting iron(s), bullets, batteries, body armor, etc.
    throw in short, fat and bald and good luck at your local outfitter, well maybe not bald.

  4. #24
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    I wear medium and find that that's the first to run out!

  5. #25

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    I am pretty frugal, so I try to buy most of my gear on sale and cycle it out over a period of years so I'm not buying a complete setup all at once. I've got a 30 degree synthetic sleeping bag that weighs 2lbs 2 ounces that I got for $30 on sale. Most of my hiking clothing is bought at Walmart so if it gets ruined or smells really bad I just throw it away...shop at the end of the season and get shirts, fleece, shorts or jogging pants for $5 to $10. You don't have to spend a fortune, though if I were going to attempt another thruhike I would probably want to buy some new stuff. I hiked 850 miles in Walmart clothes and carried a $10 Walmart sleeping bag. Stove was an alcohol stove that I made with a beer can and a pocket knife...wasn't pretty but it was cheap and it worked. You can probably do a complete setup for $300 to $500 if you are frugal and shop carefully. The big ticket items will be a pack and a tent and shoes. But doing that you aren't going to have the best quality or the lightest in weight stuff. If you're the type of person who has to have all name brand the best of the best stuff then you should really just plan on spending 3 to 5 thousand dollars on gear...reason being is you will buy 2 or 3 of everything before you find the gear you like.

  6. #26
    Registered User GaryM's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed using my ancient large ALICE pack on my walk. Does that make me a cheap hiker?

  7. #27
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    The Timberline, although heavier than most bivies, is an excellent tent if you don't mind the weight. I've been using one since 1981 in many adventures and misadventures, from summer to deep snow and heavy rain. After almost 40 years, I'm ready to replace it with another Timberline. The extra space is a wonderful luxury in bad weather, and it is easy to set up, and a great 4-season tent.

    Re expensive gear: I used to subscribe to a magazine, I think it was called Packbacker or something similar, and it made clear that any item of gear costing less than $300 was useless, and also that hiking is very dangerous. I no longer subscribe.

    Re Colin Fletcher's book, The Complete Walker: Excellent resource, a little dated, and focused on his southwest USA experiences, but a Bible for backpackers.

    My advice is to decide what you must have every day. I NEED hot coffee in the morning. I NEED a hot evening meal. I NEED a bowl because I hate eating out of a bag. I NEED something to read, therefore I NEED a headlamp to read by. I NEED my pipe to smoke. I NEED a pillow. Everything else is flexible.

  8. #28
    Registered User greentick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaryM View Post
    I really enjoyed using my ancient large ALICE pack on my walk. Does that make me a cheap hiker?
    mebbe. you could do worse. did you pack it full of highspeed lightweight gear? lol
    nous dťfions

    It's gonna be ok.

    Ditch Medicine: wash your hands and keep your booger-pickers off your face!

  9. #29
    Registered User JJ505's Avatar
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    "Buy ugly stuff. I hate puke green and blaze orange.
    I have a puke green down vest and a blaze orange down vest."

    Amazon is excellent for this. The come on says "$9 to $49" or something crazy. Split pea green is always $9. Of course, it won't be available in small, though sometimes I can wear boy's, which are sometimes cheaper, but then XL boys are always the most expensive.

    BTW, as for tips sometimes Columbia has nice stuff. On Amazon it tends to be cheap, with the proviso above. I got quite a nice wind jacket for $30, not all the bells and whistles but it's not $130 either. It's marginally "heavier" by maybe an ounce or two.

  10. #30

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    I agree, everyone should not buy puke green or orange that way I donít have to look at it while hiking behind you, I on the other hand saved a bundle purchasing my burnt chili mama orange pack, just glad itís on my back and I donít have to look at it all day long

    Who Cares!

  11. #31
    Registered User greentick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    I agree, everyone should not buy puke green or orange that way I don’t have to look at it while hiking behind you, I on the other hand saved a bundle purchasing my burnt chili mama orange pack, just glad it’s on my back and I don’t have to look at it all day long

    Who Cares!
    I'll watch out for ya. I'll be the dude at the campsite in the cobalt blue montbell down coat ...
    nous dťfions

    It's gonna be ok.

    Ditch Medicine: wash your hands and keep your booger-pickers off your face!

