Don’t Stay in SHELTERS on the Appalachian Trail (2024)


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There are nearly 260 shelters on the Appalachian Trail. A simple building that protects it’s inhabitants from the elements. In this video I give my reasons why I won’t be staying in shelters anymore. But as I mention I believe every situation should be considered based on the the condition of the shelter and tenting spots around. Make sure to watch to the end!

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Hi everyone, my name- is tara, otherwise known as candy mama, and today I'm going to be telling you guys why you should not be sleeping in shelters on the appalachian trail, full disclosure, when I did through hike the appalachian trail in 2019.

I frequently stayed in these shelters.

However, I did sleep in them a lot less towards the end of the through hike for multiple reasons which I will get into later on in this video.

I'm not here to bash anyone for choosing to stay in a shelter, and I do recognize there are a lot of benefits to actually staying in one.

A shelter offers a quick setup and breakdown of sleeping materials.

So that means more time on trail and less time at camp, also a safe haven from the elements that can include lightning downpours, really intense wind or falling trees and branches, which does happen.

One of the top benefits in my opinion is that you meet people a lot easier sure you can set up your tent near the shelter, but I think there's a lot of conversations that happen when people stay in shelters such as you know, what kind of sleeping pad is that or something that happened in the night like a mouse or somebody snoring every structure is built differently in a different area of the trail, with different people who maintain it.

I do think you should decide if you're staying in the shelter when you get there each shelter is different.

Like I said, each tenting spot is different.

Some examples I found myself in where I was deciding between the two was staying in a well-maintained, clean shelter or setting up my tent in an absolute downpour.

I do believe the cons of staying in a shelter heavily outweigh the pros before we get into that.

I would like to ask you all to please like comment subscribe and turn those bell notifications.

It only takes a click on yalzen to help and encourage creators.

Like me, as always, thank you for the support, I feel, like I'm saying, shelter a lot.

I'm gonna separate the reasons into two categories: we're gonna have people we're gonna, have animals or other living things.

So, let's start with the people walking up to a shelter.

You never really know who's going to be staying in it or who's going to come up a little later.

If you are through hiker, you do have a good idea based on who is hiking around you weekend, warriors boy scout groups, section hikers or guys who are a little down on their luck, whose wife kicked him out of the house that did happen.

We did meet a guy who got kicked out of his house by his wife and was staying in the shelter.

Those are some of the people that you're probably going to meet in a shelter as well.

This means you'll be sleeping among strangers and, in my opinion, that makes me feel very vulnerable.

Before I committed to a shelter, I usually screen those that I didn't know.

Obviously I would do this in a non-weird or conspicuous way.

Just ask like a couple questions about their life and their plans of their hike or backpacking trip, and I know that everyone did this, but in their own way.

So I know it's.

I know it's not weird.

No one comments say that's weird, because I don't, I don't think it is, I think it's safe.

There was one time, though, that asking a couple questions helped us determine that we were not going to be staying in a shelter because the guy who was in there was mentally unstable in 2019 james jordan killed ronald s, sanchez, jr, otherwise known as stronghold at a campsite on the appalachian trail around two weeks.

Prior to that incident, we did meet james jordan at a shelter.

I have a video explaining that entire situation, and I will link that above anyways after spending 15 minutes of talking with jordan, we found him to be very mentally unstable and we did not want to stay in the shelter with him.

We decided that we would pack up our things and move along down the trail, even though it was hailing and raining.

We stayed in our tent.

On a lighter note, though, you may meet some seemingly nice people who might snore really loud might have a really noisy sleeping pad or who might get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.

While we were at the fontana hilton shelter, there was a hiker there.

I will not name who snored so loudly literally guys his snore sounded like a semi truck horn.

It was incredible how loud his snore was sleeping pads, no matter what space like technology, that gear companies use will make some sort of noise, and you have a couple people turning and tossing in their sleep on their stuff, they're sloppy sleeping pads on their sleeping pads in the shelter and that's going to be a lot of noise to ignore for a light sleeper.

Some backpackers on the appalachian trail, wake up early or some come to a shelter a little later, which you know again can wake some people up.

If noise from people wasn't bad enough, you also have to worry about a silent virus that is being passed among hikers that haven't washed himself in days.

I had to wait about 30 minutes because the maintenance guys were doing leaf blowing around my apartment, but we're back.

Let's go during my three hike.

