Resupply Boxes: To Ship or Not to Ship? I am Getting “Fs”

“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” -Buddha


Logistical planning around resupply boxes is like trying to read the tea leaves. What will ‘future me’ appreciate on the trail? How many boxes will ‘future me’ need? Where will ‘future me’ like to pick them up? How much is too much? How much is not enough?


The idea of shipping anything to myself in the woods seemed a bit overwhelming at first—too many questions and not enough time to research and plan all the logistics. 


But after reading up on other hikers’ long-distance strategies, I decided to send the ‘future me’ just five boxes—shipping them at 500-mile intervals (give or take 50-60 miles) or approximately once per month. Shipping more than five just seemed like overkill. In my research, hikers either sent too many boxes (10+) or didn’t send enough (no boxes). A quantity of five was somewhere in between. That’s still nearly 20% of all my food supplies—an estimated 25 days of on-trail provisions.


Two common misgivings from hikers around shipping boxes were: 1) high shipping costs and 2) too much time wasted waiting to get the mail as some USPS offices maintained fairly limited operating hours in addition to the typical holiday and weekend closures. The operating inconsistencies were an inconvenience for most thru hikers, who typically had to wait an extra day to get their things. 


It’s important to note that hikers who have special dietary restrictions or medical conditions really benefited from sending 10-20 packages to support their unique circumstances and to keep marching forward. 


All My “Fs”: Fun, Food, Function

I am working on my fail-proof strategy to get to Katahdin, and so I packed my resupply boxes as exciting care package gifts from me to ‘future me’. Why not find fun in function and build in a little reward system to keep myself healthy physically and mentally?


Each box includes a fun item—something special to look forward to, especially for days when the trail might be wearing me down. Note: Many of my functional items became my fun items, doubling down to bring a little joy and something to look forward to. Although I have a sneaky feeling that food will become the most fun thing to receive on trail.

Hygiene Items for Resupply

And so, the majority of my resupplies consist of food, such as my favorite snacks and freeze-dried meals that I can’t easily get in the basic grocery stores. I am also sending functional gear such as shoe replacements, new socks, shorts, tshirts, hats, and undergarments to switch things up and keep my spirits high. I pre-ordered five pairs of my favorite trail running shoes, Salomon Speedcross 5, to not worry about availability in local towns. 


Complete Resupply Packing List


Each box contains approximately 2400 calories of food per day for five days on trail. The food weighs just north of 9 lbs. I created a
Google Sheet to add up all the estimated calories, which can be accessed here. Note: If you would like to also use it, just make a copy (File -> Make a copy) so that you can edit directly with your own items. 


Functional and Fun Gear


  • Lotion and Soap Bar – for one-time use in town 
  • Facewash (1 oz) – for one use
  • Shampoo/Conditioner (1 oz ea) – for one time use
  • Dr. Bronner Soap (1 oz) – repackaged into small bottles 
  • Bug Spray (2 oz)
  • Razor 
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant 
  • Toilet Paper (re-packaged, folded)
  • Compressed Dry Wipes (x30)
  • Contact Lenses (dailies)
  • Q-tips 
  • Sunblock (SPF 30) (2 oz)
  • Eye Drops
  • Hand Sanitizer 
  • Feminine Products 



  • Trail Running Shoes (x1) – replacement for every 500 miles 
  • T-shirt Merino Wool (x1) – treated with permethrin
  • Socks (x2) – treated with permethrin
  • T-shirt Cotton – for town days and sleeping
  • Underwear (x2)
  • Sport Bra (x1)
  • Neck Gaiter (x1) – for every other box 
  • Hat/Baseball Cap (x1) – for every other box 



  • 1 Gallon Zip Lock Bags (x2) – used as a  trash bag while hiking 
  • Earplugs (x2) – to reduce noise at hotels and hostels
  • The A.T. Guide pages for the upcoming section of my hike 
  • Advil Refill
  • Laundry Pods 


Many of the functional clothing items are doubling down as my fun gear, particularly socks, which come in a colorful variety. Why get drab gray when you can get berry pink and lime green? 