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by greentick View Post
    I'll watch out for ya. I'll be the dude at the campsite in the cobalt blue montbell down coat ...
    Got hot deal on that coat didnít ya...didnít ya.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    throw in short, fat and bald and good luck at your local outfitter, well maybe not bald.
    I am pretty bald. So the shoe fits well enough.

    .

  14. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ethesis View Post
    I am pretty bald. So the shoe fits well enough.

    .
    we can always score a cheap ugly hat that nobody wants

  15. #35

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    They’re usually on a island table of misfit toys.

  16. #36
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    Some easy observations from my own outings that can save you some weight. Shop at Goodwill, the thrift store, or whatever is close to you, for hiking clothes. Sometimes ex-military will bring in their snivel gear, base layers, etc. for cold weather. It's good stuff. You don't have to pay a lot of money for clothing. You can save substantial weight by switching to a homemade alcohol stove, or even more weight if you choose not t cook. Believe it or not, you don't need heat to rehydrate food. You can put water in it, put it in a ziplock bag, and carry it with you while you're hiking. It'll be ready to eat at your next stop. Some think it is yucky, some don't care. If you don't care, don't carry a stove. You don't have to carry a tent or a hammock. Just stay in the shelters, or if you're occasionally stuck between shelters, have a tarp handy, and a way to stay dry and relatively warm. The next big place where you can save several pounds is on your pack. If you're traveling light enough, your pack doesn't even need a frame. That, and there are several mid-price range lightweight packs. I have an Osprey Atmos (way heavy), an Osprey Exos (pretty light), and a Gossamer Gear Mariposa (super light). The Exos is the most comfortable, but depending on my total load, I'll probably go out with the Mariposa 90 percent of the time because it weighs next to nothing. My final thought is that you can afford to carry some heavier gear if you make the decision to leave the crap you really don't need and will never use where it belongs...at home. You can significantly lighten your pack that way...by not bringing dumb stuff. But you won't know what that stuff is unless you do some shakedown hikes. Get out on the weekend and see what works and what doesn't when the stakes are low to zero. You can car camp and test out everything, and if everything goes south, sleep in the car or go home. Or as someone else said, you can test it out right there in your yard. Don't use the AT or another long trail to test stuff that should have been tested before you left.




  17. #37
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    Some Naturehike tents have good reviews on youtube, run about $100 for sub-3lbs, but run a little shorter than their name brand counterparts. Not well known here in the U.S. ... anyone use this on AT?
    Jansport Katahdin backpack 50L less than $100, around 2.5 lbs.
    Klymit pads run $40ish refurbished on ebay.
    Twenty degree Teton or other brand sleeping bag $50-$100, almost 3lb.
    So $300 for the shelter/sleep system/pack is do-able, light-ish at 9lbs. Your total packweight w/ other items will probably add up to 15-18lb, excluding consumables, which is light weight but not ultralight.

  18. #38
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    As others have said buy your clothes at thrift stores and yard sales.

    I am not spending alot of money on gear either.

    I was going to pm you this but I'm just going to post it here instead.

    Ive read alot of trail journals. Ive read where expensive packs fail and a new pack is needed. Ive read about expensive shoes not lasting. Heck just abiut every type of gear Ive read where it fails. Yes it can last too but I just cant see spending thousands on gear.

    I will be getting just over half of my food from mail drops. Im going to need mail at least twice a month anyway so for me I might as well get mef boxes and get food too. Also from reading trail journals for me mail will be cheaper.

    Given your past history I think if you are carefull you might make it. Im aiming for 2020 and I will be cutting it close too.

    I wont be spending hundreds on travel either. My friend is going to take me if she can otherwise right now a greyhound ticket is $100.

    I looked into splurging on a train but with layovers it takes longer than the bus.

    Once I get to the trail I will have 300 to 400 dollars ti dpend each month. I hope to have about 1000 saved up.

    300 is 100 for food. 150 for a hostel a week and 50 for whatever. If needed ill have to skip hostels or find places that only charge 20. There seem to be several.

    Yes I know its tight but its all I have to work with. Im used to making do.
    I dont drink.

  19. #39
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    For LD hiking... a more modern 'big 4'

    Shoes- nothing more important. Figure 4 pairs minimum of trail runners, 5 or 6 is safer though. 500 miles per pair is pretty good. Push them further or cheap out... and stress fractures or other issues become common.

