The Final Information to Climbing the Arizona Path

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

A hike on the Arizona Path (AZT) is a very distinctive expertise. Actually, the Sonoran Desert is essentially the most biodiverse desert area on the planet – boasting a complete host of plant and animal life that may solely be discovered right here. The AZT will take you on an unforgettable 800-mile trek like no different by way of an ever-changing panorama.

We completely liked climbing this path, and we predict you’ve made determination in selecting to stroll this path. We’ll offer you all of the assets you want for a profitable journey on the AZT on this information. And if you happen to haven’t fairly determined what your subsequent path might be, scope out your different choices from our in depth catalog of journey guides.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

Fast Details

  • Distance: 800 miles 
  • Time Wanted: 6-8 weeks
  • Highest Elevation: 9,141 ft. – Kaibab Plateau
  • Lowest Elevation: 1,646 ft. – Gila River
  • Elevation Achieve (approx.): 113,000 ft. 
  • Finest Time to Hike: Most individuals begin within the south and go north (NOBO) through the springtime – normally beginning in early or mid-March and ending in April. Hikers going north to south (SOBO) usually begin in October after monsoons have completed, they usually full the path in November.
  • Permits: There’s no allow for the AZT, however Colossal Cave Mountain Park, Saguaro Nationwide Park & Grand Canyon Nationwide Park require tenting permits if you happen to plan to remain. SNP additionally requires an entrance price.
  • Problem: Difficult
Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

Highlights

  • Amazingly numerous vary of landscapes, crops, and animals
  • Tons of wildflowers within the spring/altering leaves within the fall
  • Climbing by way of the Grand Canyon
  • Solitude in a rugged wilderness surroundings
  • Pleasant path cities and strong community of path angels (good individuals who assist out thru-hikers alongside the path hall)
  • Nicely-marked and maintained
  • Feeling amazingly succesful and assured on the finish of the journey
  • You get a hand-crafted copper belt buckle for ending
Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

Lowlights

  • Not as social as many different long-distance trails
  • Some sections are very rocky
  • Overgrown prickly crops in some sections
  • May be laborious on sneakers/gear
  • Discovering water is a problem in dry years
  • Snakes, spiders & scorpions if you happen to’re bothered by creepy-crawlies
  • Plenty of solar publicity
Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

Finest Time to Hike

The Arizona Path has two distinct seasons for thru-hikes, however there are alternatives to do many sections year-round. The largest issues for if you begin your hike might be temperature and water availability. Desert environments are vulnerable to wild temperature swings and fast adjustments in climate patterns. You could expertise snow, heavy rain, or 100°+ temperatures on this path.

Northbound (NOBO) is the commonest route for hikers to finish a thru-hike – the NOBO season begins within the spring. Most hikers will set off from the Mexican border in early to mid-March with the purpose of ending earlier than Could. This timeline lets you take pleasure in extra water than the autumn climbing season as a result of winter snowmelt, and you may count on temperatures to remain above freezing most nights and beneath 90° most days. Climate and water are simpler to plan for within the spring, so that is the season we usually suggest.

SOBO hikers start their journey south from the Utah border in fall – usually in early October – and purpose to finish the path earlier than the tip of November. Water availability within the fall relies upon virtually totally on how moist the summer time monsoon season is in Arizona, so it adjustments enormously from 12 months to 12 months. However usually, fewer water sources are flowing through the SOBO season. Fall temperatures can range so much alongside the AZT. You’ll possible expertise some nighttime temperatures nicely beneath freezing for the primary 250 or so miles on the plateau sections, and you could possibly encounter lingering 100°+ temperatures the additional south you go.

Many individuals select to section-hike the AZT, breaking the 800-mile journey into smaller chunks – and this has massive benefits for selecting essentially the most nice situations to hike in. Part climbing lets you select what’s most necessary to you – skipping the cruel Arizona warmth, hitting the path when water is most considerable, or avoiding freezing temperatures and snow – for every part of the path so you may simply benefit from the stroll.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

How Lengthy Does it Take to Hike?

