I am working on a book about how to prepare for an AT thru-hike. As you might imagine, I have come across many Appalachian Trail resources in the process. I don’t claim this list is complete, but I believe it is the most comprehensive one online. Regardless of your experience, I’d be surprised if you can’t find something new here to interest you. If you feel I have neglected anything significant, please leave a comment.
About the Trail
- 10 famous Appalachian Trail hikers by Laura Moss | Mother Nature Network
- 21 Appalachian Trail Statistics That Will Surprise, Entertain and Inform You by Zach Davis | REI
- 21 Fascinating Appalachian Trail Facts by Kenny Howell | The Trek
- An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning by Benton MacKaye
- A Privy is a Privy is a Privy, or is it? | Green Mountain Club
- A Quick and Dirty Guide to the Appalachian Trail by Paul Mags
AppalachianTrail.com is an informational resource devoted to the world’s longest hiking-only trail – the Appalachian Trail. From various wildlife you might encounter on the Trail—to the best movies featuring the AT—we have it covered. You can read other hiker’s stories, discover the highest peaks, famous places and attractions on the Appalachian Trail, and research communities along the way. We strive to be your all-everything reference when planning your AT hike and learning about the history of the trail.
- Appalachian Trail Days
- Appalachian Trail Shelters by Chris Cage | Greenbelly Meals
A complete list of shelters, an interactive map, coordinates, distances, and all frequently asked questions related to the A.T. shelters.
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail | Wikipedia
- A.T. Hiking Rates, Section by Section is a statistical look at thru-hikers for the 2001-2010 hiking seasons.
- ATC – 2000 miler application form
- ATC – Explore by State
- ATC – Thru-Hiker Registration Charts
- ATC – Permits and Regulations
- Cool Places to Stumble Across on the Southern A.T. and Cool Places to Stumble Across on the Northern A.T. by AppalachianTrailClarity
- Examining the Thru-Hiker Dropout Rate: Survey Results by Mariposa | The Trek
- Explore the Appalachian Trail in 3D with this tool from BACKPACKER. Experience dozens of the A.T.’s best views, peaks, and towns, travel to Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Parks, and discover BACKPACKER readers’ favorite spots (share your own and they’ll add it to the map). By the time you get to Katahdin, you may just be ready to lace up your trail runners and quit your job.
- Here’s What Happens To Your Body When You Hike The Appalachian Trail by Robert Moor
- International Appalachian Trail (IAT) | Wikipedia
- Map Of The Appalachian Trail by David “Rainmaker” Mauldin
- Permits and fees summary
- This Is What Happens to Your Body on a Thru-Hike
- Trail Slang for the Appalachian Trail | WhiteBlaze (Litesmith has a similar list)
- What Are the Steepest Climbs on the AT, PCT, and CDT? by Ryan Linn | The Trek
- Which Triple Crown Trail is Best: Choosing Your Next Long Hike by Eloise Robbins | The Trek
Appalachian Trail Maintaining Clubs
ALDHA maintains a spreadsheet of trail maintaining clubs as well.
- Georgia Appalachian Trail Club
- Nantahala Hiking Club
- Smokey Mountains Hiking Club
- Carolina Mountain Club
- Tennessee Eastman Hiking Club
- Mount Rogers Appalachian Trail Club
- Piedmont Appalachian Trail Hikers
- Virginia Tech Outing Club
- Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club
- Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club
- Tidewater Appalachian Trail Club
- Old Dominion Appalachian Trail Club
- Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
- Mountain Club of Maryland
- Allentown Hiking Club
- Appalachian Mountain Club Delaware Valley Chapter
- Batona Hiking Club
- Blue Mountain Eagle Hiking Club
- Chester County Trail Club
- Philadelphia Trail Club
- Wilmington Trail Club
- Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club
- Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club
- York Hiking Club
- New York – New Jersey Trail Conference
- Appalachian Mountain Club – Connecticut Chapter
- Appalachian Mountain Club – Berkshire Chapter
- Green Mountain Club
- Dartmouth Outing Club
- Appalachian Mountain Club
- Maine Appalachian Trail Club
- A Road More or Less Traveled: Madcap Adventures Along the Appalachian Trail by Stephen Otis, Colin Roberts, et al.
- A Season on the Appalachian Trail: An American Odyssey by Lynn Setzer
- A Walk for Sunshine by Jeff Alt
- A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
- Appalachian Hiker: Adventure of a Lifetime by Edward B. Garvey
- Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-Year Hike on America’s Trail by Jeffrey H. Ryan
- Appalachian Trail Happiness by Michael “Rev” Kane
- Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike Planner by David Lauterborn
- Appalachian Trials by Zach Davis
- As Far As the Eye Can See: Reflections of an Appalachian Trail Hiker by David Brill
- AWOL On the Appalachian Trail by David “AWOL” Miller
- Backpacker Long Trails: Mastering the Art of the Thru-Hike by Liz Thomas
- Backpacking with the Saints: Wilderness Hiking as Spiritual Practice by Belden C. Lane
- Balancing on Blue: A Thru-Hiking Adventure on the Appalachian Trail by Keith Foskett
- Becoming Odyssa by Jennifer Pharr Davis
- Between a Rock and a White Blaze: Searching for Significance on the Appalachian Trail by Julie Urbanski
- Beyond Backpacking: Ray Jardines Guide to Lightweight Hiking by Ray Jardine
- Blind Courage by Bill Irwin
- Chicas on the Appalachian Trail: Women-Specific Tips for Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail and Conversations with Badass Women Hikers by Jen Beck Seymour
- Dead Men Hike No Trails by Rick McKinney
- Fixing Your Feet: Injury Prevention and Treatments for Athletes by John Vonhof
- Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery
- Hear the Challenge – Hike the Appalachian Trail: A mental, physical, and informational prep to hiking the AT by Kyle Rohrig
- Hiking from Home: A Long Distance Hiking Guide for Family and Friends by Juliana Chauncey
- Hiking the Appalachian Trail (2 volume set) by James R.Hare
- Hiking Through: One Man’s Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail by Paul Stutzman
- Hitch’s Story by Paul Pierpoint
- How the WILD EFFECT Turned Me into a Hiker at 69: An Appalachian Trail Adventure by Jane Congdon
- How to Hike the Appalachian Trail: A Comprehensive Guide to Plan and Prepare for a Successful Thru-Hike by Chris Cage
- In Beauty May She Walk: Hiking the Appalachian Trail at 60 by Leslie Mass
- I Quit My Job and Hiked the Appalachian Trail by Michael “Mountain Goat” Falduto
- Katahdin or Bust: Increasing Your Odds of Enjoying Hiking and Backpacking by Gail Hinshaw
- Last Man to Katahdin by Rick Savard
- Lighten Up!: A Complete Handbook for Light and Ultralight Backpacking by Don Ladigin
- Lost on the Appalachian Trail by Kyle Rohrig
- Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills by The Mountaineers
- My Appalachian Trial I: Three Weddings and a Sabbatical by Steve Adams
- My Appalachian Trial II: Creaking Geezer, Hidden Flagon by Steve Adams
- Northbounders: 2,186 Miles of Friendship by Karen Lord Rutter
- On The Beaten Path: An Appalachian Trail Pilgrimage by Robert Alden Rubin
- On Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moor
- Painted Blazes: Hiking the Appalachian Trail with Loner by Jeffrey “Loner” Gray
- Platinum-Blazing the Appalachian Trail: How to Thru-hike in 3-Star Luxury by Bruce (“RTK”) Matson
- Rethinking Life on the Appalachian Trail: The 2008 Thru-hike of “Rethinker” by Gary Bond
