In the third installment of the Continental Divide Trail Thru-Hiker Survey, we cover what’s probably the biggest (perceived) logistical issue on the CDT, resupply. After hikers get their gear sorted, questions surrounding resupply become the object of CDT hiker fascination.
What is CDT resupply? It’s the replenishment of the food (and other consumable items) carried in a hiker’s backpack. Basically, buying more food and supplies on the trail. Contrary to popular belief, CDT hikers commonly leave the trail and venture into towns to buy more food; they don’t carry all their food (for the entire hike) from the beginning. And, perhaps even more shockingly, the idea that thru-hikers subsist on a diet of foraged mushrooms and edible plants is a lie.
I often advise hikers not to worry about resupplying before beginning a thru-hike, but I am not always believed. Barring any dietary restrictions or a tight resupply schedule (i.e. you’re on a CDT speed run), there’s little reason to stress about where you’re going to buy food in Colorado in a couple of months. The Continental Divide Trail runs society adjacent and it isn’t difficult to get yourself to somewhere where you can pause and organize yourself and your hike.
Using data from the 2022 Continental Divide Trail Hiker Survey, I’ve compiled the following picture of what resupply looks like over the course of a Continental Divide Trail thru-hike. Hopefully, this helps all you would-be CDT thru-hikers rest a little easier.
Notes on the Data
- This year we have 235 completed surveys – a 7.5% increase versus last year and the most ever completed in a single season
- The Continental Divide Trail and thru-hiking in general come with a lot of acronyms and jargon you’re likely unfamiliar with if you’re new to the world of border-to-border foot travel. If you find anything unclear, the thru-hiker glossary may be of use. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, feel free to drop a comment and let me know.
- I ask that respondents do their best to accurately respond to questions. Not every hiker answers every question and not every answer is guaranteed 100% accurate (e.g. someone may mistakenly report spending $10,000 on their hike instead of $9,000).
- I refer to survey respondents collectively as this year’s “class“. Remember, this is a sample (albeit a large one) and not a comprehensive survey of every person on the CDT this year.
- The results invoke some math. I suggest you familiarize yourself with the words average, median (M), and standard deviation (σ) if you’re looking to get the most out of your time here.
- For stats requiring the length of the CDT for a calculation (e.g. mileage/day), I use 2,982 mi / 4,799 km (the distance used in the FarOut Guides CDT app).
- More detailed articles focused on CDT Horror Stories and CDT Advice in the coming weeks. If you would like to be notified of new surveys, click here.
Colors differentiating hiker segments:
- Northbound Thru-Hikers
- Southbound Thru-Hikers
- The number (1) will be appended when only using data from hikers who completed the trail
- The number (0) will be appended when only using data from hikers who did not complete the trail
If no color/label has been appended to a data point, I used all data collected (i.e. it also includes section hiker data and data from hikers who did not complete the trail).
When you find yourself in town along the Continental Divide Trail, you have the following options in terms of your resupply:
- Buy yourself a full resupply (replenish your food stocks from zero back to a level sufficient to get you to the next resupply point)
- Buy yourself a partial resupply (boost your current stock to get you through to the next resupply point – i.e. get more snacks)
- Pick up a package from a post office or hiker-friendly place along the trail (like a hotel or trail angel) that you’ve sent ahead to yourself.
- Get yourself a large enough meal to hold yourself over until the next town (some hikers are fond of doing this at the Cajon Pass McDonald’s).
- Skip the town completely and crush miles to your next resupply.
Sometimes your options are limited to a gas station or a very expensive general store (which is where some hikers may prefer to send themselves packages). Other times, you’ll find yourself in a large town with a supermarket (this is a good place to get a resupply to send ahead somewhere).
Before delving into the “best” strategy for CDT resupply, I must warn you (again) to not fall into the trap of attempting to plan your entire hike ahead of time. It (probably) is not going to work (although I’ve been proven wrong in the past).
