Here is a free tool I designed to help you plan your next backpacking trip:
You must have Microsoft Excel with the Analysis ToolPak installed to use this tool.
Click Here to Download the ITINERARY SPREADSHEET
Nice tool Eric. I appreciate your efforts to help us out. Good luck out there this hiking season.
I could do that ,thanks Eric……2 questions 1. whats a bounce box ? ….2. well there be someone shipping atlas’s while your on the trail ?,I may need the other two as my wife may join up …JERRY
@Jerry: A “bounce box” is a box with supplies like spare socks, maps, medication, and other items you need periodically that can’t be bought in town. You send it to a town, take out what you want when you get there, and then send it forward to the next town.
Blackwoods Press will continue shipping orders while I’m gone so you can order your books any time.
I like this tool, but I have a few recommendations.
1. If anyone is “skipping sections” or “flip flopping”, I do not see a provision to adjust for that.
Maybe it would be just having to start a 2nd (and 3rd) spreadsheet.
2. It would be nice if a cell date highlighted for saturday/sunday/holiday date. It would be good to know this so that you can adjust the pacing to avoid hitting mail drops on days where the PO is closed.
Thank you for a great excel sheet and all your other videos and entries.
I also completely agree with Roger “Psycho” B’s second recommendation.
Pretty bad ass tool! Except for some reason it only works up to Chester Ca. Not sure why! Looks like i got everything filled in right with no repeats!??? Have you run into this problem with anyone else? Thinking it might be on my end, but not sure??
@Brian: Not sure what’s causing that. If you email me your filled-out spreadsheet I can take a look at it and see if I can find the problem. email@example.com
Hi Erik. Just got your JMT Atlas and am trying to make use of the itinerary planner. I\’m confused, I can\’t get the departure date to calculate accurately. I keep getting the same departure date as the arrival date. I\’ve tried fixing the pace, adding off days, and it\’s not working.
I\’d also like to use the tool based on my camp spots and also incorporate side trips. I like the way I can always track my itinerary based on the JMT mile, but side trips will have an affect upon the total miles and days which I\’m trying to accurately track. Any advise greatly appreciated. Thx.
@ Terri: Thanks for purchasing a JMT Atlas. On the Itinerary Planner, to push your departure date to the next day you might need to enter a value into the “Days Off” column. The spreadsheet calculates hiking days based on 24 hour periods, so depending on your pace and the amount of mileage you need to cover in a certain day it may assume that you will arrive at a point in the morning and then leave it on the same calendar day. If you plan on spending the night you can use the days off field to push the departure date forward to the next calendar day. You don’t have to input a whole number if you don’t plan on staying a full 24 hours. For example you can enter 0.5 for a half day, or 0.04 for an hour.
Unfortunately there is no way to calculate both off-trail and on-trail mileage together, because adding off-trail mileage into the middle of the equation would shift the values for all later mileage points forward and they would not longer match your data book. What I do to allot time for side trips and town stops is add time spent off the trail into the “days off” field. For example if you plan to leave the trail at Kearsarge Pass and hike out to Onion Valley TH to go into Independence to resupply and spend the night it may be 2 or 3 days from the time you leave the JMT to the time you rejoin it at the same point. So you’ll want to enter that into the days off field next to where you left the trail. The off-trail miles won’t be added to the total mileage for the trip, but it will shift the arrival and departure dates accordingly, so you can get an idea of how long the trip will take and when you will get to certain places.
hey this is a great tool, thanks for sharing! I’m not sure how accurate my estimates will be, but is a good tool for getting ballpark figures for how the hiking trip will plan out.
Really appreciate your website. Question: Why does you itinerary planner show the same arrival and departure date for most segments that don’t have a rest day? Seems like if I start on 4/27, hike two days, arrive at the end of 4/28 and plan to leave the next day, the departure date should be 4/29. And if I arrive on 4/28 and take a rest day, the departure should be 4/30. Thanks, Doc Rudy (PCT2000)
@Doc Rudy It does not automatically push the departure date to the next day because sometimes you may arrive at a stop in the morning or mid-day, rest a few hours or not at all, and then depart the same day. You can enter decimals into the days off column (not just whole numbers) to account for rest periods that are less than 24 hours (for example if you arrive in the evening, spend the night and hike out the next morning). Messing with the days off column should get your departure dates right.
