Packing Resupply Boxes for the CDT
My Past Resupply Strategies
In less than one week, I will be standing at the southern terminus of the CDT, ready to set out Northbound on my fourth thru-hike and my final triple crown trail. On my first thru-hike, the PCT, I spent months doing research, making spreadsheets, scouring the internet for good deals (I had a budget of $2,500 for the hike), dehydrating food, and counting calories. I prepackaged and labeled boxes for 8 locations and left a list in each one of fresh items (like cheese and tortillas) for my loving mom to pack before sending. There were some meals that I loved, like Thai peanut noodles, mac and cheese, and pineapple chicken with rice. Other items were less than ideal and ended up in the hiker boxes more often than not. It turns out that, although nutritious, I don’t really like the texture of chia seeds, a pound of dried cranberries in each resupply is too much even if you buy them in bulk for cheap, and home harvested wild rice takes too long to cook.
On the Superior Hiking Trail, I was going for a speed record so I brought all stoveless meals that were easy to eat while walking, lightweight, and calorically dense. Since it was an unsupported record, I was required to bring everything I needed from start to finish so resupplying was out of the question. Some of my favorites from that trip included Clif Protein Builder bars with peanut butter, Epic bacon bars, and collagen powder with caffeinated Mio.
On the AT, I knew it would be easy to resupply in town every couple of days so I didn’t send any boxes. I also ended up ditching my stove in Pennsylvania and mostly survived off of bagels with cream cheese and cold soaked instant mashed potatoes with crushed potato chips. I did regret this decision when it got cold again in New Hampshire and Maine.
What I’m Doing This Time Around
For my CDT resupply, I am combining what I have learned from my last three hikes. I am tentatively sending 8 boxes to locations recommended in the Halfway Anywhere Thru-hike Survey and from friends who have hiked it in the past. I am bringing my stove since I am expecting some cold weather at high altitudes and, as such, packed some cooked items in each box, so we will see if I regret that decision or not when I get halfway through the hike, become obsessed with shedding weight and want to ditch the stove. The CDT does have an official route, but there are alternates that can be hiked so I left the shipping addresses off the boxes this time and will tell my mom where they are going when I get closer to needed them. I also left some space in the boxes for fresh stuff and special requests as cravings arrive. I’m sure my mom will put some surprises in each one as well. I’m hoping that this time, I found a good balance between budget, nutrition and foods that I know I will actually want to eat. Each one is a little bit different but here is one as an example. I tend to eat whatever sounds good at the time while on trail so even though I’ve roughly categorized these into three meals for the sake of photographic ease, I might mix and match and eat dinner for lunch or breakfast foods for dinner. I assumed that each resupply of the trip would be about 5 days and so each box weighs about 10 lbs as 2lbs per day seems about right for me. If it is longer or shorter I will simply eat more or supplement out of hiker boxes or convenient stores.
- 3 Chocolate breakfast essentials
- Peanut powder
- Greens powder with medicinal mushrooms
- High protein granola
- Buttermilk powder
- Homemade maple sugar
- Laird Superfood creamer
- Laird Chai with medicinal mushrooms
- Instant coffee
- Epic Protein coffee
- Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee and Mushroom Elixir Mix
- Fried onions
- Chicken packets
- Peanut M&Ms
- Protein cookie
- Peanut butter cups
- 10 granola bars
- A jerky stick
- Electrolyte drink packets (hiding under the peanut butter cups)
The next three are not really lunch foods but I forgot to include them in the dinner picture, oops:
- Parmesan cheese
- Nutritional Yeast
- Apple cider packets
I like to keep ingredients like seasoning and dried vegetables separate in case I want to mix and match.
- Instant refried beans
- Taco seasoning
- Sun dried tomatoes
- Mac and cheese
- Cous cous
- Bacon bits
- Pineapple Fried rice
- Instant rice
- Freeze dried chicken
- Dried pineapple
- Soy sauce
- Dried peas and carrots
- Dried onions and mushrooms
I’m excited to eat all of this out on some mountain pass. One of the best things about thru-hiking is that food tastes ten times better on trail. Honestly, it’s one of my top reasons for thru-hiking.
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