Last-Minute Prep: WA Resupplies and Transportation

The thing about hiking SOBO is you need to manage a whole lot of logistics upfront. Most importantly, you need to buy nearly all of the food you need for the entire state of Washington, separate it into ~5 boxes, and mail them all before you even get to the trail. This is all with the assumption that you will be accurate in your daily mileage estimate from Day 1. Despite backpacking 800+ miles last year, I’m almost positive I’ll have too much food, but that seems like a better idea than having too little to start.

Prepping all of my resupply boxes for Washington

Despite the logistics, I do appreciate prepping my resupplies in advance, particularly when it’s easy to include ingredients and snacks that are easiest bought online, like my favorite gluten-free Honey Stinger stroopwaffels and freeze dried blueberry powder to make my breakfasts taste delicious. With a double whammy of dietary restrictions (gluten-free and pescatarian), it can often be a struggle to find nutritious foods to resupply with in tiny towns. I’m also a cold soaker (out of sheer laziness regarding camp chores), so it’s nice to know in advance that my meals will have some variety and taste decent (note that I do not say delicious).

Resupply boxes getting ready to be shipped

Since I have to fly to Seattle, I kept going back and forth on what to put as checked baggage. I am too attached to my pack to feel comfortable throwing it into the underbelly of a plane, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to check the gear the TSA wouldn’t be so thrilled to find. When I booked my flight, I made sure to choose Southwest, since checked bags are free, which will save me a bit of money over other airlines. I opted to grab a cheap cardboard box from Home Depot, cut it down to size, and use that to hold my trekking poles, ice axe, microspikes, and tent poles. I padded it with my food, and it should work great for the airport. Plus, I can immediately break down the box and recycle it once I get to Seattle.

Another big logistics question for SOBO PCT hikers is how to get a ride to Hart’s Pass. I have friends in Seattle who will be picking me up from the airport and hosting me for a night, but the drive to Hart’s Pass is more than 4 hours from Seattle. As generous as my friends are, I was not about to ask any of them to spend 8 hours round-trip taking me to the trailhead.

This is where Facebook groups become a godsend. Through the various PCT groups, I found a group of Trail Angels in Washington that organize daily rides to Hart’s Pass. I was able to organize a ride from a Seattle friend an hour north, where I will meet up with a Trail Angel (and other hikers), who will drive me the rest of the way to Hart’s Pass.

It’s not too long now before I will be on the trail. I’m especially thankful that most of the snow has melted and that I missed the truly debilitating PNW heat wave of late June. Here’s hoping the weather stays mild!


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

  • Kyla : Jul 6th

    Hey let me tell you, I lived in Seattle for two years a year ago and flew out of that airport every week. Their TSA is very strict for carry on. Most airports will pull you for any type of tub of food type stuff in a carryon, search your whole bag for an hour, make you miss your plane, they don’t care. I’ve gotten pulled before for a jar of apple butter, any kind of non see through packet like the metal pouches with dried peaches, even a tub of whole foods clay powder for your face, sealed, which they threw away. The Seatac guy told me “never being this kind of foil food pouch here again. ” They also hate anything inside other things like inside shoes. So, don’t pack any of that into carry on. I leave a note inside checked bag like “just food here!” Cuz they do go through it for stuff like water bottles. Even though I’ve flown hundreds of times, SW has never lost a bag, and the only time a bag ever got delayed was once on United , so I wouldn’t worry about checked bags getting lost. Don’t check them in late, that’s when bags get lost. There’s also every kind of campy thing and health food store in Seattle if you’ll be in town.

    • Kyla : Jul 6th

      Also, I really don’t recommend a cardboard box to check. They will probably want to open a box with an axe and food, they’ve opened my bags many times before. Then they won’t really close the box and stuff will be floating around the conveyor belt if you even get it. I would get a cheap suitcase at tj maxx (a homeless person would take that in Seattle instantly) or box with clasps that open. Or mail it.

  • Sufia Arsala : Jul 8th



What Do You Think?