I flew from London to San Diego 6 days before my start date, hoping this would give me enough time to buy and post resupply boxes, sort out a bounce box full of spare gear and get an American prepaid sim card. I actually only needed 3 days for this.
I stayed at a hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter for the first 3 nights (usually I would stay in a hostel but I needed my own room with plenty of floor space for all my shopping). The first 2 days I:
- Walked to the Grocery Outlet on Market St and bought the bulk of my food then took an Uber taxi back to the hotel
- Took an Uber to REI and bought freeze-dried dinners, one per resupply box as a special treat
- Took an Uber to Home Depot and bought a 5 gallon bucket to use as my bounce box and trash compactor bags to use as a liner inside my backpack
- From Home Depot I walked to Target (same complex) and bought the remaining food and resupply contents
- Walked to Verizon and AT&T on Broadway to look at prepaid Sim cards. Verizon said their Sim wouldn’t work in my iPhone and told me to go to AT&T so I did and got one there. I wrote a post about the different sim cards available here.
- In my hotel room, I repackaged a lot of the food into ziplock bags to save weight and space. I didn’t have any priority boxes with me so I put each resupply into separate plastic bags to take to the post office. (Would be easier to get the boxes (free) and box them at home/hotel then get a taxi to the post office depending on how many boxes you need to send). I’m terrible at making videos, but here’s one I took when I was in the process of sorting out all my food:
On the third day, I spent the majority of the day at the post office making up the boxes with my resupply bags, recording what was in each box and posting them. I went through a couple of rolls of tape. **It would’ve been much easier if I’d boxed everything up in the hotel room. Next time I would get a selection of medium/large boxes from the post office and a couple of rolls of tape and make them up before going to the post office.
The next 3 days I stayed at the Trail Angel’s Scout and Frodo’s house and had a very relaxing time. It was exactly what I needed and made me realize how stressed out I was and nervous/anxious about starting the PCT. Scout and Frodo are incredible people and I had a wonderful time staying with them. I wrote a blog post about Scout and Frodo here.
If I was to do the PCT again:
I would choose to mainly post food in advance purely so I wouldn’t have to walk around a supermarket on a zero day. Knowing what I know now about what food I like and don’t like, it would be very easy to buy in bulk and make up the boxes. The only time-consuming part is the posting. Even though sending boxes costs money, I still believe it’s cheaper to do this (when you’ve bought food at bulk/discount prices), than it is to buy in towns.
I wouldn’t separate jerky into ziplock bags… those little moisture sachets in the packet really work… I bought a few packets of jerky in San Diego, split them up into ziplock bags for California and every box I opened had a moldy packet of jerky inside!
I would probably hire a car for the day to go and do all the shopping, it might have worked out cheaper than using Uber.
Here’s a list of all the towns where I posted or bought food from along the PCT and my thoughts on whether I would do the same again, or something different:
I really hope these resupply posts help! If you have any questions, ask away.
Kat – Hummingbird