What are the costs for a thru-hike?

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How much money you will be spending for your thru hike is completely dependent on the trial you want to complete. A trial where you will be sleeping in huts will be more expensive compared to a trial where you are able to camp. Despite this, we can make some calculations to get an idea of the costs for thru hiking. Which factors do we need to consider? 1. Accommodation 2. Food & drinks 3. Country & transportation 4. Equipment 5. Insurance, income and other costs

Mountain hut or tent


Accommodation will in most cases have the most impact on your budget, especially when you will be sleeping in mountain huts, hostels or maybe hotels. Depending on the type of accommodation prices vary between 20-60 euros per night. This increase the costs of your hike drastically when you are hiking for a longer period. These costs can be reduced when you plan to go camping. In some countries you are allowed to wild camp, which is free, whereas in other countries you need to stay on designated camping spots or campings where a fee is required. When you want to camp, you need to make sure that you have suitable (lightweight) tent to reduce the load of you pack. In larg(er) cities it might not be possible to camp, so therefore it is important to add some nights in a hostel or hotel when travelling thru cities to your cost calculation. Some people chose to stick to campsites outside the city, but a nice warm shower every once in a while, should not be underestimated!


Food & drinks

When hiking you will never have too much food or water. It is important to keep nourished and hydrated to make sure that your body is able to perform the required exercise. The costs for food and water will depend on the type of trial and accommodation. If you are camping and cooking your own meals, costs will be a lot lower compared to staying in mountain huts. Preparing your own meals will cost you approximately 10-15 euro per day, whereas meals in mountain huts will be 20-25 euros minimal. This does not include lunch, snacks and possibly water, so therefore the end costs might be more around 30-35 euros per day.


Country & transportation

Costs will also depend on the country you want to visit. Some countries will be more expensive than others: New Zealand or Norway are generally more expensive than Eastern Europe or Asia. For some countries you might need to arrange a visa or permits in order to hike a trail. Transportation costs to get to the start of the trial should not be forgotten. In some cases, it might be cheaper to book your flights early or to try to carpool with fellow hikers.



The right equipment is essential for every (thru)hike. If you do not have the right gear, you need to buy it. Maybe you need a new backpack or down sleeping bag? It helps to prepare a gear-list so you can see what you already have and what is missing. Maybe friends have some things you need and can borrow or maybe you can find some second-hand gear online. The right gear is not necessarily new gear but can also be borrowed are second-hand. Another thing to remember is that when you are hiking for several months in a row, you might need to buy new shoes and socks multipe times.


Insurance, income, and other costs

Before starting your thru hike, you should not forget your ongoing costs in your calculation. This can include rent or mortgage, insurance, and other fixed costs. If travelling for a longer period of time it will pay of to cancel any subscriptions you have. This will save you money on the long run. Next to this, it is important to have the correct travel insurance for long distance hiking. And lastly, you need to calculate for the loss of income when hiking. Maybe you are taking a gap year or paid leave from work? Both are suitable options as long as you have calculated how it will work in your situation. Most importantly is to not let the costs get in your way. On the trial you might be spending money instead of earning it, the new and life changing experiences you will get out of it will be very rewarding!



When considering all the factors mentioned above you are able to make a good estimation of the costs that are needed to complete the trial that you chose. Lets take the Slovenian Mountain trail as an example: During this thru hike you will be sleeping in mountain huts and you have the option to eat here as well. Total costs will be around 35 euro per day. If we add another 15 euro per day for lunch and snack, total costs will be 50 euro per day for accommodation and food. The trial will take approx.. 35 days to complete, so 35 days x 50 euros = 1750 euro. In my case, additional costs for equipment were 200 euro and transportation costs (train ticket + regional transportation) were another 250 euro. Insurance was 50 euro in total and a permit is not needed. Luckily, this trial was long enough to complete with my vacation days from work so I did not have to make extra arrangements for work. The completion of the Slovenion Mountain Trail will therefore cost me around 2250 euro. Happy trials!

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