Appalachian Trail Basics: Everything You Need To Know To Hike The Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail Basics: Everything You Need To Know To Hike The Appalachian Trail

*TYPO at 18:46. Should say Skip Ahead To 54:27

00:00 Hey Y’all
00:54 Appalachian Trail (AT) History
02:32 GEAR
02:54 Backpacks
15:11 Shelters – TENTS
16:00 Freestanding, Semi-Freestanding, Trekking Pole
18:38 Double Wall, Single Wall
23:13 Hammocks
27:35 Tarps and Bivys
35:07 Seam Sealing and Stakes
38:24 Sleep System – Sleeping Bags and Quilts
40:16 Down and Synthetic Fill
48:29 Sleeping Pads
55:39 Baseweight
58:51 Footwear – Boots vs Trail Runners
01:17:23 Socks
01:23:30 Clothing
01:49:58 Repair Kit
01:52:48 FOOD
02:04:29 Bear Bag
02:07:35 Don’t Over-plan Your Meals
02:10:55 Cookware – Stoves
02:18:24 Dishes, Lighters, Bandana
02:26:26 Water
02:27:42 How Much Water To Carry
02:29:19 Treating Water – Filters, Chemical, UV
02:43:54 Electronics
02:55:51 Resupply, Postage, Bounce Boxes
03:00:43 Formats For General Delivery for
Packages to Post Office/Businesses
03:04:12 HYGIENE – Pooping In The Woods
03:09:46 General Hygiene
03:16:43 Periods
03:21:44 Nails and Shaving
03:24:26 Common Injuries – Blisters, Tendonitis, Sprains, Plantar Fasciitis
03:34:26 Ticks
03:39:04 First Aid
03:41:08 Physical Training
03:45:04 Dangers/Safety
03:46:56 Hitchhiking
03:52:18 Firearms
03:55:52 Fording Rivers
04:03:07 Poisonous Plants, Hypo/Hyperthermia
04:07:40 Wildlife – Snakes
04:12:09 Bears
04:23:28 Mice
04:25:20 Personal Locator Beacon and Satellite Messaging
04:28:26 Navigation – Guide Books, FarOut App, and Blazes
04:32:02 Which Direction To Go? NOBO, SOBO, Flip Flop
04:43:30 Hiking Solo vs With A Partner/Group
04:52:58 Etiquette – Shelters, Towns, Trail Magic
05:08:25 Finances – On Trail and Off Trail Expenses
05:18:12 My On Trail Expenses Breakdown
05:19:32 Mental Preparation
05:36:02 Leave No Trace Principles
05:40:10 Permits


The Trek’s Annual AT Survey

TLDR: Summarizing the 2021 Appalachian Trail Thru Hiker Survey (Plus Hikers’ Favorite Sections of the Trail)

Appalachian Trail Gear Lists
•Original AT Gear List:

•New AT Gear List (Similar Budget):

•New AT Gear List (Unlimited Budget):

AT Gear Lists Video:

Dehydrated Ground Beef Recipe Video:

Best Town Stops For Receiving Mail Drops:

The Best Towns to Send Mail Drops on the Appalachian Trail


•Pre-registration for AT

•Smoky Mountain NP Permit

•Baxter SP Hiking Permit Information:

The AT

•Baxter SP Parking Permit:

The AT

Budget Gear List:

CDT Gear List:

PCT Gear Lists: Desert –
Sierra Nevada –
Cascade Range –

Homemade Wanderlust Merch:

* I do NOT accept anything from gear companies. I do not do paid reviews. I do not have any sponsors. All opinions are my own, based on my experiences. I do not plan to ever incorporate sponsorships on this channel in an effort to remain 100% impartial. If I were to accept gear in exchange for a review I would disclose it per FTC regulations.

Disclosure: There are Amazon Affiliate links in my gear lists and possibly in product links in this video description. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases (doesn’t only have to be backpacking gear).

Amazon Affiliate Page:


(You can pledge as low as a $1/month to support my upcoming hikes.)

*Gear Wish List:
(Purchase an item from my gear wish list. Some of the items may require contacting me for shipping details. See address below.)

*Buy My Book
Take A Thru-Hike: Dixie’s How-To Guide for Hiking the Appalachian Trail (ebook):

-Bitcoin (BTC) Wallet: 1PLcRstR4bamTYKpwd9Nzus75WjfjMY6gG

Contact information:
twitter: @homemadeWL
Instagram: homemadewanderlust
PO Box 4192 Opelika, AL 36803

For business/interview inquiries *only*:


  1. MidnightModder on August 5, 2022 at 10:17 pm

    "Basics"… 5 hours, 50 minutes, and 50 seconds…
    Alright! I got this! Gonna go get some popcorn! xD

  2. Fabian Guppenberger on August 5, 2022 at 10:20 pm

    I´ve been binge watching your videos the last weeks! I am right now preparing for my first ever thru hike 🙂
    I am gonna go the Camino de Santiago, but starting from my hometown in Germany.
    Super excited for it :))

  3. Gabby O'Neill on August 5, 2022 at 10:22 pm


  4. Gabby O'Neill on August 5, 2022 at 10:24 pm

    I’m not new but I just love watching your videos- even going over stuff that’s second nature is fun to watch when you say it! You’re a national treasure.