It takes most hikers about 6-8 weeks to finish a hike on the AZT. Some backpackers definitely hike this path in much less time, however the terrain, climate, and availability of water could make big-mile days tough. Most individuals take the path at an satisfying tempo and calculate in a couple of“zero” days (relaxation days) and “nero” days (brief for “almost zero”) to permit the physique to recoup. It is a good choice if you need an extended and difficult expertise however don’t fairly have the 3-5 months it takes to complete off the Pacific Crest Path or Appalachian Path.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

Problem of Path

The AZT is well-maintained, well-marked, and simple to comply with for many of the hike, so navigation isn’t a difficulty. The principle difficulties on this path are the solar publicity, availability of water, terrain/surroundings, and the size of the path. 

SUN EXPOSURE

The AZT cuts a path by way of the Sonoran Desert, and as you would possibly count on, it’s a reasonably sunny place. There’s little or no shade on most sections of the path, so we think about sunscreen, a solar shirt, sunglasses, and a sun umbrella necessities for this hike. Maintaining your pores and skin protected is tremendous necessary in your total well being, and having a shaded place to take a break below your umbrella can do wonders for morale on particularly sizzling days.

See our 20 Suggestions for Backpacking within the Desert Information for extra recommendation on staying secure and cozy on the AZT.

WATER

It could shock you to study that almost all of Arizona’s water sources are recharged by snow. The state doesn’t see a lot rainfall exterior of its summer time monsoon season, however the high-elevation areas get a good quantity of snow in most years. Because of this most individuals go for a spring NOBO hike on the AZT – water is extra considerable. Don’t take that to imply you’ll see it usually, although. Except you hike in a very excessive snow 12 months, you’re more likely to have a couple of giant gaps (20+ miles) between water sources alongside your 800-mile journey. 

It’s a good suggestion to have the flexibility to hold a minimum of 4 liters of water for actually sizzling, dry stretches. We carried two 1-liter Smartwater bottles and a Platy Bottle per individual, in addition to a Vargo BOT that doubled as a cookset and additional water capability.

TERRAIN/ENVIRONMENT

Many sections of the AZT are extremely rocky, and it could actually take a toll in your sneakers and the underside of your ft. Many hikers received’t make it by way of the entire path with a single pair of sneakers, so it’s necessary to issue this in when constructing your funds. 

It’s best to select footwear with ample cushion in case your ft aren’t accustomed to climbing on rocks all day as a result of it could grow to be downright painful after a couple of hours straight of stepping on jagged rocks. 

After all, you’ll additionally encounter tons of Arizona’s iconic cacti alongside the journey. These crops are stunning, however they’ll trigger some actual harm if you happen to get too shut. Particularly, you must watch out round “leaping cholla” (pronounced choy-a). These cacti will go away you coated in prickles from the lightest brush towards its fruits, and what’s worse is that they drop spine-covered balls all around the floor that may be powerful to keep away from. Be sure you convey a small pair of tweezers in your first-aid equipment to tug cactus spines off of your clothes, pores and skin, and equipment.

TRIP LENGTH

The AZT is 800 miles lengthy which is a large bodily problem, but it surely additionally requires a big money and time dedication. We usually funds $2-$3 per mile for a thru-hike, and we suggest letting your loved ones and office find out about your plans as far prematurely as attainable to rearrange for time away. Not everybody has the liberty or monetary assets to step away from society for therefore lengthy, so many hikers select to finish the path in smaller sections.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

Northbound vs. Southbound Routes

Northbound (NOBO) is the extra frequent route to journey on the AZT, however each choices have their advantages. We hiked the primary 300 miles NOBO within the spring after which did the remaining 500 miles southbound (SOBO) within the fall, so we acquired a reasonably good thought of the professionals and cons of each instructions.

NOBO

PROS

  • Nicer common temperatures for a majority of the path
  • Water is normally extra considerable within the spring NOBO season
  • You save the Grand Canyon for (virtually) final
  • There are extra individuals on path to work together with if you happen to’re on the lookout for a social expertise
  • Resupply cities get farther aside the additional north you go, so that you hit longer meals carries after you’re already warmed up
  • Wildflowers bloom within the spring

CONS

  • The path begins with some powerful climbs from the southern terminus
  • Lingering snow would possibly stay at excessive elevation

SOBO

PROS

  • In our opinion, the path will increase in magnificence as you journey south
  • The primary 250 miles or so are comparatively straightforward (aside from the Grand Canyon), so that you get a pleasant warm-up
  • Aspens within the north change shade within the fall

CONS

  • Fewer individuals to work together with if you happen to’re on the lookout for a social expertise
  • Cities are extra unfold out within the north, so you have got longer meals carries earlier than you’re warmed up
  • You could take care of early-season snow within the north and lingering excessive temperatures within the decrease desert
Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

Getting There

NOBO

In the event you’re climbing NOBO on the AZT, the best strategy to get to the southern terminus is to fly into Tucson and hire a shuttle from there. We used the Finding True North shuttle service which was moderately priced and our driver was pleasant and secure. In the event you go together with a unique shuttle driver, be certain they’re keen to take you all the best way to the trailhead at Montezuma Pass. It requires driving virtually 9 miles up a considerably tough filth highway.

