Dan “Knotts” Binde Claims a New Self-Supported Appalachian Trail Record

Malfunctioning SPOT device complicating confirmation

There’s a new claimant to the Appalachian Trail’s self-supported throne. Dan “Knotts” Binde, 25, says he broke the self-supported speed record on the Appalachian Trail on July 19th just before 2 p.m. However, the record’s gatekeepers have been slow to confirm his story, since a faulty SPOT device left him without conventional documentation for nearly 1,000 miles.

Averaging a little over 40 miles a day, Binde summited Katahdin after 53 days, 22 hours and 57 minutes. His time would put him about 8 hours ahead of Heather “Anish” Anderson’s previous record.

Compounding matters, the requirements of officially claiming a FKT are hazy, which makes official recognition difficult to give.

With GPS data lacking, a number of witnesses have come forward to verify his timeline. Binde posted quite a few “live updates” on social media while hiking as well, in an attempt to make up for a lack of GPS coordinates.

Online message boards that monitor FKTs appear to favor Binde’s claimed record. 

While racing the clock, Knotts carried a $20 Walmart backpack, a $5 Walmart fleece blanket, and little else. At its heaviest, his total base weight was about 5.5 lbs. When he ditched his malfunctioning electronics, that number slipped even lower.

Knotts hit the ground running on May 26, when he hiked over 60 miles in 24 hours. From then on, he averaged about 6 hours of sleep a night, hiking the rest of the day.

With well over 12,000 miles under his feet, Binde is no newbie when it comes to thru-hiking. And his journey isn’t over yet: He’s well on his way to finishing the calendar year triple crown. Before stepping foot on the Appalachian Trail, Binde hiked sections of both the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail.

With fewer than 1,850 miles left to finish on the Pacific Crest Trail and about 2,000 miles on the Continental Divide Trail, he hopes to bring his epic year to an end in December.