Top Stoves, Filters, and Power Banks on the Appalachian Trail: 2022 Thru-Hiker Survey - The Trek (2023)

Each year here at The Trek, we ask long-distance hikers on the Appalachian Trail (AT) about the stoves and water filters they used on their 2022 thru-hike. This year we added questions about power banks hikers used. In this final post of the series, we’ll cover the most popular cooking systems, resupply strategies, water filters, water- and tickborne diseases, and power banks.

The Hiker Sample

In 2022, 403 hikers participated in the survey, all of whom hiked on the AT in 2022. Almost 90 percent were thru-hikers, and the rest were section hikers. For more details on hiker demographics, check out our first post withgeneral information from the survey.

The data were collected from October through November 2022 via our social media platforms, Backpacker Radio, and Some clean-up of the data was done only when necessary, mostly involving start/end dates. (There were a few time travelers who claimed to have started their hike in 2023 while still completing it this year.) No obvious duplicates were found.

Water Treatment

We asked hikers how often they filtered the water they took from natural sources. The vast majority filtered all of the water they took. An even more overwhelming majority (97 percent) almost always filtered once you count the 5 percent that filtered most of the time and the 5 percent that filtered all sources except springs. Only two hikers said they never filtered, while seven said they occasionally filtered their water.

Water Treatment Type

Water treatment is commonly done via five methods:

(Video) Starting the Appalachian Trail was hard AF #shorts

  • A filter that water is pushed through manually, making it ready to drink instantly (e.g. theSawyer Squeeze). This is usually attached to a dirty water bottle or pouch.
  • A pump that filters the water (e.g. theMSR MiniWorks). This requires no wait time.
  • Liquid chemical treatments, which take a few minutes to react before the water is safe to drink (e.g. Aquamira).
  • Tablets (e.g., Aquatabs), which operate the same way as liquid treatments. Tablet treatments have been around longer than liquid treatments and, while small, are bulkier than liquid options.
  • Devices inserted into the water bottle or bag that use UV rays to treat the water (e.g. the Steripen).

Almost all hikers, 95 percent, used a mid-size filter this year. That’s up quite a bit from last year’s 66 percent and 2019’s 77 percent. 4 percent of hikers used a small filter like the Sawyer Mini, 1 percent of hikers used a large pump, another 1 percent used liquid chemical treatment, and only two hikers used UV treatment.

The most popular model of filters of treatment type is difficult to capture as many hikers used a combination of different models and/or didn’t remember the exact name of the product they used. However, the Sawyer Squeeze, Katadyn BeFree, and Platypus QuickDraw were mentioned numerous times.

READ NEXT – Platypus QuickDraw vs. Katadyn BeFree vs. Sawyer Squeeze: Which Filter Should You Carry for Your Next Thru-Hike?

Waterborne Illness

Only 4 percent of hikers (15 respondents) stated they contracted a waterborne illness during their hike. Interestingly, no one from the small group of hikers who never filtered suffered from waterborne illness. Meanwhile, 3 percent of hikers who always filtered their water contracted a waterborne illness. There was a higher instance of waterborne illness among hikers who filtered some, but not all, of the time, but that is mostly because the sample size of those hikers was so small.

Lyme Disease and Prevention

Out of 403 hikers, 12 hikers contracted Lyme disease. Many hikers made efforts to prevent Lyme disease, with almost half of hikers treating their clothes or gear with permethrin. Another third checked themselves daily for ticks. Only 11 percent of hikers did not take any prevention against ticks and Lyme disease.

(Video) Thru Hiking Entire Appalachian Trail in 120 Days (Full documentary)

Resupply Strategy

Over 95 percent of hikers resupplied every three to five days. There were a few outliers, with one hiker who went into town every day and one who resupplied every 14 days on average.

Fully 84 percent of hikers choosing to resupply by purchasing food in town. 11 percent used an even combination of in-town grocery shopping and mail drops, and only 5 percent of hikers relied exclusively on mail drops.

