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Beginner hiking gear

I have been hiking for a few years but nothing really serious. My kids recently moved in with their dad which leaves me time to enjoy hiking camping etc. I want to hike the AT but want to make sure that I am prepared. Suggestions??

23 Replies

@Feisty-Muffin Thanks for the question!

You've gotten some really good information here so I'm not going to add on there. I just wanted to 1) let you know that I love your username and 2) offer some encouragement in your journey! Even the most seasoned of us were beginners at one point and we all had a lot to learn. This community is full of folks who are here to support you in your goal of hiking the AT and help you get the answers you need. I'm sure that you'll soon be weighing in on posts with your own expertise!


At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Yep, outdoor people are generally happy to share (when they can). I'm only active right now because I'm in town, I normally hit the trail for weeks at a time (3 weeks starting Friday, my version of "social distancing"!).

Hiking the 2000+ mile AT takes around 5 months and I think most NOBO people start in March or April so If you are thinking of hiking it this year you will probably need a crash course.

You will also need a budget ...roughly it takes about 000 to hike the AT or about 000 a month...and have your personal affairs under control. Having health insurance is definitely recommended.

Start here...

I also recommend watching the some of the now many YouTube Vlogs of AT hikes and in particular Homemade Wanderlust (aka Dixie) to get a good idea of what it takes to do the AT. Just bear in mind that the bad parts are usually not filmed so it's not all the roses and unicorns as it might appear. Dixie is generally pretty honest.

You already have great trail name in Feisty-Muffin so if that actually describes you I suspect you will do long as you can hike in the rain and aren't too squeamish about pooping in a semi public place.

(about the same cost rate for the PCT)

Also checkout "Darwin on the Trail", excellent gear reviews!


Maybe I should just stop being a dreamer and put this idea out of my head. 


@Feisty-Muffin That seems like the wrong thing to do. Instead of a through hike consider a section hike. That is much less of a commitment.  You can go for an overnight or a week or a month... whatever. That is much less daunting and it gets you out there so you can see if it's really what you want to do. If not that there are many beautiful and amazing places you can go possibly local to you.  It is actually much less daunting than a lot of the advice would indicate. For a short trip you can rent the expensive items tent, sleeping bag and pad and pack although personally I would get my own bag.

So don't give up. Just get started. You may not hike the whole AT this year but hiking the whole thing is an artificial goal.  Make your own rules!


You know what happens if you do nothing?... Nothing.

I guess more than anything I don't want to embarrass myself with junk gear. Your right nothing changes/ happens unless I make it change/happen. I have gear but not really good quality gear. 


Cheap gear is not embarrassing.  Inappropriate gear might be embarrassing but only if you let it be.  Otherwise it is just a learning experience or funny or both.

I don't really know, but I am sure the AT, and many other trails, have been covered many times by less than quality gear.  It is the quality of the hiker that is crucial.  Gear is just a means to the end.

I started with cheap stuff and improved as my commitment grew.  And by that time, i knew what the difference was, and why it mattered to me'

Check out your local hiking opportunities and start there.  Easy to do, and no big financial commitment.  The most important gear item is good foot gear.

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