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8 Things East Coast Hikers Must Know Before Hiking Out West

Hiking in the lush forests of the Appalachian Mountains is radically different from trekking through the rugged peaks of the American West. If you’ve never had the opportunity to hike out west before, we highly recommend it: the scenery is unparalleled and totally unlike anything you’ll see at home.

But if you’re based on the east coast and have done most of your hiking in that region, be aware that the west is a land of extremes.  Weather patterns, terrain, logistical considerations, and more will all be drastically different than what you’re used to. Here are eight key differences between hiking in the east and the west (and how to prepare).

Continue reading the complete list of things to know before hiking out west, written by Kelly Floro.

LAST UPDATED

May 8, 2022

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The Trek

Media Mentions from the Trek

Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and everything in between. We are dedicated to serving long distance backpackers.

We are All Things Long-Distance backpacking.

Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and everything in between. We are dedicated to serving the thru-hiking and long distance backpacking community.

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MEDIA MENTIONS

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

MEDIA MENTIONS

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

MEDIA MENTIONS

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