Gr8est AT Hiker Preparation Sites
Life of an AT Thru Hiker is MORE than just hiking. It also has a lot (I mean A LOT) of time on the internet searching for the right gear, searching for information about the trail, searching for a PLAN to conquer this trek, searching for training, searching for food ideas, searching for….well just about EVERYTHING hiking!
Since I’ve decided to make the ultimate trek, I have found a few sites worth checking out as I prepare. While any AT Thru Hiker could list 100+ websites that have been helpful, I feel as though these sites have helped me make decisions that need to be made.
Backpacker.com is another one my favorites when it comes to getting a lot of information from one location. Their Gear Lists are well done — breaking done gear in a multitude of topics. However, it’s their SKILLS section that keeps me coming back. Everything from Beginner skills to online training and gear checklists, it makes getting ready so much easier. Yeah, how about a checklist specifically for the trail you are about to conquer to the toilet kit checklist
Andrew Skurka is an accomplished backpacker. He’s an accomplished speaker, writer, guide and Adventure Traveler/Long Distance Hiker. This 34-year-old is most well known for his solo long-distance backpacking trips, notably the 4,700-mile 6-month Alaska-Yukon Expedition, the 6,875-mile 7-month Great Western Loop, and the 7,775-mile 11-month Sea-to-Sea Route. In total, he has backpacked, skied, and packrafted 30,000+ miles through many of the world’s most prized backcountry and wilderness areas—the equivalent of traveling 1.2 times around Earth’s equator! So when Andrew Skurka talks about long distance hiking, he knows what he is talking about. Check out his books, articles and blog…they are well worth the read.
Appalachian Trails Database run by Sophia Knows is a great little site about the Appalachian Trail. When I first looked at this site, I thought it had a lot of gobbly gook that I wouldn’t need with a lot of DATA! Let’s just say Sophia has a knack for putting data together! While the site says “the “ATDB” is a geographical dictionary collecting trail mileage, position, and elevation for over 500 AT Waypoints, inlcuding: Trail Shelters, Post Offices, Features, and Hostels. Hikers can use the database as an aid for detailed planning of AT section and thru hikes or simply to browse Appalachian Trail features and resources.” That is an understatement. I believe that EVERY AT Thru Hiker needs to take a hard look at this site for planning purposes. From weather reports about locations on the AT to the Google Map, it makes planning a snap and well worth a visit — many times.
ALDHA (Appalachian Long Distant Hiker Association) is the group who annually compiles “The Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers’ Companion” which is an A.T. guidebook to shelters, water sources, town services and other useful information that is compiled and published every year by ALDHA with help from staff from 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 or near the trail. It is the “go to guidebook for AT Hikers”.
The Clever Hiker is a site I came across by accident. In fact, it was something that just popped up when I was doing research on AT Thru Hiking equipment. The Clever Hiker (Dave Collins) has done a superb job of building an extensive Gear Guide. along with a blog and some videos. If you’re looking for NEW gear, check out his latest Top Gear Picks 2016 or his Must-Own Gear 2015. Take a look around and you’ll find everything from trail hiking locations, gear, helpful hits and much much more.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is TRULY one of the finest sites for information about the Appalachian Trail. It is a well done visual story about all things AT. In fact, if you can’t find it here, then there isn’t any place on the internet you’ll be able to find it. Best of all, it’s run and managed to help promote and protect the AT. So for a complete picture of the AT, Start HERE! It will give you more information than you can digest in one sitting. It will take you days or weeks to get through all of the information the ATC provides.
Whiteblaze.net is another one of those sites that has a plethora of information about the AT. While there is some great information on this site, it’s in a forum or old school bulletin board format. Also, it doesn’t have that “homey” feel…more of lists and information flow. However, like I said, it has loads of information that any hiker could find note worthy. This site has done a good job of blogging on it’s Journal, it just doesn’t have the flair of the #1 site. So, if you’re looking for a no fanfare information overload for hiking, the WhiteBlaze.net is your site.
Yeah, who would have guessed this one! While I’m an Appalachian Trails blogger, I only agreed to do this because I believe in what theGoodBadger says. It’s a mental game on the trail. Buy building a team of hikers who LOVE to blog and write, you can easily find yourself living virtually on the site for days. From the book, to the blogs, to the articles…this site has the information you need to be successful on the AT Thru Hike. Also, the format of this site makes it easy to navigate and search for information. However, building a “community” is probably the MOST important aspect of this site. You “get to meet and know” fellow hikers. You get a glipse into life on the trail and you hear some of the most wonderful stories about hiking the AT. I haven’t found anyplace that has come to the level of success in capturing Life On the Trail better than Appalachian Trials. So, for that…it’s get’s the #1 spot on MY list.
Again, I don’t think this Top 8 list is all inclusive, but it will surely HELP others planning to conduct a Thru Hike or any hike for that matter. Take a look and tell me what other sites you think should be in the Top 8. What sites would you recommend a Thru Hiker look at?
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Funny, you don’t mention SectionHiker.com. He has more useful information about hiking the AT and Backpacking than all of these sites put together. Guy is a phenomenal hiker and backpacker!
You ARE Right! SectionHiker.com should have been on the list. Thanks for the response…guess I just overlooked them when I was making my list. Good add.