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TLDR: Summarizing the 2021 Appalachian Trail Thru Hiker Survey

(Plus Hikers’ Favorite Sections of the Trail)

For the past few months, we’ve been analyzing the results from the 2021 Appalachian Trail Thru Hiker survey. In this post, we’ll summarize what we’ve learned from the class of 2021 so far, covering general information, footwear, shelters, sleeping systems, packs, cooking, and water filtration. As a bonus, we’ll also reveal hikers’ favorite (and least favorite) places on the trail.

General Information

Three hundred ten hikers filled out our 2021 survey. Sixty-two percent were male, 92% were white, and the average age was 37. Only three hikers were from outside the USA, with the majority of hikers coming from the east coast. The majority of hikers were vaccinated (80%), with a mixed level of concern for COVID-19 being shown by respondents.

Nearly two-thirds of survey participants had very little backpacking experience—seven days or fewer—prior to starting the AT. Seventy percent of respondents managed to hike the whole trail, with injury being the most common reason hikers quit.

You can learn more from the 2021 Appalachian Trail Thru hiker survey written by Joal and Jenny here


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.

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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