Unless you have very specific dietary restrictions or some very compelling reason, there is little reason for you to plan your resupply stops ahead of time. It’s like worrying about how you’re going to get home when you reach the northern/southern terminus; it doesn’t matter to you who has yet to walk a single step. There will be plenty of time on the trail to figure out your resupply, trust me (I’m an internet stranger, so you basically have to).
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the CDT Class of 2022’s resupply.
Buying your food and prepping boxes before your hike can be tempting for the first-time thru-hiker – even the experienced, but uncertain thru-hiker). A certain (false) sense of security comes from packing up resupply before the trail – a kind of “well, I’ve got all that sorted out”. Except on the trail, all of that planning/sorting you did ahead of time can prove more of a liability than an asset.
Plans change, post offices aren’t always open, boxes get lost, and hikes end early – a lot can happen between your start date and the resupply box you hop(ed) to retrieve weeks or months later.
On top of all that, unless you’ve done a long-distance hike before, it can be hard to imagine what you, in a month (or two…or three…), are going to want to eat all day after having hiked hundreds of miles.
But since practically all hikers send at least some boxes, let’s examine how many boxes were sent, how many were prepped ahead of time, how frequently they were sent, and what was done before starting vs. on the trail.
- 5.5% Mailed all resupply
- 9.4% Mailed most resupply (> 50%)
- 40.2% Mailed some resupplies (10-50%)
- 42.3% Mailed a few resupply (1-10%)
- 7.5% Mailed no resupply
- 5.5% Mailed all resupply
- 9.4% Mailed most resupply (> 50%)
- 40.2% Mailed some resupply (10-50%)
- 42.3% Mailed a few resupply (1-10%)
- 7.5% Mailed no resupply
- 2.2% Mailed all resupply
- 9.4% Mailed most resupply (> 50%)
- 54.4% Mailed some resupply (10-50%)
- 25% Mailed a few resupply (1-10%)
- 8.9% Mailed no resupply
As with most years (every year), the vast majority of hikers split their resupplies between buying locally and sending resupply boxes ahead.
Number of Resupply Boxes
This is a chart of the total number of resupply boxes by thru-hikers who completed the entire Continental Divide Trail.
The average number of resupply boxes prepared ahead of time
(M = 2 | σ = 7.6)
The average total number of resupply boxes sent
(M = 5 | σ = 5.9)
The average percent of resupplies sent as boxes
(M = 11% | σ = 24%)
Resupply Boxes Prepared Pre-Trail
As part of CDT resupply planning, many hikers prepare resupply boxes ahead of time. Here are the stats for the number of boxes that thru-hikers prepared before setting foot on the trail.
Note: You can buy and prepare resupply boxes from on the trail; you don’t need all of your boxes ready before you even begin your hike.
The percentage of hikers who said they would have liked to have sent fewer resupply boxes during a thru-hike
The average number of resupply boxes sent by hikers who said they would have liked to have sent fewer resupply boxes
The percentage of hikers who said they would have liked to have prepared no resupply boxes before beginning their thru-hikes
Boxes Mailed from the Trail
As many CDT hikers learn (and what I’m here to tell you now) is that you can mail yourself resupply boxes from the trail. This strategy is a smart one because you will not only have a better idea of your daily mileage and your food preferences after you begin hiking, but you’ll be able to make sure you don’t waste time and money ahead of time prepping resupply boxes you may end up hating or never even using (if you have to get off the trail for some reason or skip a section due to fire, snow, or trail closures).
Here are the stats for the number of boxes that thru-hikers who finished sent to themselves while on the trail.
The percentage of hikers who said they would have liked to have sent more resupply boxes during a thru-hike
The average number of resupply boxes sent by hikers who said they would have liked to have sent more resupply boxes
The percentage of hikers who said they would have liked to have prepared all their resupply boxes before beginning their thru-hikes
This year’s average number of boxes sent was 7, the median was 5, people who sent 7 wanted to send more, and people who sent over 9 wanted to send fewer. Sounds like the average of 8 is just what this year’s class wanted.
