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  1. #1

    :banana Hiking time before resupply

    What are some suggestions on hiking time frames in between having to resupply? I was thinking 3-4 days max

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    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    We're pretty happy carrying 5 days of food - after all, that's really only 4 days and a lunch since we'll get meals in town coming and leaving. The first climb out of town is heavy, but the weight goes down quickly.

    But then we do bring a lot of food, because we like to eat well. I suspect some of the hikers I met last summer could have walked for 7 or 8 days on my 5-day resupply bag.

    Three days is like paradise, not heavy at all.
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    In my experience most people resupply whenever it is convenient. And if the gaps between convenient are a big large then they hit the less convenient possibilities. This plays well into the UL mindset as it allows you to carry the least. But if you would prefer to stay out of towns as much as possible then you can plan, based upon the possibilities of where you are for more days between resupplies. If you are talking about the AT and you are capable of 20 miles days then there is no place which requires more than 4 days (maybe 3?). I like going for long periods without resupply as it makes me feel like I am more a part of the wilderness and belong out there. The longest I have ever done without resupply is 21 days - started out with 45lbs of food - I was still a teenager then lol

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    Sort of a question of how much weight you can/want to carry. About 2 lbs of food is needed power day. Add the weight of fuel and there you go. If you can haul 10+ lbs, you can go 5 days.
    About the only other consideration might be fuel consumption/capacity. If you are using canisters and one will last 4 days, seems like a waste to try to always push 5 days.

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    Are you talking on a thru-hike of the AT?

    I like to carry enough food to get me to the next easiest, convenient, hiker resupply town. Whether that be 2-5 days so be it. I wouldn't carry 3 days of food to have to go into a town 10 miles from the trail if one or two more day on the trail gave me a much easier resupply option.

    As a matter of fact, the less I have to go into town the better. The only times I enjoy fully town time is typical when I'm taking a nero or a zero the next day and spending the night in a motel/hotel/hostel. So much less stressfull. If I'm just resupplying at the grocery store and doing laundry then getting back on the trail I'm usually running around like a mad man so I have enough time to get food before heading back to the trail.

    Some places on the trail you really don't have any reasonable options for resupply and therefore "forced" to carry 4-5 days of food.

    Light pack into town, heavy pack out.

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    I go 6 to 10 days at a time. I used to think I was bragging. Tipi is the man. The rest of us are wimps.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

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    I carry what works best for my next easy resupply.

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    I do only short sections. Six days is the longest food carry I've done. (But I can't think of anywhere on the AT except for the Hundred-Mile Wilderness where that won't do for even a slowpoke like me.)
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

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    I've done 7 in a couple of places.

    I don't like going many miles into town to resupply. I only use fuel in the evening so that is pretty good weight wise.

    Food wise it depends on the season, the elevation profiles, and resupply options and how fast you can accumulate miles.

    Food is still the one thing that I do not have dialed in yet.

    Glad I did not resupply in Gatlinburg just for piece of mind. US19 to Damascus I packed more since it was late Nov. and the possibility of bad weather increases. Glad I did.

    Floyd

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    On a thru hike it is less about what how much you want to carry. Rather it is at what length do I want to go to resupply. If I know I will pass a resupply right on trail, no hitching, then that will be a resupply, regardless of whether it is half a day or ten days down the trail. Typically, I will go up to five days or about 150 miles before I would hitch into town. Beyond five days between easy resupplies (no hitching) and I will look to break it up roughly in half and hitch into town.

    By my guidelines above, I'm not sure I would be hitching in for a resupply more than a couple of times on the AT.

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    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    I'm much like Malto. On a long hike my preferences change regularly. For a while maybe I'll feel like resupplying often because I want to go in towns or maybe not carry so much. Other times I'll feel like staying on the trail and am willing to carry more to do that.

    I just do what I feel like. On the AT you can resupply a lot and pretty quickly get back on the trail.

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    If its literally on the trail, Ill take a resupply 2-3 days.
    If its not, well then 5 days is normal, 7-10 isnt out of the question.

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    For me, it depends what I want to eat on the AT.
    If I do 3 days, then I can carry bear claws, cinnamon rolls, bread, cheese, salomie, maybe a steak out of town, lots of good food.
    If I got 5 or more, it's more noodles and rice with dried shrimps or my own dried hamburger. (and dreaded instant oatmeal for breakfast)

    I don't want to carry a lot of weight, so 3 days is a good goal for me.
    On the western trails, where you have to carry 5-7, I tend to not eat as good.