Hikers with dietary needs and restrictions were more likely to use maildrops, whether solely or in combination with purchasing food in town. This year, 20 percent of hikers had some type of special dietary need (such as vegetarianism and food allergies). Many of them had a combination of needs, and one hiker had to adjust his resupply strategy due to his dog’s food needs. Most hikers (95 percent) were satisfied with the strategy they used for resupplying.

(Video) Appalachian Trail Thru Hike 2021 Gear List

Most hikers (86 percent) chose to use a canister fuel stove. This is about the same as years past, with fewer and fewer hikers using alcohol or liquid fuel stoves. Meanwhile, 9 percent of hikers chose to go without a stove, either cold soaking or eating raw food instead. About 15 percent of hikers chose to switch the type or model of stove they used at some point in their hike.

Switching to no stove was a common choice, with 16 new hikers going without a stove. Most hikers (93 percent) were satisfied with their stoves, although there were 18 hikers who were very dissatisfied with their stoves. Of those who switched, only three reported any level of dissatisfaction after switching.

Top Stove Models

MSR (159)

BRS (67)

JetBoil (66)

Soto (22)

Snow Peak (14)

Power Banks

The most popular capacity for a power bank was between 7,500 and 10,000 mAh, with over one-third of hikers choosing a power bank in that range. Almost a third of respondents this year chose a significantly larger carrying a capacity of 17,000 to 22,500 mAh. These two separate spikes are most likely due to the offerings of the popular power bank manufacturers, as many are offered in a 10,000 and a 20,000 mAh size.

Different phone models require a different number of milliamp hours to charge, depending on the size of their batteries. Here’s a handy chart to determine how many phone charges you can get from a power bank based on it mAh capacity.

The most popular models of power banks were difficult to determine, with so many offerings of size and hikers not remembering exactly what model they had. There were many brands listed as well, but two brands were decidedly the most popular.

(Video) Appalachian Trail 2022 Information, Trail News, Thru Hiker Updates, and Hiker Information 1.1.23

Anker is at the top of the list: 260 hikers used their power banks. The second most popular brand, with 51 hikers using their power banks, was Nitecore. Based on reported preferences for power bank size, the Anker 313 10000 mAh battery bank and the Nitecore NB10000


  • The majority of hikers always filtered their water from natural sources.
  • Mid-size filters, such as the Saywer Squeeze, were the most popular type of water treatment, with 94 percent of hikers using them
  • 4 percent of hikers contracted a waterborne illness, and 3 percent of hikers contracted Lyme disease during their hike. Almost half of hikers treated their clothes or gear with permethrin to prevent Lyme disease.
  • Most hikers resupplied every three to five days, with every four days being the most popular.
  • Purchasing food in town was the most popular resupply strategy, with 84 percent choosing that method. 20 percent of hikers had dietary needs; those with dietary needs were more likely to resupply with a combination strategy or all maildrops
  • The majority of hikers used canister a canister fuel stove, with the MSR PocketRocket being the most popular.
  • The most popular power bank capacity was 7,501-10,000 mAh, with Anker and Nitecore being the most popular brands.

Thank You!

Many thanks to the hikers who participated in the survey! Congratulations to you all! A huge thanks to Kelly Floro and Zach Davis for making the survey possible. Check out our previous posts withgeneral hiker information,footwear, shelters, sleeping systems, and backpacks. To stay updated on next year’s thru-hiker survey, subscribe to The Trek’s newsletter.

Featured image: Graphic design by Chris Helm.

Affiliate Disclosure

(Video) Appalachian Trail 2022 Information, Trail News, Thru Hiker Updates, and Hiker Information 12.4.22

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.


What is the biggest mistake that novice hikers make on the AT? ›

Carrying too Much Weight

The most common mistake thru hikers make is to carry too much weight when they start the trail.