Last year you posted your PCT itinerary for PO supply and where you were planning on buying. Is that still available?
This is a question for Mr. Black, but if any one else knows the answer feel free to post a response. I am not sure how long Black Beard will be on on the High Trails.
OK the Question;
I sometimes have a hard time following other peoples logic on spreadsheets. So this maybe obvious to others.
First off, what is “Pace” and how do those numbers effect the rest of the sheet. It seems to be something to do with the amount of trail you cover, but is it per hour (I don’t think so) or per day? Or something else?
Miles is cumulative miles, to me it would seem that it should be the other way around, days miles first, and cumulative miles calculated by the spread sheet. I think this would solve the problem with side trips or trips not covered you your guide books. By the way, I like the JMT book!
And finally dose the 4 columns at the end, Shop, Food, Shoes, etc, do they effect any of the calculations? Did not seem that they did but I am not sure.
Also, as a professional side note, you may want to take advantage of the “Notes” in individual grids to add instruction or additional information for the new user.
Thanks for the great stuff so far!
Oh Yea, Were is the VIDEO???
@ Wolfman: Pace is “miles per day”. So if you plan on hiking 10 miles per day type 10 in the pace field. Since your hiking pace may vary for different sections you can input a different pace for each leg of the trip. The Shop, Food, Shoes cells don’t affect the calculations at all, they are just for reference.
Thanks, Found your You-Tube videos site and the Video help a lot. I will be watching the rest over the weekend.
Any one have thoughts on the rest of my post? I guess I might have to “Just Get Out There” this winter and see how much I can really handle.
Where is the download? I am not finding it for some reason…though I found the gear list download.
@Jason: The download link is right under the video. It says “Click Here To Download The Itinerary Spreadsheet”
I figured it out. If you are using explorer as your web browser the download does not show up. However, when I switched to mozilla it was present and downloaded fine. Thank you Eric the Black for your great resources. Happy Trails
I cannot locate the Backpacking Itinerary Planner Spreadsheet. Can you tell me where to find the download link?
@Stephen: The download link should appear directly below the video. Here is the download link.
Found it! The link is where you said but it appears to be white lettering on a white background so it is hard to find.
@Steven: That’s weird. The link looks blue on my computer. Anyone having this problem?
i tryed to download the spreadsheet but it just keeps poping up in the explorer window. it never askes to be saved? any ideas? its a great tool, thanks for sharing it.
@Scritchadolian: Right click on the link and choose “Save Link As” or “Save Target As”
Hi Eric THE Black,
I am interested in getting a copy of your Excel Itinerary Planner that is already filled in with the information about your hike that is on YouTube. Could you please email me a copy. I already have the blank version. I hope to see you at KO this year.
My the trail be with you.
THE Michigan Wolverine
@THE Michigan Wolverine: I looked for it but I don’t seem to have the version with the PCT Itinerary already filled out anymore. Just the blank version like you have. If I happen to find it later I’ll post it here.
Is there a link to donload this tool?
@Chuck: Download link is right under the video
Just signed up, having read/watched your site before. Now off to play with this planner… hope it works in Open Office.
Thanks for all the info.
The video with instructions on how to use the planner is not working. Do you plan to fix it? I am going to try without it but it would be a big help.
When I click to play the instructions video, I get an error message instead: “An error occurred. Please try again later.”
@Dianna: Sorry, the video is no longer online. I’m currently working on a new version of this tool that will replace the old one.
John Muir Trail
Pacific Crest Trail
Tahoe Rim Trail
Ultralight Adventure Equipment
The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide
Ultralight Backpackin' Tips
Lightweight Backpacking and Camping
© 2016 Blackwoods Press. All Rights Reserved.