    I once carried 12. Haven't had Ramen since, and dread the instant oatmeal.
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    If its literally on the trail, Ill take a resupply 2-3 days.
    If its not, well then 5 days is normal, 7-10 isnt out of the question.
    This.

    Don't grasp the concept hiking to visit towns. If I was Tipi I probably would never resupply.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malto View Post
    ...By my guidelines above, I'm not sure I would be hitching in for a resupply more than a couple of times on the AT.
    I just chuckled because I hitched into town exactly two times on my AT hike. First time was in Vermont, second in Maine.

    I often "skipped" popular towns, including Hiawassee, Gatlinburg, Atkins, Ffront Royal, Rangeley because I could carry enough food to do so. 100+ plus miles was fairly common on the AT, just to avoid some of those towns. On the other hand, seeing a restaurant a day for something like ten days in a row in the mid-Atlantic was pretty fun.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

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    Have not done the AT yet but planning to start with 5 days worth. My problem is I don't want to eat just junk but carrying enough calories is a trick. I am doing a gear test hike in a week for 5 days and have my food packed but only coming in at about 3500 calories a day. Ok for the short hike but everything I read says that is not enough for a full thru hike. Need to work on that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake2c View Post
    Have not done the AT yet but planning to start with 5 days worth. My problem is I don't want to eat just junk but carrying enough calories is a trick. I am doing a gear test hike in a week for 5 days and have my food packed but only coming in at about 3500 calories a day. Ok for the short hike but everything I read says that is not enough for a full thru hike. Need to work on that.
    Thats what towns are for. Binging on calories.

    You will run a deficit, say 1000 cal per day on the trail. Then once per week you take a zero day in town, and binge on extra 6000 cal, and keep it balanced. All your time in town will be spent eating. Dont underestimate what this costs . On the bright side, its fun as hell to eat anything and everything till your stuffed and feel good about it, and still lose weight.

    Its all junk . Refined carbs are junk. Pasta is junk.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 05-03-2015 at 10:00.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake2c View Post
    Have not done the AT yet but planning to start with 5 days worth. My problem is I don't want to eat just junk but carrying enough calories is a trick. I am doing a gear test hike in a week for 5 days and have my food packed but only coming in at about 3500 calories a day. Ok for the short hike but everything I read says that is not enough for a full thru hike. Need to work on that.
    Claimed calories carried is a lot like claimed weight carried. There is a bit of guessing or exaggerating or a bit of both. I carry barely more than 3000 calories per day and I believe I am carrying more than a good percentage of the people that think or say they carry more. Not many people spend months comparing calorie densities and weighing food. Most are less detailed and don't really know the calories they are carrying. I have and do. It ain't easy to carry 3500 calories without a bit of research unless you are willing to have a really heavy per day food total.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

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    I am sort of similar to BB but I actually do carry 4000 cal a day food supply. I do not count weight when I resupply though - but I am careful not to buy heavy stuff.

    What I do is take notes on a piece of paper where I add up calories. If I need 4 days supply I keep buying stuff until I hit a total of 16,000 calories. When I have weighed my food I run about 2.2 lbs per day vice the 2 bls most often mentioned.

    BTW Jake2c there is no need to start with 5 days of food if you are starting from Springer. From Baxter it would be reasonable. That 2 days extra of food if you are a NOBO is about 4 lbs (you are not in great shape yet) and 4 lbs is a lot more wear and tear on still tender feet, knees and legs.

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    To add detail to my previous answer: On the only longish section that I did in recent years, there was no hitching into towns involved. The first resupply, I hiked 1.5 miles on a blue blaze (well, it turned into a bushwhack, but that's another story entirely) into a town, after 3.5 days hiking. The second one was 6 days later, with a maildrop at a post office right on trail, in a village without other good resupply options, and then it was three more days to finish the section. I broke it up the way I did because those were the only resupply opportunities without yogi'ing a ride from a trailhead, and nine days was a bigger food carry than I cared to take on. With that trip, I know people who've just done the whole 135 miles in 7-10 days at one go, but I'm not in that kind of shape.

    My planned daily mileage was 8-12 mpd, my actual was 6-14.5. The 13- and 14-mile days I found myself doing put me ahead of schedule, so I was intentionally lallygagging at other times. No point in coming out ahead of my planned pickup. I found myself wishing I'd brought fishing gear, so that I could watch the trout refuse my offerings, but just hanging around watching the birds was fine, too.

    I don't go crazy with foods that have a high water content, but I pretty much carry what I like. How many calories? Couldn't tell you.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

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