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  1. #1
    Awesome's Avatar
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    Help with my budget

    I don't know what % of folks here have done a thru hike of the AT but I'm looking for some advice. I've posted this on whiteblaze and got some good feedback. So here goes.
    My gear is already purchased and tested, my transportation to springer is taken care of, I might have a ride from Me but not sure yet.
    $4,000.00 budget broken down like this.
    $1,500.00 for food resupply and town food
    $500.00 for lodging,showers and shuttles
    $500.00 for shoes and gear replacement
    $500.00 misc
    That leaves $1000.00 for extra food,fun,emergency fund.
    I'm going to try and save another $1000.00 if I can if not I'm going with what I have.
    So tell what you think, I can handle it.

  2. #2
    It's very doable...you just need to constantly remind yourself that you have a budget when you feel yourself starting to splurge too much...if you get into a group (and many do) sometimes it's hard to separate yourself as some like to go into every town and splurge on food and a big part get's spent on drinks. I think that most of that misc money will be spent on food, but it depends on what you buy.

    HYOH...which sounds corny and is easy to say, but sometimes harder to do than many think. Hope you have a great hike!
    "yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift---thats why its called a present" - Master Oogway
    It's always best if your an early riser!

  3. #3

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    as you say, there is plenty of good info on WB. In fact, this topic is one of the more frequent ones over there. I think $4k is doable. as Yoda says, avoid groups. learn to camp right outside of town so your resupply is a day in town and not an overnighter. When overnight in town, which is unavoidable for showers and laundry, split a room. plenty of hikers willing to do that.

    Look at mail drops. resupply on food is a killer expense-wise because you often times are stocking up at a mom and pop place. the 4 to 5 days of groceries that might cost you $25 if purchased at home, buying in bulk and utilizing the big discount places can cost you easy $50 - 60 at the Gas-N-Go in East Nowhere, Va. It gets worse too the farther north you get.

    If I were to do it over again, I would utilize more mail drops, both for expense and nutrition. About 1/2 way thru, I got sick of instant pasta, tuna pouches, etc. My wife bought a food dehydrator and starting mailing me food. even with the cost of postage, it was cheaper (and much, much better). I didn't get too many, maybe every 3rd or 4th resupply was at the post office. Really broke up the monotony of the same old, same old. At first I wanted to avoid the hassle of getting to a PO and I wouldn't want too many resupplies done that way but it does help (in expenses and food variety/nutrition).

    You can also leverage bulk purchases that way (maildrops) as well. for example, I loved the carnation instant breakfast. At a convenience store you get them boxed for about $6 per 8 pouches or $.75 per pouch (iirc). buying them at Sam's or Costco runs about $.33 per pouch. doesn't sound like a lot but when you are consuming them at a high rate (and combined with all the other stuff you are using that could be purchased in bulk) it quickly adds up to real serious $.

    good luck on your hike. it is an incredible 5-6 months journey and you will meet some amazing people along the way.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mophead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4shot View Post
    If I were to do it over again, I would utilize more mail drops, both for expense and nutrition. About 1/2 way thru, I got sick of instant pasta, tuna pouches, etc. My wife bought a food dehydrator and starting mailing me food. even with the cost of postage, it was cheaper (and much, much better). I didn't get too many, maybe every 3rd or 4th resupply was at the post office. Really broke up the monotony of the same old, same old. At first I wanted to avoid the hassle of getting to a PO and I wouldn't want too many resupplies done that way but it does help (in expenses and food variety/nutrition).

    You can also leverage bulk purchases that way (maildrops) as well. for example, I loved the carnation instant breakfast. At a convenience store you get them boxed for about $6 per 8 pouches or $.75 per pouch (iirc). buying them at Sam's or Costco runs about $.33 per pouch. doesn't sound like a lot but when you are consuming them at a high rate (and combined with all the other stuff you are using that could be purchased in bulk) it quickly adds up to real serious $.
    Agreed, can be done for $4000 with extra for fun if you spend wisely on food. As mentioned a large part of difference in spending depends on how "thirsty" you get for adult beverages. Another hiker and I were talking about this around VA and he was saying how he just doesn't spend on it. He was about half way and had spend a little over $1500. Alcohol robs you twice: once when you buy it and again when you lose trail time hung over.

