View Full Version : food drops necessary?

01-17-2008, 20:03

I am planning on a NOBO PCT hike in 2010 and was wondering if anyone had not done food drops or knew if they were totally vital. I will be coming from outside America, so was hoping I wouldn't really need to organise them and just buy food at the towns. Thanks for any help or suggestions!


01-17-2008, 20:52

Congrats on the hike planning and upcoming trip. There are a few spots where it's probably a good idea to have maildrops and probably a few places where it's a must, unless you're not opposed to carrying 7-10 days of food regularly.

One of the nice parts about the PCT is that many folks do their drops from the actual trail, so you could easily send them once you're in the US, on the trail. I sent a maildrop to Kennedy Meadows from Agua Dulce.

I sent maildrops to Crater Lake, Shelter Cove and Timberline Lodge from Ashland.

I sent drops to Skykomish and Stehekin from Portland/Cascade Locks.

I probably could have gotten by without every one of the drops, but I would have had to pay inflated prices and subsisted off of complete junk food for many days.

The best source of overall planning material and information is Yogi's PCT handbook, which I believe can be found at pcthandbook.com

Good luck and feel free to shoot questions here. There are a good half dozen folks on here who have hiked the PCT.

01-18-2008, 14:48
Some of the resupply points on the PCT are remote and small, w/o a whole lot of goods and services. Its best to do at least a few resupply drops, or you'll be eating a lot of junk food.

That being said, you can easily buy food for several stretches in one town, then send several mail drops ahead. No need to buy and send from outside the US.

Here's a good guide to resupply-as-you-go on the PCT. A little dated but mostly still valid:


01-18-2008, 15:12
I thruhiked in 2003, so this info is a bit out of date. At least for the CA parts. A-Train's info is more up to date.

I would send a maildrop to Warner Springs as the gas station there was way thin, even for me. Do this from home.

From Agua Dulce, send out a drop to Kennedy Meadows. I would buy at VVR, since you only need about 1.5 days to get you to Reds Meadow, and you'll probably have left over food anyway. And you can raid the hiker box. And haul out cheeseburgers.

I sent a drop to Burney Falls SP, but I would just buy there.

I would send out no drops from Ashland. I found the selection at Crater Lake and the price to be just fine, but others have had more negative experiences. Don't bother with the small time places along the PCT. Instead, hike from Crater to McKenzie or Santiam pass and hitch down into Sisters (about 150 trail miles), which has all the services you might want, including a cheap city park to camp in. Then, hike directly to Cascade Locks (about 165 miles). The distances are long, but the hiking is easy. I cover the first stretch in four days and a morning. The second I covered in about 5 days. Even with a slower pace, this is well within the range of someone who has hiked from Mexico. I will say that originally planned to resupply as A-Train suggests, but when I got to Ashland the last thing I wanted to do was package up a bunch of mail drops.

For Washington, I would probably send nothing out as well. White Pass has an ok store. Snoqualmie has two small, reasonable stores and you don't need much. Skykomish, well, is pretty thin. This is the only place I would send a drop. If you don't, consider hitching to Leavenworth instead (east instead of west), which is further out, but is a full service town. Stehekin has a couple of small stores, a bakery, and a hiker box to raid for the 3 days to the border.

01-18-2008, 15:52
I will add you definitely need one at Warner Springs.

01-20-2008, 00:06
thanks for all the info guys, it's really helpful to get some good info from people who have been there and done. Cheers!

01-22-2008, 03:31
Personal Preference:

I'm picky about my food, so I use maildrops almost exclusively