SOBO

There are a few alternative ways to get to the northern terminus, however the best choice is to fly into Web page, AZ by way of the Phoenix airport after which get a shuttle or a journey from a trail angel to the Stateline Campground.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

Planning Your Itinerary

Planning a unfastened day by day itinerary isn’t needed, however we’ve discovered from previous thru-hikes that it’s very useful. Most individuals take 6-8 weeks to finish the AZT, with a mean of round 14-20 miles a day. We suggest overestimating the time it should take you to finish the path as a result of it’s simpler to get off early than it’s to get off late when you have obligations to return to. Take into consideration your skill, climbing type, zero days, and somewhat leeway for sudden hiccups when creating your mileage plan.

The FarOut app is our most popular useful resource for planning and navigation on path as a result of you may see the place water sources and potential campsites are, what companies can be found in path cities, and you may go away and browse feedback different hikers left concerning the standing of water or locations they loved in cities.

One other invaluable useful resource for this hike is the Arizona Trail Association’s (ATA) website. Right here you’ll find descriptions of each section of the path (referred to as passages on the AZT), entry a list of shuttles and trail angels, and a lot extra.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

Permits

There isn’t a allow for the AZT, however you move by way of two nationwide parks that do require permits. 

You will need to get hold of a backcountry allow for Saguaro Nationwide Park earlier than coming into the park boundary, and there are solely two locations to camp there – Manning Park and Grass Shack – which additionally require permits of their very own. You may get entrance permits and camping permits.

Grand Canyon Nationwide Park additionally requires permits for tenting within the park. Most hikers will keep in a minimum of certainly one of these websites: North Rim, Brilliant Angel, and Mather (South Rim). There are backcountry places of work on each rims of the park, and you must go to certainly one of these to speak to a ranger about tenting permits. They’re normally in a position to get you a web site on the backside of the canyon inside one or two days of your arrival if you happen to’re not planning on doing rim-to-rim in in the future. We stayed at Brilliant Angel Campground within the canyon, and we extremely suggest taking this chance. Exterior of an AZT thru-hike it’s fairly powerful to get permits to camp within the canyon.

Colossal Cave Mountain Park additionally requires a allow (bought on the Cave Store) if you happen to plan to camp at certainly one of their two campgrounds, however there’s loads of free dispersed tenting alongside the path earlier than and after the park. We suggest skipping the price space and discovering some flat floor to sleep on on the AZT.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

Water

Water availability on the AZT fluctuates drastically based mostly in your begin date, snowpack, and the climate. Water sources might be far aside and unreliable within the desert, and most of them are off path. We suggest having a water capability of a minimum of 4 liters with you simply in case. Light-weight foldable bladders, like Platy Bottles, come in useful for large water carries.

Our greatest recommendation is to fill up wherever you may, by no means go away a supply thirsty, and carry greater than you suppose you want. The FarOut app is nice for planning your water carries as a result of you may see different hikers’ reviews about which water sources are flowing forward. Nonetheless, there’s no assure you’ll discover water at a supply if you get there.

Most of the water sources alongside the AZT are very muddy and contaminated by livestock, so it’s essential to pack a dependable water filter. We used a Platypus Quickdraw and a Katadyn BeFree as a result of they’re light-weight and comparatively straightforward to scrub within the discipline. As a result of there’s a lot filth in lots of the water sources, you must count on to need to backflush your filter repeatedly to revive the stream price.