- Returning to Katahdin: A Thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail by Bruce (“RTK”) Matson
- Sauntering Thru: Lessons in Ambition, Minimalism, and Love on the Appalachian Trail by Cody James Howell PhD
- Skywalker: Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Walker
- Sojourn in the Wilderness: A Seven Month Journey on the Appalachian Trail by Kenneth Wadness
- Sole Searching on the Appalachian Trail by Sam Ducharme
- Stumbling Thru: Hike Your Own Hike by A. Digger Stolz
- Stumbling Thru: Keepin’ On Keepin’ On by A. Digger Stolz
- Take a Thru-Hike: Dixie’s How-To Guide for Hiking the Appalachian Trail by Jessica “Dixie” Mills
- Take the Path of Most Resistance: How the Appalachian Trail Saved Me from the Sixties and Taught Me Everything You Need to Know by David Hiscoe
- Ten Million Steps: Nimblewill Nomad’s Epic 10-Month Trek from the Florida Keys to Québec by M. J. Eberhart
- The Adventures of the Barefoot Sisters: Book 1: Southbounders by Lucy Letcher and Susan Letcher
- The Adventures of the Barefoot Sisters: Book 2: Walking Home by Lucy Letcher and Susan Letcher
- The Appalachian Trail: Backcountry Shelters, Lean-Tos, and Huts by Sarah Jones Decker
- The Appalachian Trail: Calling Me Back to the Hills by Earl Shaffer
- The Appalachian Trail: Celebrating America’s Hiking Trail by Brian King and Bill Bryson
- The Appalachian Trail Food Planner: Second Edition: Recipes and Menus for a 2,000-Mile Hike by Lou Adsmond
- The Appalachian Trail Hiker: Proven Advice for Hikes of Any Length by Victoria and Frank Logue
- The Appalachian Trail Reader by David Emblidge
- The Appalachian Trail Workbook for Planning Thru-Hikes (Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail) by Christopher Whalen
- The Complete Walker IV by Colin Fletcher and Chip Rawlins
- The Good Hike: A Story of the Appalachian Trail, Vietnam, PTSD, and Love by Tim Keenan
- The Hungry Spork: Trail Recipes: Quick Gourmet Meals for the Backcountry by Inga Aksamit
- The Hungry Spork: A Long Distance Hiker’s Guide to Meal Planning by Inga Aksamit
- The Path: Hiking the Appalachian Trail in 8 Steps by Craig Stiver
- The Things You Find on the Appalachian Trail: A Memoir of Discovery, Endurance and a Lazy Dog by Kevin Runolfson
- The Thru-hikers Planning Guide by Dan “Wingfoot” Bruce
- The Trail by Meika Hashimoto
- The Trail is the Teacher: Living and Learning on the Appalachian Trail by Clay Bonnyman Evans
- The Ultimate Hang: Hammock Camping Illustrated by Derek Hansen (his website has a lot of free information as well)
- The Unlikely Thru-Hiker by Derick Lugo
- The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide by Andrew Skurka
- Then the Hail Came by George Steffanos (online book)
- There Are Mountains to Climb: An Inspirational Journey by Jean Deeds
- Three Hundred Zeroes: Lessons of the heart on the Appalachian Trail by Dennis R. Blanchard
- Through Hiker’s Eyes: A Journey Along the Appalachian Trail: Part One: Springer Mountain, Georgia to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia by Lawrence Alexander
- Through Hiker’s Eyes Part Two: Katahdin Bound by Lawrence Alexander
- Thru: An Appalachian Trail Love Story by Richard Judy
- Thru Hiking The Appalachian Trail: 100 Tips, Tricks, Traps and Facts by Jen Beck Seymour and Greg Seymour
- Trail Life: Ray Jardine’s Lightweight Backpacking by Ray Jardine
- Trailside Guide: Hiking and Backpacking by Karen Berger
- Trail Tested: A Thru-Hiker’s Guide to Ultralight Hiking and Backpacking by Justin Licther
- Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips by Mike Clelland
- Walking on the Wild Side: Long-Distance Hiking on the Appalachian Trail by Kristi M. Fondren
- Walkin’ On The Happy Side of Misery: A Slice of Life on the Appalachian Trail by J.R. “Model-T” Tate
- Walkin’ with the Ghost Whisperers: Lore and Legends of the Appalachian Trail by J. R. “Model-T” Tate
- Walking North: A Family Walks the Appalachian Trail by Mic Lowther
- Walking the Appalachian Trail by Larry Luxenberg
- Walking to Maine: A Scoutmaster’s Journey on the Appalachian Trail by Glenn Justis
- Walking with Spring by Earl Shaffer
- We’re Off to See the Wilderness, the Wonderful Wilderness of Awes: A Hiker’s 2000-Mile Adventure by M.E. “Postcard” Hughes
- When You Find My Body by D. Dauphinee
- Where’s the Next Shelter? by Gary Sizer
- Whistler’s Walk: The Appalachian Trail in 142 Days by William Monk
Documenting Your Hike
- AT Thru-Hike Tracking Info is a Google spreadsheet that I created to help you easily track your progress and your expenses. Just enter a few fields of information each night in camp and at the end you will have a lot of interesting statistics available to summarize your hike (they are automatically calculated so you don’t need to do any extra work).
- How to Vlog Your Thru-Hike: 5 Easy Steps by Evan Schaeffer | The Trek
- Trail Journals offers an online platform to write about and share your thru-hike experience.
- Thru-Hiker Dogs is a Facebook group for those planning to hike with their dog
- The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has a useful page that covers issues concerning dogs on the trail
- Hiking with Fido by Tom Grenell
- So you think you want to thru-hike by Steve Lund | Backcountry
- Dogs and The Smokies: What You Need to Know by Stacia Bennett | The Trek
Each year will have at least one thru-hiker class group so search for your year and join (try “Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers Class of 20XX”).
Other Facebook groups:
- Appalachian Trail
- Appalachian Trail Hostels, Lodges, and B&Bs
- Appalachian Trail – Hostels – Lodges – B&B’s – Hot Spots
- Appalachian Trail Motivation Page
- Appalachian Trail Section-hikers
- Appalachian Trail Thru Hiking Food
- Appalachian Trail: Women’s Group
- AT Hiker Supporters (for parents and supporters of thru-hikers)
- Healthy Gourmet Backpacking Food
- Hiker Lost and Found (a project/service to help hikers find gear they have lost and/or report gear that has been found during their hikes)
- Hiking & Backpacking Related Memes
- Thru-Hiker Dogs (for those planning to hike with their dog)
- Trail Days Ride Board (for rides to and from Damascus, VA for Trail Days and to offer rides)
- Vegan Hikers & Backpackers
- 4 Must Have Supplements for Long Distance Backpacking by Zach Davis | The Trek
- Backpacking Vegetarian or Vegan? | Outdoor Herbivore
- Best Backpacking Food + DIY Recipes by Iron Tazz
- Calories Used While Backpacking by Phil Heffington
- GearSkeptic is a YouTube channel with a small collection of very detailed and useful videos about backpacking nutrition. You can also download a useful nutrition spreadsheet with over 900 common backpacker food options (PDF version also available). You can also make your own with a DIY spreadsheet. There is also a separate spreadsheet covering popular freeze-dried meal pouches (PDF version also available).
- Long Distance Hiking Food Resupply Tool is a free, public Google Sheets spreadsheet I created to help long-distance hikers more easily plan resupplies. It currently includes almost 1300 common backpacker food options (including popular freeze-dried meals) with associated nutrition information. You can specify the number of days and nights and amount of daily calories you want as well as targeted nutritional breakdown (fat, carbs, protein) and use the tool to easily see how your planned resupply matches those. One great thing about Google Sheets is that you can use it in offline mode, which should be helpful when on the trail with spotty or no wireless coverage.
NOTE: This spreadsheet incorporates the wonderful work of GearSkeptic (see above) so I recommend you check out those videos if you haven’t already.
