Having hiked the pct the last two years, I have thoroughly seen the limits of a budgeted hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. Both years I started with less than five hundred bucks. Here are a few secrets to the art of a dirtbag hike.
Accessories- lets face it it’s cheaper obviously to not spend your money on random things in random towns. Towns are vortexes. You will get sucked in. It will also suck your money from your pocket.
Food stamps- after all your technically homeless and unemployed.
Lodging- your hiking, not lodging, stay out of hotels, stay as much as you can in random free spots to camp. I do a lot of stealth camping while I hike, but the best thing is to just stick to the trail.
Dining/drinking- while a cheeseburger and a few beers sound mighty nice as soon as you get to town it will drown your pocket book fast. Try splitting a six pack with a friend, or use your stamps to make a special meal.
Make your own gear- sacrifice comfort in places necessary. I don’t carry a tent, and no down jacket. I rely on my sleeping bag if I get cold. This not only saved me money but also weight.