How do we get our food?

One of the most common questions we are asked is how do we get our food?  There are several ways thru-hikers do this.  They can buy their food along the way in the towns along the trail or they can mail their supplies to the towns that are too small to have a good selection and buy it at the towns that have full size grocery stores.  Another way is to mail all your food.  The last scenario is, hikers can resupply out of the hiker boxes along the trail.  A hiker box is a surplus of supplies and food that other hikers have discarded.  All towns along the trail provide one.

We will be mailing all of our food.  There are four of us and buying that much food in the small towns would be very expensive.  We can get exactly what we want, in the quantities we need at home.  Some hikers buy prepared meals from hiking supply stores however, this becomes terribly expensive.  We prepare our own meals from ingredients we buy at Walmart or Costco.  Some of the meals are:  spaghetti, basil orzo, vodka pasta sauce, egg and sausage burritos,  rice and bean burritos, chili, chicken salad wraps.  It is a lot of work to do this, but it is far cheaper.  We have friends that will be mailing our “food-drop” to us as we hike.  Since we live on the west coast, the mailing cost is a lot lower than for those who live else where.  An advantage to mailing is that we can make changes to our boxes as we go.  All it takes is a phone call.

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The Work Begins

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Spaghetti sauce ready for dehydrationSincre

Since there are only three and half months before are departure date,  we have begun the laborious job of food preparation.  We try to dehydrate as much as we can ourselves to save money.  The first thing we are working on is spaghetti sauce.  We bought large quantity of Prego sauce at Costco that we pour onto drying trays.  Overnight, it dries into a leather that we grind up into a course powder.  This makes reconstituting with water easier.  Next, the dried sauce is divided up with pasta noodles and vacuum sealed.  The trays in the photograph, produced enough for ten dinners for our family of four.  We have a lot of food to collect: 147 breakfasts, 151 lunches, and 137 dinners for 160 days of hiking.  There are only 137 dinners because we are expecting to have access to restaurants on food drop days.  Our dehydrator will be running nonstop for many weeks.

Down Jackets

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Uniqlo Ultra-Down Parkas

For years, we have carried fleece jackets which have served us well.  But this year we will be taking light down coats on the PCT.  Normally these jackets cost $200-$300, but we have found a source where we can get quality down jackets for $70 (they are on sale right now for $50).  Paul Magnanti from The Trail Show pod-cast wrote an article for the The Trail Groove online magazine about the Uniqlo Ultralight Down Parka.  These coats are made of 850 fill down, come in both adult and kids sizes (trying to find light weight backpacking clothes for kids is difficult), and are well designed and made.  On Black Friday, these parkas went on sale, so we bought one for Ann, Joon, and myself.  They were out of Will’s size.  Ann and Joon got coats with down hoods, I did not.  We received them in the mail a week later.  They are really nice and we have used them during the abnormally cold weather we have had here.  I ordered the wrong size for myself,  so we drove 1-1/2 hours to the nearest store  in Irvine to exchange it.  The other day, we discovered that they had gotten in the size for Will, so we ordered one.  Now we all have a good cold weather coat.  Next we have to replace our worn out rain gear.