Thru Hiker Communication at it’s Best

Despite being able to catch cell service on many mountain tops along the Appalachian Trail these days, there is still one form a communication between hikers that beats out all the others. The shelter registry or logbook is the king of information along the Appalachian Trail. It is nearly like browsing the internet for the latest news in your community. It is also like checking a social media page to see what your friends and acquaintances have been up to lately. It can even be a great source of entertainment as you wait out a rain storm in a shelter or drift off to sleep at night. The logbook is a crucial part of AT culture and can come in handy during your hike.



Logbooks are usually spiral bound note books or composition note books left in a shelter by the folks who maintain that particular shelter. Once a logbook has filled up, the maintainers replace it with a new one.

Logbooks or registers are found in every shelter along the AT. Usually they are in a large zip lock bag with a pen or pencil, tucked away in a corner. They are also sometimes found in other randoms places along the AT, such as tucked away in the stone of the rock on Springer, in the breezeway at Mountain Crossings, or next to the hiker box in the outfitter at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.


The pile of stones on top of Springer Mountain bearing the historical plaque has a small metal box built into the side of the rock pile. Within this metal box is the first official logbook on the Appalachian Trail. Hikers take time out of their first day of hiking to reflect on the journey ahead of them, jot down their thoughts and read the thoughts of hikers before them.

Trail registries are a great way for hikers to stay in the loop about a particular area or portion of trail. By reading the logbook at each shelter a hiker can find out about bear activity, trail conditions headed north or south, suspicious people along the trail and even water availability. Not to mention, a hiker can also see that their friends Blue Berry and Freckles are headed into town and surmise that they can catch up with them there.


Salty and Waffles are headed into town and have been loving the wildflowers along the way!

Because of the sheer amount of people using and handling logbooks, they can sometimes become a hot bed for sickness. Most of the time, checking the logbook is a very smart and fun thing to do while on a hike. But in the event of an outbreak of Noro Virus, a common hiker stomach bug, avoid touching logbooks just as you would avoid sleeping at shelters and using privies. Overall, these little nuggets of thru hiking culture are a fun way to gain all sorts of important information from another. For such an outdated method of indirect communication, the logbooks along the AT are incredibly useful and wonderful tools! Be sure to check out the logbook while on your thru hiker, next section hike or day hike along the Appalachian Trail and help contribute to the colorful culture and information sharing on our beautiful trail!

Start Your Engines

Full blown thru hiker season is roughly six months away. That means many hikers attempting a thru in 2017 are readying themselves for the trail now. At least, if they’re smart they are! They are researching gear, building up their perfect gear combination and getting out on practice hikes. Some may be reading Trail Tested to learn more about different backpacking scenarios, gear, and how to use that gear in those scenarios. Others may already be reading Appalachian Trials to get their head in the right place for the life changing experience ahead of them. Regardless, the time for preperation for an Appalachian Trial thru hike is here! So consider taking your preperation even one step further and getting a Virtual Shakedown from Mountain Crossings.

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What is a Virtual Shakedown, you may be asking? A virtual shakedown is your best bet at saving yourself a lot of hassle throughout the first stretch of your thru hike!!

Many people find that they learn a lot (the hard way, unfortunately) about backpacking and what not to carry during the first three days of their trip. It’s hard to know exactly what to expect when you are embarking on a 6 month hike unless you are fortunate enough to have the guidance of a former thru hiker to assist you. Of course, each person if different in their needs, but the virtual shakedown is designed to help people who would like to avoid carrying extra weight and avoid paying shipping on sending items home to do just that. Why carry 10lbs. of gear you are going to spend $30 to send home on day three or four when you can avoid it all together?

Want a tiny pack like this that still has all the gear needed to keep you comfortable, safe and happy on trail?! Get a Virtual Shake Down!

Why carry a huge pack with too much stuff when you can have it easy from the get-go?!

Just as with a regular shakedown in store at Mountain Crossings, an experienced backpacker assists you in culling through your items and choosing what to keep, what to pitch and what to add, if needed. But with a Virtual Shakedown, you can do this process from your own home using a simple video conference technology called Google Hangout. The cost of a Virtual Shakedown is $100, but that is merely a rebate, meaning each and every piece of gear you scoop up from Mountain Crossings during your shakedown is free up to $100.

Whether you already have all your gear or need everything, the virtual shakedown is a wonderful way to make sure you are set for the trail before you leave.  Say you have everything but a sleeping bag. Think of the virtual shakedown as a personal crash course on thru hiking the Appalachian Trail and $100 towards a sleeping bag. If you have nothing, you not only get a chance to pick the brain of a gear guru and former thru hiker about what to purchase, you also get $100 towards those purchases!


A Bit of Info on the Virtual Shake Down

  1. Anyone of any experience level or preparedness can participate in a Virtual Shake Down. (Whether you’re a former thru hiker looking to shed some pack weight or only have three pieces of gear, all are welcome!)
    2. A computer with video chat capabilities (built in or attached video camera and microphone) is needed for a Virtual Shakedown.
    3. Virtual Shake Downs happen over an application called Google Hangout. We will provide you with a dummy G-Mail account for use during the shake down.
    4. A Virtual Shake Down costs $100, but that cost is a 100% (absolutely full and total) rebate!!
    5. During the shake down you will have access to all the entire inventory of Mountain Crossings and we will help you locate the exact items you need to complete or update your gear set.
    6. After you have chosen what you need from the shop, you will have 48 hours to purchase these items and apply your $100 rebate towards your gear.

Big Agnes Sale Now Until August 10th

Big Agnes is one of our top selling brands and for good reason! They make quality products that you know you can count on. Two of their products take a slot as one of the most commonly used shelters on the Appalachian Trail for thru hikers. (Check out this fascinating article on Appalachian Trials about last years thru hiker gear stats!) That’s pretty crazy to have TWO different products that are so great, that many thru hikers use on or the other. And those who don’t use a Fly Creek or Copper Spur tent definitely know someone who does! Big agnes is a company that stands behind their products and their customers.


What’s even more impressive is that Big Agnes has only been on the scene for about 15 years. That’s not a very long time in comparison to other top outdoor brands like Patagonia, North Face and REI, which have all been around since the 1960’s. Big Agnes has made major waves quickly.

But the Mother of Comfort is also the Mother of Invention and Big Agnes is constantly on the updating their excellent fleet of gear. Come thru hiker season next year, many items will be slightly different. That is why we are having a huge Big Agnes blow out sale this week!



Every other day this week we will announce a featured product on Facebook and Instagram that gets and even deeper discount than the 20% off. Everything else remains to be 20% off, so you can buy the footprint for cheap even if a sleeping pad is on super sale that day. We are talking ALL Big Agnes, here. Tents, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, air pad pumps, MtnGlo lights, foot prints. Its ALL 20% off all week! Be sure to be looking for online updates about particular times on sale and scoop up those coupon codes to be used during check out. Don’t miss out on this incredible sale!