Hiking on $200 a Month

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while than you probably already know that I plan on doing a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail starting in May. The trail is 2,178 miles and goes through 14 states starting at Springer Mountain in Georgia and ending at Mt. Katahdin in Maine. The trail will take me about five months to hike.

The cost of hiking the trail used to be pegged at about $1 a mile. Reading forums about the trail most people think that figure is now too low and consider $3-4,000 to be more accurate. My plan is to hike on $200 a month for a total of $1000 for the hike. This is much cheaper than most people hike but I live much cheaper than most people when I’m not hiking so I should be able to do the same on the trail. I have hike about a 1000 miles of the trail so I know what to expect. Hiking on $1000 is doable but it will not be easy.

My expenses will be broken down roughly to $100 a month for food and $100 a month for everything else. Hostels, motels, laundry, showers, gear replacement, entertainment, and such will comprise the everything else. The gear I start the trail with and my transportation expenses to and from the trail heads will not be included in my $200 a month budget. My GF will visit me a few time along the trail and expenses for those visits will not be included in my budget either. I think $200 a month is a realistic budget but if I find it isn’t enough or it is making my hike no fun I will increase the budget.

I will also have expenses back home such as my health insurance and cell phone but these will not be part of my hiking budget. I plan to still tally my total monthly expenses and will post those when I’m able. I expect my overall monthly expenses will shrink significantly.

I should be able to get on the Internet once a week or so and will update my blog then. I am going to keep track of everything I spend on the trail and will post those expenses. I will also repost some of my old posts and hopefully have some guest posts to keep new content on this blog. Hopefully, most of you will find my trail journey interesting enough to keep reading.

5 thoughts on “Hiking on $200 a Month”

  1. That works out at $50 per week for lodging and food is that realistic? So I presume you arnt planning on paying the student loans then?

    • The $25 a week for food I’m confident is realistic the $25 a week for everything else might be more difficult. I’ll only be in town about once a week. I can often stay in a hostel for $5-$15 and I plan to sometimes just pay for a shower and keep on hiking. Those plans might change once I start hiking.

      My student loans have an automatic six month grace period after I graduate. I am in the process of consolidating them now and applying for income-based repayment. This would make my loan payment very small or zero. Any loan payments I do make while hiking won’t be part of the hiking budget. The $200 a month is just for hiking.

  2. It would be cool if you posted the route you were taking. Any maps and such, I would love to see. I plan to live vicariously through you! I’m really excited for you!

  3. Interesting – I look forward to the updates.

    Take care hiking through the Mt. Washington portion – it can get nasty up there but if you are passing through on a nice day then enjoy the view!

  4. “Hiking??? Come on son; tell your Dad the truth. Nobody can make that sort of money hiking. Where did you Really get the cash from?”

    “It’s like I say, Dad. Every night when you were gone, Mr. Goldberg from the bank would come over to see Mom. He’d give me a 20 dollar bill and tell me to take a hike!”

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