People have asked me a lot about my PCT resupply strategy. I generally bought as I went, so I didn’t have to buy, and mail, and get sick of, 500 packages of ramen. But the bulk stuff, the trickier stuff, the Amazon-only kind of stuff, I shipped to myself as I went along.
Remember, when sending to the PO it’s
YOUR REAL NAME NOT YOUR TRAIL NAME
Town, State, ZIP
Trailtown, CA 12345
Somewhere on it, also write “HOLD FOR PCT HIKER” and put an ETA. Some of the places are tiny towns, that get thousands of packages. For instance, Sierra City in CA is home to about 100 people, and they have 1 store, with about an 8×8 room full of stacked and unsorted hiker packages. In Stehekin, there’s 1 part-time guy. In hiker season, the PO (1 room) is so packed there’s almost nowhere to stand. Take pity on the poor people who have to handle all these. I maildropped almost all of Oregon and Washington. I think OR was about $300 and WA might have been $350. I took advantage of legit grocery stores and access to the Post Office in Ashland and Hood River ( a cheap bus ride from Cascade Locks ).
Here’s a list of the resupply items I found handy to have along the way. With cell service, a credit card, and a bit of planning, you can have your hard-to-find stuff delivered just in time to your next town visit. I tried to buy as much as I could in trail towns. I feel its important to support the local economies, as the local folks support the hikers with rides, advice, trail maintenance etc. Some of this stuff might be cheaper at other stores, but a lot of people reported problems getting shipments from places like REI. Amazon may be the evil empire, but if they quote 2-day shipping to a tiny town like Etna, CA, they get stuff there in 2 days. Or you could have someone at home go shopping and box it all up for you, but if you’re putting in 1 order, why not put in 1 big order?
Blatant product placement – if you buy this stuff the price is the same, but I get a few pennies from Amazon to help pay for the site.
With a bit of planning, you can combine local resupplies with dependable ones. You get the best of both worlds, you don’t get sick of resupply food, and you get the things you need regardless of the size of the local shop.