Experts, Novices, and Non-Consumption Among Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers

We study consumer expertise among thru-hikers of the Appalachian Trail (AT). Consumption decisions in preparation for this trip are constrained by the ability to physically carry what is purchased, while the confined juxtaposition of novices and experts on this extended hike creates a site in which adaptive, situational learning takes place. Using an ethnographic approach, we collected data through depth interviews and participant-observation methods. Unlike previous conceptualizations of expertise found in the consumer research literature, we suggest a more social one that uses Reflective Choice Adaptation (RCA).


Jon Littlefield and Robert A. Siudzinski (2008) ,"Experts, Novices, and Non-Consumption Among Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 1046-1046.


Jon Littlefield, Berry College
Robert A. Siudzinski, Skillshops, Inc.


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35 | 2008

Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More


Give Me Something of Yours: The Downside of Digital (vs. Physical) Exchanges

Anne Wilson, Harvard Business School, USA
Shelle Santana, Harvard Business School, USA
Neeru Paharia, Georgetown University, USA

Read More


How Numeric Roundness Influences Probability Perceptions

Julio Sevilla, University of Georgia, USA
Rajesh Bagchi, Virginia Tech, USA

Read More


Attenuating Endowment Effect with Venmo: Online Payment Systems Make it a Pleasure to Pay

Liang Huang, University of Arizona, USA
Jennifer Savary, University of Arizona, USA

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.