What is the average age of an Appalachian Trail hiker? ›

Most of the thru-hikers seemed to be in their 20s and, usually, had just finished university. The rest seemed to be retirees in their 50s and older. So it's a bit misleading when you look up the average age of people who try to thru-hike the A.T. and see the average age is about 36-years-old.

What is the most boring part of the Appalachian Trail? ›

1) Northern Pennsylvania

Entirely unsurprising in it's number-one disliked status, this section of the AT doesn't have a whole lot going for it. Most hikers hit this region in the dead heat of summer, complete with water shortages, gnats, a Superfund site, rattlesnakes, and demonic, ankle-rolling rocks for 100 miles.

What is the hardest part of hiking the Appalachian Trail? ›

Katahdin, the mountain you climb on your first day, is arguably the hardest climb on the A.T. It features more than 4,000 feet of elevation gain, the greatest sustained ascent on the entire Appalachian Trail. It is a scramble. Expect to use your hands as you climb over steep boulders and ledges above treeline.

Which situation should hikers avoid? ›

Never hike in the dark

Make sure to reach the destined place before sunset. Hiking in the dark can prove really dangerous. The chances of falling prey to wild animals increases in the dark and also, you may go astray from the right path.

What not to take on the Appalachian Trail? ›

What Not to Bring on the Appalachian Trail
  • Too Much Food. ...
  • Carrying Too Much Water. ...
  • Carrying Too Many Or Possible Too Few Clothes. ...
  • Not Well Versed With Gear. ...
  • Carrying a Pack Weighing Too Much. ...
  • Sleeping With Food In A Shelter (Yours or a Trail Shelter) ...
  • Attempting Too Many Miles Too Early. ...
  • Not Eating or Drinking Enough.

How much money should you have to do Appalachian Trail? ›

How Much Does It Cost to Hike the Appalachian Trail? Most people spend between $3,000 and $6,000 thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, but it's easy to spend significantly more than that without thorough budgeting. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy recommends allocating around $1,000 a month for on-trail expenses.

How many miles a day should you walk on the Appalachian Trail? ›

Most hikers start out slow, averaging eight to 10 miles a day. They will eventually work up to 12 to 16 miles a day. Don't worry if you end up doing less some days and more on other days; as long as you set a goal for where you need to be each month, you will survive and successfully complete the trail before winter.

What are the best months to hike the Appalachian Trail? ›

Late spring and early fall are the prime hiking time for much of the A.T., but the trail is open year round, and each season has something special to offer.

What town is called the friendliest town on the Appalachian Trail? ›

The welcoming nature of the town's residents and businesses has earned Damascus the “Friendliest Town on the Appalachian Trail” moniker, and it was one of the first towns along the footpath to be designated an A.T.

Why do so many people quit the Appalachian Trail? ›

Failing to recognize that you're not always going to be happy or that some days you'll be bored drives a lot of hikers to quit. Physical Expectations – Underestimating the toughness of a thru-hike can lead to injury or illness but it can also be mentally challenging for those who do not have mental toughness.

What does flip flop mean on Appalachian Trail? ›

Flip-flopping, in which hikers start midway through a trail and finish it in two or more chunks, is an increasingly popular way of completing a long trail in a single year. It offers a lot of benefits over a traditional point-to-point thru-hike, including better weather, fewer bugs, fewer wildfires, and more solitude.

Do you have to be in good shape to hike the Appalachian Trail? ›

Get Physical

Hiking the Appalachian Trail is going to beat you up. Being in better shape will minimize that buttkicking. It will still hurt, no matter what, but I promise that it will hurt less if you've been exercising and pushing your body before you begin.

What is the most photographed on the Appalachian Trail? ›

McAfee Knob is the most photographed site along the Appalachian Trail. The knob has an almost 270-degree panorama view of the Catawba Valley and North Mountain to the west, Tinker Cliffs to the north and the Roanoke Valley to the east.

Is the Appalachian Trail more difficult than the PCT? ›

Because of its steep climbs, the AT is considered to be physically more difficult than the PCT or CDT.