Remember, there is no “correct number of CDT resupply boxes”, but there are most-definitely places where a prepackaged and curated selection of your preferences will be preferable to the local selection.
Where to Mail CDT Resupply Boxes
As part of the CDT Survey, I ask hikers where they definitely recommend sending a resupply box. Hikers’ motivations for sending a resupply box to a location on the trail can range from “the selection is bad and everything is expensive” to “the owners of the store are awful people and we should not support them”. Regardless of their reasons, here’s where the CDT Class of 2022 thinks you should send yourself resupply boxes.
In case there’s any confusion, the locations are listed in descending order (not geographical order). The percentages reflect the percentage of this year’s class who indicated that they would “definitely send a resupply box” to each location. And remember, this year’s class agreed upon sending six resupply boxes; I’ve included 10 to give you options (because, you know, hike your own hike, etc).
Suggest Mailing Resupply
- Pie Town (New Mexico) 83.7%
- Doc Campbell’s (New Mexico) 41.0%
- Ghost Ranch (New Mexico) 35.5%
- Lima (Idaho) 35.5%
- Leadore via Bannock Pass (Idaho) 31.9%
- Encampment via Battle Pass (Wyoming) 30.1%
- East Glacier Village (Montana) 29.5%
- South Pass City (Wyoming) 13.3%
- Twin Lakes (Colorado) 12.1%
- Chama via Cumbres Pass (New Mexico via Colorado) 9.6%
*This is the third year in a row Pie Town has been (overwhelmingly) at the top of the list.
Many hikers fail to realize that you can easily send yourself boxes from towns on the trail (instead of having to prepare your boxes ahead of time). You are not committed to the plan you have on the first day you set foot on the trail.
The CDT is long. But it simply connects a series of smaller trails between resupply stops. Nothing is stopping you from going to a supermarket, buying yourself delicious hiker food, and mailing it to yourself further up the trail (unless it’s Sunday because the post office is closed on Sunday – which may sound unimportant now, but will be an important thing to remember whilst on the trail).
For the sake of simplicity, suppose you’re strictly following the averages of this year’s CDT class. The number of resupply boxes that you will send to each section of the CDT is:
- New Mexico: 3
- Doc Campbell’s, Pie Town, Ghost Ranch
- Colorado: 0
- Wyoming: 2
- Encampment/Battle Pass, South Pass City
- Idaho/Montana: 3
- Lima, Leadore/Bannock Pass, East Glacier Village
Changes to CDT Resupply Strategy
To help future Continental Divide Trail hikers figure out a successful CDT resupply strategy, I ask hikers what they would have changed as far as resupply. This year, 51.2% of thru-hikers said they would change something about their resupply strategy.
- 28.7% – Send fewer resupply boxes over the course of the trail (9 was the average number of boxes sent by hikers who said this)
- 23.5% – Include more variety in their resupplies (Clif bars and Stroopwafels will only get you so far)
- 18.3% – Send more resupply boxes over the course of the trail (7 was the average number of boxes sent by hikers who said this)
- 17.4% – Include healthier food in their resupplies (yes, you can survive on M&M’s – but should you?)
- 14.8% – Mail resupply boxes from on the trail instead of ahead of time
- 12.2% – Include less food in their resupplies (the challenge of how much food to buy remains constant over the course of the trail)
- 4.2% – Send more food in their resupplies
- 3.6% – Resupply more frequently (more frequent resupplies means less weight carried – but also more time in town)
- 3.6% – Resupply less frequently (less frequent means longer distance between resupplies)
- 3.0% – Prepare no resupply boxes ahead of time
- 2.4% – Prep all their resupply boxes ahead of time
Favorite Hiker Meals & Snacks
Another Continental Divide Trail resupply consideration? What foods are you going to be resupplying with?
Personally, I would love to eat a Costco-sized bag of M&M’s with a large brick of cheese and a bottle of Sriracha for each section of trail, but I’ve been told this isn’t healthy (and 22% of CDT hikers said they wish they had resupplied with healthier food).