  5. #5
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    How long are you estimating to take for your thru hike? I think your estimate for food and lodging is low, it would be for me. It took me 5 1/2 months, which is probably close to average. If you can make it quicker, you will spend a lot less on food. Even if you hike it in 4 months, you have budgeted less than $13 /day.

  6. #6
    renegadepilgrim's Avatar
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    If you're looking for an app (if you're taking a cell phone) to help you track your expenses, Trail Wallet is great. It's designed for international travelers, but I think it would work great for a thru-hiker too. I think it's $1.99 for the app and worth every penny.
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    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

  7. #7
    Wolfman's Avatar
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    Walkinslow, Have you decided how your going to resupply? As in buy only food on the trail, mail all your food, or some combination of both?

    I am doing a thru hike this summer too, or am planing on one. The PNT (Pacific Northwest Trail) and have been looking at both options and talking to a lot of PCT thru hikers. On the PCT the consistence is that it's just a cheep to by your food along the way as there are a lot of stores. But my accounting is showing the opposite to be true, if you buy in bulk before you start you can more then make up for the cost of mailing the food.

    Take a Sinkers bar for example. The average cost of one regular bar is $1.25 from convenience stores and mom and pop stores. I can by snickers from Costco for less the $.33 each. Lets go with 7 snickers a week, for 5 months, that alone would be a savings of $135 or more on one item alone. Way more then mailing a few packages. This is also true for items like Coffee, and many other items that can be found in bulk.

    My hike will be closer to 60 to 70 days, but I am still going to save money doing mail drops. For me the majority of my resupplies will be by mail drop, with in store resupplies at 4 or 5 large towns that have several stores to chose from. This gives better selection and better prices.

    Over all I think your budget is fine and you could do resupply either way, but if you want to save some $$ I would look into mail drops in the less populated areas.

    Wolfman

  8. #8
    sandykayak's Avatar
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    This blog posting on food on the PCT (received via Goassamer Gear's newsletter today) has a lot of good tips and info.

    getting a dehydrator and preparing your own food will save a LOT of money. Amazon has several hiking cookbooks and dehydrator cookbooks.

    http://carrotquinn.wordpress.com/201...od-on-the-pct/

  9. #9
    Dutch's Avatar
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    $4000 is doable, but you will have to watch it. Gear replacement can really drain you. Buying shoes on the trail is expensive and frustrating. Good gear shops but they are always pricy. If you have a favorite shoe get someone to get them online and deliver or mail them. I spent $500 on just shoes. Be careful planning too far ahead with meals. I did mail drops for food but many places I can just go to a grocery store. I think mail drops are better for gear and things like maps, baggies, Q tips, and toilet paper. Things you don't want to buy a whole box of. I decided to go stoveless in VA and wound up with totally different needs. Try not to stay in towns. You move so much faster if you wake up in the woods 1 mile out of town than if you wake up in a hostel and go for breakfast....check the internet....do laundry...go to the library...You will save money and you will be miles up the trail. Gatlinburg is the devil. avoid the devil. It will seem expensive in the beginning as you will crave comfort. Middle won't be bad after trail days. New England is expensive and you really have to be selective. No more $4 donation hostels. Don't worry about getting from Maine, you have plenty of time to figure that out and there will be plenty of people going the same way.

    Good luck and have fun with it. Take pictures of the people, it is the best part.
    Peace Dutch
    GA>ME 2003


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutch View Post

    Good luck and have fun with it. Take pictures of the people, it is the best part.
    Good advice. I took lots of pictures of the views, but not enough of the people!

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