A lot of people have been asking how they can send me stuff on the trail. If you are reading this, it’s likely that it’s because you “care”! Many former thru hikers I have spoken to have stressed the importance of making sure that the people who love them and want to help from home them know the do’s and don’ts of hiker care packages. Well, it is actually pretty easy.
Step 1: Get a small box. If it requires a U-HAUL to deliver, it might be best left at home.
Step 2: Fill it up with goodies that won’t spoil during transport. I’ll make a list below so you can get a good idea of what works.
Step 3: Contact my bro Alex (aka: Lex, Big Al, El Tigre, Lex the Defender) and drop it off with him. If you can’t give it to him, he will let you know where to ship it to and how to properly label the box.
And that is it. Care packages are always a treat and it’s nice to know that there are people somewhere out there in distant lands who are thinking about some guy named Ed.
So, you are probably wondering what in the world should I send?
- Homemade Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, biscotties, or any other homemade baked goods that wont spoil to quickly.
- Freeze Dried Fruit – Strawberries, Blueberries and Cherries are my favorite
- Freeze Dried Dinners – Mountain House/Backpacker’s Pantry freeze dried meals are a real treat! They taste good, are filling and more importantly EASY to cook after a particularly long day. Some favorites are Beef Stroganoff, Pasta Primavera and Scrambled Eggs w/ Bacon – honestly, all the flavors taste awesome when my stomach is growling.
- Prince Polo Dark chocolate wafers – Sold at Costco. Few wafers compare to the P. Polos.
- Freeze Dried Veggies to add to my meals – “Just Veggies” brand mixed vegetables, Freeze Dried Broccoli, Freeze Dried Beef Crumbles. Veggies are limited out there.
- Photocopies of photos, funny/interesting newspaper or magazine articles, jokes etc…
- Letters from you! Seriously, letters are great!
- Wasabi Peas
- Starbucks Doubleshot Espresso drinks in the can (the small ones)
- Energizer Ultimate Lithium AAA Batteries – These get a little pricey but they last almost twice as long as standard batteries.
- Nuts – Any kind of mixed nuts or small bags of granola are always welcome.
- Any kind of dry food is way better than wet food. Wet food weighs much more.
Don’t let this list limit you to these few options. If you think I’ll like something, send it right over. Be creative and have fun with it!
Question: What kind of things should I avoid?
Answer: Items that are heavy or large quantities of anything. Leaving town ALWAYS means climbing steep mountains again with a fully loaded pack, so if you send me a 3lb bag of M & M’s, I’ll likely leave much of it in a hiker donation box or have to ship it home. A few small food items are much better than a large bulky one.
I will need to repackage just about any food items in ziploc freezer-type bags. The thing is, there are no trashcans out there so I repack everything and throw away wrappers and such in town. So if you can send them in ziplocs with any excess packaging removed, it’s a big help. Please label any food items that might not be identifiable otherwise. Keep in mind that I can only carry a maximum of 10 pounds of food. I still have all my other gear on my back to haul around. Anything I can’t carry easily will sadly be sent home.
On a final note:
- Email me and let Al know if you are sending a package. I won’t get your boxes if I don’t ask for it at the Post Office.
- Ask Al about my itinerary and try to send your box two weeks in advance of my estimated arrival date.
Many of the Post Offices on the trail are TINY and FULL of resupply boxes during hiker season.
- Boxes should be sent via USPS Priority Mail through the US Post Office – Priority Mail allows me to forward boxes further down the trail for no charge.
- Letters can be mailed via regular mail.
- Put my first and last name on the package.
- DO NOT send anything I have to sign for. USPS Priority Mail is ALWAYS the best option
- On the box/letter write “HOLD FOR AT HIKER, ETA: (expected arrival date)”
- Write my last name on all sides of the box in big black letters so it is easily found.
Well, that’s about it! Thanks to everyone who are supporting me on this epic endeavor!
Special thanks to jasonhikes.com for Care Package advice.