Resupply Planning and Pandemic Scares

As a California native, I’d like to think I have a pretty decent idea of what sort of products and things are normally available.  The hitch with resupply planning now? Living abroad up until about four weeks until my hike start date, with the desire to pack my own meals. Yikes. I don’t have any strict health reasons for any particular dietary restrictions.  I do have the desire to keep my fuel higher quality than the standard ramen, jerky, and candy bars.


As I’m sure we’ve all seen on the news; COVID-19 is making its way around the world. What do people preparing for quarantine or isolation and thru-hikers have in common? A need for buying dehydrated foods and hand sanitizer in bulk. These new changes in access and timing may pose additional challenges to all of us planning on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) this year, and we won’t know how detrimental until we’re already there. For now, the idea of shopping makes me think of an old episode of Supermarket Sweep—minus the basket of frozen turkeys.


Pre-Trail Travel Plans

With the seemingly weekly changes to air travel restrictions and my being in South Korea, it’s becoming more of a challenge to pin down my exact travel plans. (If you didn’t know, a high volume of cases have been announced and subsequently treated here in recent weeks.) With that said, my original timeline for returning to California to begin the trail included travel to other nearby countries while I’m close and flights are relatively cheap.  Cut to only last week, when I woke up to multiple flight cancellations waiting in my inbox.  Ouch, my travel dreams!

On a positive note, I might actually be able to add greater distance to my hike, or add more shakedown hikes. One obvious downside, of course, is that my resupply plan is also now up in the air.

Resupply Planning


Living abroad has some obvious limitations. To name a few: time to prepare in advance, ability to pre-purchase supplies and shop around for the best deals. Back in January, this was my idea of a solid plan:

  1. Arrive back to my old stomping grounds with four weeks to spare, and go on multiple missions for food hauls at my preferred local grocery stores.
  2. Pack all my boxes and finally greet all of the gear I’ve been ordering the past few months online and post the necessary “Gear Haul” pictures like all good hiker trash.
  3. Choose between all of my “luxury items” that I’ve collected over the months for what I’ll actually take with me.
  4. Weigh my gear and post my obscene base weight for others to judge.
  5. Rock and roll to the starting point.

However, a lot has changed in the last two months. Which brings us to….


My newsfeed has exploded with news of shoppers raiding every store imaginable for supplies to ride out the COVID-19 wave.  While I can’t blame people for wanting to be prepared, it does make me inclined to change my resupply plan.  With the fallback option of supplementing my boxes by shopping in trail towns, here’s what I’ve come up with to try to meet a middle ground in case these stores have also fallen victim to Supermarket Sweep by the time of my arrival on foot:

  1. Return stateside, spend continued time in voluntary self-quarantine, and continue online shopping and savor the two-day shipping while I can.
  2. Explore the ravaged shelves of my favorite grocery stores and pick up what I can find that the savvy preppers in Northern California may have overlooked
  3. Carry on like before, but with more hand sanitizer.

The news is fluid; the best we can do is stay on our toes and be mindful of timing.  Oh, and don’t forget to wash your hands, my fellow hiker trash.

Has anyone else modified their resupply plan in response to recent news? Let me know in the comments below!

Note: This is where I skip the discussion of medical advice and appropriate preparedness. I’m in no way qualified for that! Please take advice from your local medical and scientific authority.

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