How do you carry food for 6 months?!?

So the day is getting closer and I seem to get asked two similar questions.

1. Are you going alone?

Technically, yes, I am starting alone. Though with 50 permits issued daily from Campo, Ill likely find a few fun people to walk with for a really really long hike. I love the idea of a “tramily,” or trail family, so hopefully Ill find a few other slow pokes like myself.

2. How do you carry food for 6 months?

The second question is somewhat more complicated. I struggle with food in the back country. I learned very quickly during mountaineering to set an hourly snack alarm or I would bonk: so, food is gonna be interesting out there…

I have heard there is this thing called “hiker hunger.” My longest trip to date has been 11 days and I’ve been told it takes 3-4 weeks for hiker hunger to show up. I sure hope that happens for me, because one of my fears is that I won’t be able to consume the calories I need to hike for 6 months. It’s not that hard to push through a weekend trip on zero appetite, but not so much for 2600 miles.

Resupply in the time of Covid:

While my risk of transmitting Covid will be relatively low, I still want to take this seriously. My approach will be to plan longer food carries, utilize a bounce box (a box you send ahead of yourself while on the trail), minimize hitchhiking, and practice mask use/social distancing.

Gas station resupply:

Gas station resupply is a necessary reality on trail at times. It’s fortunate that I like beef jerky and cheese so much! Did I mention I am bringing Amazing Greens? I figure I’ll need to balance the gas station trash panda habits with some green juice before my insides melt along the trail.

Mailbox resupply:

Why not send yourself food the whole way? I don’t really have an answer since I’ve never attempted to hike 2600 miles before. But from what I hear, you get really sick of the things you send yourself. Many also say that its hard to predict what you will want to eat until you are actually on the thru hike. So I want to give myself the best chance possible of keeping my food needs met… so resupply boxes are needed they will be sent ahead while on trail not before I start.

When in doubt:

I also recognize that there are places along the trail that food selection is limited, or will cost more than I want to spend. With a bounce box I can have some items that are hard to find and refill as I go (olive oil packets, mayo packets, true lime packets- products that make water and food taste good). I can also use this box to send food to some of those hard-to-resupply spots (I’m looking at you Stehekin.)

Otherwise, I will be filling my belly with lots of Ramen and Idahoan potatoes. It’s the food of thru-hiker champions. Oh, and don’t forget the gummy bears. There is nothing like a gummy bear when you are trying to crush miles and climb hills. I think my over-planning mind is going to need to develop a salad bounce box to be ready for when I return home. Backpacking food habits are not for the front country… hmm… I better start planning for my post-trail resupply.

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Comments 1

  • Gail Stevens : Feb 15th

    Yummy!!!at least snickers! I will be stocking up on tuna packets at Aldi’s would that be good as long as you are not in bear country ? Too messy and stinky? Will have hamburger and/ or steak or what ever you are craving at trail angeling spots just let us know how many extra trail family mouths to prepare for.


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