AT vs. PCT.

One of the most popular questions I get asked is to compare the AT vs. PCT.

Comparing the AT vs. PCT is like comparing apples and oranges, as the saying goes. The two are vastly different in almost every aspect. Their cost is probably the only thing that  they share. A comparison of the PCT vs. CDT is more realistic.

No one can tell you which trail is the right for you.  Factors like time available, fitness, one’s hiking confidence, weather conditions and more, effect which trail is right for you. My advice is to do your research (the more you do the better) and know your ability.

If you decide the AT is for you, you can take solace in that there will be many more people on trail. Knowledge can be shared more easily. As the AT is the common first thru-hike for most people you will be surrounded by others just like yourself. Learn as much as you can at home before you go.  With the production of lighter gear and more information online more and more hikers are starting with the PCT.

The PCT is more commonly known to be peoples second hike. As a result, you’ll find more trail harden hikers who bring with them more knowledge. If you start with the PCT make sure your pack is as light as you can get it, (under 15 lbs minimum though I’d shoot for less), prepare yourself to be physically ready for bigger days from the start, and be ready to hike in a desert.

In my opinion the AT was the harder of the two. That’s probably because it was my first but the reality is both can be extreme depending on the year and conditions present. The truth is everyone has a different experience while hiking. Many factors such as time of year, snow/water levels, general weather, fitness, directions of travel and more will effect which will be tougher.

Below I broke down some of the most popular categories one might want to see the difference between the two trails. Remember these are just my take on my experience.  Your’s will be similar but different.

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