There is a lot to consider while preparing for a thru-hike. You will be spending days out in the wilderness, so you must be self-reliant. Planning for the worst-case scenario may help you or someone else in need on the trail. The first step to being prepared is to make a checklist, so you don’t forget anything essential. You should calculate how much food and water you will need. Do not rely on finding fresh water on the trail. Make sure you have enough to make it to the end or pack a water filter of some kind. When packing food, you must balance how much you need and how much weight it will add to your pack.
Shelter is also very important. It is a necessity when staying overnight in the wilderness. Fortunately, there are plenty of options nowadays and many are made with lightness in mind. Clothing is not a priority because you will probably be wearing one or two outfits for the whole trek. Just make sure that your clothing is right for the trail you have chosen, and warm or cool enough for the weather. First aid is one packing essential many overlook. Having an emergency kit on hand can save you or someone else on the trail in a time of panic. It may add some weight to your pack, but it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
When going on a thru-hike, you need to know your limits. If you push yourself too hard, too fast, you may have to wait for help to get back. Keeping track of the weight of your pack is also important. You need to know how much you can carry when your pack is full. Knowing how many miles you can travel per day and having a rough estimate of how long the hike will take you, will help with calculating how much food and water you will need. Checking the weather forecast is crucial for being prepared. You need to have the correct attire in case a storm hits in the middle of your hike.
Being knowledgeable about the terrain is vital, as well. You should have a map of the area and a compass, and know-how to read them, in case you get lost or have no cell service. You may need to rely on your own knowledge and trust your skills. Having as much information as possible about the trail is to your advantage. Knowledge is the one thing that you can add to your preparedness without adding weight to your pack. Talk to any rangers beforehand to let them know you will be out there and to learn any new information about the state of the trails you will be hiking. You should also let someone know where you intend to hike and when you plan on returning. This will safeguard you in case you get stuck somewhere and need help. When going out into the wilderness, you need to be comfortable relying on yourself because that is all you will have out there. Preparing yourself with as much knowledge as possible is as important as preparing your pack with the essentials. Good luck on your hike and be safe out there!