Utilizing electrolyte mixes in your water may also assist masks any bizarre flavors and hold you higher hydrated.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

Meals Storage

There are bears, mice, and different scavengers alongside the AZT, so correct meals storage is a should. We every carried an Ursack Major to maintain our meals secure from animals, however most of this path isn’t conducive to hanging a bear bag. We normally simply positioned our Ursacks exterior of the tent the place we may see them in case we would have liked to scare away a critter.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

The place to Resupply

Since you’ll be on path for a couple of weeks, you received’t be capable of carry all of your meals without delay – you’ll have to cease and resupply periodically. Most individuals resupply 8-10 instances, stopping each 80-100 miles. Resupplying usually is fairly straightforward for many of the AZT if you wish to reduce down on meals weight in your pack, however remember that city stops might be costly and time-consuming. 

You’ll be able to resupply by mailing containers forward of time to a put up workplace or a spot on the town that gives to carry containers for hikers (like a gear store) or getting a journey into a close-by city for the grocery retailer. In case your resupply plan includes mailing packages, you’ll wish to ship them nicely prematurely to verify they arrive in time so that you can decide them up.

In the event you’re mailing your resupply containers to a put up workplace (be certain the PO in your goal city accepts common supply), that is the way you’ll wish to tackle your field:

  • Your Title
    c/o Basic Supply
    City Title, AZ 01234
    Arriving By: ETA

It’s additionally a good suggestion to write down your title or put a particular marker (like colourful doodles or stickers) on all sides of the field to make it simpler for postal staff to seek out it amongst the heaps of different containers.

Patagonia (AZT NOBO mile 52.4)

This was our favourite path city – everybody was so pleasant, the city itself could be very charming, and the grocery retailer is without doubt one of the greatest we’ve seen in a small city.

Keep right here: Terra Sol is a really snug and welcoming place to pitch your tent, do laundry, and take a bathe. Hikers have entry to an outside kitchen, a fireplace pit, and a screened shelter, and the guts of city is a brief stroll from right here for resupply.

Eat right here: We ended up at Gathering Grounds by likelihood because it was the one factor open after we got here by way of, but it surely didn’t disappoint. The sandwiches and drinks listed here are superior, and different hikers appear to agree that this is without doubt one of the greatest eats on the town.

Resupply right here: Purple Mountain Meals is an efficient choice for vegans/vegetarians/individuals with dietary restrictions. They’ve a lot of good produce and an incredible collection of bars. Patagonia Market’s choice is a little more fundamental than Purple Mountain however we used it to complement our resupply. They’ve many hiker staples, like ramen, dehydrated refried beans, and electrolyte mixes.

Colossal Cave Mountain Park (AZT NOBO mile 125.7)

This park is a brief jaunt off the path, they usually’ll maintain resupply packages for thru-hikers. We despatched containers right here, and the employees allow us to sit on the patio and cost our electronics whereas we loved some fries and prickly pear margaritas from the snack stand with a bunch of different hikers.

Summerhaven (AZT NOBO mile 190.2)

It is a tiny city that you simply’ll move proper by way of on path on the prime of the Mt. Lemmon climb. We don’t suggest staying right here because it’s a spendy resort city, however we grabbed a couple of issues from the surprisingly well-stocked Mt. Lemmon Basic Retailer to get us to Oracle the subsequent day. You’ll in all probability hear buzz concerning the Cookie Cabin on the best way right here, however we don’t suppose it’s value a cease. The pizza and cookies have been very costly (although they’re additionally fairly giant) and actually simply weren’t that good – even after the strenuous climb up Lemmon. Save your cash and deal with your self to a pleasant, massive meal in your subsequent city cease.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

Oracle (AZT NOBO mile 204.3)

Oracle isn’t the world’s biggest path cease, as a result of it’s not very walkable and there aren’t many lodging for staying in a single day. However if you happen to’re not choosy, the city does have a Greenback Basic and an incredible espresso store.

Keep right here: We didn’t truly keep in Oracle, however everybody recommends the Resting Oak – a home owned by a pair that caters to hikers. Their data might be discovered on the FarOut app within the heart of Oracle. We have been feeling fancy, so we cut up an Airbnb with a good friend within the close by city of Catalina for some grilling and bathtub soaks.

Eat right here: The quirky Approach of the Bean Espresso Membership is technically a non-public membership, however the proprietor provides hikers free day passes. The drinks right here have been excellent, and the ambiance is tremendous stress-free. Additionally they serve breakfast meals and pastries.

Resupply right here: Your solely resupply choices in Oracle are Greenback Basic and Circle Ok (a small comfort retailer). Vegans, vegetarians, and people with dietary restrictions might have a tough time discovering good meals choices. The city of Catalina has a Bashas’ grocery retailer and is 20 minutes south. You could possibly hitch or take an Uber (what we did) there if needed.