We got caught in a freezing rain storm in the smoky mountains and the conditions were getting really dangerous.

Luckily, we found a shelter and there was a couple people in there.

By the end of the evening, we were pushing the limits of the shelter's capacity when we left the shelter the next morning we were fine but as the following days, progressed one by one in our family, we're getting sick from a common hiker virus called norovirus norovirus causes inflammation of the intestines and stomach which results in vomiting and intense diarrhea.

Typically, people get neuro when having contact with an infected person, contaminates surface or food and water.

Most everyone in our tramley got norovirus, except for smiley, who is a strict tank camper and did not stay in the shelter that night, so yeah, that's really gross and it really stinks when you get norovirus and it usually is passed along in shelters.

Lastly, with a shelter and people, is you don't get a lot of privacy, but you can kind of expect that when you're in the shared community space, so that's a huge one, but I mean that's just it's common sense: no privacy, all right.

Let's move on to the next category being any other living thing like animals, reptiles, bugs rodents.

You are in the outdoors and you can expect to run into all sorts of creatures and creatures of all varieties, including food hikers like free food and easy shelter.

There are prom bears that live near shelters because they know people will be staying there and there's going to be an amount of food there.

We typically try to steer clear of those shelters, but sometimes you can't get away from it like old orchards, shelter in grayson highlands, that specific shelter had a serious bear problem, and my friends and I spent about two hours trying to scare away this bear who was just persistent like walking around the camp and trying to find food that shelter even had bear vaults, which are those big metal containers that hikers put their food in, but still that bear was just present at that shelter.

Just trying to look for an easy snack, but even if you take camp around the shelter you're still going to have those bear issues.

So it's not so much a shelter problem.

If you want to avoid bears, I would just try to steer clear of shelters in general.

The real problem creatures are not big bears, but instead small mice and rats that live in and around the shelters.

Mice, in my opinion, are the biggest issue in shelters.

Even if you do everything right, like hang your food up in a tree or put it in a bear, vault take every small little crumb out of your pack and put all your smelly things in that bear bag hanging in a tree.

They're still gonna bother you personally.

I remember sleeping in shelters and mice just running across my sleeping bag, multiple times at night, one time during a section hike, a mother mouse and her babies decided my friend's bag, which was hanging by the way was hanging.

I decided that would be a great nesting place for her and her babies.

It was really gross I'm a little reluctant to tell you guys a story, but I once heard this horror story, somebody it wasn't the actual person.

I don't know who it was, but a hiker was about to go to bed, so they put on chapstick and then they went to bed.

I woke up and a mouse was chewing on her lips.

It's so gross mice and rats also carry a lot of diseases and their poop can dry up.

You know becoming dust and that's a really easy way for viruses or diseases to spread in the air, all in all, just the thought of mice or rats being an issue in a shelter really.

Disgust me snakes, spiders and bugs were a minor issue in shelters.

There were times where there's like spider infestations in shelters like that one I talked about in virginia or snakes, just hiding in like little like little crevices in the shelters.

But honestly the mice were the biggest issue, all right y'all.

So that was it.

Those were my reasons why I think I won't stay in another shelter ever again and why I think you guys probably should reconsider staying in a shelter, uh people and animals.

Already already, I can say the word I'll reiterate, there's nothing wrong with people staying in shelters, but I do think you should kind of consider the pros and cons of every specific situation and with the specific conditions far out guides and the shelter logs have great reviews about each individual shelter from previous backpackers.

I would read those reviews and inspect the shelter yourself before committing to staying in one.

I hope this video was helpful to you guys if it was please.

Let me know in the comments below I want to hear what you guys have to think.

Do you think the cons of sleeping in a shelter outweigh the pros? Do you think the other way around? Thank you to all you that watched the end of the video.

If you did watch the end, let me know by commenting a mouse emoji, don't forget to like and subscribe.

If you did find this video helpful.

If you want to know what's going on in my life outside of youtube, you can follow me on facebook, tiktok and instagram.

I think that's all for right now guys.

Thank you so much for watching happy hiking! You.

Don’t Stay in SHELTERS on the Appalachian Trail (2024)


Don’t Stay in SHELTERS on the Appalachian Trail? ›

They are often a good place to meet and talk with other hikers. Most have privies and water sources nearby. Shelters are less hospitable to ticks than most camping areas (unless a dog is present). Staying at shelters reduces hiker impact on the Trail environment and is a good Leave No Trace practice.

