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Backpacker Radio

Dec 18, 2023

In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by Nick Fowler. Nick went from 1-2 mile day hikes in 2019 to setting the self supported PCT FKT in 2023, with many learning lessons, mistakes, and miles in the four year span in between. We learn all about his experiences on the Hayduke, Pacific Northwest trail (which was another FKT hike for him), the Arizona Trail, and of course go deep on his PCT hike from this year. We also learn about how Nick is able to financially swing being basically full-time hiker trash, outlining how some specific entrepreneurial decisions and savings strategies enable him to dirtbag around the clock. Even if FKTs aren’t your jam, we think you’ll really enjoy this conversation, as we feel it does a good job of normalizing this extreme style of trekking.

We wrap the show with how Zach endangered his family with a black widow, news of the removal of an iconic AT shelter, things that are normal at 3pm but terrifying at 3am, and the triple crown of drunk regrets.

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Interview with Nick “DJ” Fowler

Time stamps & Questions

00:05:47 - Reminders: Get Zach and Chaunce’s signed book bundle by January 15th, support us on Patreon, and check out our new website!

00:08:05 - Introducing Nick

00:08:49 - Tell us your poop stories

00:15:20 - Discussion about shower frequency

00:19:20 - How did you go from a clean cut corporate guy to setting an FKT?

00:22:40 - What was the first big animal you encountered?

00:25:40 - What would you say to people who think FKT hikers are missing the point?

00:30:04 - What does a day of hiking look like emotionally?

00:34:00 - Tell us about peeing red

00:39:58 - What was the biggest breakdown you had on trail?

00:45:35 - Has not quitting been a theme across your life?

00:47:12 - What did you learn on the PNT that helped you on the PCT?

00:49:27 - What packing mistakes did you correct on the PNT?

00:52:40 - What’s your footwear system?

00:54:50 - Discussion about road walks and bushwacking on the PNT

00:55:50 - What do you commonly lose?

01:00:17 - Discussion about dealing with Tropical Storm Hilary

01:11:38 - What was your sketchiest moment of the Hayduke?

01:16:35 - How did you get your trail name?

01:18:20 - Discussion about footwear

01:26:50 - What type of pain did you deal with on a daily basis on the PCT?

01:30:30 - What are your strongest food cravings?

01:41:00 - Discussion about diet and food

01:42:45 - How much time did you have off between hikes and before the PCT?

01:43:40 - How did you transition from a regular job to full time hiking?

01:47:45 - What do you do for passive income?

01:51:28 - What steps did you take to feel confident enough to make these moves?

01:54:20 - What tips do you have for someone who’s interested in this topic?

01:59:10 - What ventures would you recommend people get into?

02:01:33 - What mental tools are you using to stay determined?

02:04:45 - Discussion about the classifications of FKTs

02:11:11 - When would you say enough is enough?

02:13:30 - Tell us about your book, Itch


Trek Propaganda: Appalachian Trail Landmark, Overmountain Shelter, to be Removed by Diane Duffard

QOTD: What’s normal at 3pm but terrifying at 3am?

Stupid Thing of the Week

Triple Crown of drunk regrets

5 Star Review


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Our theme song is Walking Slow by Animal Years.

A super big thank you to our Chuck Norris Award winner(s) from Patreon: Alex & Misty with Navigators Crafting, Andrew, Austen McDaniel, Austin Ford, Brad & Blair (Thirteen Adventures), Brent Stenberg, Bryan Alsop, Christopher Marshburn, Coach from Marion Outdoors, Dayne, Derek Koch, Eric Casper, Erik Hofmann, Greg Knight, Greg McDaniel may he bring honor to his name, Ironhike endurance productions, Liz Seger, Matt Soukup, Mike Poisel, Patrick Cianciolo, Sawyer Products, SPAM, Timothy Hahn, and Tracy “Trigger” Fawns.

A big thank you to our Cinnamon Connection Champions from Patreon: 12 Trees Farms, Dcnerdlet, Emily Galusha, Hailey Buckingham, Jeanie, Jeanne Latshaw, Jeff LaFranier, Joann Menzer, Keith Dobie Jr, Peter, and Ruth S.