PDA

View Full Version : Specific Food items in mail drops ?



Blissful
10-21-2006, 20:11
Okay, to get away from the hiker dude and babe contests and back to 2007 logistics, he - :D

What kinds of foods are good to put in mail drops that one should not anticipate finding in trail side stores, etc (esp if there are no major food stores)? Or what have you old timers put in your mail drops. I figure you'll be able to get the Liptons and Ramen and oatmeal on the trail. I'm not looking for whether one should have a maildrop or not. Looking for what food items might be good since I plan to have a few. Liked Jack's article on it too. I was thinking more on the line maybe like beef jerky (which you can get cheaper in other places), granola, nuts, drink mix, make up some of my own trail mix, etc. ?

Thanks!

Johnny Swank
10-22-2006, 09:34
After shipping 21 maildrops, I'm now of the opinion that they're mostly a waste of time and money unless you're really, really into homemade food. All the common stuff can be found in any trail town, and unless you're getting the food free/extremely cheap (ie-homegrown), the shipping largely wipes up most of the savings. Fontana Dam, Andover ME, and Monson ME would be my only suggestioned drops, and those could be done from the trail. A bounce box for maps and such still makes sense though. As always, YMMV, and I'm just another schmo on an Internet board with an opinion.

BTW - Where's Jack's article? I've read it before and thought it was right on the money but can't find my link.

RedneckRye
10-22-2006, 10:51
I don't rely on maildrops for food, mainly for new maps/ data sections, empty memory cards for my camera and full ones for my MP3 player, and stuff like that. The food stuff that my dad was putting into my boxes (4 or 5 total for the California section of the PCT this year and 1 into the NOC early this spring) was fun stuff. Homemade cookies, good chocolate, lots of stuff from Trader Joes - Thai Lime Cashews, weird asian dried noodle dinners, hot sauce, dehydrated mushrooms, spices, etc. Nothing that I really "needed", but things that broke up the monotony of what I was normally carrying.
A few extra ounces in your foodbag of spices, hot sauce, dehydrated veggies, fresh garlic, olive oil, and some hard cheese like parmasean make the typical hiker dinner SOOOOOO much tastier.

RYE

Gaiter
10-22-2006, 20:16
my mother started trying to have little suprises in my mail drops, some where good, some not sooo much. little bags of mini marshmellows (fun and weigh nothing) cheeze sticks (don't mail them if they are expired), random lost & found easter candy (that was the wierdest one)

read the article on mail drops do's and don'ts http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/article.php?p=95199&postcount=1

fiddlehead
10-23-2006, 00:18
I like sending myself dried brocolli, onions, tomatoes, hamburger, bananas, etc. that i dry myself. As for things i have a hard time finding on the trail: powdered coconut milk (a must for thai recipies), dry milk that is not non fat (found in France or Mexico), those chicken packets in the foil pouches, good granola cereal from a health food store, (especially down south, it's much harder to find quality foods i think) powdered cool whip (for those box cheese cakes), and my friends often send me homeade Pesto! (that's big) Anyway, lots of other things besides food goes in there too.

SGT Rock
10-23-2006, 02:22
Only two food items I was planning to have set up and sent on a regular basis:

Whiskey
Beef Jerky

Gaiter
10-23-2006, 09:01
oh yeah, whiskey that was another one my parents started to send, i figured they would just get me the cheapest kind out there and i would have been happy w/ anything, but i got a bottle of makers mark (complete w/ warnings about drinking while hiking and using near fire)! lots of dry towns on the trail.

Phreak
10-23-2006, 17:13
I plan on using maildrops for just about all of my food. I only eat organic, natural types of foods... nothing processed. I know it'll be difficult for me to resupply in the towns, so I'm running the heck out of my dehydrator and vacuum sealer.

I do wish I could go without maildrops, the logistics and such would be a lot easier.

Dancer
10-23-2006, 18:00
I've been looking around at SAM'S for lightweight/nonperishable foods. They have dried mushrooms and onions that I'm thinking would spice up the same old stuff. Also saw some 'holiday' flavored (peppermint etc) hot cocoa that I'm thinking about buying ahead of time. They have three flavors of powdered gravy (chicken, turkey and brown). Can you tell I love mashed potatoes??

Blissful
10-23-2006, 18:51
I've been looking around at SAM'S for lightweight/nonperishable foods. They have dried mushrooms and onions that I'm thinking would spice up the same old stuff. Also saw some 'holiday' flavored (peppermint etc) hot cocoa that I'm thinking about buying ahead of time. They have three flavors of powdered gravy (chicken, turkey and brown). Can you tell I love mashed potatoes??


That's where I need to head soon.

The peppermint hot chocolate sounds great.

