HikeMore Online Newsletter - Appalachian Trail Edition, Spring 2004


AT Survey Guide

Getting Ready
Background Info
Making Time
Start Dates
Mail Drops
Bounce Boxes

Backpacking Gear
Top Twelve
Sent Home
Best Gear
Worst Gear
Top Brands
First Aid
Water Treatment
Maps / Guides
Seasonal Changes
Backpack Weight

Pain / Problems

Weight Loss

Trail Food
Top 5 Foods

Danger on the Trail

After the Trail
End Dates
Hiking Again
Favorite Sections
Biggest Surprise
Best of the Trail
Worst of the Trail
Lessons Learned


Appalachian Trail 2003 Hiker Survey

The majority of survey responses we received were from northbound thru-hikers, so these results are therefore representative of their experiences. To date we have received 49 replies to our Appalachian Trail survey. According to the ATC, there were 503 hikers that reported finishing the AT in 2003.


Trail Food

Food is one of the singlemost important things to a thru-hiker. Once the thru-hiker appetite kicks in, they can hardly think about anything else. And of course, during a town stop, they can hardly do anything else, except eat, eat, and eat some more. A pint of ice cream, a pepperoni pizza, and a 2 liter of pop is a snack before dinner. While on the trail, however, it's hard to carry too much good food - it's heavy. While in the woods, it's a fairly normal hiker diet.


Food Supply

When you speak with someone who doesn't know much about hiking or the Appalachian Trail, and you tell them you'll be gone for 6 months, the response is almost humorous: "How did you carry all that food?" As if you were carrying 6 months worth from day one. This is not how it is, of course. Hikers have the option of resupplying in town or with a mail drop every few days more or less.

Average Days' Worth of Food Carried

1 - 2 2%
3 - 4 63%
5 - 6 29%
7 - 8 6%

Top 5 Trail Foods

There are certain foods on the trail that hikers crave so much, they almost become like a form of currency - good for trades, favors, or bribes. We asked what foods hikers considered the top 5. The results were:

  • Candy Bars (Snickers, Baby Ruth, Nut Rolls)
  • Lipton (noodle meals with powdered sauce)
  • Peanut Butter (now available in squeezable tubes)
  • Tuna (available in foil packets to reduce weight and bulk)
  • Little Debbies (like caviar for hikers)
More Top Trail Foods
dry cereal with dehydrated milk, pop tarts (also for snacking,) Carnation instant breakfast, eggs, instant oatmeal, instant grits, bagels
Lunch and Dinner
pepperoni, salami, summer sausage, dried hummus, ramen noodles, mashed potato flakes, chicken (foil packets or canned,) dehydrated refried beans, dehydrated soy taco filling, tortilla shells, mac & cheese, salmon, Hamburger Helper, noodles, bacon bits, bread, couscous
Snack Foods
granola bars (Sunbelt, Quaker Oat, Nature Valley, Nutra Grain,) energy bars (Cliff, Odwalla, Balance, Zone,) fruit snacks, M&M's, Nutella, sunflower seeds (no shell,) almonds, raisins, honey buns, trail mix, jerky, Tang

Next > More Info on Trail Food

< Back to Trail Health

Hiking the AT in 2003
Danger on the Trail
Agony of the Feet
Appalachian Trail Documentary
Appalachian Trail 2003 Survey Results
Trail Food Ideas and Recipes
Comics - Coming Soon
Trail Days in Damascus

Additional AT Info

Back to Contents
Contact HikeMore

HikeMore Online Newsletter | Appalachian Trail Edition | Spring 2004

© 2004, All Rights Reserved | Email: webmaster@hikemore.com