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Trailful: Georgia’s Best Outfitter on the Appalachian Trail

Traiful Outdoor Co. in Hiawassee Georgia is the best Appalachian Trail outfitter in North Georgia. Minutes from the Dicks Creek Gap trail crossing, they have everything thru-hikers need for resupplies, backpacking gear, and trail advice, along with a deep list of shuttle drivers and area recommendations. 
Hiawassee is an official trail town as designated by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, one of only five Appalachian Trail towns in Georgia and one of only 40 across the entire length of the AT. It is also the last outfitter in Georgia before you arrive in North Carolina. In terms of outfitters along the trail, Mountain Crossings and Trailful are the only two outfitters in Georgia specializing in all things Appalachian Trail thru-hiking with Trailful Outdoor Co. being 68 miles from the Nantahala Outdoor Center in Wesser, NC.
Rob and Eric are long time friends of ours so I suppose I should give you that as context before I dump praise on them and tell you how much we love them and their shop. However, when you meet them you’re going to quickly find out what is true and what we all know . . . they are just good people. 
Rob and Eric have been running Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails since 2009 so they have over a decade of experience mapping, hiking, and celebrating almost every single inch of hiking trail in North Georgia and Western Carolina. Their website was an amazing resource helping over eleven million hikers and runners find over thirty-seven million adventures.
I asked Eric why they started their websites back in 2009. He shared,

“It started as a passion project so our growth and success has always come from our roots of passion and wanting to connect the hiking community in our region. It’s been a way to give back to the community and support our parks and public lands . . . long before we ever thought about making it our job.”

Whereas a lot of trail websites just sort of aggregate a bunch of hiking experiences – which causes the information to be confusing, sometimes conflicting, and not always accurate – Rob and Eric made it their goal to hike every mile of trail that they shared on their website. They made their focus to cover the things that other trail websites passed over or skipped. Things like interactive trail maps, directions, elevation profiles, original photography and detailed trail descriptions. From the beginning they also stressed important conservation themes including the Leave No Trace Principles, how to pack for each adventure and how to practice good trail etiquette. 
After a decade of building and fostering their online hiking community, they begin to get an itch to try and connect their massive online community to something much more relational and tangible. So many people were visiting their website and getting trail information that they began to dream about the idea of one day opening a shop. And in early 2019, they got to realize that dream. Not only was their shop a realization of their dream but it immediately allowed them to connect with so many folks in the North Georgia and Western North Carolina hiking communities. Their shop sits on Main Street in Hiawassee, a short 10 minute shuttle from Dicks Creep Gap along the Appalachian Trail, minutes from Bell Mountain and Brasstown Bald and right at the edge of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Along with donating a portion of their shop sales to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy they have been long time official and proud partners with the Leave No Trace Center.

Their shop specializes in day, weekend, and thru-hiking although they also carry a good and diverse selection of gifts. For those looking to get into hiking or those who are planning to hike all the way to Maine, Traiful has quickly become the area experts for every skill level and need. They have a huge selection of backpacks, boots, gear, food, stoves, tents, sleeping bags, and everything you would need whether you want to go for a short day hike or an extended section or thru-hike. 

They recently added a few new members to their staff. Kaleigh (trail name Shiitake) and Tuan Anh (aka Spruce Lee) are an amazing husband and wife team that finished their thru-hike in 2019. They joined the Trailful staff last year as they expanded into a bigger location and Kaleigh and Tuan Anh now bringing all of their expertise and experience to the North Georgia and thru-hiking communities alongside Rob and Eric. 

I’ll be honest. I judge a store by their Google reviews more than just about anything else. And while their staff and product assortment is great and they are obviously experts at hiking . . . their perfect 5 star rating on Google speaks volumes to me as a fellow store owner. It’s hard to maintain a 5 star review. Even harder to maintain it for almost two years straight. 
With all that being said, and with my bias on full display, if you are in the process of planning your thru-hike from Georgia to Maine, be sure to consider Trailful in Hiawassee for any equipment, gear or resupply needs for the Georgia portion of the Appalachian Trail and as you head towards the Nantahala Outdoor Center in North Carolina. You won’t find better people, service, or expertise for your long walk to Maine. 
And if you’re looking to do some local hiking, be sure to check them out as well. Use their websites and for the best trail information and then stop by their shop so they can help outfit you for your next adventure.