Plan Ahead and Prepare
Don’t be “that guy”. Learn how to properly Leave No Trace on the Appalachian Trail.
What will you need to pack to be well-prepared to hike the Appalachian Trail? Food, camping gear, and warm clothes, yes. But don’t forget the bear rope, trowel, first aid kit, and guidebook. As well as providing comfort, these items will allow you to Leave No Trace.
Knowing which areas allow camping and campfires is key. This is where the guidebook will be helpful. Rather than using fires, which can leave an impact, rely on a stove for cooking.
Food needs to be stored properly when unattended and at night so animals don’t get in and help themselves to your grub. On rare occasions, a “bear wire” or pole is provided near shelter sites. A 50-foot length of rope or parachute cord is the minimum needed to suspend your food over a branch so your food ends up at least 12 feet off the ground and at least 6 feet away from the tree trunk and any branches. In northern Georgia, a short section of the Trail, from Jarrard Gap and Neel Gap, requires a bear canister for food storage if you’re staying overnight there. Persistent bear problems may drive other, longer, sections of the Trail to add this requirement.
A small trowel is indispensable for digging a 6 to 8-inch hole for digging a cathole to bury human waste. Just ask anyone who’s tried to dig a hole through the rooty, rocky soil in many parts of the Appalachians.
These and other tips are illustrated in the newly-released films, “Don’t Be That Guy – Appalachian Trail Leave No Trace.” Have fun watching them.