PCT Resupply Strategy – A Beautiful Disaster

I write this with sanity, only because I have now finished my resupply boxes. I knew I couldn’t start writing about my not-so-organized resupply strategy during the process, without my motivation whithering away with each typed word about the work that has consumed the majority of my free time. I am going to share with you my disaster of a resupply strategy, but I highly discourage you from taking any advice from me, or doing anything that I have done.

Step One – Obtain Boxes

First of all, I erased step one several times because I don’t really know what my step one was. Like I said, not so organized!

Without any trial, I counted how many of my resupply box addresses were USPS and went to the post office and took over a dozen large flat rate boxes home with me. I soon found out, that I could barely fit 5 days of food in one of those boxes, so any resupply box that had more than 5 days of planned food, needed to be in a bigger box. After two additional trips to the store, I had all the boxes that I needed.

Step Two – Label Boxes

I labeled each box with my name, the planned out address and PCT hiker information on it. I then set the boxes in my mother’s living room, in order, ready to be packed. I probably should have warned my parents before they came home to this… and me taking over their living room.

Step Three – Buy Food

After a year and a half of planning this trek, I was so tired of planning, so without much thought, I just bought a ton of freeze dried food, protein bars, nuts, trail mix, rice sides, ramen, etc. from Amazon, REI, GNC, Harmony House and Costco. After spending hundreds of dollars, I thought I would have too much food. Wrong. I truly wanted to be more organized. I was going to plan each meal in each box and then calculate how much food to buy, but like I said, I was so tired… and maybe just exited to get the process finally moving along.


When my parents went to work, it would be as if a tornado of food went through their living room, kitchen and dining room… all to be conveniently cleaned up, minutes before they arrived home from work.

Step Four –  Make Meals

I am embarrassed to say, and shamefully admit, that I went with probably the most wasteful meal strategy there is… ziplock bags. I’m sorry for all those who hate waste and I will do my best to recycle everything I possibly can – I did recycle all that went into making my meals.

180 breakfasts. 180 lunches. 180 dinners. 540+ snacks. 40-50 desserts.

I’m pretty sure that says it all. After tediously packaging only 60 breakfast meals, I realized that this wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought it would be. However, a week and a half later, hours upon hours of scooping, measuring, creating variety and using creativity, I can proudly say, that all 180 breakfasts and dinners are complete! Lunches I created about half of them, but I am going to buy more of a fresh variety in town. My breakfast meal variety, all repackaged into single serving zip lock bags, included:

Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy
Mountain House Scrambled Eggs and Bacon
A variety of granola with powdered milk and dried fruit

The lunches that I did make included a variety of jerky, crackers, and chips. Dinner variety included:

Cheesy Ramen and freeze dried chicken
Bacon parm pasta
Roasted garlic chicken
Cheesy potatoes with corn and freeze dried chicken
Nacho cheese potatoes with freeze dried chicken
Broccoli cheddar noodles with freeze dried chicken
White cheddar mac with freeze dried chicken
Herb and butter rice with corn and black beans
Shells and cheese
Asiago rice with beans
Lemon rice with freeze dried chicken
Cheesy potatoes and turkey bacon
Cheesy chicken rice and broccoli

You get the point with the dinners… lots of variety of the same thing! The few desserts that I made included:

White chocolate pudding with freeze dried raspberries
Banana pudding with freeze dried bananas and Nilla wafers
Cheese cake pudding with freeze dried blackberries
Cookies and cream pudding with crushed Oreos
Coconut rice pudding
Rice pudding

And after several runs to costco, GNC, and REI, my snacks are also complete. I made sure to include at least two protein cookies or bars for each day. Snickers, Twix and a multitude of junk food was also included. As for drinks, I included a vitamin mix powder for the first 90 days, gatorade powder (scooped for individual servings), and a variety of single serving drink mixes. I included potato starch to help thicken dinners and desserts, if the altitude altered their ability to thicken. At the end of my trek, I will post about the recipes that worked and didn’t, but hopefully they all satisfy my hiker hunger!

Step Five – Add Non-Food Items

Each of my 29 boxes, has a razor, leakproof shampoo and condition, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, appropriate maps, repackaged 1 mL eye dropper bottle of wilderness wash and antiseptic wash, and the following repackaged mini travel containers: Voltaten, sunscreen, anti-chafe cream and climbing salve. I’ve been working on this part for the past several months… I don’t think I could have gotten this done had I not started before hand.

Step Six – Decorate and Tape Boxes

I was told to make the boxes stand out. So, I drew flowers on every. single. box. Umm yea, they should stand out now. I taped up the boxes that didn’t have any room left in them, and stacked them in order of which my mom will send.


Step Seven – Fool Proof Chart for Parents

I wanted to make shipping these boxes as easy of my parents as possible, since they are doing me a huge huge favor. How else would the semi-perfection do this, besides creating a chart?! I put up an adhesive chalkboard, made a colored tape map of the PCT, associated with each numbered box on the map. Each line includes the location, mileage, estimated ship date (which I assured them would change) and what shipping service needs to be used. Fool proof, right? I hope so!


I don’t think I would go through all this trouble again. Many people told me not to do resupply boxes, but I am a planner and semi-perfectionist. I needed to find this out for myself. So, I suppose I will tell you in 2,659 miles, if I would do it all over again!

Only a little over a week before I start! Maybe I’ll see you on the trail!!

17 thoughts on “PCT Resupply Strategy – A Beautiful Disaster

  1. Looking at your poster that shows send dates, you probably don’t want to arrive in Tahoe on 4th of July weekend unless you long for the companionship of several million intoxicated people.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is quite impressive and much more organized than you think. I have a few questions, it seems like you are going to be relying upon having water at all times with all the freeze dried and dehydrated meals and powders. From my understanding water is still fairly scarce in the southern sections of the PCT through the Southern California Desert even with all this winter’s rain. How do you plan to make all these meals and food with a short supply of water? I had another question but seem to have forgotten it…

    Wishing you the best of luck in your endeavor!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve actually been following individuals who have already started the trail, and their water report has been good. If not, I’ll rely on more of my snacks and eat the granola without powder milk for breakfast. I have a lot of protein bars and snacks, so hopefully that would get me through until the water is more plentiful! Thank you for your nice comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Removing cereal/granola from the store package will probably result in making it very stale and nasty, plus the wasted ziplock bags. Note to all hikers, if you get the freezer bags you can use them over and over again in your pack. Best of luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you have any experience with this? You say probably… A lot of the granola I packed is mountain house for backpacking purposes that I put in freezer bags, so I’m not too concerned! I’ll keep you posted!


  4. This is great and I love the chart! I’m going to do the exact same thing for my parents next year. They love it when I have giant packing projects that take up the whole living room for days at a time. So curious to read how it all turns out!

    Liked by 1 person

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