Kearny (AZT NOBO mile 268.4)

We didn’t go to Kearny, however we sort of want we had. Plenty of AZT hikers say that is their favourite city on the path, and we heard nothing however good issues concerning the variety individuals there.

Keep right here: There are some of us on the town that repeatedly host hikers, however they’re by word-of-mouth. You’ll need to get their data from the FarOut app if you wish to keep at their hiker haven on the town.

Eat right here: Previous Time Pizza is the spot everybody talks about from Kearny, and it’s the final word hiker-friendly cease from what we hear. The proprietor repeatedly provides hikers rides to and from path.

Resupply right here: There’s an IGA grocery retailer on the town that has a wide variety and offers thru-hikers a free espresso and donut for stopping in.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

Superior (AZT NOBO mile 306.3)

Superior is an in depth second on our checklist of favourite AZT path cities. We put our hike on pause right here within the spring, so this was our official ending spot within the fall. It’s an outdated mining neighborhood that has a ton of Wild West attraction. 

Keep right here: We stayed on the Copper Mountain Motel within the spring, and the household that runs it was very pleasant and accommodating. The rooms are fundamental however cute, and there’s a Household Greenback throughout the road in addition to a number of eating places close by. 

After we returned within the fall, we stayed with the legendary path angel MJ whose data might be discovered on the FarOut app. She welcomes hikers into her house and treats them like household, and she or he’s solely a few blocks from the downtown strip the place the higher grocery retailer is.

Eat right here: We completely liked Miner’s on Foremost. It’s a Fifties-style diner within the coronary heart of downtown that serves breakfast staples, burgers, and milkshakes.

Mountainside espresso can also be improbable – we went there a number of instances, and the employees members have been all so candy.

Resupply right here: There’s a Household Greenback proper on the town on the principle freeway if you happen to’re in a rush, however we favor the choice on the Save Cash Market on the historic strip.

Roosevelt Lake Marina (AZT NOBO mile 349.6)

The marina at Roosevelt Lake holds packages for hikers, so we despatched a field right here. There’s a small retailer that wouldn’t be choice for a full resupply, but it surely does have a couple of hiker staples if you happen to’re simply on the lookout for a few fundamentals.

Payson (AZT NOBO mile 390.6)

Payson is a couple of 30-minute journey from path, however we have been in determined want of some new socks so we caught a hitch in. It is a fairly massive city with a number of eating places and three massive grocery shops proper throughout the road from one another.

Keep right here: We loved a stick with some trail angels down the highway in Tonto Basin, however Payson has a bunch of motels to select from. The Majestic Mountain Inn has cheap charges and is shut sufficient to the grocery shops to stroll.

Eat right here: We ate at The Pinon Café which served massive parts and was completely scrumptious. We after all needed to deal with ourselves to pumpkin drinks at Starbucks too because the grocery retailer we shopped at has one inside.

Resupply right here: Walmart, Bashas’, and Safeway are all on the principle highway by way of city, they usually’re proper throughout the road from one another. We selected Bashas’ just because it’s an Arizona chain, however any of those can have all of the choices you could possibly ever need.

If that you must exchange gear, there’s a Massive 5 Sporting Items, Walmart, and a really hiker-friendly footwear store referred to as Rim Runners.

Pine/Strawberry (AZT NOBO mile 462.2)

Pine is a mile off path, so most hikers (us included) simply stroll into city. The small neighborhood of Strawberry is barely three miles up the highway, and we had no drawback getting there and again from Pine. 

North of Pine, resupply choices are extra restricted. There are a couple of locations close to the path that settle for resupply packages, however they’re solely open seasonally. We opted to do longer meals carries and solely hit the key resupply stops as a result of the path turns into a lot simpler north of right here.

Keep right here: We stayed on the Strawberry Chalet N Keep, which was very hiker-friendly. That they had cheap room charges and gave us a voucher to make use of towards a meal on the bar subsequent door.

There aren’t many lodging within the city of Pine, however many hikers select to remain there with a trail angel.

Eat right here: Early Hen Cafe in Pine was an enormous spotlight for us – they’ve completely huge parts, cheap costs, pleasant employees, and the meals is nice. Positively strive one of many specialty sizzling cocoas!

