AT vs. PCT Weight Loss


I am always reading about how much weight thru-hikers on the AT lose, but haven’t seen anybody talk about weight loss on PCT thru-hike. To anyone that has done the PCT: Did you lose a lot of weight? What was your starting & ending weight. How did it compare to weight loss on the AT? Thanks!

Roamin’ Buffalo


I lost about 40 pounds during my ME/GA SoBo last year (2014). I am going to be hitting the PCT this spring.

Rikki Tikki Tavi


I hiked the AT when I was 19-20 yo and lost around 25 lbs. I lost less weight on the PCT when I was 23-24 yo. I think my body stayed a bit more lean after the AT and my metabolism sped up. I also ate better on the PCT and took care of myself more, spending more on higher quality food and eating better in towns. You probably end up burning similar calories per day but the AT ups and downs could lead to increased weight loss; this is not scientific by any means!



I haven’t done the AT. Both of my 2 PCT thru-hikes i lost 35lbs. First time starting at 188 ending at 153. Second time starting 193 ending 158. The difference for me was a better plan for after the 2nd hike. First hike afterwards i gained back everything plus 10lbs. Second hike i gained back most but not all. Actually since that 2nd hike i still haven’t gained all the weight back, by being smarter about what i’m doing to keep in shape.

My guess is that it’s at least as easy to lose weight on the PCT because you have a couple of legit sections where you can’t make up for calories in town. I.e. long stretches without town food.



Jim lost more weight on the AT and CDT than he did on the PCT. He figured that in part it was because he wasn’t fighting cold and snow the way he was on the other trails. Partly it was because, though the climbs are long, they aren’t strenuous. Partly it was that he knew better how to eat to keep his weight from dropping too low.



I lost 43 lbs (203 to 160) on the AT. I was 19 at the time, and most of it was muscle. I finished skinnier than I have ever been, or ever wish to be. Much of this was probably due to a fast pace with many 30+ mile days. Ideally, this won’t happen when I hike the PCT.