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Top Stoves, Filters, Rain Gear, and More on the Appalachian Trail: 2023 Thru-Hiker Survey

Each year here at The Trek, we ask long-distance hikers on the Appalachian Trail (AT) about the stoves and water filters they used on their 2023 thru-hike. This year we added a ton of new questions about gear hikers used, including rain jackets, trekking poles, GPS devices, menstruation products, and  even more!

In this final post of the series, we’ll cover the most popular cooking systems, resupply strategies, water filters, power banks, and plenty more gear choices, as well as water- and tickborne diseases.

We had a total of 409 responses this year. Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey! The data was collected from October through November of 2023 through our survey, which was marketed using our social media platforms, Backpacker Radio, and Some responses from previous years were removed, and obvious mistakes in start and end dates were adjusted. No obvious duplicates were found.

Water Treatment

We asked hikers how often they filtered the water they took from natural sources. 85 percent of hikers in our survey filtered their water every time. An even more overwhelming majority (97 percent) almost always filtered their water. Only two hikers claimed to have never filtered their water, while 10 hikers said they occasionally did so.

You can learn more from the 2023 Appalachian Trail Thru hiker survey written by Kate Richard here


February 26, 2024

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Kate Richard

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Personally, I use Sawyer’s Fabric Treatment–available in pump or spray–for my hunting and hiking clothes.

Popular Mechanics

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Casserly’s favorite water treatment is a squeeze filter like the SAWYER SQUEEZE filtration system ($29,, which screws onto the included flasks or a plastic water bottle. Squeeze filters are ideal for individual use. They’re light and inexpensive, and you can drink the water immediately through the filter.

Scout Life
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While young babies should be protected with clothing and netting (not chemicals), older babies and children should use a suitable repellent to help avoid bites, discomfort, and insect-borne illnesses.

Molly Bradac