9 Pro Thru-Hiking Tips from a Triple Crown Thru-Hiker

9 Pro Thru-Hiking Tips from a Triple Crown Thru-Hiker
9 pro thru-hiking tips from a triple crown thru-hiker

9 Pro Thru-Hiking Tips from a Triple Crown Thru-hiker

You won’t believe who I ran into at work!? A triple crown thru-hiker. Folks that work in the outdoor world are probably super unimpressed with this. But I work in pharma and you definitely don’t run into thru-hikers every day. I met with Dan”Lt. Dan” Herr to hear more about his experience. Dan completed the PCT in 2017, the AT in 2018 and the CDT in 2019. And guess what? He’s starting the AT again on April 7, 2023. Here are his 9 Pro Thru-hiking Tips.

 

9 Pro Thru-Hiking Tips from a Triple Crowner

1. There is no best way to Thru-hike

1. There Is No best way to Thru-hike

There are a gazillion folks out there saying this or that is the best. Dan emphasized that you need to figure out what works best for you. You are the expert in your comfort and style. Just because something works well for one person, it doesn’t mean it will work well for you.

2. Prioritize Foot Maintenance

Dan said the saying, “Happy feet, happy hiker” is 100% true. When he hiked the PCT in 2017 a lot of people dropped out because of foot issues in the first couple of weeks. Dan recommends a wide-toe box shoe because your feet may spread out. Additionally at every break take your shoes and socks off to let them dry out. 

2. Prioritize foot maintenance
3. Camel Up at Water Sources

3. Camel Up At Water Sources

There are some big nasty water hauls on most of these hikes. Dan recommends drinking a ton at water sources (1L).  This also helps with your feet. Less weight in your pack means happier feet.

A good tactic is to eat dinner and drink up at a water source and then keep hiking to find your campsite. This is especially smart for when dry camping (you don’t use up water to make dinner) and when in bear country (it’s super important to not eat where you camp).

 

 

4. Keep Sand and Rocks Out of Your Shoes With Gaiters

This one is also about foot happiness. Keep the debris out to help minimize blisters and keep those tootsies happy! Dan loves Dirty Girl gaiters. They hold up well and he uses them on all his thru-hikes.

4. Keep sand and rocks out of your shoes with gaiters
5. Comfort Matters

5. Comfort Matters

Dan’s experience tells him that making it through a thru-hike is about enjoying it. If it sucks and you are super uncomfortable you will likely quit. Do yourself a favor and do what it takes to make YOU comfortable. 

6. Do a Sunrise Summit of Mt. Whitney

Dan’s tramily got up at a ridiculous hour of 1 am to do a sunrise summit and it was one of the most amazing experiences of his life. Highly recommended!

6. Do a Sunrise Summit of Mt. Whitney
 7. Your Cravings Will Change

 7. Your Cravings Will Change

When I was grilling Dan about resupply strategies, he pointed out that your cravings will change, and to keep this in mind when planning your resupply strategy. Tuna packets would make Dan gag. Although he is happy to report he can now eat tuna again (lol). Dan liked prepping a few resupply boxes in the bigger towns and shipping them down the trail. That way he could satisfy any food cravings he was having at the time.  

8. Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Self-Care

Dan said self-care is so important. Listen to your body. If your hip flexors are tight, don’t push through it. Take it easy when your body is sending you signals.

8. Don't Underestimate the Importance of Self-Care
9. Thru-Hiking is One of the Best THings You Can do for Yourself Professionally

9. Thru-Hiking is One of the Best THings You Can do for Yourself Professionally

Dan is a super successful recruiter when he isn’t crushing miles on long-distance trails. He attributes this to thru-hiking. It gives you a different state of mind and helps you understand what is important.

 

What’s the Best Part of Thru-Hiking?

For Dan, it’s the autonomy and simplicity. You have everything you need on your back and life just becomes simple. He loves the challenge but also pointed out that he is used to suffering, ha! The minimalistic lifestyle and having as little as possible really resonates with him.

Are you an experienced thru-hiker/hiker? What are your protips and what’s the best part for you?

PCT 2023 Thru-hike Training

Written by Peenz

Hi there! I'm Peenz, lover of all things outdoors. Growing up in a remote part of Southeast Alaska definitely contributed to my enthusiasm for nature. Being outside, looking at mountains and plants just feels right. Like where I belong. I now live in Phoenix, AZ and LOVE it. So much nature, mountains, and sunshine. Expect a lot of posts about how amazing Arizona is :). The goal of this blog is to get you as excited about nature as I am. Hope it motivates you to get outside more. Enjoy!

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About The Author

Peenz

Hi there! I'm Peenz, lover of all things outdoors. Growing up in a remote part of Southeast Alaska definitely contributed to my enthusiasm for nature. Being outside, looking at mountains and plants just feels right. Like where I belong. I now live in Phoenix, AZ and LOVE it. So much nature, mountains, and sunshine. Expect a lot of posts about how amazing Arizona is :). The goal of this blog is to get you as excited about nature as I am. Hope it motivates you to get outside more. Enjoy!

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