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Thread: No Mail Drops

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    Default No Mail Drops

    Has anyone hiked the trail without using mail drops? The reality is I don't have anyone to actually mail the stuff if I pack it up. I am assuming no mail drops would definitely be more expensive. Probably require a few more miles of walking. If anyone has any experience with no mail drops, I would definitely welcome any advice or ideas.

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    Registered User swjohnsey's Avatar
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    I would guess most don't use mail drops. Mail drop ain't cheaper.

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    I won't say zero but I'll say... minimal. Most folks these days can mostly go without them.

    A section hiker finishing the trail in, say, 100-mile or 150 mile increments could probably avoid them entirely.

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    Registered User AlyontheAT2016's Avatar
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    I don't personally see the need for mail drops (but this is my personal preference). Given how accessible a majority of the AT is, I will not be using them. Besides, I'd rather not be saddled with knowing I have to eat that dried fruit I packaged for myself two months ago, and postage can add up just as much as in-town resupplies.

  5. #5

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    I had one mail drop sent to me this year, at Fontana Dam. Complete waste of money and time. The store there had massive quantities and selections of food, even though I had seen several people online say there was no decent resupply there. I also didn't want certain items in the drop and I sent myself WAY too much food. I can only speak for Springer to Fontana, but I see no need for a mail drop in GA or NC. I only made it part way thru the Smokies due to injury, so I have no knowledge from further north, though I would be willing to say its the same.

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    Mail drops from yourself is sad (occasionally OK)

    Mail drops from others who care about you are anywhere from awesome ^10 , to 'they missed the point and don't know who I am' again very

    Bouncing gear up trail is part of the game.

    Have fun

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    Registered User Enigma's Avatar
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    I have seen a few hikers who voiced discontent with the meals that they had planned and sent in their mail drops. I have seen trading and bartering and simply leaving the food behind in yogi boxes and then shopping at the local mart for resuply. Bounce boxes work great when you buy more than you want to carry at one time.....if mail drops are your cup of tea....then make sure you put tea in it that you will want to drink in the future.

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    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    The main reason for sending mail drops are if you've bought the maps ahead of time and want them sent to you at appropriate intervals, or if you have a special diet so you prefer mailing your food to buying along the way, or if you already have all the clothing and gear you want and would rather have shoes or whatever mailed to you.

    You can definitely do without them, and will probably save money in the process.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowSoul View Post
    Has anyone hiked the trail without using mail drops? The reality is I don't have anyone to actually mail the stuff if I pack it up. I am assuming no mail drops would definitely be more expensive. Probably require a few more miles of walking. If anyone has any experience with no mail drops, I would definitely welcome any advice or ideas.
    no mail drops needed for food. maybe for gear and stuff

  10. #10
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Many years ago the standard for resupply was the mail drop. There weren't many places to resupply in the mountains, even if one could get into town. But there has been a lot of development in mountain communities in the South, much of it vacation homes for the well-to-do, and commercial development has followed. Now there is a grocery store in every little town, sometimes more than one, along with restaurants, hotels, hostels, and shuttle services catering to hikers. Getting into town is easy (stick out your thumb, or call for a ride).

    No need to send maildrops. The cost of postage kills any savings on food cost anyway - it's probably cheaper to buy along the way. The only folks who need mail drops are those with very specific dietary restrictions.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

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    Maildrops are good if you prefer limited town time in bed or eating/drinking, to shopping , sorting, packaging, etc.

    Im pretty fond of the first two myself. I like to hike into town for dinner, spend night, get 3 good meals, ( dinner, bkfast, lunch) and leave after lunch next day well rested and well fed, feeling great. Good organized maildrops with food prepackaged in ziplocks, spare batts, TP, everything needed , is convenient.

    If you just get a box of unorganized stuff needing repackaging, not so much. Might as well go buy it. Most have way too much stuff in them, and many people find they dont want the foods they thought they would.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 12-14-2015 at 22:48.

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    Thank you all very much for all the input. It definitely helps.

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    I was wondering about using them for things like contact solution (for hard lenses) or other specific items you might not find in every town,

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkeeterPee View Post
    I was wondering about using them for things like contact solution (for hard lenses) or other specific items you might not find in every town,
    man, that's amazing. I have a squirrelly eye condition that calls for hard "gas permeable" lenses and the cleaning solution is one thing I planned to have mailed up on occasion. Sucks being us!

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    I used to get so jealous watching people go through their care packages, everything in there looked so good and with any luck there were some overs for the mail drop deprived :-)

  16. #16
    Garlic
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    I didn't use any food drops. I arranged to have two pairs of shoes and socks sent to me, and I mailed some cold-weather gear home. The comment about being able to hike 100 or more miles between supplies is spot on--that ability helps a lot. I never walked more than two miles off trail for food. I didn't hitch, either, except once in VT and once in ME.
    "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

  17. #17
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    A care package is different, of course. Having someone to send an unexpected fresh batch of brownies is a joy.

    In a different thread, there is a link to the 1983 Philosopher's Guide to the AT, an early thru-hiker's guide. The advice for resupply -- in 1983! -- is to keep maildrops to a minimum, and that some hikers just buy in grocery stores the whole way with no regrets. Some things never change.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  18. #18

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    I will be using zerodayresupply.com often. That way I don't have to spend money ahead on things I'll eventually hate, but will have supplies waiting for me to eliminate time spent at the grocery store.

    *not affiliated with that business but I have used it in the past and will definitely be using it on my Thru.

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    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    I did two mail drops on my last section hike in SW Virginia. Very convenient. Both times I got into town late and had a box waiting when I checked into the motel. Allowed me to get back out on the trail early the next morning.

    That being said, I was taking vacation from work and time was much more important than money. For most thru-hikers, it is the opposite. Buying in town is usually the better option for them.
    It's all good in the woods.

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    I hiked my 2001 hike without mail drops. All towns along the AT have figured out the needs of thru-hikers and they offer them. Almost anything will be available most of the time. Mail drops are costly and if you send yourself food you probably not to eat a lot of stuff you send. Dealing with P O schedules is also a pain. Having to go into a town every 5-6 days to resupply is something you look forward to.
    Grampie-N->2001

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