For even the experienced weekend backpacker, long thru-hikes like the Appalachian Trail (AT), Continental Divide Trail (CDT), and Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) can seem like a whole new league. Two nights in the woods becomes five months, leaving work early on Friday turns into quitting your job, boots will collect thousands more miles, and every extra pound becomes that much more crucial. But at the same time, trails like these are showing up on more and more people’s life-lists. That’s for good reason: They’re spectacular! But how do you go about preparing to hike for months at a time?