Also, I plan to raid the stores for the after halloween candy - like the miniature Snicker bars and Twix. They are great pick me ups. :)

Skidsteer
10-23-2006, 20:40
BTW - Where's Jack's article? I've read it before and thought it was right on the money but can't find my link.

It's on the left side of the home page. First listing under 'Appalachian Trail Articles'.

It's titled "AT Re-Supply".

Dancer
10-24-2006, 16:42
what is the best way to keep bagels, crackers and chips from getting smashed?? I was thinking of a lightweight christmas tin or something plastic. Any ideas??

Ewker
10-24-2006, 16:46
chips and crackers work well in a Pringles container

Jack Tarlin
10-24-2006, 16:54
AW--

Bagels seem to hold up pretty well on their own.

The Pringles can is also useful, and doubles as a little trash can for wrappers, etc.

Also, you might want to include those small Ziplock of hefty boxes (they're like little lite-weight tupperware boxes); these are useful for holding crushables, as well as coming in handy for leftrover food, fruit, veggies, cheeses, or anything else you might want to keep fresher. They are also easily cleaned for re-use. Just make sure these are packed close to the top of your pack.

Another idea is to put crushable foods inside your cookpot; you can then put in an extra bandana, sock, etc., to keep the stuff from getting banged around and broken in the pot as you hike.

Turbo Joe
10-24-2006, 18:09
three words drakes coffee cakes

Jack Tarlin
10-24-2006, 18:25
Some food ideas:

In a lot of the places where you'll be buying food, selection can be pretty limited, so if, for example, you're a vegetarian or like natural foods, and you eat stuff like hummos, tabouli, couscous, sun-dried tomatoes, etc., you'd better buy this ahead of time and put it in your food drops, especially in the deep South. Likewise, thuings like dried fruit, etc. Also, be aware that some things (like jerky or other snacks) can be VERY expensive if you buy them at convenience stores or small-town markets. This goes for things like batteries, as well. So sometimes, it's cost-effective to buy stuff at home and put it in your maildrops.

Also, if you have particularly favorite treats or candy bars, you might want to buy them in advance. For example, I'm a Heath Bar fiend, and not everyone carries them. So in all of my boxes, along with fresh maps, etc., I throw in a few favorite candy bars.

Otherwise, you'll be amazed at how much food you'll most likely find and buy en route, as opposed to relying on maildrops.

And lastly, as far as nice things or surprises to find in onesmaildrops, the best thing that one can do for a friend or family member who is thru-hiking is to surprise them with a twenty-dollar bill!

It give one all sorts of fun options.

Sio if people start asking you what sort of things will come in handy out there, don't be shy about letting them know!

bobgessner57
10-24-2006, 19:05
My folks shipped me a different hard cheese to every drop. It made for a nice change for lunches and dinners except for the Norwegian gjtost that tasted like lye soap. Good dates and other dried fruits besides raisins, too.
Even fruitcake was welcome!

I had talked to the cheese monger at a specialty shop before leaving and he advised them on good keepers. He also came up with some individually wrapped halvah and other high energy snacks not available in most places.

Blissful
10-24-2006, 19:07
My folks shipped me a different hard cheese to every drop.
I had talked to the cheese monger at a specialty shop before leaving and he advised them on good keepers.

Such as?

I'm thinking cheddar and other hard cheeses would keep well. (?)

Ewker
10-24-2006, 19:50
yum fruitcake

Dancer
10-26-2006, 12:47
i've heard people say that boiled eggs will keep in your pack for a few days. Is there anything to that?

Blissful
10-26-2006, 13:56
Actually I heard the opposite, that they keep better if they are not boiled but left raw. In fact when we were in Germany, our host left his eggs sitting out all week. They do not refrigerate them. But get them fresh.

Thor
10-26-2006, 14:38
While it may or may not be true that raw eggs will keep longer than cooked eggs, it is a fact that you do NOT want raw eggs in your pack ;)

To answer the original question, I never relied on maildrops for my supplies. I just bought everything I needed in towns or wherever. Sometimes I had to improvise a bit, but unless you're going for really specialized meals you won't have any problems.

What I used maildrops for was as 'care packages'. I didn't send them myself. Rather I left my family a list of towns where I would stop to pick up my next maps or whatever, and asked them to put nice things in the box with them. Typically there was nice homemade GORP and other such snacks, and usually one or two Mountain House meals, which were too expensive for me to bother using as a regular meal. They made great 'special' dinners, especially when it was raining.

My mail drop in Monson just had seven Mountain Houses in it. I went through the Hundred Miles in style ;)

Creek Dancer
10-26-2006, 15:02
I sent Nimblefoot a couple of food boxes a couple of years ago when he was thru-hiking. One thing he always requested was instant breakfast. He said that he like the ease of making this, plus the added benefit of calories, vitamins and hydration.

