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  1. #1
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    Default AT Thru-hike with hammock: any restrictions?

    Hi,
    I'm planning on thru-hiking the AT this season. I'm planning on taking a Kammok mantis and starting in ME. Someone in REI told me that there are sections where hammock camping isn't allowed, though. I tried to research it when I got home and couldn't find anything. Does anybody know which section he was referring to and/or can fact check this?

  2. #2

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    Lots of people (Including a hiker acquaintance of mine) have Thru-Hiked the AT with a hammock. There ARE restrictions in the Smoky's but they are that you must sleep in a shelter, or if full, then camp near it (so can hang). Go read the GSMNP wet site for all their rules.
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  3. #3
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    In a "normal" year hikers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are required to stay in the shelters on the AT. Thru hikers are allowed to tent (or hammock) near the shelters once they fill to capacity.

    However during 2020 and presumably in 2021 overnight hikers are encouraged not to use the shelters but camp nearby due to covid concerns. The only restrictions regarding hammock is that they cannot be attached to any structure.

    I have not done any of the AT north of Harpers Ferry so I cannot speak to beyond there.

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    and just to add-----in the Smoky's, you can't use the shelter to hang..........

    gotta use trees or anything other than the shelter.....

  5. #5
    I plan, therefore I am Strategic's Avatar
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    Except for GSMNP as noted above, you won't find any restrictions on using a hammock that don't apply generally to camping. There are some sections where camping is not allowed, for instance parts of NJ, but anywhere you can camp you can usually hang as long as there are trees. The only other area that has any restrictions are the Whites, where you have to use the huts unless you go down off the ridges to camping sites. So there shouldn't be any real problems for you in using a hammock.
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strategic View Post
    The only other area that has any restrictions are the Whites, where you have to use the huts unless you go down off the ridges to camping sites. So there shouldn't be any real problems for you in using a hammock.
    Just want to clarify that this restriction only applies to alpine areas. You can't camp above treeline.

    In practice, this means that the restrictions only apply to the Presidentials.

    Franconia Ridge is the first section where you'll be above treeline for extended periods, and it's easy to shelter hop. Additional stealth sites are at Garfield Pond and some stretches of the Garfield Ridge trail heading towards Galehead.

    For the Crawford Notch to Pinkham Notch section (the Main Event), the problem section is between Naumann tentsite to Madison Spring hut. Once you get to the Mt Adams area, you can hike down below treeline to any of the RMC shelters (Crag Camp, Gray Knob, The Perch), or from Madison Spring hut head down to the USFS Valley Way tent site, or push on past Mt Madison to the USFS Osgood tent site.

    If you're a hammocker, I strongly recommend packing a sleeping pad for the Presidentials. You will want to stay in the shelters if the weather gets bad, which it will. Also, the Guyot and Garfield Ridge shelters are two of the newest shelters on the A.T., built by Wooden House Company for the AMC, and they are gorgeous.

    But the point is that, other than those two stretches, you do NOT have to stay at the huts. There are stealth sites scattered around, but for the most part the best camping is at the tent sites and shelters.

    In practice, that makes Lakes of the Clouds the only hut with no reasonable camping options. All the other huts have either adjacent or nearby tent sites.

    The only other areas in the Whites with restricted camping are the wilderness areas, but the AT just skirts the edges and does not pass through them.

    Lastly, I don't encourage this, but if you show up at Lakes of the Clouds at the end of the day, cold and shivering and miserable, they won't turn you away. You'll have sleep in the dungeon or on the dining room floor, but you'll have shelter.
    Last edited by blackmagic; 01-06-2021 at 01:38.

  7. #7
    Registered User gbolt's Avatar
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    Thru Hiked in 2018 and Hammocked the entire way with no issues. Like mentioned, I would get a pad for Smokey Mountains and Shelters/Huts/Hostels along the way to give better sleeping options. Still use a hammock when hiking the AT.
    "gbolt" on the Trail

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    Thanks, guys! I'm taking notes haha and yeah, I've got an old thermarest that I'll bring along

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