THAT Brewery in Pine is one other very hiker-friendly institution that has a hiker field, accepts mailed resupply packages, and donates a few of the proceeds from certainly one of their beers to the Arizona Path Affiliation. They’ve additionally acquired normal brewery meals choices like burgers and sandwiches.

In the event you keep in Strawberry, you’ll possible eat lunch or dinner on the Sportsman’s Chalet because the motel provides you a voucher to make use of there. Throughout the road is Pie Bar which will get an extended line the second they open, however we braved the gang to get some empanadas to pack out for path.

Resupply right here: The small Ponderosa Market in Pine has an okay collection of hiker meals. When you have dietary restrictions it is perhaps higher to mail your self a field to THAT Brewery or hitchhike 20 minutes down the highway to Payson.

Flagstaff (AZT NOBO mile 570.4)

The town of Flagstaff might be accessed a couple of alternative ways – most hikers select to hike in on the city route which begins at NOBO mile 570.4. The “official” path is definitely thought-about the equestrian route, and strolling both choice counts as having accomplished the part. In the event you select to hike the equestrian route, remember that there’s a tenting ban from about mile 569 to mile 606, however you will get a simple hitch into city from mile 590.

Keep right here: We arrived in Flagstaff on a Saturday, so inns and motels have been fairly costly. There are a ton of room choices on the town although, and most hikers simply select no matter is least expensive on the time and most centrally situated. Flagstaff has a reasonably good bus system that’ll get you the place that you must go. We selected to stick with a path angel on the town and had an incredible expertise. 

Eat right here: Flagstaff has all of the eateries you could possibly ever need, and there are a lot of choices for vegans and vegetarians as nicely. We didn’t strive it, however most hikers say MartAnnes Burrito Palace hits the spot.

Resupply right here: It is a metropolis, so any grocery retailer you need is right here. We cut up our resupply between Fry’s and Complete Meals (for the considerable vegan proteins). There’s additionally an REI on the town in addition to a number of native outfitters, so that is one of the best time to exchange your sneakers in the event that they’ve been eaten up by all of the rocks on path.

South Rim Grand Canyon (AZT NOBO mile 698.8)

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon has a complete village with a surprisingly well-stocked and fairly priced grocery retailer, laundry, and showers. It is a good place to relaxation and take within the sights earlier than transferring on. 

That is the best choice for resupply between the Grand Canyon and the northern terminus, because the North Rim is barely open a couple of months out of the 12 months and has a much less spectacular retailer. Some hikers select to cease within the small neighborhood of Jacob Lake at mile 771.8, however we predict carrying some further meals weight by way of the Grand Canyon from right here is the higher wager.

Keep right here: There’s a chosen thru-hiker web site at Mather Campground close to the village. Test in with a ranger on the campground kiosk, they usually’ll set you up with a pleasant spot for a small price. 

Eat right here: There’s a small deli within the grocery retailer that has okay meals, but it surely’s fairly costly. We opted to cook dinner our meals on the campsite.

Resupply right here: There’s a common retailer within the village that shares all of the hiker staples, and we have been in a position to do a full resupply right here for surprisingly low-cost.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

Backpacking Gear – What to Pack

It’s important to maintain your pack weight to a minimal when setting out on a thru-hike. Dialing in your gear might be costly and really feel overwhelming, however we promise that taking the time to plan and enhance your gear setup will make your trek a much more satisfying and profitable expertise. 

Since we did the path in two seasons, we had two fully completely different units of substances. Beneath we’ll checklist our prime suggestions from the gear we carried, seasonal gear ideas, and issues we might have most popular to have.

TENT

We used a Zpacks Duplex Zip for the northern 500 miles of the path, and we had an incredible expertise with it. It’s ultralight, spacious, and packs down fairly small for a Dyneema shelter. Since you’re unlikely to come across precipitation on this path, the usual Duplex – which omits the zipper on the vestibules – will just do effective and prices much less. Pairs of hikers wanting further house will love the bigger Zpacks Triplex, although you might need some bother discovering tent areas to suit it in. Study extra concerning the Zpacks Plex tents and our different prime thru-hiking tent suggestions on our checklist of the Finest Ultralight Tents.

