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How to Plan for a Thru-Hiking Trip

You’ve finally decided to go on that thru-hiking trip that you’ve wanted to go on for months now. Your hiking partners have given in to your pleas of persuasion and you are about to go on a trip of a lifetime. However, there is just one small problem. You don’t know where to start. This is your first time planning one and you have no idea how to pull off a trip of a lifetime.

But the last thing you should do is panic. With the help of this thru-hiking guide, and the useful information that will be included in this article, planning for a thru-hike has never been made easier. So, buckle up your backpacks and get stuck in, as you are about to learn just how you can make this the best hiking trip you’ve ever been on. 

Pick Your Location

The world is full of great thru-hiking routes. The majority can be found in the United States of America, with some of the most popular being The Appalachian and the Continental Divide Trail. Before you begin the process of looking for the perfect location for your hike, you must do your research. From looking for the length of the trail, its start and end point, and overall description, you’ll have to make sure that the locations you’re looking at accommodate your needs and wants, as well as those of your hiking companions too. Some are a lot tougher than others, so the perfect way to make sure that you are comfortable with your hike is to do as much research as you need.  

Look For Suitable Food and Drink

This is essential. When you are thru-hiking, it can be very unlikely that you will come across services that allow you to buy food and drink on your journey. This means that you could be required to pack your own supplies. Of course, what you pack ultimately depends on how long your hike is expected to last. If you’re only out for a day or two, then you could probably get away with packing your favourite food such as fresh fruit or a sandwich. But this simply won’t be enough when you are thru-hiking. 

For breakfast, you may decide that instant oatmeal, breakfast cereals (within reason) or bars could be great choices to consider. At lunchtime, crackers, bagels, and tortillas filled with toppings of your choice can help to get your energy levels up as well as ensuring that you have ingested a decent number of calories for that day. When it comes to your last meal of the day, tuna or chicken in foil packets can give you an added boost of protein, and dried foods like pasta (granted that you have a stove to boil them on) are great meals to have whilst on your trip. Don’t forget about snacks either, such as energy bars or dried fruits, as you need to have something to keep you going in-between meals too. 

Equipment

Now, this is probably the most important point to consider. Without equipment, the chances of you being able to complete your hike in one piece is very unlikely. First, you need to make sure that you have the relevant footwear. You need to ensure that the shoes you are wearing have been broken in and more importantly, comfortable. If not, you could be prone to blisters, hot spots, and greater foot injuries, and this is something that you definitely don’t want to happen when you are in the middle of your thru-hike. Packing a first aid kit will be beneficial in making sure that any injuries that are picked up during this time can be managed. Band aids, antihistamines (in case of allergic reactions), antibiotic creams, tweezers and any other types of medication should be packed so you are prepared for any emergency. 

Sun cream, insect repellent, headlamps, coats, and blankets are some of the other things that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to what you pack. When thru-hiking, you are essentially in the middle of nowhere so you need to have everything you need with you. If you are travelling with a number of people, you could spread out who needs what so you’re not all packing the same thing. The time of year that you decide to hike will also make a difference to what you pack and don’t pack. If you need to, do some research before leaving.

There you have it. These are just some of the things that must be taken into consideration when it comes to planning your thru-hiking trip. If you have travelled before, you will be an expert in this already. If you haven’t, be sure to do as much research as you need in plenty of time before you go so you can be as prepared as possible.

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