- Meal time: Backpacking breakfast & dinner recipes | Andrew Skurka
- Nutritionist Brenda L. Braaten’s Pack Light, Eat Right: Nutritional recommendations for backpackers and other endurance exercise enthusiasts is a fantastic overview of nutritional basics with a focus on long-distance hiking needs.
- Outdoor Food Club categorizes foods good for outdoor activities and provides nutritional info for each, including calories per gram, carbs per gram, protein per gram, sodium per gram, sugar per gram, etc., so you can find new foods, and compare them in an objective and fair way.
- Popular pre-packaged meal companies:
Wild Zora (Paleo)
- Nutrition Databases can be useful when planning your food resupply. A few worth checking out are calorieKing, FatSecret (has mobile apps), Nutrionix, SELF Nutrition Data, and USDA FoodData Central (difficult to search by brand). I am not sure that one is better than the rest, because each seems to miss certain brands or certain sizes and the numbers for the same food item sometimes vary between sources. After a bit of use, I prefer calorieKing and Nutritionix. Finding an item on Amazon is also a good option, because the product images usually include one with the Nutrition Facts label.
- Stoveless Backpacking Meals + Cold Soak Guide by Iron Tazz
- The Best Hiking Snack – Cooking With A Thru Hiker by JupiterHikes
- There Are 50 CLIF Bars, and Nutritionists Only Recommend 5 by Sarah Bradley | Eat This, Not That
- Thru-Hiking Calorie and Food Weight Calculator | Guthook Guides
Calculate how many calories you will burn on your hiking trip and plan how much food you will need to bring on your trip using our Calorie & Food Weight Calculator.
There are a TON of blog posts and YouTube videos with various gear reviews, gear lists, etc. I won’t even try to list them here but if I find good general gear overview resources I will add them.
- Adventure Alan (Alan Dixon)
- A Good First Aid Kit by ME & U | WhiteBlaze
- Andrew Skurka has created a comprehensive gear list template and checklist and shares some of his gear lists to serve as guides. Also check out his Backpacking Gear List Template & Checklist : Template + 3-season Checklist, Core Backpacking Clothing, and Core 13 Backpacking Clothing.
- Backpacking shelters for the BIG & tall, and those who sprawwwl by Jesse Liesch
Very limited information is available about shelters for larger people. I’ll address this problem with a revolutionary new system for measuring the usable area of tents and fixed-shape tarps. Then, using this system I will offer standards for comfort and I will examine several popular models.
- Choosing A Tarp for a Hammock by Derek Hansen
- DIY Pot Cozy & Cook Pouch for the Trail by Darwin onthetrail | YouTube
- Do You Really Need a Footprint for Your Tent? by Casey Handley | CleverHiker
- Follow Bigfoot has two useful gear list videos: My Affordable Lightweight 3-Season Gear Challenge List (GearGrams list) and $1500 Ultralight Appalachian Trail Gear List (GearGrams list). You can also see his finalized Appalachian Trail GearGrams list.
- Frozen’s (Outdoor Adventures on YouTube) Appalachian Trail Lighterpack list
- Gear Backpackers Ditch First by Homemade Wanderlust (YouTube)
- Hammocking 101: Weather Protection by John and Cath at Couch2Trail
- Hammock Camping 101 by Derek Hansen
- Hammock How-To for Noobs by “Shug” Emery | YouTube
- Hammocking 101: Buying a Hammock System | Couch2Trail
- How to Lace a Hiking Boot For Better Fit by Backcountry Edge | YouTube
- How To Make A Pot Cozy by Backcountry Banter | YouTube
- How to Recycle Your Used Hiking Shoes by Jeff Podmayer | The Trek
- How to Tie a Heel Lock by Steven Wright | Lock Laces
- Less than $1000 Lighterpack gear list by Reddit user mittencamper
- Make Your Own Ultralight Windscreen & Heat Reflector – DIY by Backcountry Banter | YouTube
- Mental Side To Going Ultralight by Craig Fowler | One of Seven Project
- MSR Stoves: Measuring Canister Fuel by MSRGear | YouTube
- The Best Ultralight Backpacks | GearLab
- The Thru-Hiker’s Guide to Tyvek by Jesse Metzger | The Trek
- The Trek Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Gear List indicates popular options in the following categories: shelters, hammock, pack, sleeping bags and quilts, sleeping pads, footwear, clothing, cooking, water, first aid, toiletries, headlamp, pillow, hiking poles, trowel, and GPS.
- The Working Man’s UL Upgrade List (Lighterpack list)
- Ultralight Vs Traditional Packs – What’s the Best for you? by Darwin onthetrail | YouTube
99Boulders offers a huge list of gear vendors that can be filtered by type of gear, country, or type of company. That list includes many I have never heard of and haven’t listed here, some of which are for countries besides the U.S. Check that out if interested. My list is simply of those companies I saw at least several times in positive references while I was researching my gear. It is far from exhaustive and I am sure I have left out some good brands, but it is a good place to start if you are new and a bit overwhelmed. Some of these are big names found in stores, some are independent but do sell through Amazon, and some are independent and only sell from their own website. In parenthesis, I list what they are most famous for, though they may sell other products as well.
- 3F (a Chinese manufacturer of lightweight gear, often copies of more expensive brands, with good quality but sometimes long delivery times from China; for example, their Lanshan tent is very popular but see MIER below for an alternative).
- Altra (trail running shoes)
- Anker (power banks)
- Arc’teryx (various gear)
- BearVault (bear canisters)
- Big Agnes (tents, sleeping pads and bags)
- Black Diamond (trekking poles, headlamps)
- Body Wrapper Ripstop Pants (3-4 oz. | 85-113 g)
- Borah Gear (bivys, tarps)
- Brooks (trail running shoes)
- Cnoc Outdoors (dirty water bag)
- Darn Tough (Merino wool socks with a lifetime warranty)
- Decathlon (general outdoors retailer with excellent value for money products mostly popular outside the U.S. but can be purchased online in the U.S.)
- Dirty Girl Gaiters
- Dr. Bronners and Campsuds (multi-use, biodegradable soap)
- Dream Hammock (hammocks)
- Durston Gear (tents, backpacks)
- Dutchware Gear (hammocks, especially Chameleon)
- Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) (hammocks)
- Enlightened Equipment (quilts, shelter)
- Evernew (water bags)
- Farm to Feet (Merino wool socks with a lifetime warranty)
- Feathered Friends (sleeping bags, clothing)
- Frogg Toggs (cheap rain gear)
- Garage Grown Gear (online retailer of other companies’ products; try GGG10 coupon code for a 10% discount and free shipping on orders over $20)
- Gossamer Gear (packs, tents, trekking poles)
- Granite Gear (packs)
- GSI Outdoors (cookware, especially using Halulite rather than Titanium)
- Hammock Gear (hammocks, quilts)
- Hennessy Hammock (hammocks, tarps, snake skins)
- High Tail Designs (accessories, especially ultralight fanny packs and stuff sacks)
- Hilltop Packs (backpacks, bear bags with funny designs)
- HydroBlu Versa (water filtration)
- Hyperlite Mountain Gear (waterproof packs)
- Injinji (toe socks and toe liner socks)
- Jacks ’R’ Better (hammocks, tarps, quilts)
- Kahtoola (snow gear)
- Kammock (tarps)
- Katabatic Gear (packs, sleeping bags)
- Katadyn Befree (water filtration)
- Klymit (sleeping pads and accessories)
- La Sportiva (trail running shoes)
- Leki (trekking poles)
- LightHeart Gear (tents)
- Lightload® Towels (ultralight camp towels)
- LiteAF (packs, bear bag kit)
- Litesmith (online retailer selling a small collection of UL gear)
- Loco Libre (quilts)
- Loksak (odor proof food bags)
- Marmot (Precip rain jacket)
- Merino wool clothing companies (Ibex, Icebreaker, Minus33, Smartwool, Meriwool, Point6, WoolX)
- MIER (makes a clone of the 3F Lanshan tent that is slightly more expensive but ships more quickly inside the U.S.)