Shipping Costs and Boxes 

I picked up five USPS Large and Medium Flat Rate Boxes from my local USPS office, but the boxes can also be ordered online for free. The current shipping price for Priority Mail is $21.50 per Large Flat Rate Box. Tip: USPS will forward for free any unopened box if it was shipped Priority Mail. So if you miss a stop, you can have the post office bounce the box forward to your next location. 


Shipping Instructions (from The A.T. GUIDE by David “AWOL” Miller and AntiGravityGear)

Resupply Boxes
When shipping to a Post Office use your real name (not a trail name) and have your photo ID to retrieve your package. Please include your estimated arrival date, and return address. Below is how to address your box for the Post Office delivery:  


Jane Doe <- use your real name! 

c/o General Delivery <- only use ‘General Delivery’ for post office mail drops 

    Town Name, State 12345

    Please hold for AT thru hiker, ETA 01/23/2022 <- include your estimated arrival 


However, if you are shipping to a business with a PO Box address such as a hostel or a hotel, please use ‘c/o Business Name’. Only send to hostels/hotels if you plan to stay there, and call ahead. If your plans change, please offer to pay for the service of holding your mail.


Below is how to address your box for a Business delivery: 


Jane Doe <- use your real name! 

c/o Business Name <- use actual name of business 

    Address or PO Box

Town Name, State 12345

    Please hold for AT thru hiker, ETA 01/23/2022 <- include your estimated arrival 


Where to Ship?

Most of my boxes will be shipped to locations where the resupply options are a bit bleak or just too overpriced—enough so to justify the shipping costs. Below are the best locations I could identify in my research. 


1st Package  

Mile: 164.7, Fontana Dam, North Carolina 

Address: Post Office (Fontana Dam, NC 28733), or 

Fontana Lodge, ATTN: Front Desk, 300 Woods Dr., Fontana Dam, NC 28733

Notes: Touristy and apparently expensive. Don’t forget to print and mail yourself the Great Smoky Mountains National Park AT Thru Hiker Permit ($20)


2nd Package

Mile: 591.8, Bland, Virginia

Address: Post Office (Bland, VA 24315), or  

Big Walker Motel (for guests only): 

UPS – 70 Skyview Lane, Bland, VA 24315

USPS – PO Box 155, Bland, VA 24315

Notes: No good resupply options nearby.


3rd Package 

Mile: 1,025.4, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia 

Address: Post Office (Harpers Ferry, WV 25425), or 

ATC Headquarters, PO Box 807, 
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

Notes: No good resupply options nearby. 


4th Package 

Mile: 1,496.3, Falls Village, Connecticut 

Address: Post Office (Falls Village, CT 06031)

Notes: This one is here only to maintain my regular 500-mile intervals. 


5th Package 

Mile: 2079.7, Monson, Maine

Address: Post Office (Monson, ME 04464), or 

Shaw’s Hiker Hostel

    USPS: PO Box 72, Monsoon, ME 04464

    UPS/FedEx: 17 Pleasant St, Monson, ME 04464

Notes: This is the last stop before the 100-Mile Wilderness. No good resupply option aside from a convenience store. Plan for 6-8 days of food. Leave Monson with cash, as Baxter only accepts cash/checks (no ATM at Abol Bridge). 


Earning My “As” with the 7 “Ps”

A little prep goes a long way, hopefully all the way of the AT’s 2193 miles. As the ‘ole adage / British military saying goes: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance—the 7 Ps. I spent a couple of weeks planning my resupply logistics with the goal of keeping my motivation and spirits high. The mission is to get an A+ in getting to Maine safely and well-nourished. I hope the ‘future me’ will appreciate all the pre-planning efforts.

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.

Comments 4

  • Aryn Freeman : Mar 13th

    I feel this struggle so hard! I’ve been obsessing about supply drops for a while now, and finally decided on more frequent packages bc I can coordinate them with my partner and send them to trailside hostels all the way through VA. I totally could’ve gone your way as well, though!

  • Sarah : Apr 4th

    Love your posts so far, & this one is my favorite — thank you for the specific info! Saved to my file for someday, when I hike the AT, too!


What Do You Think?