On my way to San Diego

In my usual last-minute style, I was up until 4am deciding how many resupply boxes to post down the trail from San Diego and how many breakfasts, lunches and dinners this meant I had to buy.

To be honest, I found it really difficult and overwhelming to sit down and try to figure out a resupply strategy for a 2,650 mile hike so I put it off and off for as long as I possibly could! (It’s not procrastination, some people are just more productive working under pressure!) 😉

At least I’ve got about 200 protein & energy bars packed in my suitcase – thanks Nick at Unnu for helping me out with these. As well as ALOT of mini Nutella packets care of Amazon 🙂


I’ve decided to send myself 12 boxes for California only and will buy more food to send along the trail for Oregon & Washington as I go. The 12 boxes I’m sending won’t be enough to get me all the way through California so I will resupply at local supermarkets in towns along the way.

There are definitely pros and cons of posting food versus buying as you go.

Posting
PRO
  • You can buy the food in bulk (saving money) and send yourself food you know you like.
CON
  • You’re paying for postage and if you’re posting the box to a post office then you need to arrive at that town during post office hours and many post offices along the trail are Monday to Friday only with very limited hours on these days.
  • You don’t know how much you’re going to need (depending on weather, altitude etc), so you might not send enough or you might send too much and be carrying extra weight.
  • After the first 2 months you might not want to see another energy or protein bar and you’ve packed yourself another 60 of them!
Buy as you go
PRO
  • Supporting the local community
CON
  • You’ll probably pay a higher price in trail towns than buying in bulk  (but then you’re not paying postage).
  • There might be a very limited choice of food available or not enough to get you to the next town.
I will be posting the 12 boxes to a mix of post offices (limited opening hours), general stores (open daily) and motels (open daily). Some stores and motels charge a fee to hold a package ($5 up to $75) but they are also sometimes the only option.
I will also have a “bounce box.” This is a box that I will send to Post Offices with back up gear and if I get to the post office and decide I don’t need anything from the box, then I can “bounce” it down the trail for free. However, if I take the box away from the counter and open it then I will need to pay again to post it onwards. I am going to use a 5 gallon bucket for this purpose after reading many recommendations of a bucket over a box on the numerous PCT forums.
My bounce box will have:
  • Extra tips for my hiking poles
  • Extra clothes: fleece, T-shirt, trousers, shorts, waterproof pants, socks, shoes
  • Bug headnet, deet and Microspikes for the sierras
  • Plasters, vitamins etc
  • Food that doesn’t fit in my original 12 resupply boxes
  • and probably more stuff!

Many people choose not to use a bounce box and instead have friends or family post them food and gear but I don’t know anyone on the west coast of America (near where I’m flying into) well enough that I could dump all my extra gear on and ask them to forward it to me 😉

As I sit on my flight to San Diego, somewhere over the Atlantic, I’m filled with trepidation… And the excitement is building.
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10 responses to “On my way to San Diego

  1. It is definitely good to have some comfort foods along, even if you have to pay for postage, but in my opinion. it would be hard to send food for your whole trip. Hope you can get some sleep on the plane!

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  2. Ahh, good luck with the start of this new journey! I’m so excited to read about this adventure! (and I totally agree with you- organizing food postings and resupplies would overwhelm me, I would have put it off, too!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I posted 1 box from San Diego to Warner springs then brought as i went , but resupplied all of Oregon from lone Pine and all of Washington from cascade locks.
    Dont forget you can change your mind.. Ie When you get to a Po you can then bounce the box further up the trail and then mix it up. Sometimes other Hikers have so much stuff , you can resupply from them and dont forget hiker boxes .. Have a great one Snailtrainer

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  4. So excited for you! And I want to underscore After August 1 we can help with the Northern OR and WA resupply if you need anything! We have you in our thoughts and prayers. Ultriera!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I read your blog last week trying to make a choice between the French and the Portuguese Camino. I really enjoyed reading everything that you posted and I am really excited to read your first PCT post. I will be a follower! Best of luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi, I’m planning to hike the PCT in 2017 and was wondering if the post offices/resupply locations had any issue with you mailing resupplies so far ahead of time? If you mailed 12 boxes I imagine that some of them would have been sitting at the post office for over a month – were there any issues with this? I’m from Canada and don’t have anyone in the States to mail things for me so I’m in the same boat that you were in.

    Thank you,

    Diane

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    • Hi Diane,
      I was a little nervous about sending my boxes so far ahead of time but I made sure to put my approx ETA as well as ‘Please Hold for PCT Hiker’ and my US contact number in the return address section on every box hoping someone would call me before throwing out any of my boxes! 😉 I might’ve just been very lucky because I know some places say they’ll only hold boxes for one month…

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