So what do CDT hikers eat? Berries, insects, dirt, fallen CDT hikers? Obviously. But there’s so much more on offer at (most of the) CDT resupply stops.
Favorite Backpacking Meals
- Knorr Rice Sides 33.0%
- Backpacker’s Pantry 29.2%
- Peak Refuel 29.2%
- Mountain House 19.8%
- Good To-Go 17.9%
- AlpineAire Foods 12.3%
- Patagonia Provisions 8.5%
- Greenbelly Meals 5.7%
- Farm to Summit 5.7%
- Food for the Sole 2.8% (out of business 😢)
Favorite Backpacking Snacks
- Potato Chips 21.5%
- M&M’s 20.9%
- Honey Stinger Waffles 19.8%
- Bobo’s Oat Bars 19.6%
- Trail Mix 18.6%
- Snickers Bars 18.4%
- Peanut Butter 17.8%
- Larabars 15.3%
- Clif Bars 13.5%
- Lenny & Larry’s Complete Cookies 13.5%
How Frequently to Resupply
Predicting (with any degree of accuracy) where you will resupply before beginning a thru-hike, is something a lot of hikers attempt to do despite my telling them it’s not necessary. Do you know how long it’s going to take you to walk 100 mi / 160 km two months into your hike with three days of unscheduled rain and too much food in your pack?
The weather, your physical condition, the people you’re with, where you’ve just come from, where you’re going, and so many other factors make this a (somewhat) educated guess at best.
Maybe you’re going to prefer carrying more food and resupplying less often. Maybe you’re going to prefer a lighter load with more frequent stops in town. Maybe you’re going to be injured or quit in the first week (or die) and none of this will even matter.
So what’s the right balance between resupply and hiking? It’s different for everyone. This is a response that many of you may not want to hear, but also the most accurate response I can offer. That said, here’s a look at what this year’s hikes looked like in terms of resupply.
The average number of days it took hikers to complete the CDT
(M = 144 | σ = 20)
The average number of zero days taken during a thru-hike
(M = 16 | σ = 9)
The average number of nearo days (low mileage days)
(M = 4 | σ = 5)
Northbound Hike Breakdown
The average number of days it took hikers to complete:
- 34 – New Mexico
- 45 – Colorado
- 30 – Wyoming
- 39 – Idaho+Montana
- 139 Northbound (1) – Entire CDT
Southbound Hike Breakdown
The average number of days it took hikers to complete:
- 31 – New Mexico
- 33 – Colorado
- 27 – Wyoming
- 44 – Idaho+Montana
- 133 Southbound (1) – Entire CDT
The average number of resupplies over the entire trail
(M = 28 | σ = 5.7)
The average number of days between resupplies
(M = 6 | σ = 3)
The average number of miles between resupplies (183 km)
(M = 106 mi / 171 km | σ = 30 mi / 48 km)
Average Resupplies Per Section
- 7.0 New Mexico (M=7)
- ~ every 111 mi / 179 km
- 8.3 Colorado (M=8)
- ~ every 88 mi / 142 km
- 5.7 Wyoming (M=6)
- ~ every 89 mi / 143 km
- 8.4 Idaho/Montana (M=8)
- ~ every 116 mi / 187 km
Stretches between resupply can vary greatly – especially depending on which alternates you take – and some will be a lot longer (or shorter) than others. That said, this should give you a rough idea of what to expect out there.
Average CDT Resupply Plan
Based on survey responses we can piece together what an “average” Continental Divide Trail hiker’s resupply looked like for a 2022 thru-hike. Below is a list of all the CDT resupply stops where hikers stopped this year accompanied by the percentage of hikers who stopped at each location.
Resupply stops are listed in geographical order from Mexico to Canada (that’s south to north in case you’re unsure) and, again, I use the following colors to indicate each resupply stop’s popularity: over 75%, 50-75%, 25-50%, under 25%.
