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How to Backpack the Appalachian

Some people entertain the idea of backpacking the Appalachian Trail for months and even years- it’s surely a lot to take on! If you’ve decided to prep for one of the most exciting journeys you can go on in the United States, there are some things you will want to consider when in your preparation phase. Packing is one of the most stressful parts because it is vital you get everything you need without hauling around the weight of a home on your back. Here is how you can successfully pack for backpacking the Appalachian Trail. Let’s talk must-haves!


You have 2 choices: a tent, or hammock. Most hikers carry a light-weight tent, however, some hikers prefer to sleep in a hammock. It is all up to you. Consider weight and durability.


Your weight to hip ratio is important to consider when choosing the right backpack for your trip. Most common to trails these days is a simple, internal frame pack.

Sleeping bag

When faced with sub-freezing temperatures you will want to purchase a sleeping back within the 15- 20-degree range, preferably made of down.

Sleeping pad

A sleeping pad will allow for better rest and further protect you from freezing ground. A foam or inflatable pad will fit easily into your backpack.

Clothes and footwear

Check the weather and pack accordingly- do not over pack. Also, it is important to note that you should break in your hiking boots before you leave for your trip because it takes time to wear them in and get them to form to your feet. If you venture in with fresh boots, you’re in for a world of blisters!

Water purification and resevoir

This is extremely important and an item you can’t forget! No water- big problem! Gain the proper knowledge on the method you are choosing for purifying your water and remember a container to hold it in for when you’re mobile.

Stuff sacks

You will want water-proof sacks to hold both your sleeping bag and clothing. If these items get wet, you could be in for a miserable time.


You need to know where you’re going, right? Your guidebook is your bible! It may even be a good idea to get it laminated or have a back-up to protect it from damage.


In the event you get hurt you must have the proper first-aid to address the injury, however, this is where most people overpack! Keep it simple but useful. You want items like antiseptic wipes, gauze, duct tape, ibuprofen, sunscreen, a needle and thread, ect..

These are the absolute essentials you need to successfully backpack the Appalachian Trail.

Do your research and prepare yourself for every potential outcome and enjoy the journey of a lifetime!

This blog was originally published by Stephen Geri on

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