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The Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike Checklist

Getting ready for a thru-hike is a daunting process. Unplugging from the stress of day-to-day life for a multi-month trek sounds incredible, but first, you have to actually get to the starting line. Not only do you have to prep for the logistics of the hike itself, but you have to make sure your home affairs are in order. That way, you can focus solely on the trail when the time comes.

Trust me: getting your ducks in a row before you hit the trail (while you still have cell service) will make your hike go much more smoothly. If you’re getting ready to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, make sure you complete everything on this checklist before you go.

The AT Thru-Hike Checklist: Do These 27 Things Before Starting the Trail

1. Pick a start date and register your hike.

2. Practice your bear hang.

3. Learn to identify poison ivy and deer ticks.

4. Brush up on Leave No Trace principles.

5. Figure out section-specific gear.

6. Consider getting a Verizon phone plan.

7. Get your bills on autopay.

8. Health insurance.

9. Cancel car insurance and surrender plates/registration.

10. Cancel or pause subscriptions.

11. Visit your doctor: renew prescriptions + address outstanding health concerns.

12. Put your stuff in storage.

13. Notify your landlord and employer.

14. Notify your credit card company you’ll be traveling + make sure you know your debit PIN.

15. Entrust someone with your important personal information and passwords.

16. Designate someone to handle your mail.

17. Set your vacation reminder.

18. Shakedown hikes: test your gear + make needed returns and exchanges.

19. Gear TLC

20. Activate subscription for your GPS beacon + program the device and practice using it.

21. Download books, movies, music, apps, maps, etc. that you plan to use on the trail.

22. Get your blog/social media/etc. set up.

23. Familiarize yourself with the trail: outline a tentative itinerary + choose where you want to send boxes.

24. Arrange travel to the trailhead.

25. Personal grooming.

26. Try not to freak out.

27. Enjoy the comforts of home while you still can.

If your interested in learning more from Kelly Floro's Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike Checklist, read here


May 9, 2022

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My only complaint is that eventually, backflushing won’t be enough. These can clog up after some time and no amount of back flushing will fix its low flow. I went through 2 on the AT. However, it will attach to Smart Water Bottles and most bladders!

Anna Hamrick


Built for backcountry reliability and portability, the Sawyer Squeeze filter is our pick for the best portable water purifier.

Pete Ortiz


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