The Top Appalachian Trials Posts of 2014

Holy Bearded Broncos, Batman!  Simply put, this past year for has been monumental!  We’ve had the privilege of showcasing 625 posts (and counting) from dozens of past, present, and future thru-hikers and backpacking enthusiasts.  We’ve followed several of our Bloggers‘ journeys as they marched the length of the Appalachian Trail, we launched a new ebook and some super stylin’ tees, and were awarded as the Top Hiking and Outdoor Blog by USA TODAY!!!

I’d like to pass along a huge thank you to everyone who’s supported us during this time.  Above all, this site is built on the foundation of a caring community- a place where readers become Writers, hikers become mentors, and a platform for us all to share our love for the Appalachian Trail and long-distance backpacking.

And in an effort to better reflect on the year that was, we’ve rounded up the top dozen posts, as decided by you, the reader.  Enjoy!

1) 21 Fascinating Appalachian Trail Facts

by Kenny Howell

How well do you know the Appalachian Trail? You thru-hikers in the crowd probably think you know the AT like the back of your dirty, mud-stained hands. After taking those five million steps can you recall the many incredibly minute factoids about where you spent six months of your life, or is everything some sort of green blur? Either way my mission here is to expand your knowledge of the trail with a great big pile of useless fascinating Appalachian Trail facts! By the time you’re done reading this you’ll be a veritable rock-star of AT trivia. New to the trail? Don’t worry. I’ve broken things down into three levels. Facts will increase in wonderment as levels go up. So just to make sure everyone is up to speed lets start with a quick session of Appalachian Trail 101. Keep Reading >

2) 11 Common Beginner Mistakes in Backpacking and Hiking

by Madison Dragna

We all start somewhere. We all begin as a beginner, a novice. New gear also demands we catch up. An experienced backpacker in the early ‘90s might not know all the tricks of the trade in this new decade. I like to think I worked out my beginner kinks during my thru-hike but I am still learning new hiking hacks (check out Appalachian Trial’s article on backpacking hacks). Whenever I hike now, I notice many people committing the same beginner mistakes I did and as many others tend to do.  Keep Reading >

3) 18 Absolutely Brilliant Backpacking Hacks

by Carlie Gentry

I, among many, have read a million and one tricks, tips and hacks for outdoor living. I’ll admit it, I think they’re fun and every thirty second one is something rational enough that I may use it in my lightweight backpacking adventures. But most of them seem to be for car campers living out of the back of a mini van. No matter how hard it is to shove a roll of toilet paper into a ZipLoc bag, I will never carry around a homemade TP dispenser (via: pinterest). Zach had the great idea of sifting through all the oversized can charcoal stoves (via: diyncrafts) and 5 gallon bucket noodle toilets (via: budget101) to curate a list of hack for backpackers. These do not require carrying any large or heavy items and they are tailored to build convenience for backpackers. Enjoy! Keep Reading >

4) 10 Fantastic Hiker Traditions on the Appalachian Trail

by Kenny Howell 

We humans are pretty ritualistic creatures. We crave routine and seek out the familiar. When we start to pass these behaviors down through enough generations, we start calling them traditions. Every culture has its own traditions, including the community that surrounds the Appalachian Trail. Hiker traditions and customs can be hard to understand for those on the outside, but that’s not surprising. Life on the AT is almost the exact opposite of what most people in the U.S. consider “normal” life. We hikers are a quirky group of people, indeed. Sometimes we can’t even explain why we do what we do, but there’s something kind of fantastic about that. Keep Reading >

5) 14 Things I Wish I Knew Before Hiking the AT

by Maggie Wallace

Looking back on my Thru-hike, there are very few things I would change.  That being said, this is a list of the things I wish someone had told me before I left.  They aren’t the normal warnings.  I had plenty of people warn me about certain death, bugs, lunatics, and your standard everyday dysentery, but there were a few warnings I would have liked to have heard more or simply listened to better.  If you’re planning an AT hike and want some unsolicited advice that you might actually be able to use, try this list.  Keep Reading >

6) 10 Inspiring Quotes + Photos That’ll Make You Want to Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail Today

by Zach Davis

WARNING: the following photos + quotes will make you want to quit your job and thru-hike the Appalachian Trail today. Proceed with caution. Keep Reading >



7) The Thru-Hike’s Code of Conduct

by Zach Davis

If you take one piece of advice away from this website, let it be this post.

Keep Reading >


8) 6 Reasons To Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail Alone

by Cole Heathcott

If you are currently planning your thru-hike, you may be thinking that you need to hike with someone else. This is not the case. If you hike alone, you will be fine and probably better off alone than with someone else. Don’t let your lack of a hiking partner get in the way of you starting a thru-hike. Here are 6 reasons why I started, and finished, my thru-hike alone… Keep Reading >

 9) Danger (And The Fear Of It) On The Appalachian Trail

by Carlie Gentry

“Are you bringing a gun?” “A gun?! I’ve never even shot a gun! Why does everyone think I should carry a gun?! I can barely pick up my pack as is, why would I load it down with few more pounds of something I would never use?!” As I prepared to thru hike the Appalachian Trail, this was the first thing EVERYONE wanted to know and I always thought it was so absurd. Ok, so to be honest there were times I wish I had a gun. I would have shot my hiking partner so many times on those really rough days, but then I would have quit on all those same rough days because he wasn’t there to tell a stupid joke that both annoyed me to no end and also got me to Katahdin. Keep Reading >

10) Meet 74-Year Old “Drag’n Fly”: Oldest Female Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker

by Sarah (Ent)

Badass. There is no other way to describe a 74 year-old who thru hikes the Appalachian Trail. “For me the fun is in the camping and the camaraderie at the camping areas,” the recent record-breaker said in her Trail Journal. Nan “Drag’n Fly” Reisinger finished her hike on October 19, becoming the oldest woman to thru hike the AT. She now joins the fame of Grandma Gatewood,who was not only the first woman to finish a solo thru hike, but was 67 at the time.  Keep Reading >

11) 14 Packing Tips for the Perfect Backpack

by Madison Dragna

The first week of March has arrived. The first northbound thru-hikers begin their journey on the trail and many more will follow in the weeks and months to come. I can’t help but laugh when I think of my first weeks on the trail. Let’s face it, I was carrying too much weight. My pack weight in Georgia was 8 pounds heavier than in Maine. Ultimately, I learned to carry less stuff. Keep your pack simple. Buy gear with weight in mind. The weight of your pack impacts the quality of your trip.  Keep Reading >

 12) 20 Emotions You’ll Experience at the Start of Your Thru-Hike

by Bennett Travers

A peek into the emotional state of a thru-hiker including: When your family drops you at the trailhead and questions your thru-hike one last time, As soon as you begin to climb Amicalola Falls, Reaching your first shelter, Meeting people the first night… Keep Reading >

Very Honorable Mentions: 

Enjoy these articles?  What we’ve got in store for 2015 is even bigger!  Get on the Appalachian Trials Newsletter to ensure you never miss a beat.

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