    Socks- same deal. The AT is a very wet trail. Figure on carrying 2-3 pairs of Darn Tough socks, liners if you need them too. Figure on replacing those at least every other shoe change. A fresh pair per shoe change is a minimum.
    Yes, Darn Tough has a lifetime deal- but they still do wear out or flat out get lost.

    Sleeping pad- you will sleep in shelters. If you are dirt bagging you will probably sleep in cheap, free, or stealth spots in town. Life sucks when you get no sleep. Life is easy when you have a bomber pad that can handle sleeping anywhere you need one.

    Insulation- I say this because a sleeping bag is no longer standard. Top Quilts, UQ's, or even combos of clothing and/or liners are more common. No matter how you do it, don't cheap out here. Sleep is healing and recovery. If you don't sleep well, sleep warm, or sleep comfortable the odds of you busting out are very high. Also... something I remind my FKT friends of... an ounce or two of insulation weighs far less than extra food to make up for all the calories you burned staying warm while sleeping. Waking up to eat food at midnight to keep the internal stove burning is a good trick for a bad night... but not a great way to spend your whole hike. Insulation in your sleep gear is about the best buy ounce for ounce you can make.

    Here's a fabulous deal on a quality piece of cottage gear- $150 20* down quilt- http://www.wildernesslogics.com/BUD-...QUILT-BWTQ.htm

    Everything else- not that important what you use.
    With one serious caveat: You have to know how to use it.

    You can buy a pretty sweet budget tarp these days- https://ugqoutdoor.com/tarps/penny-pincher-tarps/
    Go to hopey depot, get some Poly Cro for a ground sheet and Aluminum gutter spikes to stake it out along with a bundle of mason's twine and you're done with your shelter.
    Planning on using shelters does not mean you can go with no shelter.

    If you don't know how to use a tarp. Then you need to buy a more expensive shelter.

    If you've been day hiking and tuning up- you should have clothes as you go. If you don't, then yes clothes are expensive or take time to budget shop for. But apparel has the highest retail markup of any goods you might use so finding it at 75% off is easy enough given time.

    REI flash 45 is a fine pack for $150. If it doesn't work- you return it. https://www.rei.com/product/111161/r...h-45-pack-mens

    Go lite is back, and they have cheap stuff in proven designs. 2lb pack if for 150- https://mytrailco.com/collections/pa...pack-light-50l

    Yes- a tarp system and 5 days food with a 20* top quilt fits just fine in a 45L pack.
    You only need big packs if you don't know how much crap you will have in your pack.

  20. #40
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    https://www.rei.com/rei-garage/produ...-pad-long-wide

    Awesome sleeping pad, last year's model. Half off. $150.

    $150 Top quilt
    $150 Pack
    $150 Pad.
    $80 tarp, $20 bucks for lines and stakes.
    $10-20 for a head net. (if you're cheap or UL all you need is a headnet.)

    That's a very respectable rig, with good function for an AT thru. $600 bucks after tax and shipping most likely. But buy from REI and spend your $20 for membership and you'll get a dividend back, some free shipping too.
    Every one of those items comes from a quality vendor who will stand by the gear. If you have a problem, you won't drop $500 at the outfitter along the way to replace it.


    Get a deal on shoes and you can get those 4-6 pairs for $300. Of course you can only do that if you have experience day hiking in shoes that you know you will like. If you don't- then it costs you more to buy as you go.

    $10 a pop for darn tough is about the best deal I've seen. Massdrop and TJMaxx occasionally have them.

    If you are dayhiking and tuning up- you can answer the stove question. Some can do stoveless, some can't. Saves money, and pack volume. It doesn't always save weight.

    Aqua mira drops and smartwater bottles will set you back $20... but that solves the water issue.

    Diddy bag- figure $100. SAK classic, compass, whistle, basic light, fire starter, lighter, first aid kit, medicines, lotion, chap stick, bug dope, etc.

    You don't need trekking poles. nothing works just fine. So does found sticks.

    Frog Toggs will get you by... so with the Trail Co crap or a poncho.

    90% of the stuff folks starting out buy is because they are starting out.
    Knowledge/Experience and gear are interchangeable.
    If you know what you are doing, then you will spend less or carry less. Or at worst buy intelligently once.
    Unfortunately you can't just skip to the finish of the gear trail any more than you can get from Springer to Katahdin without walking the miles.

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