- Montbell (clothes, especially down and rain jackets)
- Mountain Hardware (trail clothes, gear)
- Mountain Laurel Designs (packs, quilts)
- MSR (cooking gear)
- MyersTech Hammock Lab. This one-man shop is run by disabled vet and outdoor enthusiast Jeff Myers. He sells handmade suspension systems and components for hammocks and tarps. His specialty are Evo loops (shackle loops) that are lightweight, non-metal carabiner replacements. He has an eBay store as well, but often better and slightly cheaper if you contact him directly on FB).
- My Trail Co (UL equipment retailer)
- NatureHike (a Chinese manufacturer of lightweight gear, often copies of more expensive brands, with good quality)
- NEMO Equipment (famous for its Hornet tents)
- Osprey (rugged, light—but not UL—packs; the most popular brand on trail)
- Outdoor Research (rain jacket, dry and stuff sacks)
- OutdoorVitals (ultralight gear)
- PackbackDesigns (packs and pack accessories)
- Pa’lante Packs (packs)
- Paria Outdoor Products (shelter, sleep)
- Patagonia (clothes, especially Capilene and fleece)
- Petzl (headlamps)
- RAVPower (power banks)
- REI (a general outdoors retailer that also has some excellent own-brand gear)
- Ripstop by the Roll (waterproof material for DIY projects)
- Salomon (trail running shoes)
- Sawyer (water filtration)
- Sea to Summit (dry and stuff sacks, bag liner, sleep gear)
- Six Moons Designs (their Lunar Solo tent is popular)
- Smelly Proof Bags (odor proof food bags)
- SOLE (heat-molded insoles)
- StickPic (small gadget to turn your trekking poles into a selfie stick)
- Superfeet (insoles)
- Superior Wilderness Designs (packs)
- Tarptent (shelter)
- The Packa (a combination pack cover, rain jacket, and poncho)
- Therm-a-Rest (sleeping pads)
- Thrupack (ultralight fanny packs)
- Timmermade (makes a 1 oz. DCF pullover rain shell)
- Toaks (lightweight cookware)
- TrailHeadz Hammocks and Accessories (Wraith UL is a netted hammock weighing in at under 10 ounces)
- Tread Lite Gear (UL accessories; UK)
- Underground Quilts (UGQ) (hammocks, quilts)
- Ursack (bear-proof bags)
- Ultralight Adventure Equipment (ULA) (packs)
- Vargo (cooking gear)
- Warbonnet Outfitters (hammocks, tarps and quilts)
- Wrightsock (double layer hiking socks)
- Zimmerbuilt (custom frameless packs)
- Zpacks (UL gear, especially packs, tents, bear bag, and rain gear; one of the most popular brands on the trail)
Gear Weight Tracking Resources
- GearGrams was, I believe, the first gear weight tracking tool. There is a (paid) iOS app as well. I am not sure, but it seems like GearGrams is no longer being actively maintained, because the last update on the blog or social media was December 2017.
- Lighterpack seems to be the most popular weight tracking tool these days and is open source. It is similar to GearGrams in feel and functionality.
- Milestepper doesn’t appear to be used by anyone in any of the groups I follow, but I did originally see it listed in the Reddit sub and it looks interesting enough to check out.
- Packfire is a new alternative to Lighterpack. I haven’t used it personally or heard much feedback but it looks like it might be good.
Guidebooks, Maps and Apps
There are two Appalachian Trail guides used by the vast majority of all thru-hikers: AWOL (paper, PDF) and Guthook (mobile app). I list those below, but there are others that might interest you as well.
- ALDHA Thru Hiker’s Companion is the only official ATC guidebook for thru-hikers, section-hikers and day-hikers on the Appalachian Trail. It contains a mountain’s worth of information and data on shelters, water sources, town services, and other hiker-oriented facilities along the trail. The information is compiled and published every year by ALDHA volunteers—many of them long-traveled veterans of the A.T.—with valuable input from the staff of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. It contains up-to-the-minute knowledge of the A.T. from current hikers and trail maintainers and provides essential information on hiker-oriented services on and near the trail.
Price: A PDF version is included with ALDHA membership ($10) or you can order a print version for $14.95
- AllTrails is probably the most popular hiking app, providing maps, reviews, and details for over 55,000 hand-curated trails in 102 countries. With the free version, you can search for trails, and view maps both online or offline. Category filters like dog-, kid-, or wheelchair-friendly are easily available, and you can record hiking statistics like total distance, elevation, and moving time.
Price: AllTrails Pro is available as an annual subscription for USD $29.99/year
- Appalachian Trail Conservancy Guides and Maps
- Appalachian Trail Database (the “ATDB”) is a geographical dictionary collecting trail mileage, position, and elevation for over 500 A.T. Waypoints, including: Trail Shelters, Post Offices, Features, and Hostels. You can use the database as an aid for detailed planning of A.T. section and thru hikes or simply to browse Appalachian Trail features and resources. (NOTE: I believe this was last updated in 2006)
- Appalachian Trail Data Book consolidates the most basic information from 11 detailed official guide books into a lightweight table of distances between major Appalachian Trail shelters, road-crossings, and features. It is divided according to the guidebook volumes and updated each December to account for Trail relocations, new (or removed) shelters, and other changes. In addition to codes for lodging, food, water, and other essentials, the Data Book is keyed to both the individual guidebook sections and to the separate maps.
- Appalachian Trail Elevation Profile Map Sets (pocket profile, 0.14 oz. | 4 g each map)
Price: $80.82 for entire set
- Appalachian Trail Mileage Chart by Dwhike | SummitPost
This is a listing of points of interest along the trail with their NOBO mile number. The information comes from 2009, so it is quite outdated. What makes it still worth consideration is that (1) it is free and (2) there are links to many of the points of interest that provide unique content about them from SummitPost.
- Avenza Maps is a mobile app that doesn’t need the Internet to work. Find an official park or topographic map and navigate with only GPS to locate yourself on a map. Record your tracks, estimate travel times, and add placemarks and photos to share with others.
Price: varies by map provider but the full set of National Geographic maps are $129.99! Probably best to stick with Guthook.
- The A.T. Guide (still called AWOL’s Guide but AWOL sold it) is the most popular guidebook on the Appalachian Trail. It has all the info you need for hikes of any length on the A.T., and is especially strong for town information (including maps of the main towns you will pass or come close to along with hostel, restaurant, resupply, and shuttle options for each). It also lists a profile (including elevations) of the entire trail and lists all shelters. There are two versions, NOBO and SOBO, and you can buy hard copy, loose leaf, and PDF versions. For more information, check out Follow Bigfoot’s YouTube review of it.
AWOL also offers 12, 15 and 18 miles per day plans that you can downloading as Excel spreadsheets (and which I have included in my Appalachian Trail Planning, Resupply & POI Google spreadsheet)
Price: $15.95 for paper or loose-leaf, $13.45 for PDF.
- Gaia GPS Smartphone App can replace a standalone GPS device.
Price: $20 per year (follow Adventure Alan’s link and get 20% off).
