View Full Version : To mail or to buy that is the question :)

03-06-2003, 23:33
I am planning a thru hike beginning in March of '04, and I am curious as to what the best method of food re-supply is. I'm sure this will bring out lots of opinions, but I'm open to any help and suggestions, thanx!

03-06-2003, 23:55
Search user name offshegoes. Under that listing you will find a thread with a lot of recent discussion on mail drops. It'll give you something to read until more posts come in.

03-07-2003, 00:25
I don't think it really matters, mac; whatever makes you happy.

My first hike I did on 3 days' preparation - so no mail drops. My second hike I scheduled 8 drops. This one, I'm back to zero. Why?

Having a mail drop didn't save me any time or hassle where the food-gathering was concerned. Even with the maildrops, I still went to the store just cuz I wanted to. So this time I figure to simply eliminate that particular ball-and-chain.

I'm CERTAIN that many have talked about the upsides/downsides to maildrops. But here is a short list:

Plus: you get stuff cheaper when it's bought in bulk. It's a good collection point for "letters and stuff from home." It virtually guarantees that you will always have PLENTY to eat. It can keep the cost of the trip down.

Minus: It requires you to go into towns when you might not feel the need at the time. It might hold you up for as many as 2-3 days (e.g. you get there after the PO closes and must wait through the weekend for it to open.) You can get really tired of all that oatmeal (or whatever) you have packed in every maildrop. It is easier to react to changing nutritional needs when you buy from the store - the stuff in the mail drop remains the same (unless you have a home trail angel packing each one!)

I'm sure others will post lots more on this subject. But neither route will prove detrimental to you - it's just a matter of preference.

03-07-2003, 08:11
Have to agree with Aubrey. It really comes down to what you want and what agrees with you. IMHO, there are some places where it is logistically easier to have a mail drop. But you can get food at just about any location if you're willing to travel a little. I think a mix between drops at some strategic locations and buying in stores is the best bet. If you haven't read Baltimore Jack's resupply article (under AT Articles), I would suggest it. He gives a great breakdown of each major stopping point and what resupply options are. Gives you a great foundation to make decisions from.

03-07-2003, 09:14
Very simple. Where you have a choice between store and post office, go to the store, all things considered equial.

Most thru-hikers say that if they were to hike the trail again, they would use fewer mail drops.

03-07-2003, 13:16
Did maildrops out the kazoo in 2001. Never again. Just a few places where access to supermarkets is a bit challenging. Everywhere else you can find a store. For my thru this year I have 3 "food" maildrops and am buying as I go.

Bandana Man
03-07-2003, 14:13
My first section hike in 2001 I had to plan every detail, including 2 mail drops that were completely unnecessary -- Walasi-Yi and Hiawassee. Thanks to the advice here at whiteblaze, I'm adopting a different stategy for my next section hike. I'd like to use no no mail drops but probably will for at Fontana Dam. Not sure yet about that - still tossing it around. Only 36 more days. Hoo-Ah!

03-07-2003, 14:14

Where are you sending your three drops? Are you using a bounce box for some of your orther renewables (fuel, TP, bug dope, maps, guides, etc.)?

03-07-2003, 14:17

My 3 food drops are Harpers Ferry, Bear Mountain and Glencliff. I have 13 drops in all the but the rest are maps/handbook pages. I'm getting gear/clothing changes at Pearisburg and Glencliff. I also have a bounce box that I will keep around 2-3 weeks out in front of me that has stuff I will need at some point but didn't want to have to buy along the trail or get from home.

03-07-2003, 14:46
Don't need a box at Fontana? According to Jack Tarlin's notes (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/articles/resupplybook.pdf), it seems like food is hard to come by at that location

03-07-2003, 14:49
That's true unless you stay at the Inn. They have shuttles into Robbinsville and I'm going that route.