HikeMore Online Newsletter - Appalachian Trail Edition, Spring 2004


AT Survey Guide

Getting Ready
Background Info
Making Time
Start Dates
Mail Drops
Bounce Boxes

Backpacking Gear
Top Twelve
Sent Home
Best Gear
Worst Gear
Top Brands
First Aid
Water Treatment
Maps / Guides
Seasonal Changes
Backpack Weight

Pain / Problems

Weight Loss

Trail Food
Top 5 Foods

Danger on the Trail

After the Trail
End Dates
Hiking Again
Favorite Sections
Biggest Surprise
Best of the Trail
Worst of the Trail
Lessons Learned


Appalachian Trail 2003 Hiker Survey

The majority of survey responses we received were from northbound thru-hikers, so these results are therefore representative of their experiences. To date we have received 49 replies to our Appalachian Trail survey. According to the ATC, there were 503 hikers that reported finishing the AT in 2003.


Backpacking Gear

For an inexperienced hiker, gear decisions when preparing for an Appalachian Trail hike can be almost overwhelming. There is a kind of desire to fill every corner of the backpack with something that might come in handy at one point or another. Once on the trail, however, hikers quickly learn they can do without almost everything except the bare necessities. Even so, the amount of gear hikers carry varies widely. Some barely had 12 items to list on our survey, and some make it to Katahdin with almost 60 pounds on their backs.


Top Twelve of Appalachian Trail Gear

On our survey, we asked people what they considered to be the 12 most important gear items on their Appalachian Trail hike. The results are fairly obvious, but practical nonetheless.

  • Backpack
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Shelter (Tent, Tarp or Hammock)
  • Stove
  • Hiking Boots or Shoes
  • Hiking Poles
  • Water Bottle / Platypus / Camelback
  • Water Treatment
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Cooking Pot
  • Rain Gear / Poncho
  • Headlamp

More gear items that hikers considered essential:

Clothing - extra socks, long underwear, fleece jacket, warm pants, camp shoes, hat, gloves

Other Gear - food, advil, pack cover, maps, guides, fuel, journal, ground cloth, backpack liner, knife, first aid, camera, stuff sacks, bandannas, spoon or spork, lighter, multitool, duct tape, Ziplocs, radio, toilet paper, book or magazines, knee brace, bug net, umbrella, pocketmail, bug repellent, soap, guitar


Sent Home - Unnecessary Gear

What kind of things did hikers decide they could live without on the Appalachian Trail? Many of the items people didn't feel they needed were listed on other hikers' top twelve, and some were simply replaced for a smaller, lighter, or more convenient piece of gear.

The top gear items sent home were:

  • extra clothes
  • compass
  • books
  • water filter
  • detachable pack parts, top of pack
  • extra first aid items
  • large knife
  • extra fuel bottle

Other gear sent home included:

fleece pants, fleece vest, silk bag liner, leatherman, can opener, baby wipes, heavy jacket, journal and art supplies, bear spray or mace, fork, bowl, games, binoculars, deodorant and soaps, towel, rain gear, maps and guides, bowl or extra cook pot, walkman, camp saw, chair, spices, headlamp, candle lantern, GPS



Next > More Info on Backpacking Gear

< Back to Getting Ready


Hiking the AT in 2003
Danger on the Trail
Agony of the Feet
Appalachian Trail Documentary
Appalachian Trail 2003 Survey Results
Trail Food Ideas and Recipes
Comics - Coming Soon
Trail Days in Damascus

Additional AT Info

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HikeMore Online Newsletter | Appalachian Trail Edition | Spring 2004

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