Resupply — Expedition Shopping

Grab a cart to buy mountains of food. Rebag it and throw away the wasteful packaging.

Logistics can be challenging when long-distance backpacking. The ultimate goal is to carry the lightest possible pack. In the case of gear, lighter weight means higher costs. With food and fuel, it is a balancing act of carrying enough supplies to stay on the trail for the most days possible without risking injury or exhaustion from carrying too much weight. Resupply expeditions are costly in both time and money. Most towns are at least a few miles away from the trail. This extra mileage plus all the things that get done on a Town Day usually means a day of no hiking. (If you missed it, read about the delights of a Town Day .) Staying overnight in town obviously increases costs when compared to tent-camping in the woods for free.

“You carry your house (tent), your bed (sleeping bag), your stove, your food, and everything else you need until the next opportunity to resupply. If you need it, you have to carry it.”–AWOL (Thru-hiker David Miller)

At our slow pace and low mileage, we each eat 1 ½ pounds of food per day. (Thru-hikers pushing for 3-4 times our mileage often consume 2-3 pounds of food per day and still don’t get enough calories!) We generally plan a partial resupply at a gas station or convenience store 4-5 days after a Town Day. Other items such as fuel and dinners are only found at bigger stores in larger towns—which we reach every 7-9 days. We hustle through the grocery store with our list—oohing and ahhing over all the yummy looking food. We can buy some treats to eat while still in town. But we have to stick closely to our list for trail food—otherwise our packs would quickly be too heavy to carry!

Lots of groceries

After we lug all the bags back to where we are staying overnight, we dump it all out to organize the food. Every time, we wonder how that mountain will ever fit in our packs! Daughter carries the lunch and dinner food. I carry the breakfast items and multitude of snacks. (To see a list of the types and amounts of food we carry, check out the post on Trail Journals from 9/5/15, found HERE.)

Mountains of Food

We take most foods out of the wasteful, over-large, heavy packaging. Snacks are divided into individual portions to make sure we don’t mindlessly eat three or four days’ worth at one time. Don’t worry, most of these bags will be saved and reused. Other foods are mixed together in freezer weight bags, ready to have water added at meal time.


Individual Portions

We have a mound of trash by the time we are finished. But now the food will fit in our packs.

Wasteful Packaging

Hopefully we didn’t forget anything—it will be a long week before we get to another store!

(Read about “Hiker Hunger” HERE. It’s a real thing!)

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