Is it a good idea to stay in shelters on the Appalachian Trail? ›

They are often a good place to meet and talk with other hikers. Most have privies and water sources nearby. Shelters are less hospitable to ticks than most camping areas (unless a dog is present). Staying at shelters reduces hiker impact on the Trail environment and is a good Leave No Trace practice.

Are there shelters along the Appalachian Trail? ›

There are more than 250 backcountry shelters located along the A.T. at varying intervals. They are an average of about 8 miles apart, but can range from 5 miles to 15 miles apart, or even as much as 30 miles apart when there is a town with some sort of lodging in between.

How do people sleep on the Appalachian Trail? ›

In addition to tents, tarps and backpacking hammocks are becoming popular shelter options for long-distance hikers. Every now and then, you will likely want to take a break from the woods and stay in town. There are hostels all along the trail where hikers can get a bed and a shower.

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

The New Hampshire mountains have a reputation as the sketchiest section of the trail. Erratic weather, high winds and steep, rugged terrain create the potential for hikers to get into serious trouble. “That's generally considered the most dangerous in regards to terrain and exposure,” Mr.

Are there showers along 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 friendliest town on the Appalachian Trail? ›

Known as "Trail Town, U.S.A" and the "Friendliest Town on the Trail," Damascus is a small town with a unique history that lives up to its nicknames, providing a friendly atmosphere with various recreational activities inspired by tourism and Benton MacKaye's "return to nature" philosophy.

What happens to the shelters on alone? ›

Viewers also don't get to see all the finished shelters, which producers disassemble after each contestant leaves. Tan says he wove spruce roots into large baskets you might find in Crate & Barrel.

How safe is it to hike 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.

What not to take on the Appalachian Trail? ›

Top 10 Mishaps to Avoid When Hiking the Appalachian Trail
  • Bringing too much food. ...
  • Carrying too much water. ...
  • Carrying too many (or too few) clothes. ...
  • Not practicing with gear before starting. ...
  • Carrying a pack weighing 50 pounds or more. ...
  • Making someone's day turn to crap. ...
  • Sleeping with food in tents and shelters.
Mar 6, 2016

Do hikers hook up on the Appalachian Trail? ›

On long hiking trips, like hiking the whole Appalachian Trail (AT) which takes and average of 3 to 5 months, there are many who meet on the trail and decide to hike together. They may even begin a relationship. I have seen many while meeting up with them on my day or week hikes on parts of the AT.

How do you eat on Appalachian Trail? ›

Dried foods like pasta that can be boiled and prepared on portable stoves are popular with hikers. Tuna or chicken in foil packets can add protein, or textured vegetable protein (tvp) can be used. Some instant foods require only that you boil water.

How do you go to the bathroom on the Appalachian Trail? ›

There are usually only two options on the Trail for when nature calls: using a privy or digging a cat hole in the woods.

Can you walk the Appalachian Trail at night? ›

Arriving prepared is the best way to stay safe. Mike Miller, the editor-in-chief of Wilderness Times says that “as a night owl, hiking at night is the best time for me, especially during the summer on the Appalachian Trail. It's perfectly safe, and on a night with a full moon, you may not even need a flashlight.

Do you need permit to sleep on the Appalachian Trail? ›

Overnight Fees and Permits. Backcountry permits: Permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. Hikers who meet the park's unique definition of an A.T. thru-hiker (those who begin and end their hike at least 50 miles outside the park and only travel on the A.T. in the park) are eligible for an A.T.

Is it safe to camp on the Appalachian Trail? ›

Dispersed camping on the A.T.

If dispersed camping is allowed, best practice is to find a site at least 200 feet of the Trail (ideally not visible from the Trail) and 200 feet from water. Dispersed camping is also generally discouraged within 1/4 mile of trailheads, shelters, and established recreation areas.

Is it safe for a woman to hike the Appalachian Trail alone? ›

Hiking as a Woman Alone on the Appalachian Trail

Overall more women hikers than men worry about hiking alone or their family and friends will worry more as female hikers are frequently presented as “targets” in the media but for the most part, the trail is a safe place for everyone and makes sure everyone is cared for.

Should I bring a tent on the Appalachian Trail? ›

All overnight hikers should carry a tent or other lightweight portable shelter. Backcountry camping is available at about 125 designated camp sites and is also allowed in the immediate vicinity of most of the 260 shelters along the Trail.

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