Many hikers select to cowboy camp (sleep below the celebrities as an alternative of a shelter) for many of the path – and we suggest all hikers do this for a minimum of one evening. The climate is normally nice sufficient for this to be completely doable and cozy, however you must all the time carry some form of shelter simply in case. In the event you plan to do numerous cowboy tenting, you might favor to hold a tarp. Our prime tarp advice is the versatile and ridiculously mild Zpacks 7×9 Flat Tarp.

SLEEPING BAG/QUILT

Temperatures range dramatically at evening, and also you’ll go from low to excessive elevation fairly repeatedly. We packed for the bottom temperatures we anticipated to come across, which meant 20°F sleep sacks for each the spring and fall legs of our hike. We truly skilled temperatures within the teenagers for a couple of nights on our fall hike within the north, however we managed to maintain heat and cozy with what we had.

A quilt is an efficient choice for this path due to its versatility – you may drape it over you want a blanket on heat nights or cinch it tight to entice warmth when it’s chilly. We used the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Unbound 20 (spring) and the Hammock Gear Burrow 20 (fall). The Burrow is hotter than the Unbound so it was excellent for fall, and the Unbound is lighter than the Burrow so it was excellent for spring. We love them each and you can too discover extra data on our checklist of the Finest Backpacking Quilts.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

SLEEPING PAD

We had a heat sleeper who used the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite NXT for its mix of sturdiness and low weight and a chilly sleeper who carried the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm NXT for further heat. Relying on the way you sleep, both of those choices could be a sensible choice for the spring or fall. You can even take a look at much more choices on our checklist of the Finest Sleeping Pads.

BACKPACK

We examined 4 completely different backpacks on this path, and our total prime decide is the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Unbound 55. It has a really handy pocket setup, supportive design, and it completely balances weight and sturdiness.

One other in style choice we noticed a ton of hikers utilizing is the ULA Circuit. It has a bigger capability than the Unbound and a extra supportive body, so it’s excellent for the longer meals and water carries you’ll expertise on the AZT.

You’ll be able to’t go incorrect with both selection or any choice on our checklist of the Finest Backpacking Backpacks for that matter.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

WATER

There are some fairly gnarly water sources alongside the AZT, so it’s necessary to pack a dependable water filter that’s straightforward to scrub. We used the Platypus Quickdraw paired with a Smartwater bottle and a Katadyn BeFree. Each of those are microfilters, in order that they misplaced stream price rapidly as a result of all of the muddy water we filtered. However each are additionally fairly straightforward to scrub within the discipline, so we have been proud of our selections.

We additionally carried chlorine dioxide tabs as backup, which is one thing we suggest doing for this path. We met a hiker whose filter had frozen on an unexpectedly chilly evening. They’d have been left with no strategy to deal with their water for some time in the event that they hadn’t additionally carried a chemical backup.

For water storage, we every had 4 liters whole capability. We carried two one-liter water bottles every and one Platy Bottle every and a Vargo BOT for further water capability if we would have liked it.

Study extra concerning the filters and vessels we carried on our lists of the Finest Water Filters and Finest Water Bottles. Since that is the desert, we think about electrolyte dietary supplements a necessity that will help you keep hydrated. Test our Finest Hydration Mixes Information to see our prime suggestions.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

FOOTWEAR

Most hikers select to put on path runners for this hike as a result of they’re light-weight, breathable, and cozy. In the event you go this route, you must count on to want two pairs as a result of the rocks on the AZT eat by way of the comfortable rubber tread and tear up the mesh uppers.

We exhausted a pair of Altra Lone Peaks (men’s / women’s) on this hike and acquired a brand new pair in Flagstaff (somewhat over 500 miles whole into our journey, plus we’d performed some smaller, pre-AZT hikes in them). We (and plenty of different hikers we met) have been proud of these path runners as a result of they’ve glorious grip, low weight, and a large toe field. A preferred choice for hikers wanting extra cushion between their ft and the rocks could be HOKA Speedgoats (men’s / women’s). Each of those sneakers are prime picks on our lists of the Finest Climbing Sneakers for Males and Ladies.