New Mexico Resupply
- Hachita – 1.2%
- ⛺ Lordsburg – 97.1%
- Deming – 0.6%
- ⛺ Silver City – 97.7%
- ⛺ Doc Campbell’s – 90.2%*
- Reserve – 14.9%
- Davila Ranch – 1.2%
- ⛺ Pie Town – 86.8%*
- Quemado – 3.5%
- ⛺ Grants – 90.8%
- Albuquerque – 5.8%
- Thoreau – 0.6%
- Crownpoint – 0.6%
- ⛺ Cuba – 78.7%
- Española – 0.6%
- Santa Fe – 10.3%
- ⛺ Ghost Ranch – 33.3%*
- Taos – 0.6%
- Chama via Cumbres Pass – 78.2%
- Pagosa Springs via Wolf Creek Pass – 84.1%
- South Fork via Wolf Creek Pass – 6.1%
- Platoro – 4.9%
- Del Norte – 3.7%
- Creede – 21.5%
- Silverton via Stony Pass – 26.4%
- Durango – 3.9%
- Lake City via Spring Creek Pass – 69.3%
- Sargents – 0.6%
- ⛺ Monarch Mountain Lodge – 13.5%
- Monarch Spur RV Park – 1.2%
- Salida via Monarch Pass – 85.9%
- Gunnison – 1.2%
- Buena Vista – 9.2%
- ⛺ Twin Lakes – 68.7%
- Leadville – 72.4%
- ⛺ Copper Mountain – 6.8%
- Breckenridge – 44.8%
- Frisco – 16.6%
- Silverthorne – 27.6%
- Dillon – 13.5%
- Winter Park – 45.4%
- Fraser – 4.9%
- Denver – 11.7%
- ⛺ Grand Lake – 92.6%
- Steamboat Springs via Rabbit Ears Pass – 95.7%
- Encampment via Battle Pass – 59.3%*
- Riverside via Battle Pass – 22.7%
- ⛺ Rawlins – 98.3%
- ⛺ Big Sandy Lodge – 5.3%
- ⛺ South Pass City – 20.9%*
- Atlantic City – 11.1%
- Lander – 70.9%
- Pinedale – 68.6%
- Lava Mountain Lodge via Togwotee Pass – 7.0%
- Dubois via Togwotee Pass – 71.5%
- Jackson – 14.5%
- Togwotee Mountain Lodge – 1.2%
- ⛺ Brooks Lake Lodge – 4.7%
- ⛺ Grant Village in Yellowstone – 36.6%
- ⛺ Old Faithful Village in Yellowstone – 69.8%
- Mammoth Village in Yellowstone – 1.6%
- West Yellowstone – 46.3%
- ⛺ Island Park / Mack’s Inn – 48.3%
- Big Sky – 5.4%
- Ennis – 1.3%
- Lima – 89.3%*
- Leadore via Bannock Pass – 91.3%*
- Salmon – 3.4%
- Jackson – 4.0%
- Darby via Chief Joseph Pass – 76.5%
- Hamilton via Chief Joseph Pass – 2.0%
- Camp Sula – 6.7%
- Wisdom – 5.4%
- Wise River – 1.1%
- ⛺ Anaconda – 72.2%
- Whitehall – 3.4%
- Butte – 21.6%
- Bozeman – 6.3%
- Helena – 88.6%
- Elliston – 2.3%
- ⛺ High Divide Outfitters – 7.4%
- ⛺ Lincoln – 32.4%
- ⛺ Benchmark Wilderness Ranch – 10.2%
- Augusta – 80.7%
- ⛺ East Glacier Village – 94.3%*
- Kalispell – 2%
- ⛺ Two Medicine – 9.6%
- Saint Mary – 2.3%
- ⛺ Many Glacier – 23.3%
*Stops where this year’s class suggests sending resupply boxes
⛺ Stops that can be reached without hitchhiking or road walking
Based on this information, how would our average Continental Divide Trail thru-hiker resupply? It would resemble the following. Note: names in bold indicate locations where hikers suggest mailing a resupply box.