  5. CA Eckert on August 5, 2022 at 10:24 pm

    Great presentation Dixie! So much i learned for my 2020 thru hike was from your well made videos! Great discussion on footwear. question-maybe i missed it, but do you ever wear dirty girl gators? They are a necessity for me.

  6. Ethan Monroe on August 5, 2022 at 10:27 pm

    Dixie your channel got me to start planning a 2023 through hike on the AT. Thanks for the awesome content.

  7. Rhonda Baroli on August 5, 2022 at 10:30 pm

    I jus found out some of my old neighbors are hiking the trail rght now. I think that s super awesome

  8. The Samson’s on August 5, 2022 at 10:31 pm

    Are there that many people on the trail? I always assumed I would be pretty much alone aside from a random passerby.

  9. Dan Buchanan on August 5, 2022 at 10:31 pm

    Out of the 100s of video, books, blogs, and word of mouth advice on hiking the AT this is easily the best and most thorough. Thank you Dixie.

  10. Briana Buzzell on August 5, 2022 at 10:34 pm

    Thank you! More videos please!!! Wannabe backpacker here!!!

  11. Steven Robin on August 5, 2022 at 10:34 pm

    Hi Dixie. I really love all your videos as I’m preparing for the AT next year, this one especially is really amazing such a gold source of information. Thank you so much

  12. Alexis on August 5, 2022 at 10:34 pm

    Thank you so much for this. I really appreciate the time and effort you put into this to share your knowledge with everyone.

  13. Chris Hamilton on August 5, 2022 at 10:35 pm

    A couple of observations; I love my Triplex for ‘normal’ three season use. For cold / bad weather when’s it’s just me and my dog (rescue 100lb Doberman) then it’s a Crux X1 Assault which is amazing. Warm, quiet and tough. Weighs just under 2kg.
    It’s there are two of us and the pooch then it’s a Crux X2 Shadow. It a bigger version of the X1 and has two doors – weighs just shy of 3kg.
    You mention in another post issues you had with pegs and on rocky ground. Useful tip is to carry a few old plastic carrier bags. Fill them with rocks & tie off your guy lines to the handles. Works well for sand or snow as well.

  14. dean feetham on August 5, 2022 at 10:36 pm

    Appalachian Trail is my

  15. Shawn Dyer on August 5, 2022 at 10:37 pm

    I just wonder how the guy was hiking with his wife, girlfriend and fiance all at once. Sounds dangerous.

  16. Deborah Darling on August 5, 2022 at 10:38 pm

    Thank you for such an informative vid! I have been learning from bush crafters, tarp tents, ridge lines, multiple ways to purify water or make fires. You have thrown in a bit of other perspectives like using a sleeping bag may take you 2000 miles instead of a military bevie😂
    I do have a few questions:
    Do you have camp fires & cook on the AP Trail? Wouldn’t such equipment add weight (obviously:) enough to change your approach?
    You don’t carry knives or an ax? ( See the difference in how I have been learning?) Am I correct that it is only about walking, sleeping and not survival craft?
    What kind of shoes do you recommend?
    What did you have for personal protection?
    None of these questions are meant to compare any form of camping. It is hard for me to change perspective when you greedily look at trees as a part of your shelter.
    Thanks and a great vid. Maybe my day hikes can be less preparedness based:)
    Regards, Debbie in Michigan

  17. m e on August 5, 2022 at 10:42 pm

    Is your thumbnail photo from Gertrude‘s Nose in Kerhonkson, New York? If not, where is it?

  18. Jade O'Neal on August 5, 2022 at 10:43 pm

    An interesting thing I learned from roller skating, if a boot is stiffer and offering more support on your ankle, youre actually MORE likely to experience a break.
    It gives the bone something to break itself against, basically.

    So if you want more ankle protection it might be better to go with less ankle support, as illogical as that seems 😅

  19. Curt Wrigley on August 5, 2022 at 10:43 pm

    If this isnt the most informative video about thru hiking, I’ll eat my sleeping pad!

  20. Victoria Yartz on August 5, 2022 at 10:43 pm

    Wow!!! 5 hours! You are one of a kind Dixie, I hope you are getting PAID!!!

  21. Just Mitchell on August 5, 2022 at 10:43 pm

    6 hour video👀

    much respect to you for the time, planning, and effort this took to put together. This is a one stop shop for folks to learn authoritative info to get into the sport.

    Well done👍🏻

  22. Tony S on August 5, 2022 at 10:44 pm

    People with all these videos always telling others about carry weight. Weight does not matter. It only matters to those that cant carry the weight.
    Light packs and gear is so over rated. Ultra light are for all those back packers i see that are 100 pounds wet that cant carry food let alone their gear.

  23. James Alward on August 5, 2022 at 10:45 pm


  24. Joel Sanchez on August 5, 2022 at 10:45 pm


  25. Daniel Schwenn on August 5, 2022 at 10:45 pm

    Is there a specific reason base weight includes a burner but not the canister (because it varies based on use?)? What are most people cooking food with?

