Mice and other rodents are common in shelters and around the campsites along the Appalachian Trail. Most shelters are fine but some shelters will have noticeably more than other shelters. Hopefully, you will be so tired that you won’t notice them at night. If you are worried about it, here are some tips to help you ease into the experience…

Tips for dealing with mice

  • During the day, don’t let food touch your clothes or equipment. You don’t want to have any food odors on you or your equipment.
  • Most shelters have brooms, so when you get to the shelter, sweep the floor thoroughly before putting your bag down on it.

Most shelters have brooms

  • Also when you get to the shelter, read the registry and see if other hikers have talked about having issues with mice.
  • Avoid putting the head of your sleeping bag directly against the back shelter wall. Allow a little space for the critters to crawl.
  • Eat at designated spots at the shelter like a picnic table and be mindful of leaving crumbs.

Eat at the designated area and mind your crumbs

  • Hang all perishables in your food bag at night. Some hikers hang their bags on special hooks that mice can’t travel down.

A hook for your food bag

  • Keep your backpack zippers OPEN. Allow the mice free access to your backpack. Otherwise, they will chew through it to gain access.
  • Secure loose items like socks and toilet paper from your backpack. These are perfect nesting items for mice. Mice have been known to chew and unravel socks.
  • Wear a knitted wool cap at night to keep mice from pulling your hair. Make sure the cap is large enough so that it’s not slipping off of your head at night.
  • Zip yourself up like a mummy in the sleeping bag so they won’t crawl into your bag.
  • In keeping with the principles of Leave No Trace, avoid injuring or killing mice as it’s their home.

Just be prepared but don’t worry about mice. They are part of the AT experience.