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5 Trail Hacks for Beginner Thru-Hikers

Ok, so, you have your lightweight gear picked out. You’ve decided whether you’re going to hike southbound or northbound or maybe even flip flop the trail. And, of course, you’ve selected your long trail of choice—perhaps the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, or the Continental Divide Trail. The next item on your prep list: trail hacks for beginner thru-hikers.

Trail hacks for beginner thru-hikers are the backpacking tips and tricks that can help you:

  • Add a little more comfort to your journey
  • Reduce your overall weight
  • Learn multiple uses for your gear
  • Make you feel like the confident badass you are who will most definitely make it to Katahdin

If you’re looking to dive into some hiking hacks for beginners, you’ve come to the right place! Below, we’ll cover where to learn about good backpacking hacks, the different categories of thru-hiker trail hacks, and five beginner thru-hiker trail hacks to get you started.

How to Learn Trail Hacks for Beginner Thru-Hikers

There are multiple ways you can pick up beginner trail hacks for your first thru-hike. The first is obviously doing a little online research. So, kudos to you for finding your way here! In addition to this article, you can find all sorts of trail stories, tips, and tricks from hikers who have been there on Gossamer Gear’s Light Feet blog.

But there are also other resources to consider, including:

  • Online Communities: There are many Facebook groups, Reddit threads, and other online forums where beginner and seasoned thru-hikers share their knowledge.
  • Reading Materials: Check out some books about the trail you’ll be hiking, whether memoirs or trail guides. You’re likely to find some trail hacks woven throughout.
  • Personal Connections: Have a friend who has been on a thru-hike before? What about a friend of a friend? Make personal connections with former thru-hikers and ask them what trail hacks they wish they’d known starting out.
  • On-Trail Experience: Nothing quite beats learning as you go. You’ll be amazed by how much you pick up while on trail. This is also why it’s a good idea to get some backpacking experience under your belt before heading out for a full thru-hike.

If you are interested in learning more, continue reading the complete article written by Korrin Bishop here


May 8, 2022

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Gossamer Gear

Media Mentions from Gossamer Gear

Improving trail experiences by providing lightweight hiking gear to people from all around the world.

We make backpacks, shelters, trekking poles, sleeping pads and hiking gear accessories. Our products have been featured in Backpacker Magazine, National Geographic Adventure Magazine, and New York Times.


While DEET products may be more familiar by name and their chemical smell, sprays with 20 percent picaridin, like Sawyer Products, offer comparable protection without the harsh odor and oily feeling on your skin.

Kevin Brouillard
Travel & Leisure


The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
Media Mentions from Halfway Anywhere


SAWYER MINI WATER FILTER, $22 This has been my water filter of choice for years now. The bags can be iffy — I have had a few break – so carry a couple. However, the filter itself is reliable, light and inexpensive. -Logan

Bikepacking Team