- Google Maps of Appalachian Trail
- Guthook App, along with the AWOL guide, is the major resource used by thru-hikers and it is pretty darned incredible. If you download the maps, it works offline with GPS (which you can toggle on and off while using and which turns off when you close the app or your phone). It also occasionally updates the content whenever you are connected to data (auto update is a setting to toggle). Different icons are used to indicate points of interest (called waypoints, e.g., full, half full, or empty water drop to signify the presence of water and how reliable the source is). You can choose which sections and which types of maps as well as comments and photos to download, so if your phone is memory constricted this can help. There are three types of maps available: topo (three sources to choose from), Google street (street, satellite, terrain, or hybrid), and USGS offline satellite. The Google option will also show useful things off the trail, which is helpful for when you plan to go into town if you won’t have mobile data working. You can also register a free account which will let you add comments, but this is not required. There are so many useful features (e.g., ability to toggle between map view, an elevation profile map, and a list view of all or selected waypoints) that you might want to see online reviews to get a better feel for them. Follow Bigfoot has a useful video review of the Guthook app as does Michael K Davis. Finally, note that both versions are good, but iOS has better features than the Android version.
Price: The app itself is free but you must pay for the trail contents, either by section (there are nine total) or for slightly less money ($60) you can buy the entire trail as a bundle (recommended). One big plus is that updates are free forever. The approach trail is included for free so you can play with it to see how the app works before you decide to purchase. Note that there is usually one or two significant sales (20-25% off) each year so if you are planning ahead, monitor the FB groups to hear about these sales.
- Hanover (NH) and Norwich (VT) Appalachian Trail Hiker’s Guide
- HikerBot Appalachian Trail is an Android only, open source mobile app made in conjunction with Gossamer Gear. In theory, it has trail, campsite, water, resupply, and other pertinent info. I say “in theory” because I was completely unable to get it to work for my phone and many other reviews complain of the same issue, though some do seem to say it works well, so perhaps it depends on the phone being used? Anyway, it hasn’t been updated since 2018 so I wonder if it is an abandoned project.
Price: The app and data are free so no harm in giving it a try.
- National Geographic – Trails Illustrated Appalachian Trail and Wall maps
Price: 13 A.T. section maps @ $14.95 each or the complete bundle for $149.95; wall map of the entire trail for $16.95.
- Noam Gal’s offline maps for use with the Backcountry Navigator or OruxMaps apps.
- Peak Finder is great to identify mountains. It works like binoculars with an overlay of mountain names.
- Postholer Appalachian Trail Pocket Maps and Trail GPS App
Price: The Android app and trails is $9.99; there are three paper map volumes – southern A.T. ($32.86), central A.T. ($30.98), and northern A.T. ($32.86)
- Postholer interactive Google Maps trail map
- Postholer Wall app is designed to communicate trail information in a very timely manner. Features include: Water Reports (send water reports while you’re standing at the source), Trail Reports (send a trail report so the folks who maintain the trail can respond promptly), and Trail Chatter (find out what your hiking buddies are up to, regardless of their place on the trail).
NOTE: I am not sure how this is different from their paid Android app.
- View Ranger is an app for both Android and iOS that lets you discover inspiring route guides, download detailed Ordnance Survey® maps, and navigate with confidence on your next hike, run, bike ride, country walk or outdoor adventure. I have read that it’s peak finder feature is as good or better than the Peak Finder app.
- WhiteBlaze Pages is a newer guidebook, around since 2017. It looks to be similar to the ALDHA Companion and the A.T. Guide.
Price: $10 (PDF $5).
- Wikitrail.org is a project to create a free, complete, and up-to-date guide for the Appalachian Trail, including a Google map of the trail, a distance calculator, a planning tool, and lists of towns, trailheads, resupply points, and maildrop locations.
- Blister Treatment: Tips for Getting A Blister To Heal | WebMD
- Foot size changes by Mara Factor
- How to Identify, Treat, and Prevent Plantar Fasciitis and Partial Plantar Tears AshleyMateo | Runner’s World
- How to survive a snakebite in the wilderness | Snakebite Foundation
- Leukotape for Hiking and Blister Prevention 101 by Chris Cage | Greenbelly Meals
- Minimizing the effects and aftermath of wet feet by Andrew Skurka
- NOLS Wilderness First Aid course
- Plantar fasciitis – Wikipedia
- Poisonous Plants of the Appalachian Trail | SkyAboveUs
- Sore Knees Hiking Down Hills? Learn How To Fix It! by Lee Welton | Trailside Fitness
- Suggested Trail Stretches by Natalie (“Stretch”)
- The Tick App provides information on ways to prevent tick exposure. The app also shows how to identify different kinds of ticks and the diseases they transmit. In addition, app users have the opportunity to be citizen scientists and help researchers understand how human behavior influences the risk of contracting ticks.
Hiker Reports and Analysis
Below are online summaries or analysis of thru-hikes I have come across. If you know of others, please let me know.
- 2015 thru-hike summary Infographic by Sara “Stretch” Duoma
- 2017 thru-hike stats and expenses by Ounce
- 2019 Thru-hike summary Google spreadsheet by Adam Boggs (Storm Chaser)
- Analyzing My Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike — Expenses and Statistics by Jeff Blum
- Shane O’Donnell shared a Facebook note with a detailed breakdown of his 2015 costs and mileage averages.
- The Hard and Fast Numbers of the Appalachian Trail by Carl Stanfield | The Trek
- WhiteBlaze user map man did a detailed statistical analysis of thru-hikers that includes a breakdown of the average number of days to get through various sections. It’s a bit dated, but still informative.
Hiking or AT-focused Blogs and Websites
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail
- Hiking for Her
- Postholer has forums, a planning tool, two mobile apps (one free, one paid), an interactive Google Maps trail map, and journals about the Appalachian Trail.
- Reddit Appalachian Trail Subreddit
- Reddit Ultralight Subreddit
- /r/AppalachianTrail FAQ (Google Doc)
- SummitPost is a collaborative content community focused on climbing, mountaineering, hiking, and other outdoor activities. This site is built by its members, who can:
(1) Post photos, trip reports, events, logs, and albums.
(2) Share expertise by submitting how-to articles and informational pages.
(3) Shape the content of the site by voting on other people’s work. The less valuable submissions get buried, and the good stuff rises to the top.
- The Hiker Yearbook ($59) is a photographic record of individual Appalachian Trail hikers.
- The Trek (previously called Appalachian Trials) is a site dedicated to long-distance hiking. Especially useful is the How to Hike the AT 101 Guide, the Appalachian Trail Interactive Map and the various gear lists and surveys.
- Trail Days official website
- Where Are The Hikers? attempts to predict hiker activity along the Appalachian Trail throughout the year. The visualizations on this site are generated from the locations and dates contained in the Trail Journals entries of Appalachian Trail hikers from 2001-2016. The data is not limited to thru-hikers only; it visualizes all warm bodies on the trail for each day of the year, whether they’re thru, section, or day hikers.
- Whiteblaze is a popular forum that has been around for years. The articles section is a good starting point and the search feature can help you find answers to most questions you may have.
Hostels, Hotels and Shelters
- ALDHA Map of AT Hostels, Lodging & Outfitters (with contact info and directions)
- ALDHA Map of A.T. Shelters
- Appalachian Trail Hostels
- Appalachian Trail Shelters
- Hostels Along the Appalachian Trail – NOBO
- Map of AT hostels
- WhiteBlaze Appalachian Hostel listing
NOTE: I have included lodging options in my Appalachian Trail Resupply & POI spreadsheet.
- Buddy, USAA, and the American Alpine Club (AAC) accident insurance for hiking (only available to US residents) offer supplemental travel insurance that should cover your hike.
- Some travel insurance providers like World Nomads offer coverage for “adventure” or “high risk” activities.
- The Hike Safe Card ($25 for an individual, $35 for a family) covers search and rescue in The Whites Mountain in NH, one of the more dangerous sections of the trail.
- SPOT and Garmin emergency GPS devices offer search and rescue (SAR) benefits.
Mail Drop and Resupply Resources
- ALDHA has a useful A.T. Mailing Label page that provides an easy way to create mailing labels for many of the locations along the Appalachian Trail (post offices and hiker hostels). Simply fill out your return address and select a location and a separate window will popup containing the completed mailing label. Print out the window (right click) and you’ve created your mailing label. The organization also maintains a Google map with all the post offices and resupply locations.