  26. Marathon Man_65 on August 5, 2022 at 10:46 pm

    You are an amazing person! Thank you so much for posting this!

  27. L V on August 5, 2022 at 10:47 pm

    What am I missing?
    After watching almost all of Dixie’s videos, my main question remains: why do you like the ultra light packs more than your osprey aura one?
    It seems that other than the weight, they aren’t as phenomenal as most people make them out to be: Less padding, less ventelation on the back, less support for you back when carrying heavy loads, more chafing, less storage compartmentalisation and organisation.
    So why is it that seasoned hikers like the carbon fiber ultra light and minimal packs better?

    I’m currently debating buying the osprey aura for my own hikes and quite confused why experienced hikers seemed to dislike the ‘ferrari of back comfort’. What am I missing?

  28. Floral Shirt Richard on August 5, 2022 at 10:48 pm

    Always an inspiration. Thanks for the endless information on your videos!

  29. David Carothers on August 5, 2022 at 10:49 pm

    You can scour the pot with sand…

  30. David Carothers on August 5, 2022 at 10:50 pm

    Excellent Informative video!!
    You’re Cute, too!! 😁😉

  31. Blu on August 5, 2022 at 10:51 pm

    Excellent video; so full of great info! I love all your videos. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and expertise! 👍

  32. MasoviaPolska on August 5, 2022 at 10:52 pm

    Just came across your channel and videos today and it really gave me the spark to do this— hike the AT. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for years and years, but "life always got in the way"! I’m doing it next year! Great channel and there’s so much useful information here!

  33. Jason Karimy on August 5, 2022 at 10:54 pm

    Dixie, you out did yourself. Thank you so much!!

  34. coolinolympia ! on August 5, 2022 at 10:58 pm

    Your hair looks gorgeous! I always look forward to your info! Thanks!

  35. Harold Hontz on August 5, 2022 at 10:59 pm

    you need the 3 second tent. Their awesome

  36. Backyard Basics on August 5, 2022 at 10:59 pm

    Such great, well thought out content, very informative and detailed some of the best stuff on YouTube. From Melbourne Australia 🇦🇺

  37. Soulja4Christ WeAreAtWar on August 5, 2022 at 11:00 pm

    So if you were to be a section hiker and go thru a Smokey Mntn, what is the penalty for not sleeping in a shelter if you either don’t want to or decide its the best to keep the peace or safest bet…?

  38. Pete on August 5, 2022 at 11:00 pm

    This was really informative. The testimonial of your experience, with all the trial and error anecdotes, make things so much clearer.

    People forget that a master has once been a novice. You did a tremendous job documenting your choices and their pros and cons. Thank you for this video.

  39. Carol Bradley on August 5, 2022 at 11:01 pm

    You are so amazing to have taken the time to make this for us! God bless you! And I love your hair.

  40. Bear on August 5, 2022 at 11:01 pm

    Nicely done Dixie. I doubt I will ever through hike the AT, however I have been hiking and camping NC and VA for longer than I care to admit. If I could offer any advice to those folks getting started, the key word is practice. Practice packing and unpacking your pack with a normal load. Practice setup and teardown of your shelter, your sleeping gear (especially inflating and deflating your pad if you are using an air assisted pad). Go on weekenders and unpack/repack each day. When you get caught having to set up camp in the rain, half asleep because you had a long trail day, you are far more likely to get all the clips and lines on correctly and the tent stays up all night in the wind.

    Happy hiking and starry nights to all!

  41. Ann Carnes on August 5, 2022 at 11:02 pm

    For female personal hygiene use tiny panty liners. They will keep your crotch dryer when hiking, will absorb urine when you wee, I don’t even carry toilet paper. Just shake a bit and pull em up. And simply changing at night makes you feel like you have on brand new fresh undies. I do still use wipes for #2 and give a good swipe before I put on a new pad at night.

  42. Jason Bare on August 5, 2022 at 11:02 pm

    Can i hike with you?

  43. Crum Man on August 5, 2022 at 11:04 pm

    Ima do this in a year… i weight 280 and decided that this has been my dream to do the AT this is a good start to buy and track while backpacking as a hobby till my body can do this.

  44. dean feetham on August 5, 2022 at 11:06 pm

    brilliant AT insight for a Brit looking to do it. BIG THANKS

  45. Chanda Harkins on August 5, 2022 at 11:06 pm

    I loved seeing the inserts of Baby Dixie on the AT. I started watching you back then. My, how time flies. I got a kick out of "PawPaw’s Army blanket." 🙂

  46. Tracey Moore on August 5, 2022 at 11:09 pm

    awesome tysm learned so much !!!

  47. Joel Sanchez on August 5, 2022 at 11:11 pm


  48. Jonathan Barnes on August 5, 2022 at 11:13 pm

    This video gets guru node and endorsement from national treasures’
    board of recognition and medals for 🏅
    trails, tall tales and guiding light. Congratulations 🎊

  49. Matthew Kelly on August 5, 2022 at 11:16 pm


  50. Joel Sanchez on August 5, 2022 at 11:16 pm

    amazing video!!! thank you.

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