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Everything I Wish I Knew Before Hiking the Appalachian Trail

You won’t have as much solitude as you think, and there’s a reason everyone uses some of the same gear. But once you’ve hiked the Appalachian Trail, you’ll never be the same person you were when you started.

Written by Mary Beth "Mouse" Skylis

I dreamed of forests with chirping birds and grazing deer when I set my sights on thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. I wanted to decompress my mind after working in a cut-throat environment at a raw materials company in Michigan to pay off my student loans; I needed a hard factory reset to revert to my original settings or I was certain I’d implode. I even tried to convince my parents that I should leave my phone at home (I lost that battle).

Two thousand miles seemed enough distance to allow me to reorient my life. But I had no idea what I was actually about to experience. Here are four things I wish someone had told me before I started.

LAST UPDATED

May 2, 2024

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Backpacker Magazine

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Effective against a wide range of insects: Sawyer Permethrin is known to be effective against mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, mites, and more than 55 other kinds of insects.

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Sawyer Products SP5432 Picaridin insect repellent spray is also very small and compact. You can easily take this insect repellent anywhere you want. This makes it an ideal option for any traveler and adventurer who wants to have a safe journey.

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Depending on where you travel, you may want to pack bug spray, too. In places like Florida and North Carolina, summers get buggy, and you’ll be happy to have packed a spray on nights when you want to sit on the porch or dine outdoors.

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