What are the top 5 hiking risks? ›

Top Hiking Dangers No.
  • Getting Lost. Top Hiking Dangers No.
  • Fatigue & Dehydration. Top Hiking Dangers No.
  • Hypothermia & Heatstroke. Top Hiking Dangers No.
  • Accidents & Injuries. Top Hiking Dangers No.
  • Bites, Scratches, Toxic Plants. Top Hiking Dangers No.
  • Medical Incidents.

What is a risk for hikers? ›

Fatigue, hypothermia, dehydration and heat exhaustion. Injuries from slips and falls on the trail. Injuries caused by animals, snakes and insects on the trail. Hikers getting trapped or injured by forces of nature such as flooding, veld fires and lightning.

What is the difference between hiking and trekking? ›

Hikes can be day or multi-day trips but often tend to have multiple stops at a base. Trekking, on the other hand, tends to be out in untamed nature where anything goes. This might mean harsh weather conditions or a grueling natural environment with a high altitude or steep slopes.

What do thru-hikers use for toilet paper? ›

I highly recommend striped maple leaves, taken straight off the tree – but always use two or three layers.

Where do you go to bathroom on Appalachian Trail? ›

Where do you use the bathroom on the Appalachian Trail? All of the campsites and shelter areas have “privies,” which are basically outhouses. Volunteers typically build and maintain the privies. Oftentimes there is information posted about how to best use the privy.

What to do with toilet paper on Appalachian Trail? ›

All poop and used toilet paper go in the cat hole. DO NOT bury wet wipes or feminine hygiene products, as they don't decompose — carry them out in the spare storage bag. Fill it in.

How much weight does the average person lose on the Appalachian Trail? ›

Although most hikers practice a “see food diet”—see food, eat it—it's not uncommon for thru-hikers to lose upwards of 50, 70, or even over 100 lbs. during the course of their half-year trek.

How many days of food do you need for the Appalachian Trail? ›

Long-distance hikers leave the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) periodically (typically every 3-5 days) to resupply in nearby towns. In remote areas, such as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee/North Carolina and the “100 Mile Wilderness” in Maine, hikers may carry food for 6-8 days or more.

How big of a bag do I need for the Appalachian Trail? ›

The best size backpack for the Appalachian Trail is around 50 liters. Some people think it is a great idea to take a 70 liter rucksack but there are ample places to resupply with food and water on the trail and a large backpack will encourage thru hikers to take too much gear.

What is the best day to start the Appalachian Trail? ›

To avoid crowds and winter conditions, the optimal time to start a northbound thru-hike is the window between April 15 and the first week of May.

How much water do you need to take on the Appalachian Trail? ›

A general estimate is that hikers will have to carry anywhere between 1-2 liters of water. It's unlikely most hikers need to carry more than 2 liters at a time, except in special circumstances. Hikers new to the trail will likely need more water than seasoned backpackers until their bodies adapt to the trail.

Can you walk the Appalachian Trail alone? ›

If you are currently planning your thru-hike, you may be thinking that you need to hike with someone else. This is not the case. If you hike alone, you will be fine and probably better off alone than with someone else. Don't let your lack of a hiking partner get in the way of you starting a thru-hike.

Can a beginner thru-hike the Appalachian Trail? ›

Despite how intimidating that may sound, beginners can scale the Appalachian Trail's numerous mountains and treat themselves to some of the most gorgeous views on earth. That journey begins with a single step: reading this resource page.

Is it better to go north or south on the Appalachian Trail? ›

The Low Down

They generally start as winter is fading and move north as it turns from spring to summer. This is undoubtedly the preferred and traditional route most thru-hikers choose this route. If you are in this for the social aspect, this is the direction for you since you'll have the largest group of hikers.

What is the most beautiful drive in the Appalachian Mountains? ›

Perhaps the most famous scenic byways in the North Carolina mountains is the Blue Ridge Parkway. Built during the Depression, the road was designed from the outset to be a meandering drive through the Appalachians from Virginia to Western North Carolina.

