As I mentioned in Part 1, the purpose of these guides is not to completely rehash information available all-over, but try to give specifics that work for me and things I found harder to track down or find summarized already. With that said, this Resupply guide is not intended to cover all the bases, but explain our strategy and why. As always, we do not have to agree, but of course I am right.
Resupplying offers you more options than most decisions for the trail and there is certainly no one size fits all, but I will explain my method to the madness. My priorities are as follows:
- Supremely important and something you don’t realize until you are out there
Flexibility looks like this…you just left Belden after spending the weekend people watching groups from Burning Man hold an electronic dance party and you did not rest nearly enough. You realize that huge box you sent to Belden doesn’t make sense since you are going to want to stop in Chester to get some Ice Cream and rest 45 miles down the road, but meanwhile you are carrying 10 pounds of food. Not sending boxes allows you to pick and choose on the fly where and when to stop based on current whims…hugely important on the trail.
Availability is what it sounds like…can I get what I want where I intend to resupply. If no, I either choose a new spot or send a box.
Convenience refers to how hard is it to reach the town or resupply point? What are the store’s or post office hours of operation?
One last important note, we eat largely vegetarian on the trail, but not vegan, with no other restrictions. Feel free to ask below if you have additional diet questions and T-Rex can respond with her professional dietary opinion.
Super useful link for far more detail on every town resupply and other information:
Also important to note, unless specified, we would always send packages from on-trail, not beforehand. This allows for greater flexibility and cheaper shipping.
If I don’t list a resupply spot, it’s because I wouldn’t ship anything there and either not go or simply resupply from the available market.
Places we would always mail packages
- Kennedy Meadows
- You could resupply here, but selection isn’t great, it’s expensive and you are probably sending a bear can anyway
- You could skip if you want to buy Pizza or vending machine snacks for a quick push to Cascade Locks
- All of WA
- Simply very limited, Trout Lake could be a possible exception or Whites Pass if you decide to go Packwood.
Places we plan to send boxes for efficiency this year (but not required):
- We live 40 minutes away, well just drop off a box a couple weeks before while on a hike
- Not necessary, resupply here is fairly easy and lots of options in this section
- Ziggy & the Bear’s
- Makes for an easy carry over Fuller Ridge
- Tough section, make it easier on yourself
- We will mail this before leaving, early enough to not matter much regarding preferances
- No real operating hours to be concerned with
- Makes for an easy carry over Fuller Ridge
- We don’t want to go into Ashland this year and they don’t have hours to be concerned with
- Easy walking detour off the trail, Ashland hitch can sometimes be weird
- Crater Lake/Mazama Village
- We are going to ship here only because it’s so expensive, likely from Seiad Valley due to their awesome selection despite small size
If you are slow and need more stops
- Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR)
- It’s expensive, but if you need to stop before getting to Mammoth or somewhere else, this would be the choice. Be careful, the vortex is strong in this place.
Otherwise, resupplying as you go will provide you with a huge leg up on those with boxes at every town. You will constantly hear complaining about Post Office Issues, staying extra days for something to arrive, getting terrible food that others simply take out of the hiker box after people dump their shipments and buy food, etc. You will always have food that you chose recently, in quantities that make sense (good luck guessing how much you’ll really need in each section before leaving). You’ll gain all of these great advantages, while spending about the same due to shipping costs, especially if you are overseas or from the East Coast.
If you were hoping for a review of every trail town, you are in the wrong place. My link to As the Crow Flies will provide all the detail you should possibly need (thanks ATCF for everything), but I hope this was helpful in understanding what is really required and why shipping all of your packages is complicated, convoluted and ultimately not the right decision for most. You can do this, it’s far easier, far better and as always, The Trail Provides.