PCT Resupply – Part 3 – Making a shopping list

Now we’ve covered the pro’s and con’s of posting boxes and what to put inside them, it’s time to make a shopping list.


Resupply – Part 3 – Making a shopping list


  1. This is the part where Craig’s PCT Planner really helps! Create an account (free), then use this site to decide your stages. (Based on your hiking pace and the number of hours per day that you want to walk, the site tells you how long it will take to arrive in each destination and what date – very important because if you’re planning to post a box to the post office and you will arrive in the town on a Saturday, then you may have to stay in town until the Monday to pick it up or choose to buy food in the town instead). *If you don’t want to use Craig’s PCT Planner then scroll to the bottom and I’ll show you another way.Craig's PCT planner - start
  2. The next step with Craig’s PCT Planner is to choose the towns you want to go to – I found these decisions the hardest because I had no idea about any of the towns. (I’ll give you a list of the towns I went to, reasons why, and whether I would go there again in a future post). The shorter the number of days between resupply, the lighter your pack will be!
  3. Once you’ve decided on the towns, you’ll have a plan looking like this:Craig's PCT planner - example stageThis tells you that it will take 3.5 days to walk from Mt. Laguna to Warner Springs which is a total of 67.3 miles, averaging 19 miles per day. This is exactly the information you need to make a shopping list.
  4. Make a spreadsheet – mine looked like this:Excel PCT shopping list Excel PCT shopping list - snacks
  5. Now you have your shopping list, shop smart. Try to buy in bulk wherever you can from retailers, discount supermarkets, online (Amazon) etc. For those coming from overseas and don’t know anyone who can receive their packages in America, if buying from REI you can arrange to pick up your package from their San Diego store, or buy food when you arrive at a discount supermarket – there’s a chain called Grocery Outlet and there’s one not far from the Gaslamp district and one near the airport.


Once I had decided the towns where I would buy / send food to, I made up a spreadsheet looking like this:

excel - resupply strategy

I got all of this information from Yogi’s handbook. I saved this spreadsheet as a PDF with the adobe app on my phone and also in iBooks. It was great to know when and where I would be able to buy a new gas canister and keep track of where I had sent packages to.


*If you don’t want to use Craig’s PCT Planner, you simply need to decide how many miles per day you want to walk on average (keep in mind the elevation for that stage), then work out how many days it will take to arrive in each town that you want to stop at. For example, you want to walk an average of 15 miles per day and it’s 60 miles to the next town so you’ll need 4 days of food. Then make a shopping list based on this number of days… The benefit of using Craig’s PCT Planner is that it makes the whole process a lot easier and once you’ve made a plan you can send the link to friends and family as well.

Plan’s change and yours most probably will too, but it’s nice to have an outline even if you don’t end up following it.

Any questions, let me know!

I’ll also be writing a post on bounce boxes and what I did for my resupply/what I would and wouldn’t do again.



4 responses to “PCT Resupply – Part 3 – Making a shopping list

  1. Another great place to buy dehydrated backpackers meals is on Costco.com…search mountain house…works out to under $2.50 per meal…cheaper if you buy the big cans and separate the meals into baggies yourself…😉 Enjoying your blog! Went through withdrawals when you finished 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Kat, Enjoyed your blog the past couple of weeks. I’m about to start my pct thru hike in 2 weeks and your info was really helpfull.
    Still need to figure out alot of stuff and like you, coming from europe, this is not as easy as being from usa. I will also have 2-3 days to do my resupply and im sure it will all be fine, but i see you’ve got a list of where one could possibly buy gas canisters. Are you willing to share this invaluable info with me? No idea how to get this and like you said, it would be pretty handy information to know 🙂

    Keep on blogging. I’ll keep on reading 🙂


    • Hi Dutch,
      No problem, my list is on an excel spreadsheet taken from Yogi’s 2015 guide so just know that some details may have changed but often wherever there was a decent hiker box, there would usually also be leftover half empty gas canisters – I used these quite a bit! If you can send me an email to followingthearrows@hotmail.com then I’ll forward the excel spreadsheet.
      Happy Trails!


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