Are These the 11 Hardest Resupply Towns on the PCT?
My Daily Calorie Target
(Vegan) Hiker Meal Ideas
Old fashioned Oats or Instant Oatmeal with nuts, dried fruit, and peanut butter
Pop-Tarts (strawberry and brown sugar are vegan friendly)
Dehydrated pinto bean burritos topped with a crunchy, savory chip and Valentina or El Yucateco hot sauce. The beans may be difficult to resupply.
Anything else I have wrapped in a flour tortilla. Peanut butter? Nuts? Oreos? All of the above? Yes.
Avocados added to bean burritos or just some avocado wraps
Backpacker Pad Thai: Top Ramen with peanut butter and hot sauce (Nissin brand Soy Sauce and Chili flavors are vegan friendly)
Ramen Bombs: Top Ramen with instant mashed potatoes (Idahoan Original and Hungry Jack plain are vegan)
Couscous with dehydrated vegetables and vegetable bouillon
Knorr Rice sides with dehydrated vegetables (Spanish, Yellow, & Cajun Red Beans & Rice are vegan)
Dehydrated beans, minute rice, vegetable bouillon, and hot sauce
Vegan-friendly mac n cheese (like Daiya)
Backpacker’s Pantry brand vegan meals (these are expensive and will be a rare and savored treat); there are many other companies making backpacker meals. I’ve eaten this brand and enjoyed them.
1 tbsp Olive oil or coconut oil is a fast and easy way to add some fat and calories to most meals.
Clif Bars, Luna Bars, Kind Bars, Bobo’s Bars are all vegan friendly and really good. The nut butter-filled and Builder bars by Clif Bars have extra calories and protein.
Peanut, almond, cashew butters. I haven’t tried PB2 powder but could be a good weight saver.
Plant-based protein powder (Do you even thru-hike, bro?)
Super greens powder drink mix
Nuun electrolyte drink tablets
*I may switch these to a multivitamin
Where Will I Buy Food?
Here is my list of the Top 11 most difficult resupply locations broken down by trail section, including the PCT mile marker and mailing address for a resupply package.
Top 11 Difficult Resupply Towns
1. Warner Springs (Mile Marker 107.2)
2. Acton KOA (Mile Marker 444)
3. Kennedy Meadows (Mile Marker 703)
4. Sierra City (Mile Marker 1198)
5. Belden (Mile Marker 1289)
6. Crater Lake (Mile Marker 1831.5)
7. Shelter Cove (Mile Marker 1917.8)
8. White Pass (Mile Marker 2310)
9. Snoqualmie Pass (Mile Marker 2409)
10. Stevens Pass/Skykomish (Mile Marker 2483)
11. Stehekin (Mile Marker 2575)
*Here is a Google Sheet with additional information such as fees, hours of operation, and amenities.
*Please verify shipping address, accepted methods, and hours of operation.
*If you find better information, options or discrepancies let me know and I will update this list.
To Ship or Not to Ship?
The reasons these places make the list vary from being difficult to access from the trail to having limited options, being expensive, or not being hiker friendly. I will tentatively plan a combination of pre-packaging myself resupply boxes and bouncing boxes ahead to myself for these towns. These places will either have a USPS office that can hold my box for me until I arrive, or a hiker-friendly business that can hold hiker packages.
The thru-hiker materials and method of choice is usually the USPS Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box. The flat-rate fee is $21.90 for the large box. This is something to consider if your personal priority is cost. It may not always be cheaper to mail yourself a package versus resupplying in town. You can buy a lot of Top Ramen noodles and granola bars for $21.90. *Note that number seven, Shelter Cove, OR, is UPS-only.
If you feel inclined and have a Magic 8-ball, you could in theory package up a resupply box of food for every single resupply along the PCT. A few things could go wrong with this: 1) What if you decide you really hate some of your food choices that you selected months ahead of time? 2) What if you have some unforeseen delay, and your package is returned before you can pick it up? 3) What if you decide you don’t want to hike 2,650 miles? You purchased a lot of trail food that you will now be eating at home, thinking about how you quit your thru-hike. You also need a really generous person, or a really good bribe, to have someone agree to mail out all these packages of food to you for 4-6 months.
Seasoned thru-hikers may know what foods work for them, and the odds of quitting are much less likely, therefore spending all the preparation to package months of food could be worth their while. Perhaps you have a food dehydrator and are saving a lot of money by preparing your own secret blend of herbs and spices for hiker recipes? If you have dietary preferences or restrictions, this could also be a necessary investment of time and preparation.
For most attempting the PCT, this is their first major thru-hike. Like me, most will spend their time trying to figure out what cat hole trowel they need, the Deuce of Spades #1, #2, or #3. I am going to prepare two boxes for the desert section before departing: Warner Springs and Acton. For the rest of my list of challenging locations, I’ll prepare a box in a town a week before, then mail the resupply package ahead to myself. Maybe I’ll be tired of Double Stuff Oreos, and want regular, old, original Oreos by the time I reach Belden, CA? Or I could be super sick of Skippy chunky peanut butter, and I’ll want JIF creamy peanut butter when I’m in Shelter Cove, OR? There are just so many possibilities. The vast majority of my resupplies will happen when and where I reach the next town. For me, this is part of the experience and not as daunting as it may seem.
Food for Starting at Campo
What is my total calorie target per day? It won’t matter, I’ll still be hungry.
Which foods do I love that are calorically dense, don’t need anything to prepare except hot water, and preferably have some nutritional value? Don’t judge me as I eat Oreos in my sleeping bag at night.
How many miles and how many days until the next town? I’m still daydreaming of pizza and beer from the last town, wondering if it will be even tastier in the next town.
Repeat until I reach Canada.
Next up, water…need water.
Thank you for reading.
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.