No. 3 Hike your own hike.

Backpacker - - PLAY LIST -

Got thru-hiker envy? Take the plunge and tackle a long trail in 2018, but start plan­ning now. Use th­ese tips from thru-hike god­dess Liz “Snorkel” Thomas to make the most of thru-hik­ing prep sea­son. Nail a start date. Ap­ply for per­mits for the PCT and CDT.

Tell ev­ery­one. That means fam­ily, friends, and col­leagues. Fig­ure out your work exit strat­egy.

Get fit. Go on train­ing walks, slowly ramp­ing up mileage and pack weight.

Re­search gear. Re­sist the urge to im­pulse-buy based on other hik­ers’ tips. What works for oth­ers might not work for you. Use prac­tice hikes to learn more about your style and pref­er­ences. Go easy on food prep. De­hy­drat­ing is fun, but un­less you have a re­stric­tive diet, you’ll want the flex­i­bil­ity to adapt to your chang­ing ap­petite and taste.

Study up. Learn about your long trail through doc­u­men­taries, books,and trip reports.

Firm up lo­gis­tics. Buy plane tick­ets and shut­tle rides to the trail­head. Re­serve a ho­tel room. Get more tips and tricks in Thomas’s book Long Trails: Mas­ter­ing the Art of the Thru-Hike ($17; Fal­con), or take our on­line course, Thru-Hik­ing 101 (taught by Thomas). Get more info at

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