View Full Version : Bounce Box

Gator 65
11-20-2008, 16:34
What is the best use for the bounce box? I am under the impression that it is best for maintaining items such as medicine, batteries, etc. and the concept is to mail drop it, remove required supplies and re ship it further up the trail??? Right??

Jack Tarlin
11-20-2008, 16:43
Correct. Other useful items might be some extra town clothes in case you want to go anywhere nice. Phone chargers and other appliances might also come in handy, as well as large bottles of ibuprofen, vitamins, etc. If you by these ONCE at the beginning of the trip, it may well save you money by buying en route (for example, if you go to a convenience store forIbuproprofen, you'll pay around 6 bucks for 24 pills).

One suggestion, tho: Don't "bounce" your stuff too often, i.e., don't do it every five days or every week, unless you want to spend around 200 bucks on postage. Bounce it ahead to major town stops, especially ones where you plan to take some time off. Otherwise, you'll find yourself spending 8 or 9 dollars to send a box 50 miles ahead so you can retrieve one item, which is nuts.

Oh, and people have the habit of letting their bounce box become junk boxes......they end up containing knicknacks, souvenirs, mail from home, and als orts of other junk. Get ruthless. Send stuff home, give it away, or chuck it, otherwise, your bounce box will end up weighing 15 pounds and you'll be spending 15 bucks every week and a half to send yourself stuff you don't really need, and what's more, you'll be sending this stuff to yourself multiple times. Keep your bounce box reasonably sized, and if you discover you don't really need it, send it home.

Lone Wolf
11-20-2008, 16:43
never saw the need for one in 5+ thru-hikes

11-20-2008, 17:04
I always sent it US Priority Mail. If your package does not arrive in time, the PO will forward it N/C to your next destination.

Agree with Jack, don't bounce it just 4 or 5 days ahead. Too much wasted energy (and dollars) trying to time things perfectly.

11-20-2008, 17:05
never saw the need for one in 5+ thru-hikes

That's just soooo wonderful of you, but you didn't answer his question.

You've got the concept down, Lose what you don't need, Take what you do.

Maps. If you have Guidebooks for certain sections, and Maps that you aren't yet ready to use, keep them in there. If you or someone you know has a question about something coming up (sooner or later) you can check on it since it's in your box.

It'd also keep a small bottle of Tinactin in there for foot-fungus. Not everybody gets athletes foot, but it's persistent for me.

11-20-2008, 17:31
I agree with LW, the best use of a bounce box is nothing. I think it's a valid point here. Not every hiker uses one. If you can keep your hike simple enough, you don't need one. There are plenty of stores along the way to buy batteries and first aid supplies. Maps and guidebook sections can be sent in maildrops, so can new socks, shoes, or seasonal clothing.

I used one on my first long hike, never again since. Too much hassle. Like getting into town 5 minutes after the PO closes for a three-day holiday weekend.

Gator 65
11-20-2008, 17:50
Thanks for the input. I definitly will need the box (envelope mailer?) for my perscription medicine and items like vitamins and maps. These are items which cannot be bought( at least at a reasonable price) on the trail. Again, thanks for the help. I cannot begin to tell all of you how much help this website has been to me planning my life long dream of hiking the AT. now that I am 64 years old and retired it will only happen with using common sense, patience and good planning. I cannot wait for March

11-21-2008, 10:01
Back before the USnail got so picky about what you could ship, I used a "bounce box" to send extra rum and clean socks, mainly.

11-21-2008, 10:43
Gator..Why don't you consider having someone just send you the special stuff you need while hiking. Most folks who choose to use a bounce box spend a lot of extra money and time getting to the PO and forwarding it. I found that most everything that you will need can be purchased along the way in trail towns. You may pay a little more for stuff but the additional price will be canceled by the cost of not paying for a bounce box.
My feeling about a thru-hike is: the more you leave the real world behind, the more you will enjoy your hike.

jersey joe
11-21-2008, 11:43
I don't see much value in a bounce box either. Especially if you have someone at home that could mail you stuff as needed. The only reason I can see using one is if you have specialty items, items that you NEED that you can't find on the trail, and have no one you can have send this stuff along the way.

11-21-2008, 12:21
If you use a BB, I have only one thing to add about practicality. If you send it Priority and you don't need to open it at any particular stop, the PO will sent it on to your next point FREE! But only if you don't open it.

Other points I agree with: Keep it simple and keep it small. Just the essentials. I think Jack covered it pretty well - maybe a bit generously.

On the whole, I think that if you have someone who can send what you need instead of using the BB, it can same a lot of aggrivation. I just call two or three weeks ahead of time. That lets the mailing times adjust to changes in hiking rate. It is rarely possible to plan where you will be months ahead of time.

Stuff that I prefer to get by mail - either BB or as needed - include prescription meds and maps. Five or six mail drops should be enough.

Check current PO regulations for what you can mail legally.

11-21-2008, 14:48
I liked having it for town stops early on (even had some clothes in mine for town). But you do accumulate junk in them. Eventually I only bounced my phone and battery charger in the north until NH, then stopped it altogether. But the phone chargers are so lighweigh these days, probably can just carry. I plan to go without a bounce box next time. Save my money for the real mail drops I need (like for medicines, etc).

11-21-2008, 19:56
I'd look into having someone mail you everything you need.

I used a bounce box for a bit on the PCT and it was a royal pain in the butt. The contents were not worth the hassle. Even for your necessary medicine it will be annoying. 1 PO trip per town is bad enough, two even worse.

11-30-2008, 21:44
As far as a bounce box goes: Does the PO have tape to reseal it?

11-30-2008, 21:47
As far as a bounce box goes: Does the PO have tape to reseal it?

They will usually offer to seal it if you are sending it priority. Or bounce some tape (I did) and take off strips of it to seal it before you put the tape in the box.

12-02-2008, 23:40
The one time I used a BB was in riding bicycle fro TX to Florence, OR. I can't tell you how many PO we got there 15 minutes too late. Ended up still bying the "stuff". So didn't save as much as we thought we would. On AT I do not plan, at this time to use a BB. Simple. Not dependent on anyone or anything-as much as possible.