Blissful
10-26-2006, 19:14
While it may or may not be true that raw eggs will keep longer than cooked eggs, it is a fact that you do NOT want raw eggs in your pack ;)



I can see that if you're afraid of breakage. They need to be packed correctly. Ed Garvey ate eggs on the trail. We have carried them for weekends raw and they have done real well if packaged good. Nothing like an egg and cheese omelet. I might be tempted to carry an egg or two out of a trail town to use the next day, just for a change.

homebrew
10-26-2006, 20:15
:sun I started with all the regular dehydrated food-store bought and homemade. After the first 300 miles I got sick of all that light weight stuff and had regular food items dropped to my p.o. locations: WI summer sausage, hot sauce, German black liqourice, W.W. bagels, NUTELLA!!!, salmon packs 3oz. size, mayo, and my favorite lipton noodle packs-they cook in 7minutes-add a salmon pac and woooo good. Go for high fat high calorie stuff-you will need it. The only reason I went with p.o. drops is I want to eat what I want not just whatever a trail store may have.

HapKiDo
11-15-2006, 20:26
:-? Yes, you can keep raw eggs for up to a week in your pack. The secret is in the shell.

To prepare raw eggs, heat water in a pot to boiling. Dip raw egg in boiling water for FIVE SECONDS. Remove egg and allow egg to cool. Repeat with additional eggs. Water must be boiling before you place next egg in water.

Place cool egg in a Pringles or similar can placing marshmallows between bottom of can and first egg and then between eggs and at the top. Secure plastic top and place eggs in the interior of your pack to keep them from getting too hot or too cold.

This does work. And you could actually keep eggs for two or three weeks if prepared this way. But on the AT, there's no reason to carry more than a few fresh eggs at a time, since you'll pass by grocery stores every three to five days.

Precooked bacon only needs to be heated and instant grits only needs hot water. Other than having to use a substitute for a biscuit, you could easily make a good ol' fashioned Southern breakfast anywhere on the AT.

Am I making you hungry yet? :D

rockrat
11-17-2006, 13:33
Since I live in Knoxville my maildrop for Fontana will be in the form of my parents just driving over and giving me some food until I get to Newfound and then they will get me more food for Newfound-I-40, and my maildrop for Monson will be fulfilled by my friend who has committed to do the Hundred Mile Wilderness. Other than that I will get random maildrops from my friend Ervin who understands my need for fine pipe tobacco and cigars which need to be purchased from a real tobacconist.

Spirit Walker
11-17-2006, 16:53
A lot of the towns have Liptonsand Ramen, but they usually have a limited selection. I have gotten really tired of the usual Alfredo, parmesan, etc. Liptons and Rice a Roni make some interesting ones that are a nice change from the ones you usually find - like Chicken Quesadilla, or Teriyaki noodles, etc.

Same with foil wrapped meat. You may find plain tuna in a lot of places, but there are a lot of other varieties of flavored tuna, salmon, chicken, ham, etc. that you don't find as frequently. We stocked up on those when we could find them.

Another one you don't find all that often along the way are the good dried fruits. We ate fruit for lunch every day - but not the usual prunes and apricots if we could find anything else. We would stock up on the tropical mix (papaya, mango and pineapple) or dried cantaloup, blueberries ,etc.

On a first long hike, it may not matter, but after a while on the trail, and especially when you go back to hike another long trail, the thought of eating the same limited menu can really be a turn off. Adding variety when you can really makes it easier to handle the weeks when you are eating mac n' cheese, pasta alfredo with tuna, etc. for the 100th time.

Johnny Swank
11-17-2006, 17:05
I'm having a really hard time stomaching the usual trail stuff now. I can't look at a Liptons or oatmeal without cringing. I've gotten to the point of cutting down more weight on gear in order to carry different, even heavier food. I don't think twice about carrying a can of pineapple, carrots, onions, and a couple of different cheeses.

Even if you're really digging the food you're eating 2 months into the trail, I'd say try out some other stuff to break up the monotony. By the time you reach Maine (or Georgia), you may not have much of a choice but the usual fare unless you're doing mail drops.

Some bouillion cubes, a couple of spices, and a few packs of anything (soy sauce, mustard, ketchup) can do wonders to break up things too.

Blissful
11-19-2006, 20:43
Other than that I will get random maildrops from my friend Ervin who understands my need for fine pipe tobacco and cigars which need to be purchased from a real tobacconist.


FYI for your friend Ervin - Tobacco is illegal for those under 18 in VA.


Code of Virginia 18.2-371.2
Prohibiting purchase or possession of tobacco products by minors or sale of tobacco products to minors
A. No person shall sell to, distribute to, purchase for or knowingly permit the purchase by any person less than eighteen years of age, knowing or having reason to believe that such person is less than eighteen years of age, any tobacco product, including but not limited to cigarettes and cigars.