6 Reasons I’m Doing Maildrops

For the last two months I’ve been spending every weekend and some weeknights chopping vegetables into teeny tiny pieces and rotating dehydrator trays. I have made and dehydrated 54 lunches and 60 dinners. John even tried to dehydrate his daily smoothie. I really wish I’d had a camera ready to capture his face when he tried a swallow before dumping it immediately down the drain.

I know everyone says not to do maildrops, and I actually usually agree with them. But here I am anyways with over 100 meals made. Here are the 6 reasons why I’m doing maildrops. 

Being Vegetarian

John and I are vegetarians with the occasional pescatarian exception (I’m from a part of Maryland that is on the Chesapeake Bay, if I stopped eating crabs my family might disown me).  As we age, it’s even more important to eat high quality protein. For me on trail this mean quinoa and tempeh. (I tried dehydrating tofu many many times – it was either the texture of rubber or a sponge each time.)

Tempeh bacon with rice and all the veggies

Less Gluten

I know it’s trendy, but really John’s psoriasis does better with less gluten. This equals less ramen noodles and tortillas, normal hiking staples. And yes, we could use corn tortillas, but have you ever tried one cold? They manage to be both rubbery and fragile at the same time.

Real food for Lunch

I really want to focus on switching the balance of carbs to lunch and protein to dinner.  I want to fuel my afternoon hiking with easy to digest carbs and the protein at night to promote muscle recovery.  It’s a theory I’m trying, we’ll see how it goes.  Plus nobody likes burping up tuna when hiking. I almost never eat a sandwich for lunch at home, why should I on trail?

Having Experience (in a good way)

I’ve done a thru hike before. I know how we eat on trail. These are also a variation of the meals I make for dinner so I know we won’t get tired of them. We might actually be looking forward to them at this point since making meals to dehydrate has gotten in the way of making meals to actually eat for dinner.

Having Experience (in a not so good way)

I learned my lesson last time.  When we hiked the CT in 2018 we shipped ALL of our food. John gets the industry discount when buying in bulk, so it made sense. After test tasting all of the bars, he settled on a couple flavors of Kate’s Bars. If no one has told you, the first part of the trail leaving Denver in the summer can be HOT. A much different heat then the muggy, sticky, melting heat of the East Coast. John ate one of the said Kate’s Bars while feeling a little nauseous on that stretch. He never could stomach another one and I had the eat all of the rest of the Kate’s Bars.  Also, all of the rehydratable ‘salads’ I made last time got thrown away. Better to just add more veggies to our meals. I had forgotten my own rule of “If you don’t eat it/like it at home – you won’t magically love it on trail.” 

Loving Nature

I have tried to incorporate zero waste in my life for many years. The first book I bought was “Zero Waste Home” by Bea Johnson back when owning a Nook tablet was a thing. I am not perfect at it by any means, but I do try to make the less or zero waste choice when I can.  Looking at my plastic vacuum seal bags and the weird bags freeze dried meals come in, I wanted to do better. Our food bags are 100% compostable, even in a landfill. (Coming soon is a whole post about our other zero waste choices)

The current plan is to ship breakfast for John, lunches, dinners, chocolate and drinks (coffee, electrolytes and smoothie mixes). Then in town we will buy snacks and desserts for those times we really want things like Combos and Milano cookies. 

I know you think I forgot breakfast for me. Please reference above where I said coffee.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

What Do You Think?