When you are hiking 25+ miles a day, basically a marathon a day for months on end, you burn a lot of calories. I’ll need to consume about 4,000 calories a day!
So how do you get all this food out on the trail?
There are three different ways people typically resupply on the PCT.
1. Prepare boxes ahead of time packed with all the food, maps, and mosquito repellent you think you’ll need and have a buddy mail them periodically to post offices, motels, trail angels’ homes, youth camps, convenience stores, and Cracker Barrels along the way.
2. Shop at the larger trail towns that have “real” grocery stores (or you are very easy to please and can resupply out of a small convenience store). Then pack boxes with this bounty and mail them to your future self up the trail.
3. Choose a hybrid style. Mail some packages from home – perhaps mailing only to towns where resupplying would be impossible or packing boxes with select items for a restrictive diet. Then supplement that food with items you purchase at the trail towns as you go along.
I chose option 3. I prepared and dehydrated 120 dinners that are cow’s milk and gluten free. These include delicious things like pesto pasta, chicken with chanterelles and rice, and shepard’s pie. On the PCT, I’ll only have to add boiling water. Dinner is served!
Keeping in mind that former thru hikers repeatedly say that I’ll hate the food I send to myself and start craving foods I would never imagine eating, I only included a few other things like my favorite chocolate bars (dark chocolate and salted almond), individual olive oil packets (low weight, lots of calories), and dehydrated kimchi (pro-biotic, spicy, crunchiness most likely not stocked at the Mojave, CA 7-11.)
Preparing all those meals took me about 4 months. I tried to make things that were calorie-dense, but low in fat (fatty foods don’t dehydrate very well). I prepared 15 various meals plus take-out from some of my favorite restaurants. My greatest discover was dehydrated injera. Someone’s going to read this, act on it, and totally make a fortune. It’s great!
I taste-tested everything and think my future self will be pleased to have these care-packages.