How far is it between towns on the Appalachian Trail? ›

Getting to Town

While the AT does run straight through the middle of a few towns, these are few and far between. Typically towns and other resupply points can be anywhere between one to 20 miles away from the trail.

Are there cougars on the Appalachian Trail? ›

Answer and Explanation: There are indeed mountain lions in the Appalachian Mountains, even though they are now rare. The Eastern Cougar is a type of mountain lion that is known to live in the Smoky Mountains, which are a branch of the Appalachians.

Can you sleep anywhere on the Appalachian Trail? ›

Hikers are required to stay at designated campsites or shelter sites in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina, the Triple Crown/McAfee Knob area of central Virginia, and many areas from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia northward.

What state is the most difficult on the Appalachian Trail? ›

1. Southern Maine. For hikers heading north, hitting Maine is a significant milestone, and they are rewarded with this section that's arguably the most challenging on the trail.

How many people fail a thru-hike? ›

How to complete the dream the way you intended. The new thru-hiking season approaches and thousands of hopeful hikers will soon attempt the peak adventure of our sport. 75% of them will fail.

What is a SoBo hiker? ›

So, what's a SoBo? If a NoBo is someone that hikes the trail from Georgia to Maine heading North, then a SoBo is someone who hikes the trail starting up on Mt. Katahdin, Maine, and ends at Springer Mountain, Georgia.

What is a NoBo hiker? ›

North Bound Hikers are the overwhelming majority of people who thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Thru- hiking the trail by being a North Bounder means that you start you journey at Springer Mountain in Georgia, and go up the East Coast several months until you end your hike at Mt. Katahdin, Maine.

What is slack-packing? ›

In a nutshell, slack-packing is hiking without carrying all the gear.

How many pairs of shoes do you need for the Appalachian Trail? ›

In general, thru-hikers should plan to go through four to five pairs of trail runners or two to three pairs of boots. Altra remains the top brand for trail runners, and the most popular model was the Lone Peak.

Should you carry a gun on the Appalachian Trail? ›

In general, ATC discourages the carrying of firearms on the Trail for the reasons noted below. On federal lands administered by the National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), possession of a firearm must be in compliance with the law of the state in which the federal land is located.

Do people shower on the Appalachian Trail? ›

Showers are rarely available right on the ​A.T. Hikers usually shower while at hostels or hotels in towns; less common are campgrounds with shower facilities. To bathe in the backcountry, carry water 200 feet from the water source in a container and rinse or wash yourself away from streams, springs and ponds.

What is the hardest mountain to climb on the Appalachian Trail? ›

Mount Katahdin

That is to say, the trail's northern terminus, Mount Katahdin, is not only one of the most challenging ascents of the entire trail, it is also one of the most spectacular.

What is the easiest section of the Appalachian Trail? ›

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia 100 miles (ten days)

Although this is a longer journey, it is the easiest part to hike, presenting stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley as it runs parallel to Skyline Drive.

What is the toughest hiking trail? ›

The Snowman Trek in Bhutan is considered one of the most challenging treks in the world. It is a 217-mile (350 km) journey that takes around 25-30 days to complete. The trek begins in the district of Paro. From here hikers will pass through lush forests and cross nine high-altitude passes along the way.

What percentage of thru-hikers complete the Appalachian Trail? ›

Approximately three million people visit the Trail every year. More than 3,000 people attempt a thru-hike of the entire A.T. each year, with about a quarter of those completing the Trail.

What percentage of hikers complete the AT? ›


The Appalachian Trail is over 2,190 miles long. Thousands attempt a thru-hike to complete it but only 25% manage to make it all the way. Typically, it takes around 5-7 months for a thru-hiker to complete the Appalachian Trail. The AT is considered one of the most popular hikes in the U.S.

