Appalachian Trail Histories


Weighing Your Pack

According to The Appalachian Trail Backpacker's Planning Guide in 1991, "an easy-to-use rule of thumb is to never carry more than one-third of your body weight." Back when the Appalachian Trail was at its starting form, there were limited guidebooks and everybody had different preferences on what to actually bring. To say the least, you could have brought anything along. Hiker Keith "Wolf" Kimball, relied on outdoor department stores in order to pack the right kind of gear. Essentially, Keith stocked up on over 85 pounds of gear he thought he needed, ultimately carrying two bags for his thru-hike. Keith stated that through his experience, he ended up getting rid of items at each hostel he came across. Unfortunately, Keith sprained his ankle due to the weight of his pack and left the trail to recover for a period of 26 days.

Fast forward to the 21st century, the internet has inspired many hikers to publish their experience of the trail. Many entries are done through blogs, videos, journals, or through hiking community websites. Hikers have published everything the trail has to offer containing entries on the best gear that has accommodated hikers that is based on weather conditions, durable material, or weight. Technology and clothing material also play a major role on deciding what to bring on the trail. With better operational tents, shoes, and packs, the base weight of a thru-hiker has changed immensely. Nowadays, thru-hikers carry no more than 20 pounds on their back.