View Full Version : How much should I expect to spend on food if I want to prep most of it beforehand?

Turkey Sandwich
09-26-2013, 05:42
I have 95% of the gear that I'll need for a thru-hike. I want to dehydrate and prepare resupply boxes for most of my food. I don't plan on buying much in town aside from the occasional fresh fruit or cheese.

I understand that people have different appetites, so I'm just looking for a few statistics from folks all around. I hope that can give me a general idea. Has anyone here completed the AT with a majority of their food prepped beforehand? How much did it cost?


09-26-2013, 08:20
TS - not to dissuade you at all. Hike your own hike and enjoy it! :) What is the primary motivator to bringing all your food with you?

Here are two major concerns to consider: 1. You don't complete your thru hike as you planned - now you're stuck with a ton of food in far away post offices. That's a lot of expense and hassle if you want to even try to get it all back. 2. All that food looks tasty when you're packing it but after 6 weeks of your favorite meals suddenly they aren't so favorite anymore. See item 1 for the rest of that story.

This isn't to say that you can't pack all your own food. It's just rarely done. I've hiked as far north as Maine and as far south as TN/NC. In that time, I have rarely seen anyone packing their own food, especially after Virginia. By the time you hit NJ/NY you are inhaling every hot dog or burger or pizza or whatever else you can find in order to fill your belly. It just plain becomes a bottomless pit.

One final note on $$. You can dehydrate your own food at a considerable savings to manufactured dehydrated food or packaged food in grocery stores. BUT and it's a big BUT...the savings is often offset by the cost to ship the food versus the cost to purchase in a grocery store. If it's custom food/nutritional needs/dietary requirements you're trying to satisfy then maybe that outweighs that concern. But if it's money you're trying to save it's not like it used to be. I used to pack/ship everything. Now I just hit a store for resupply.