Out and Back

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If you’ve ever wondered how much money it takes to set off on a long thru-hike like the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail, guess no more. In this episode of the Out and Back podcast, Shanty tackles thru-hiking’s financial costs with author, gear reviewer, and dedicated long-distance hiker Liz Thomas. Known as “Snorkel” in the trail community, Thomas gives an honest and realistic picture of a thru-hiker’s budget. Learn Snorkel’s philosophy on buying gear, ways to save money in trail towns, and hear about all the hidden expenses that most hikers never even consider.

Snorkel also takes us out of the wilderness and to the city sidewalk with 14 urban trekking routes across American cities. From Los Angeles to Seattle, Snorkel created 100-mile hikes through metropolitan areas to make the joy of thru-hiking more accessible to people who enjoy the comforts of civilization. While not the most economical thru-hike, these trips provide a unique way to experience the hustle and bustle of the metropolis.

Show Notes

Learn more about Liz Thomas and her urban thru-hikes on her blog and follow her on Instagram. Check out Snorkel’s latest adventure: Treeline Review, a comprehensive gear-review website that helps you find and buy the right equipment the first time around.

Read her book Long Trails, Mastering the Art of the Thru-Hike and her recent Falcon Guide, Hiking Waterfalls Southern California: A guide to the Region’s Best Waterfall Hikes, released in November 2019.

Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!

Episode Highlights

4:40: Snorkel explains how she got her trail name.
6:05: Snorkel talks about her 20,000 miles hiked, including the Triple Crown.
7:00: If she could only hike one trail again, it would be the CDT, and here’s why!
8:00: Snorkel held the women’s speed record on the Appalachian Trail for five years before Heather “Anish” Anderson broke it.
9:30: Snorkel completed the first traverse of the Wasatch Range.
13:40: Find out Snorkel’s motivation to keep hiking all these miles.
14:35: Outside Magazine named Snorkel the Queen of “Urban Hiking.”
15:45: Snorkel has thru-hiked 14 US cities. New York was the most intimidating.
19:10: You can get the same benefits on an urban hike that you get on a wilderness hike. 
27:08: Gear is about 40 percent of your hiking budget.
28:20: All the expenses that people forget about when planning a long hike.
29:40: Snorkel tells us what type of gear to invest in for your first long hike.
30:35: Resupply in town versus mail drops. Liz says first timers should buy in town and for good reason.
33:10: Shanty blew his budget on the Appalachian Trail. 
33:50: The thru-hiking budget rule of thumb.
34:20: Shout out to Paul Magnanti “PMags” for his super cheap thru-hike budget. 
36:40: How to save money when you backpack into a trail town.
43:00: Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses on your first trail hike.
49:00: Liz is an ambassador of the American Hiking Society. 
53:00: Liz talks about the motto of her new gear website, Treeline Review. “Buy right the first time.”
55:16: Snorkel craves the weirdest trail food ever. There is seriously something wrong here. 

What is Out and Back?

In the Out and Back Podcast presented by Gaia GPS, host and Appalachian Trail thru-hiker Andrew “Shanty” Baldwin dives deep into conversation with long-distance hikers, record-breaking athletes, offroad travelers who sold everything to live full-time on the dusty backroads, and other awesome guests who have mastered their backcountry craft.

In every show, Shanty goes one-on-one, tapping into each backcountry expert’s superpower so you can take their experience and knowledge with you on your next adventure.