Can you carry a gun on Appalachian Trail? ›

Visitors may possess firearms within a national park unit provided the possession of the firearm is in compliance with the law of the State in which the National Park System unit is located.

What difficulties does a hiker face? ›

If you are walking at altitude then this hiking problem can be really nasty. Altitude sickness or AMS – Acute Mountain Sickness, happens when your body can't acclimatise to the new oxygen level. The higher you climb the lower the oxygen level and the worse you might feel.

How many miles does the average thru hiker hike in a day? ›

Thru-hikers with lots of experience might put in 10 hours on the trail and hike 20 miles or more. Decide Outside surveyed 65 avid, experienced hikers about how many miles they can hike per day. Results revealed that the hikers maxed out at an average of 16 miles a day during a full day of hiking.

Can older people hike the Appalachian Trail? ›

If you think you're ready to try it out, here are a few things to consider. Realize you're not alone. Plenty of people hike the trail after 50; in fact, the average age of Doyle's last hiking group was 56.

Should I carry bear spray on the Appalachian Trail? ›

It is recommended that you carry bear spray when hiking in bear country. However, some parks do not allow the possession or use of bear spray. Check park regulations before your trip.

Should I bring a knife on the Appalachian Trail? ›

A common question for new backpackers is whether they should bring a knife when they go backpacking. The answer is absolutely yes! A knife should definitely be on your list of items to pack when hiking and backpacking.

How much weight should you carry on the Appalachian Trail? ›

Pack Weight for Backpacking and Hiking

A loaded backpacking pack should not weigh more than about 20 percent of your body weight. (If you weigh 150 pounds, your pack should not exceed 30 pounds for backpacking.) A loaded day hiking pack should not weigh more than about 10 percent of your body weight.

Why do hikers get lost? ›

The most common way that hikers got lost was by wandering off the trail (41 per cent).
How Hikers Get Lost.
Reason for getting lost% that got lost this way
Wandered off trail41%
Bad weather17%
Fell off trail16%
Got separated from group8%
4 more rows
Mar 13, 2019

What is the personality of a hiker? ›

They're carefree and bold. Hikers do crazy things. They feel adrenaline of climbing mountains and volcanoes, knowing if they stand too high, they might just get blown right off. The climb is always worth the view for them, and hardly anything will get in their way.

What makes a good hiker? ›

A good hiker respects nature, the land he is moving through, and is not fooled by a sense of superiority. He respects natural powers and knows that he can't control them. He doesn't underestimate trail terrain and weather conditions because he knows what can be the consequences of doing that.

What is a bad step in hiking? ›

What is the Bad Step? The Bad Step is a section of steep rock face on the cliff close to Loch Coruisk. If you spend a lot of time on the island hiking, chances are that you will have heard of it. One of the tour boats heads to Loch Coruisk.

Why do I get dizzy when hiking? ›

Your breathing and heart rate increase so that more oxygenated blood can flow into your muscles. If you aren't breathing enough during or after exercise, your heart may not be pumping enough oxygenated blood into your brain. Dizziness can occur whenever the brain is starved for oxygen.


1. Appalachian Trail 2023 Information, Trail News, Thru Hiker Updates, and Hiker Information 5.14.23
(Ramdino Hiking the Trails)
2. Appalachian Trail 2023 Information, Trail News, Thru Hiker Updates, and Hiker Information 1.8.23
(Ramdino Hiking the Trails)
3. Appalachian Trail 2023 Information, Trail News, Thru Hiker Updates, and Hiker Information 2.12.23
(Ramdino Hiking the Trails)
4. Gear I DO and DON'T Recommend from my Appalachian Trail Gear List
(Kyle Hates Hiking)
5. Appalachian Trail 2023 Information, Trail News, Thru Hiker Updates, and Hiker Information 4.2.23
(Ramdino Hiking the Trails)
6. Appalachian Trail 2022 Information, Trail News, Thru Hiker Updates, and Hiker Information 12.18.22
(Ramdino Hiking the Trails)


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