We additionally wore Chaco Z/1 Traditional Sandals (men’s / women’s) (sure, sandals) which we liked however isn’t one thing we’d suggest to hikers who aren’t accustomed to carrying sandals on rugged trails. However if you happen to’re curious, you may study extra about them on our lists of the Finest Climbing Sandals for Males and Ladies.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

HEADLAMP

We used rechargeable headlamps for this journey – the Black Diamond Spot 400-R and Petzl Actik CORE – and we have been proud of each lights. They’re each vivid, light-weight, and have an extended burn time. The Spot and Actik are a few of our favorites and there are much more on our checklist of the Finest Headlamps.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

COOKING SYSTEM

We carried a SOTO Windmaster Stove, Vargo BOT, and Toaks Titanium 650 Pot. We liked the range as a result of it’s usually windy on the AZT, and – because the title would indicate – the Windmaster works very effectively within the wind. 

The BOT is one other favourite as a result of it’s giant sufficient to boil water for a number of meals, it has a screw-on lid that got here in useful after we needed to cold-soak lunch, and it doubled as a water bottle for after we wanted further water capability. We additionally carried the Toaks Pot for nights after we needed to boil water individually, and it’s the proper choice for solo hikers trying to hold pack weight low.

Extra data on the Windmaster might be discovered on our checklist of the Finest Backpacking Stoves, and the BOT and Toaks 750 (a barely bigger model of what we carried) are each on our checklist of the Finest Backpacking Cookware.

FOOD & FOOD STORAGE

Try our Finest Light-weight Backpacking Meals Information, Finest Freeze Dried Backpacking Meals checklist, Finest Power Bars checklist, and our different Meals Guides for our prime hiker-food suggestions.

We every carried an Ursack Major to maintain our meals shielded from animals. Study extra about it on our Finest Stuff Sacks checklist.

CLOTHING

Beneath is the checklist of clothes we suggest for this path, and you must use it as a tenet to construct your preferrred clothes system. Finally one of the best clothes to take would be the stuff you like and that make you are feeling most snug. Head over to our Backpacking & Climbing Clothes 101 put up and our Attire Gear Guides for extra recommendation on placing collectively your preferrred layering system.

NAVIGATION

We used the FarOut Arizona Trail Guide which was a vital device for locating water. Most AZT hikers use this app, however the ATA additionally has some great resources which are particularly useful for part hikers.

FIRST AID KIT

It’s best to all the time convey a small, customized first support equipment when heading into the backcountry. We used a customized equipment that we pieced collectively utilizing the AMK .3 Ultralight Kit, a ton of ibuprofen, a couple of benadryl tabs, and cut-up strips of RockTape. Try our Finest First Assist Kits checklist for more information.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

SUN PROTECTION

You’ll be uncovered to the solar for many of the AZT, and UV rays are intense within the open desert. Polarized sunglasses, sunscreen, and SPF lip balm are all important, and we have been very happy with our determination to convey sun umbrellas. We additionally extremely suggest carrying a UPF climbing shirt.

POCKET KNIFE

We swap out our pocket knife for a small pair of ultralight scissors on longer hikes, as a result of it’s lighter and extra sensible for our wants. In the event you favor a knife, we suggest the Benchmade Mini Bugout from our Finest Pocket Knives checklist as a result of it’s light-weight and compact. The Swiss Army Classic SD can also be an incredible choice if you happen to’re on the lookout for a multitool.

OTHER ITEMS

For extra suggestions on our favourite light-weight backpacking gear, take a look at the CleverHiker Gear Information and our Prime Picks web page.

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)

Depart No Hint

Stopping and minimizing human affect is essential to the well being of our wilderness. Individually, you might suppose your fireplace, shallow cathole, or meals scraps within the river aren’t going to hurt an ecosystem, however there’s a big cumulative affect.

We share this house with hundreds of individuals climbing alongside the AZT yearly, in addition to the various array of plant and animal life, so all of us have to do our half to guard it. It solely takes a couple of minutes to brush up on Depart No Hint pointers earlier than you head out.

Turn into a Member of the Arizona Path Affiliation

The Arizona Trail Association (ATA) protects and maintains the AZT. With out the laborious work of their employees and volunteers, there could be no path. We extremely suggest turning into a donating member of this wonderful group to assist make sure the AZT stays round for future generations to take pleasure in. The ATA additionally commemorates profitable thru-hikers with a hand-crafted copper belt buckle – really the best path completion reward we’ve ever seen.

Extra Data

We hope this information helps you propose an unforgettable journey alongside the Arizona Path. For extra in style CleverHiker content material, take a look at the next hyperlinks:

Photograph Credit score: Casey HAndley (CleverHiker.com)