Now that we are getting closer to our start date, the two questions that we get asked more than any other are the first two questions of our FAQ: What do you do for food on the trail? and, What do you eat?  We will do our best to answer the first question in this post and answer the second question in the next post.

So, what do we do for food on the trail?  There are three strategies that people use for getting food on the trail:

  1. Mail – This strategy involves making up all of your food for the entire trip ahead of time.  All of the food would be divided up in separate boxes for each town stop and then mailed by a friend to each location.  For the very detail oriented, this plan allows you plan every last calorie and to ship food that you may not be able to find along the trail.  The downside is that some of the food you thought would be tasty a few months ago may now be unbearable.
  2. Buy – This is the ultimate “just wing it” strategy.  No food is purchased ahead of time and everything is bought on the trail.  For locations where there are no options for purchasing food, food would be purchased at an earlier stop and shipped ahead.  This strategy allows for the greatest flexibility when tastes and caloric needs change.  Food selection is limited to whatever can be found at each stop and town stops are less relaxing than just grabbing your next package.
  3. Hybrid – Most people seem to opt for a mix of mailing food and buying along the trail.  This allows you to mail food to smaller towns with limited selection and buy food in larger towns that have a more extensive grocery store.

We are adopting a hybrid strategy for our hike.  Our general strategy is to mail breakfasts, dinners, and desserts to locations that have a post office with long hours (must be open on Saturday) or a local business that accepts hiker packages.  We will then buy lunches and snacks at a nearby convenience store where we can buy more perishable items like cheese and tortillas.  In stops that have large grocery stores and post offices with short hours, we will buy all of our food.  In stops that have no grocery or convenience store at all, we will mail all of our food.  We feel this gives us the greatest chance to eat healthy, calorie dense foods while still being able to alter our menu enough to adapt to changing tastes.  It also gives us a chance to support local businesses.

Town Resupply
Campo Packed
Mt Laguna Mail & Buy
Warner Springs Mail Only
Idylwild Buy Only
Big Bear City Mail & Buy
Wrightwood Mail & Buy
Aqua Dulce Mail & Buy
Tehachapi Mail & Buy
Kennedy Meadows Mail & Buy
Independence Mail & Buy
Mammoth Lakes Buy Only
Tuolumne Meadows Mail & Buy
South Lake Tahoe Mail & Buy
Sierra City Mail & Buy
Chester Mail & Buy
Burney Falls State Park Mail & Buy
Mt. Shasta Buy Only
Etna Mail & Buy
Seiad Valley Mail & Buy
Ashland Buy Only
Crater Lake, Mazama Village Mail & Buy
Crescent, Shelter Cove Resort Mail Only
Sisters Mail & Buy
Timberline Lodge Mail Only
Cascade Locks Mail & Buy
White Pass Mail Only
Snoqualmie Pass Mail & Buy
Skykomish Mail & Buy
Stehekin Mail Only

0 thoughts on “Food Part 1: What Do You Do for Food?

  1. Thanks for this post. I am hiking the PCT as well this year and have been working on my re-supply strategy. Your post has helped me out tremendously on my planning. See you on the trail!

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