- Mile 84: Lordsburg
- Mile 158: Silver City
- Mile 38 of Gila Alternate: Doc Campbell’s
- Mile 415: Pie Town
- Mile 525: Grants
- Mile 629: Cuba
- Mile 689: Chama via Cumbres Pass
- Mile 847: Pagosa Springs via Wolf Creek Pass
- Mile 961: Lake City via Spring Creek Pass
- Mile 1061: Salida via Monarch Pass
- Mile 1144: Twin Lakes
- Mile 1181: Leadville
- Mile 1216: Breckenridge
- Mile 1290: Winter Park
- Mile 1343: Grand Lake
- Mile 1436: Steamboat Springs via Rabbit Ears Pass
- Mile 1520: Encampment via Battle Pass
- Mile 1602: Rawlins
- Mile 1722: Lander
- Mile 1799: Pinedale
- Mile 16.1 of Old CDT Alt: Dubois via Togwotee Pass
- Mile 1988: Old Faithful Village in Yellowstone
- Mile 15 of Macks Inn Alternate: Island Park / Mack’s Inn
- Mile 2134: Lima
- Mile 2236: Leadore via Bannock Pass
- Mile 2358: Darby via Chief Joseph Pass
- Mile 27 of Anaconda Cutoff: Anaconda
- Mile 2618: Helena
- Mile 2686: Lincoln
- Mile 2744: Augusta
- Mile 2877: East Glacier Village
NOTE: This is for educational purposes only and is not necessarily a good (or even decent) resupply strategy. Please do not blindly follow this; instead, use it as a guide.
Between many resupply stops, you may pass a location where you can get a meal (Cuba in New Mexico, for example) or a place where you can buy some snacks (Monarch Pass in Colorado, for example). Remember that this post is meant as a tool to gently guide you towards a more successful resupply plan (whatever that means – since, as I’ve already told you, planning resupplies is not a great investment of your time).
Favorite (& Least Favorite) Resupply Stops
The Continental Divide Trail is mostly about hiking (the worst), but the towns along the trail also play a role in the CDT experience. This is why I ask about hikers’ favorite and least favorite resupply points. Take note that when asking this question I specify “‘Favorite/Least Favorite’ means where [hikers] most/least enjoyed, not where had the best/worst resupply options (although these could be the same).”
Here’s what we came up with (for each section).
Favorite Resupply Stop
36% of hikers voted for Anaconda
Least Favorite Resupply Stop
31% of hikers voted for Cuba
Favorite Resupply Stops
- New Mexico: Silver City (35%)
- Colorado: Salida (26%)
- Wyoming: Lander (29%)
- Idaho/Montana: Anaconda (36%)
- New Mexico: Chama (23%)
- Colorado: Leadville (25%)
- Wyoming: Pinedale (26%)
- Idaho/Montana: East Glacier Village (20%)
Least Favorite Resupply Stops
- New Mexico: Cuba (31%)
- Colorado: Steamboat Springs (10%)
- Wyoming: Encampment (11%)
- Idaho/Montana: Lima (23%)
- New Mexico: Pie Town (29%)
- Colorado: Grand Lake (7%)
- Wyoming: Rawlins (9%)
- Idaho/Montana: Leadore (21%)
Hitchhiking to Town
What about hitchhiking to resupply stops?
You may not realize it, but hitchhiking often plays a big role on the Continental Divide Trail. It’s not unusual (and is actually quite common) for hikers to hitchhike to town to buy or pick up resupplies.
As part of the CDT Survey, I ask hikers what resupply stops (if any) they had difficulty hitchhiking to from the trail. The top responses were (from south to north).
- Encampment via Battle Pass (Wyoming) 16.3%
- Lander (Wyoming) 13.9%
- Leadore via Bannock Pass (Idaho) 13.9%
- Lake City via Spring Creek Pass (Colorado) 10.2%
- Pagosa Springs via Wolf Creek Pass (Colorado) 10.2%
- Dubois via Togwotee Pass (Wyoming) 9.6%
- Augusta (Montana) 8.4%
- Darby via Lost Trail Pass (Montana) 7.2%
Remember, hitchhiking can be a very subjective/random experience. It may be you get a ride with the first car past at a place where others stand waiting for hours. Don’t start crying if nobody picks you up after an hour and don’t hate on people who call a Lyft/Uber/taxi (definitely an option at some trailheads).
