10 Appalachian Trail Hiking Tips

These 10 Appalachian Trail hiking tips will make your hike safer, easier and more fun, whether you're going out for a weekend or hiking all the way from Georgia to Maine.

  1. Pack Smart. Each and every time you pack your rucksack, put everything in the exact same place. This will make it easier for you to find things, even in the dark, and you'll notice right away if you've forgotten something or something is missing.
  2. Dry Your Boots Out at Night. On cold nights, wet boots could freeze, and even in warm weather wet boots could breed foot fungus. Dry your boots out by the fire before you go to sleep.
  3. Carry Duct Tape. As we all know, duct tape may be the world's best tool. Appalachian Trail hikers wrap a few feet of duct tape around a hiking pole rather than carrying a whole roll. 
  4. Carry Fishing Line and Hooks. Fishing line and hooks can get you the occasional free meal while you're hiking the Appalachian Trail, and you'll find the fishing line useful for mending clothes and tying things up.
  5. Sleep with Your Water Bottle. Put your water bottle in your sleeping bag to keep it from freezing. Do the same with cameras, flashlights and canister stove fuel cans.
  6. Dry Clothes in Your Sleeping Bag. If your clothes get wet during the day, dry them by putting them in your sleeping bag at night. 
  7. Split Costs with Other Hikers. One of the best tips for hiking on the Appalachian Trail is to split food and other costs with other hikers. Before you go into town for supplies, poll the other hikers to see who needs what. Maybe a few of you can go in on a dozen eggs or a box of sports drink powder.
  8. Send Yourself Packages. Appalachian Trail hikers send themselves packages to places they'll arrive in a few days' or weeks' time. Throw in hygiene products and anything that's too heavy to carry, including food items.
  9. Less is More. The lighter your pack the better. You're going to have to carry it a long way.
  10. Stay Warm on Cold Nights. When temperatures fall too low, experienced Appalachian trail hikers have been known to keep warm with a hot water bottle or a hot rock in the bottom of their sleeping bags.
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