On your thru hike it’s important to stay hydrated and nourished. This means you need to carry the right amount of food, because this will provide you with the energy you need to hike the many kilometers ahead of you. It’s important to find a balance here, since carrying too much food will only increase the weight of your pack. And this will cost you more energy and slow you down. More information about eating and drinking on the trail can be found on the nutrition page. In this article, we will focus on the various possibilities to resupply your stock whilst hiking.


What is a resupply?

First things first: what exactly is a resupply? A resupply means a new supply of food, water, gear, medication, or anything else you need for the next part of the trail. In most cases, a resupply will consist of more food and water, but it can also be the replacement of some of your gear like shoes or socks. Don’t forget to resupply on other essentials when needed such as sunscreen, maps, vitamins or maybe just something you enjoy having with you. A good resupply strategy will make it easier for you to hike with a lighter backpack.
There are various ways to organize a resupply. You can send supplies to specific places or you can decide to just buy new things at supermarkets or shops along the way. Sometimes it might be possible to give things to friends or family if they stop by or maybe you even know people along the trail that are willing to help you out. Many thru-hikers use a combination of buying supplies at stores along the way and sending resupply boxes to specific places.


Sending boxes

Supplies can often be sent in boxes towards specific places along the trail. This can encompass anything from accommodations you will pass to trail angels that are willing to help. Before sending a package to a location, it’s important to check if the place is accepting resupply boxes.

Sending resupply boxes has several advantages:
– It enables you to buy supplies you need in familiar stores before sending.
– Sometimes it is possible to send the boxes to places directly on the trail. This means you don’t have to walk extra kilometers to another city or village.
– In most cases, it’s cheaper to buy things beforehand compared to (smaller) stores along the trail.

However, there are also disadvantages:
– It takes time to prepare and send the boxes (however, this is also part of the fun).
– It can be difficult to determine what and how much you need, especially if you are not an experienced hiker.
– Sometimes it’s more expensive to send packages and there is always a chance that your package will get lost.
– It is not possible to send fresh products, like fruits or vegetables in resupply boxes.


To the supermarket

It’s also possible to resupply using stores along the trail. The advantages of this method are:
– It gives you more flexibility. On the trail, you have a better understanding of what and how much you need.
– It takes less planning beforehand.
– Supermarkets often have longer opening hours compared to the places where you can send resupply boxes, this will thus increase your flexibility along the trail.
– Depending on the type of trail, it can mean you are able to carry less weight because you will pass a lot of stores.

The disadvantages are:
– The stores you pass might not have the right products you need at a specific moment.
– The stores along the trail are often more expensive.
– Sometimes you will have to leave the trail to reach a town where you can find the stores and this will take more time.
– If you are hungry when entering the store, you might end up buying more than you actually need.

Luckily, you don’t necessarily have to choose one of the two methods. In most cases, you can use a combination of both and determine which works best for you while you are on the trail.


What not to forget

– The basics: food, water, medication- vitamins and minerals
– Sunscreen
– Topographical map
– Toilet paper and other toiletries
– First aid kit and band-aids/tape
– Socks (every few weeks)
– Shoes (after approximately 600-800 km of walking)
– Trail specific gear for the next part of the trail
– Fun stuff

And of course, depending on the trail and your own preferences, you can add things to list.


Bounce boxes

Whatever resupply strategy you end up choosing, you can always add some bounce boxes. This is a box with a supply of valuable gear you want to send to a specific point on the trail. When you reach that point, you take what you need from the box and consequently send it to the next point of the trail. This is useful for specific gear that’s only needed for a section of the trail or for heavier gear like a camera.

What are your experiences with resupplying along the trail? Let us know via [email protected].

Take also a look at:

Calculate the cost of your next thru-hike.
A good preperation is half of the job!
What’s the best time for your next thru-hike.


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