For the final piece of the resupply puzzle, we take a look at hiker dietary restrictions, and how easy they found resupplying with these restrictions.
- 26.3% Yes
- 73.7% No
Specific Dietary Restrictions
- 43.6% Vegetarian
- 23.6% Vegan
- 12.7% Dairy-free
- 7.3% Pescatarian
- 5.5% Gluten-free
- 5.5% Keto
- 5.5% Nut Allergy
- 3.6% Kosher
- 1.8% Lactose Intolerant
- 1.8% Soy Allergy
Trouble With Dietary Restrictions
I asked hikers with dietary restrictions, on a scale of 0 to 10 (0 being easy, 10 being difficult), how difficult it was to accommodate their diets while on the trail.
- 5.0 – Dairy-free
- 5.0 – Vegan
- 4.7 – Gluten-free
- 4.0 – Pescatarian
- 3.0 – Keto
- 3.0 – Soy allergy
- 3.0 – Tree nut allergy
- 2.6 – Vegetarian
- 2.0 – Lactose intolerant
- 0.0 – Kosher
- 0.0 – Peanut allergy
We’ve covered a lot thus far, but enough with the numbers, colored labels, and bulleted lists of places you may or may not have ever heard of. What did thru-hikers have to say about Continental Divide Trail resupply?
- Boxes aren’t necessary if you aren’t picky. The only box I sent was to Pie Town (New Mexico) and even then I got a ride into Quemado so it wasn’t necessary. If you want to eat healthy, boxes aren’t a bad idea.
- Don’t worry about sending too many boxes ahead of time. Research as you go and send boxes while on the trail when you need to. Send to businesses instead of the post office when you can. Post offices in a lot of small towns have horrible hours and it can be difficult to get your boxes when you want them.
- It seemed like most people agreed that five days was the sweet spot for resupply frequency; resupplying less often than that means carrying too much weight. However, resupplying too often (especially when you have to hitchhike into towns) isn’t a lot of fun, and means a lot of time not hiking, which can be hard, especially on the CDT.
- Potato chips are the best thing money can buy. Eating vegan on the trail is surprisingly easy, even in some smaller towns. The only place I sent a resupply box was Pie Town (New Mexico). Sometimes all I got from towns were basic snacks but they were enough to get me to the next town. Remember to get fresh fruits and veggies while in town. FarOut comments usually have info on vegan options in town.
- The hybrid approach of sending/preparing boxes ahead of time can work well but having the freedom to resupply on trail towns can have its rewards. Plan and determine where it is best to send boxes and anticipate at least a week for the box to arrive.
- Lima (Montana) and Leadore (Idaho) are not discussed enough. You are really gonna want to send boxes to these two places. Terrible gas station resupply.
- If you can buy peanut butter somewhere it probably isn’t worth sending a package there.
- Get used to doing five or six-day normal food carry and it saves you from having to go into some of the more time-intensive stops.
But most of all – have fun out there! And don’t die.
Support the Survey
I get a lot of people asking every year how to support the surveys and beyond sharing them with your close-knit bubble of weird hiker friends, the best way to support the survey is to contribute via Patreon. You’ll get access to exclusive posts, discount codes, live streams, and super extra cool stickers so that everyone will know how cool you are.
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This is not expected. The data collected in the survey will always be free and accessible to everyone who wants/needs it. That said, your support is very much appreciated and helps to pay the website (and survey) bills.
Continental Divide Trail Survey Collection
If there is anything you can think of that would make this information more useful (or any more resupply-related cross-referencing you would like to see), then please leave a comment and let me know.
For more on CDT Resupply, check out these articles.
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