- AppalachianTrailClarity offers a Stamp of Approval on Maildrops (PDF) for knowing your maildrop options (mile markers, addresses, links, are included) and also a PDF listing of Major Resupply Points Along the Appalachian Trail (includes northbound mile markers, links, phone numbers, etc.). There are also other useful articles for getting the most out of your A.T. experience (don’t-miss places, food menu, FAQ, hygiene tips, etc.).
- Google Map of Resupply locations (Gold = on trail, Green = 1-2 miles off trail, Blue = 3+ miles off trail)
- Ideas for an Inexpensive Thru-hike (Hiker Advice) by weathercarrot | WhiteBlaze. Written in 2003 so probably of limited value but worth checking out for how to think about planning.
- John Michael Chapman (Johnny Appleseed), a 2019 thru-hiker, made a detailed Appalachian Trail Resupplies 2019 document (original, editable version).
- Joyful Rambler (Moon Pie) offers a copy of the spreadsheet she created for her 2018 thru-hike, with nine different resupply box destinations (including addresses).
- The A.T. Guide has a list of post offices along the trail.
- The Trek has a couple of useful mail drop resources. One is a listing of their suggested places to send and the other is just a full listing of all places you can send.
- WhiteBlaze has a couple of useful resupply resources, including a Resupply Locations List, a Resuppling within one miles from the Appalachian Trail for a thru hike post that lists various resupply points along the trail, with those lying within 1 mile of the trail highlighted, and the fairly famous Re-Supply Information (2007) by Jack “Baltimore Jack” Tarlin.
NOTE: I have included resupply options from these sources in my Appalachian Trail Resupply & POI spreadsheet.
|USPS? While you probably have heard about USPS Priority Mail shipping for mail drops, Shane O’Donnell has written a detailed tutorial titled USPS Regional Rate Boxes For Hiking Dummies that can often save money compared to Priority Mail if you live on the East Coast.|
Miscellaneous Articles and Resources
- 10 Fantastic Hiker Traditions on the Appalachian Trail by Kenny Howell | The Trek
- American Classic: Hiking the Appalachian Trail by Michael Lanza | Backpacker
In this ultimate guide to the country’s favorite footpath, you’ll find our picks for the best hiking and camping, and a complete plan for thru-hikers. Plus, meet a man who has made it his job to help AT hikers.
- Backpacking for Beginners: How to get started | Outdoors Generations
- Black Bears and Thru-Hiking: Your Questions Answered by Jim Rahtz | The Trek
- Exit Interview: I Was a Black, Female Thru-Hiker on the Appalachian Trail by Sarah Laskow | Atlas Obscura
- Fresh Ground Leapfrog Café – Just a simple North Carolina country boy trying to encourage, motivate, feed, or give a ride to hikers (also see “Trail Angel Spotlight: Fresh Ground and his Leapfrog Cafe”).
- Gimme Shelter: The Pros & Cons of Sleeping in Shelters on the Appalachian Trail by Stubbs | The Trek
- Hikerlink is a tool for thru-hikers to connect with one another (a searchable database of thru-hikers organized by trail, year, and direction). It is brand new as of the time I am writing this so it remains to be seen what becomes of it, but since it is affiliated with The Trek I imagine it will get traction and become popular.
- How the AT Works: What DOES a Maintainer Do? by Cosmo | The Trek
- How to Thru Hike the Appalachian Trail: A 101 Guide | The Trek
- Inaturalist has mobile apps that will identify plants and animals from photos you take on the trail. It can also track the location of what you spot automatically, which you can add to projects. Either create your own or join one of the already existing projects for the A.T. Also, by recording and sharing your observations, you’ll create research quality data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature.
- Ineffective & outdated: Six reasons to not hang a bear bag by Andrew Skurka
- Is Thru-Hiking Really 90 Percent Mental? by Cam “Swami” Honan | The Hiking Life
- Lightning Safety on the Appalachian Trail | ATC
- Looking back: Thru-Hiker’s Handbook by Dan Bruce by Paul Mags
- Shelter Etiquette on the AT by Maggie Wallace at The Trek.
- SoBo Vs. NoBo Thru Hikers: The Tiny Differences and The Immense Similarities by Carlie Gentry | The Trek
- The Appalachian Trail Passport
- The Case for Bear Canisters on the Appalachian Trail by Cosmo | The Trek
- The Sobo’s guide to Baxter and Katahdin by Teej
- What is it Like to Sleep in an Appalachian Trail Shelter? by Philip Werner | SectionHiker
There are many movies and television programs about the Appalachian Trail. Here are some that either I have seen and enjoyed personally or seen recommended by others.
- 2000 Miles to Maine (2004)
- A Walk in the Woods (2015)
- Appalachian Impressions (2005)
- Appalachian Trail – The Beaten Path (2011)
- Appalachian Trail Documentary: Hike Your Own Hike (2016, YouTube)
- Appalachian Trail Thru Hike 2019: Togs (2019, YouTube)
- Barbarian Utopia: Encounters on the Appalachian Trail by Thaddeus Lamar (2014, DVD only)
- Beauty Beneath the Dirt (2012)
- Dirty South Bounders (2013)
- Five Million Steps (1987, YouTube)
- Flip Flop Flippin’ (I and II) (2014)
- Flow: A Journey Through Culture and History on the Appalachian Trail by Alex Bentley (2015, YouTube)
- Getaway: The Appalachian Trail Documentary (2017, YouTube)
- Hiking the Appalachian Trail Movie Documentary by BikeHikeSafari (2018, YouTube)
- Into the Wild: My Journey on the Appalachian Trail (2019, YouTube)
- Karl Meltzer: Made to Be Broken
Ultrarunner Karl Meltzer has long dreamed of setting the speed record for crossing America’s Appalachian Trail. Now he sets out for his third and final attempt to run the 2,188 miles (3,523 km) in less than 46 days, 8 hours, 6 min. (Watch for free online)
- National Geographic: Appalachian Trail (2009, available on YouTube as of this writing)
- North to Katahdin (1992)
- Operation Northbound (2018, YouTube)
- Paul’s Boots by REI (2016, YouTube)
- Southbounders (2005)
- STRINGBEAN – Appalachian Trail FKT Documentary (2017, YouTube)
- The AT Experience by Andrew “Reptar” Forestell (2015)
- The Green Tunnel (A six month journey along the 2,200 mile long Appalachian Trail, condensed and reinterpreted into five minutes of stop-motion).
- The Long Start to the Journey by Chris “Frost” Gallaway (2015)
- The Oldest Thru-Hiker (2018, PBS)
- Thru Story: A Season on the Appalachian Trail by Shane “Jester” O’Donnell
- Trail of Trust (2012, PBS)
- TREK – A Journey on the Appalachian Trail (2003)
- Walking Home – Appalachian Trail Documentary (2017, YouTube)
- Walking Off the War (2013, PBS)
- Walking with Freedom (2005)
On-Trail Tips and Resources
- 5 Easy Ways to Deal With Your Period in the Backcountry by Kassondra Cloos | Backpacker
- AMC Thru-Hiker Pass program is a special pass that gets you 50% off all but your first night in a campground in the Whites and includes two free baked goods and a bowl of soup at the AMC huts, plus a 10% discount on supplies at the AMC stores. Used wisely it more or less pays for itself. Just mention that you are a thru-hiker when you pay a caretaker for your first night and you’ll receive the pass for free. I have heard that sometimes a hut won’t bother to mark your pass when you get the freebie so you can possibly get more than intended. That wasn’t the case for me and I personally wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing that but HYOH.
- ATC Incident Reporting (include links to the A.T. Incident Report Form and the Bear Incident Report Form). While the Appalachian Trail is a relatively safe place to visit, that does not mean that there are no potential dangers while you are hiking or camping. If you see something, say something — this will help keep the A.T. as safe as possible.
