View Full Version : WOW!!! That's alot of food!

Turtle Feet
09-10-2010, 16:56
I've been collecting various items to use for br/lun/din & snacks on the trail. My plans all along have been to send myself about 12-13 drop-boxes with 3 days of resupplies in each, and then use the local grocery stores/outfitters, ect. to feed myself the rest of the way.

It's just dawning on me that even just 12 boxes with enough food for 3 days is going to take up a bunch of room - these aren't going to be the medium size 'flat rate' boxes from the p.o. are they?

For those of you that have done it, any suggestions as to how to organize your food collection before packing your boxes? At first I was just leaving things in the grocery bags I bought them in, items I'm dehydrating are starting to collect in my freezer. Now I have a couple of the large Rubbermaid type bins to store things in. Should I worry about trying to sort? Maybe by meal (br/lun/din/snack). If I don't, I'm pretty sure I could start overbuying on some things, I totally spacing on others. Maybe a notepad with a list of what I'll 'need', then check it off as I 'fill the order'?

I don't mean to over-think this, but I don't want to create more work than necessary either. Suggestions???

09-10-2010, 17:02
dont do it...its a waste of time and money. just resupply along the way.

Stir Fry
09-10-2010, 18:01
Shipping can cost as much as $12. I find that the $12 can buy a good meal. You are better off just resupplying as you go. After you have been on the trail for a week or two you will have a better idea what you need then you could ever know before hand.

09-10-2010, 18:13
Agree that buying as you go makes alot of sense. If you have one or two special items you like in your diet, perhaps an occasional mail drop. Talking about an expensive mail drop, one hiker had to spend an extra night at a motel waiting on a parcel at the PO. That cost an extra $65.

Many Walks
09-10-2010, 18:18
We did a lot of drops and I agree with resupplying along the way. Once you drive yourself crazy getting it all together and getting it mailed, you'll go insane coordinating your hike to meet PO hours. Hit a town just after they close for the weekend and you're stuck waiting till they open again. The cost adds up quickly and we found our taste cravings changed, so we wasted some of it anyway. Even if you call the PO to ship it ahead (they do that at no cost to you providing you haven't received the package) you'll need to send it WAY up the trail. We found we could walk further and faster than the PO could ship our packages from some of the towns. Most potential thru hikers believe they are in the small group who will make it, but if you have to pull off the trail for some reason all of your packages are stuck in PO's strung across the mountains. Bottom line, don't do drops and you'll enjoy your hike a lot more. IMO

09-10-2010, 18:46
TF, I am asking myself some of the same questions. I think a few mail drops are a good idea but I don't think it is wise or cost effective to depend on them for most of your supplies. There are a few places where it is hard to get to a store or no store exists. If you do a search you will find the places where others have sent boxes in the past. But stores go out of business or get bulit where none was before so...

I think that sending some things like meds, freeze dried meats, and special items like memory cards for cameras and the like would be a good idea. Most foods that you would want to pack should be easy to find here and there along the trail, if not all in one place.

Any place where there is a PO right on the trail would be worth considering even if there is a store nearby. Picking up mail from home or money or some special music or treat would be nice even if you just go to the store next.

Now that fuel is not reliably mailable, drops make less sence than ever. But stores know this too and will probably be more likely to stock up with hiker food.

I somtimes worry that I will be two days out from a supply point with one day worth of food left. I usually carry a med/emergency kit that is never to be opened unless there is a dire need to do so. Opening this kit means that the next move better be toward town asap. I usually keep a few food items in this kit, a snickers bar, some hard candies. salt or rehydration tabs, and instant coffee. I have never opened this kit in real need--but it has got me to a resupply point a couple of times--it is good to know that I have it for backup.

If you do decide to send yourself food, the ease of just picking it up and hiking on is a very persuasive arguement for doing it if you know yourself well enough to not send what will just go in the garbage or a hiker box, I would say to just send a few meals and buy the rest along the way. But I am pretty easy to please so YMMV.

Happy planning--Don't get burried under a lot of stuff you will never want to eat. Get your 12 boxes, if you must, and put things in them, most food is good for a year-watch the dates. When the boxes are about full--stop. Leave them open for your helper to add things last minute.


Turtle Feet
09-10-2010, 20:36
Thanks for all the imput!

I do need at least one box/month for meds - there's no way I'm going to try to carry more than a months worth at a time (I'm on 4 meds some with multiple daily doses). Thinking even a month could be pushing it.

As far as the food - it's not that I'm on a special diet or a picky eater, and finding Knorr's noodle meals anywhere I'm sure is no problem. I enjoy some dehydrated meals I've made through the years (for past trips), more like a treat to myself - I love to cook and actually enjoy the process, so that part doesn't feel like work. I think it's just that the enormity of the trip hit me!

I think I'll try to pare the 12 down to maybe 6-8... Thanks everyone :D


PS: Grayfox - you mentioned PO's near the trail. I had lunch with a friend a few weeks back - she finished the trail in 2008 ('Dust' in the Wind) - she did drops to the places she planned to stay (hostel or whatever). Had her hubby ship well in advance and says it worked out really well for her. She avoided PO's due to their restrictive hours.

09-10-2010, 22:12
pretty much agree with the others. maildrops can and will affect your hike and you end up not wanting to eat something you wanted 3 or 4 months ago while you were at home. I am doing a thru with a maildropper though, so i guess some concessions will have to bemade so he can get his drops. As for myself, i simply looked thru the 2010 thru hiker companion and selected towns i want to resupply at based on cost, pharmacies, and to make sure all grocery stores are long term types. no buying "food" from the overpriced, limited choice gas stations for me. if i did do mail drops, no way would i do them every 3 days. once a week should be more than adequate (and still pricey), and that way youre only stuck halting your progress and wasting your time 4 times a month rather than ten. ive got my plan to hike 6 days and take a zero day on the seventh, resupply and recuperate. every other zero day (twice a month) ill splurge for a motel, the other two weeks a hostel or campground will do. ill tell you what, on those days i get a motel ill be in town and resupplied by 2 or 3 pm. if im gonna drop 50 bucks on a room youd better believe im getting there early enough to relax and enjoy myself, rather than show up after dark exhausted. The most fun on the hike is on the trail, but i dont like to only be awake while im hiking, then eat and crash, rinse repeat. want to enjoy some campfires, maybe enjoy an occasional libation with a fellow or two. i enjoy camp as much as i enjoy hiking.

09-10-2010, 22:19
oh by the way. not only are hostels, trailangel houses, and other mail locations more convenient, but most will hold your drops for longer. and you dont take the risk of a post office rerouting your box to another location. if youre gonna do drops go to atc.com and get yourself the 2010 thru hikers companion. it list virtually every drop place available, complete with names, addresses, limitations, etc. thheres some trail angels listed in there that will even accept parcels for thru hikers