Thru-Hiking Daily Routine – The Trek

Orderly but flexible routines are essential when through hiking. Part of this includes tent setup and hiking clothes maintenance.

Prepping Framework – how to think about sustaining yourself outdoors.

When I started hiking longer hikes out in the Cascades of Washington State, I began to naturally prepare the night before a big hike. Usually I’d be waking up early on the hike day to get to the trail head early and enjoy the solitude of the cool morning temperatures before a big climb with a payoff view.

Usually this meant packing a medium-sized backpack with water, a towel, extra clothes, food, and some basic medical gear in case of emergency. For multi-day hikes, this scope takes on a larger component of essentials to include your housing, watering system, recharging electronics, lighting, sleep systems, food, and changes of clothes. This includes the routines around using those items and maintaining them.

For the AT Thru-hike, even though I’m chasing that 2,190 miles from Georgia to Maine, it’s really better to think about the AT in 3-6 day Thru-hiking chunks over time. This breakdown helps to better plan your mileage, how much food to carry, what kind of clothes, and other essential items to be away from home for a sustained period of time.

Daily Routine example

For the 3-6 days that I am thru-hiking, usually broken up by a trail town, trail magic, hostel, or other location to enable a reset on clothes, a shower, or resupply, my day goes something like this:

  • 5:30AM-6AM: Wake up in tent. Have a mild existential crisis. Realize you’re waking to birdsong, are in a tent along the AT, and everything is fine.
  • 6AM-6:15AM – stretch and begin packing. Usually I put my sleeping bag right back into my backpack and other squish-able essentials to start the consolidation process
  • 6:15-6:20AM get out of tent and have a bowel movement, and prep body for hike. This includes applying Body Glide, which is a gift from the Gods.
  • 6:20AM – get back into hiking clothes – yes, this means putting on damp and sweaty clothes from yesterday. You get used to it and it’s fine after about 5 minutes.
  • 6:20-6:45AM – pack up toiletries, tent, put boots on, stretch again, drink water</…….


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