- AT Thru-Hike Tracking Info is a Google spreadsheet that I created to help you easily track your progress and your expenses. Just enter a few fields of information each night in camp and at the end you will have a lot of interesting statistics available to summarize your hike (they are automatically calculated so you don’t need to do any extra work).
- Basic Advice For Newbies by The Solemates (Jacob L. Cartner) | WhiteBlaze
- Datto’s AT Thru-Hiking Tips is really long and dated (he hiked in 2000) but there are tons of useful gems in this document (the most useful of which I have included in this book).
- Great trail tricks and Words of Wisdom for hiking the Appalachian Trail by Moxie00 & Doctari | Whiteblaze
- Hanging A Bear Bag—The PCT Method by Derek Hanson
- Hiking Basics – Health by ATC
- How to Be a Diva Hiker (Gear Review: The Diva Cup) by High Five | The Trek
- How to Build a Fire in 5 Minutes | Backpackerverse.com
- How to Pack a Backpack for Thru-Hiking by Effie Drew | The Trek
- How to Poop in the Woods by REI | YouTube
- Knot School: 8 Essential Knots for Hikers
- Leave No Trace. The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is a national organization that protects the outdoors by teaching and inspiring people to enjoy it responsibly. Read their seven LNT principles before beginning your hike and check out their How to Brush Your Teeth In The Backcountry YouTube video.
- Netknots.com and Animated Knots are good resources for seeing how to tie various knots via a series of images.
- Periods While Backpacking: The Bloody Truth About Menstruation on the Trail by Allison Kieley | The Trek
- Rainmaker’s Hiking Mechanics is a page by David “Rainmaker” Mauldin which discusses how he cares for his body (knees, back, neck), prevents shin splints and Achilles tendonitis, and how he approaches diet and exercise.
- The Appalachian Trail State by State Overview: Highlights, Hiker Tips, Maps, and More by Kelly Floro | The Trek
Organizations and Advocacy Groups
- Amicalola Falls State Park
- Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has a lot of useful information on their website, including a page to explore the trail by state or via an interactive map and a voluntary thru-hike registration.
- Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA)
- Baxter State Park
- National Park Service (Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah)
- Shenandoah National Park permit (free)
- Baxter State Park permit to hike Mount Katahdin (free)
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park Backcountry Permit System ($20),
Planning and Preparation Resources
- 7 Essential Knots You Need To Know by InnerBark Outdoors | YouTube
- Appalachian Trail Planning, Resupply, & POI is a Google spreadsheet I created, which aggregates different data sources and spreadsheets I have come across in my research. I have tried to make all of the disparate but useful information available in one place. I have also done extensive work to manually update a lot of the information that was a bit outdated. The goal is not to replace the fantastic guides and apps that already exist, but rather to offer a different format for viewing existing as well as new information.
- Appalachian Trail Distance Calculators. There are two of these and both allow you to easily calculate the walking distance between two points along the Appalachian Trail. One is from Wikitrail.org, a project to create a free, complete and up-to-date guide for the world’s long-distance hiking trails, and the other is from Mike Calabrese, Randy Rowell, and Steve Shuman. Both will show you selected waypoints between your two selected destinations but the Wikitrail option is more mobile-friendly.
- Appalachian Trail Elevation Profiles. The Guthook app has a very useful elevation profile feature that will show you the total ascent and total descent for whatever section is displayed on the screen. You cannot simply enter a starting and ending point but with some manual dexterity you can accomplish the same thing. Alternatively, the already mentioned Appalachian Trail Distance Calculator includes estimated ascent and descent amounts. If you don’t mind using older data (1998-2011), WhiteBlaze member map man also put together an analysis of AT elevation gain and loss by section and fellow WhiteBlazer Odd Man Out took that data and put it into a spreadsheet.
- AT Hiking Rates, Section by Section by map man | WhiteBlaze
This is an old (2001-2010) analysis of how long it takes to hike various sections of the A.T. The study is limited to northbound thru-hikers (NOBOs) who completed their hike in one hiking season.
- Backpacking Checklist
- Beginner backpackers: Start here | Advice, info, tips & resources by Andrew Skurka
- Determine your AT Thru-Hike Budget! by Joe Biasi offers up eight questions that will give you a rough idea of your budget. The cool thing about this Google Doc tool is not its accuracy but the fact that you get to see other people’s responses broken down graphically.
- Hiking Plans. The A.T. Guide site has hiking plans for 12 miles, 15 miles, and 18 miles per day (with associated Excel spreadsheet downloads; last updated 2011 but still useful as a guide).
- Hiking the Appalachian Trail: Getting the Best Mobile Phone Service by Jeff Blum
- Beginner Hammock Camping Part 4 – Knots You Should Know by Outdoor Adventures | YouTube
- List of long-distance trails in the US (useful for finding places to do warm-up hikes)
- Mental Preparation by Gusha | HikerFeed
- Postholer’s Appalachian Trail (AT) Planner is designed to help you dynamically create a realistic hiking plan based on your hiking style.
- REI Classes, Outings and Events
- The Thruhiking Papers by Spirit Eagle (Jim and Ginny Owen) is not a “thru-hikers manual” but rather a collection of thoughts and feelings about the realities of thru-hiking the A.T.
- Thru-hike budget calculator is a Google spreadsheet that lets you enter estimated costs in six categories to calculate an overall budget.
- Top 10 Rope Knots by NetKnots.com
- Trekking Poles: How to adjust and use straps by Adventure Buddies | YouTube
- WikiTrail Appalachian Trail planner is an attempt to sketch-out how your hike might look. Enter your start date, estimated time needed to get into trail shape, how often you plan to take a zero day, your average hiking speed, and the number of hours you plan to hike each day.
- Hiking Thru
- “Jester” Section Hiker
- Mighty Blue on the Appalachian Trail
- Out Alive
- Outside Podcast
- Out There
- Sounds of the Trail
- The Backpacking Light Podcast
- The Dirtbag Diaries
- The First 40 Miles
- The Pox and Puss Podcast
- The Trail Show
- The Trek Podcasts (Backpacker Radio, Trail Correspondents)
- Trail Tales
Regulations and Restrictions along the trail
- ATC – Camping Regulations on the A.T. outlines camping regulations in different areas on the A.T. If a specific area has imposed regulations on dispersed camping, those regulations are likely a safety effort, a conservation effort, or both.
- Camping regulations in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area of New Jersey
Retailers and Used Gear
- ATC Store
If you’re looking for things like Buffs, Darn Tough socks, and other odds and ends, you should check out the ATC’s merchandise store. Prices are only slightly higher than other outlets, they come in AT-themed designs, and you’re helping fund the maintenance of the trail.
- Backcountry Edge
- Backpacking Gear Flea Market (FB group)
- Backpackinglight.com Gear Swap
- Bearfoot’s Hiking Gear Flea Market (FB group)
- Chicken Tramper Ultralight Gear (packs, pack accessories, and fanny packs)
- Drop (formerly Massdrop)
- Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS)
- Etsy (especially for Cuben Fiber items)
- Garage Grown Gear
- Grizzle Gear
Justin Anderson sells handmade ultralight bottle and smartphone carriers that attach to your shoulder straps. 1 liter bottle carriers weigh only 0.4 oz. (11 g) and 700 ml bottle carriers are 0.3 oz. (9.5 g). Phone carriers measure 4 x 7.5 inches (10 x 19 cm).
- HammockForums.net For Sale List
- Liberty Mountain
- Lightweight Hiker (used gear)
Litesmith designs, builds and curates ultralight adventure gear.
- MEC (Canada)
- Mountain Steals
- Patagonia and Patagonia Worn Wear
A co-op where members get dividends based on the amount purchased. Also includes a great one-year, no questions asked warranty. REI Garage Sales are a great place to buy used gear that’s been returned by customers but can’t be put back on shelves because it’s been used or has some sort of defect. Garage Sale discounts typically run between 50% to 90% and you can buy boots, shoes, tents, clothing, backpacks, even electronics. However, REI Garage sales are only open to Co-Op members, so join up if you haven’t already. All of the items offered at an REI Garage sale have a tag which explains what’s wrong with it so you can decide if it’s worth buying but keep in mind that, unlike with new gear purchases, no Garage Sale purchases can be returned. There is also a Used Gear online-only shop that focuses on returned gear that is still in excellent condition.
- Sierra Designs
- Sierra Trading Post
- Steep and Cheap
- Ultralight Backpacking Gear Vendors: The Complete List | 99Boulders
- WalkAways Hiking Flea Market (FB group)
- Waymark Gear Co.
- WhiteBlaze Used Gear Forum
- whoopieslings.com offers hammock and tarp suspension products
- Hammock Forums has a used gear sale area, and there are also groups on Facebook dedicated to selling used camping/backpacking gear.
Transportation and Parking Options
The following online sites offer lists of shuttle providers along the trail.
- Acorn Trail Guides
- ALDHA A.T. Trailhead Parking: Map (with optional directions), Excel (with locations and waypoints), and PDF (with locations and waypoints)
- Appalachian Trail Parking/Access
- ATC Shuttle, Parking, and Transportation Info
- Georgia Appalachian Trail Club
- How to Get To Springer Mountain by Maggie Slepian | The Trek
- Map of Trailhead Parking Along the Appalachian Trail
- WhiteBlaze Appalachian Trail Shuttle Providers List
The A.T. Guide (AWOL) and the A.T. Thru-Hikers’ Companion both include shuttle providers, though they are not an online resource. Likewise, though not listed in any organized fashion, the Guthook App does list some providers, either explicitly or via the comments feature.
- AccuWeather is especially useful for its live radar feature.
- Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trail Weather (atweather.org) (Web and Android only)
Due to the spotty, slow, and unreliable cell signal in the Appalachian mountains, Pat Jones had a tough time getting weather forecasts with data hungry commercial weather applications. He created Appalachian Trail Weather to use an extremely small amount of data (less than 1kB) in order to pull back a fast, accurate forecast with as little battery drain as possible. Simply enter your current mile location and get the closest 7 shelters to your location. Click on the shelter you wish to get the current and future forecast for that location. Sort by State, or view all shelters in one list.
- Appalachian Trail Weather (The Appalachian Trail Database)
- Carrot Weather is a paid service but you can switch between a number of different data sources within the app: AccuWeather, ClimaCell, Foreca, MeteoGroup, Aeris Weather, or WillyWeather.
- Dark Sky is the most accurate source of hyperlocal weather information: with down-to-the-minute forecasts for your exact location.
NOTE: It was bought by Apple in early 2020 and is no longer available for Android. It may end up getting integrated into Apple’s native weather app and thus disappearing for good.
- Mountain Forecast provides forecasts for more than 11,300 (and growing) major summits for climbers and mountaineers, provided for up to 5 different elevations.
- Trail weather was created to provide a way of seeing current and future weather conditions along the entire Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and Pacific Crest Trail, whereas most existing trail weather sites only provide forecasts for one location at a time. Because of that, the site is very data-heavy and is not recommended for hikers on the trail looking for local weather conditions (it’s better for looking ahead and planning).
- Weather charts pertaining to average low and high temps, average precipitation, and hours of daylight along the Appalachian Trail, courtesy of Rainmaker and Swinky.
YouTube Channels and Videos
This isn’t even close to a comprehensive list and I’m sure there are some great ones I am unaware of. But, here are the channels and videos I have enjoyed, found useful or get mentioned often in online groups. A useful tip for channels is to click on the Playlists tab, as the better ones have organized their various videos by theme (e.g., backpacker basics, Appalachian Trail, favorite A.T. towns, etc.).
- 10 Memorable Places on the Appalachian Trail by Sensatious Hiatus
- Amanda Bess
- Andrew Skurka Instructional Series (my favorites: Finding five-star backpacking campsites, Guyline system & knots for tents, tarps, & hammocks; Finding five-star backpacking campsites; How to pack a backpack: Organization & load; How to poop in the woods & perform a backcountry; Food Storage & Protection: Techniques for bears and mini-bears; Protecting Down Insulation from Moisture)
- Appalachian Trail – Google Earth Tour – NOBO by Steven Veldt is a unique video series that zooms along an aerial view of the trail via Google Earth. It’s a cool way to see a birds-eye view of the trail.
- Appalachian Trail Conservancy
- Backcountry Banter
- Backcountry Edge’s How to Lace a Hiking Boot For Better Fit illustrates a double overhand knot (surgeon’s knot) and techniques to achieve different goals with your lacing.
- Bill Caulway
- Chica and Sunsets
- Craig “Hawk” Mains
- Craig M – Spielberg
- Darwin onthetrail
Lots of great videos covering almost everything. Good content and high quality video production.
- Derek Hansen is the author of The Ultimate Hang and has some useful videos related to hammocks and tarps.
- Evan’s Backpacking Videos
Evan thru-hiked in 2018 with a few twists: he hiked with a tarp and bivy, he didn’t use a sleeping pad (except in the Smokies), he wore sandals, he used an umbrella, he didn’t use hiking poles, and he avoided the typical hiker diet of junk food and sweets, focusing on low-carb foods instead.
- Fight for Together
- Follow Bigfoot
I found his Everything you need to know about Katahdin & Baxter State Park, trekking poles, hiker hygiene, and trail etiquette videos especially useful.
- Hiking Self-Care Series: Feet, ankle, shins, calves
- Homemade Wanderlust (Dixie)
- How my body changed during a thruhike of the Appalachian Trail by Impala on Trail
- IB TAT (note: lots of profanity)
- There are multiple videos illustrating how to hang a bear bag. Dixie at Homemade Wanderlust shows you three different methods (including a method for using two trees when you can’t find one ideal tree) and Backcountry Banter and Follow Bigfoot have videos illustrating the PCT method.
- Jeff Myers (MyersTech Hammock Lab) sells some cool soft hammock and tarp suspension accessories that serve as an alternative to hardware products. His channel illustrates these and also includes some useful DIY tutorials and ideas for different ways to hang a hammock or tarp.
- Joyful Rambler (Moonpie)
- Kentucky to Katahdin is the channel of Kentucky, who I met after staying at The Station @ 19E and ended up hiking together the entire rest of the way to Katahdin, about 1800 miles together. So, if you follow him you will basically be seeing what my hike was like.
- Neemor’s World
- Outdoor Adventures (Frozen)
Has a useful Beginner Backpacking and Beginner Hammock Camping series as well as fully vlogging his 2019 A.T. thru-hike.
- Professor Hammock
- Seven’s Hiker Trash Video
His Advice For Thru Hiking The Appalachian Trail and How To Thru Hike The Appalachian Trail videos are good for those just starting to consider doing a thru-hike and his Tips on Thru Hiking the Appalachian Trail video is a recap of his favorite town places along the trail. I find his style to be very blunt, long-winded, and opinionated, but he does have some good tips to share.
- So You Want to Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail? by Lottiebug (Comet)
- Ultralight Dandy
- White Blaze – Stories from the Appalachian Trail
- Why (Do I Hike) by Nikola “Tesla” Horvat
(REF: Stunning New Documentary “Why (Do I Hike)” is a Love Letter to Thru-Hiking)
- Yamaneko Hikes is a clever chronicle of Cruise Missile’s thru hike. She names her backpack and treats it as the main character in the journey. It may or may not be your cup of tea but it’s worth checking out to see.