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  1. #1

    Default how many is tooo many mail drops?

    i have been collecting food for two years.this is free food postage is all it will cost.three cases of tvp,beef and chicken,two cases eggs,all #10 cans,10 banana boxes of miss. box full of bubble gum,pasta ,the best is dry dumplings, just like pasta but stick to your ribs good. the problem is just how many food drops are possible within reason?
    the best is the oatmeal i have 3 cases of 28 boxes.heartsmart the good stuff,i plan to give a lot of it away. what do you think

  2. #2
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    One, but that is just one white boy's opinion.

    For more indepth info check this out: LINK

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    Springer - Front Royal Lilred's Avatar
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    I would mail my drops to the places I planned on staying, hostels, hotels... Rarely did I send one to a post office. I section the AT and waiting for Monday to arrive if getting to town on a Saturday would have drove me nuts.
    some people will say you can't send too much, others will say one is too much. If you've already got the food, I'd use as many maildrops as necessary till the food was gone.
    "It was on the first of May, in the year 1769, that I resigned my domestic happiness for a time, and left my family and peaceable habitation on the Yadkin River, in North Carolina, to wander through the wilderness of America." - Daniel Boone

  4. #4

    Default Number of maildrops to send...

    Well, Pirate would say the correct answer is zero, as none of them will possibly get there. (Leaving aside that I had over 25 mail drops on my thruhike last year, ALL of which I did receive...)

    I would say that the # depends mainly on how specific your food requirements are. If you can live with what Joe Bob's Convenience Store in Deliverance, Maine will have, then half a dozen is fine IMO. There are places like Neels Gap, Monson, Fontana, Kincora, and much of New England where mail drops are a real blessing to have done, but you can get by with very few.

    The order of preference for where to send a mail drop IMO are, from best to worst:

    Hostel you'll be staying at (open 24 hours/day, 7 days/week)

    Outfitter (open 7 days a week, usually, but not 24 hours/day)

    Post Office (open 5-6 days/week, limited hours, plus often inconvenient location for hikers, esp if not in tiny town, but that means even worse hours)
    ================================================
    You're also going to want to use drops to exchange or replace gear. Switching from winter to summer gear in S. VA, and back again in Glencliff, are typical.

    Whatever you do, DON'T seal your mail drops ahead of time. You will develop cravings and revulsion for various trail foods that you can't guess at ahead of time. Plus, this way you can have your support person add in replacement gear as needed.

  5. #5

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    Hoping you have someone off trail to help you out. If so, try your first three or four planned stops for mail drops. After that you'll find yor rythym and become familiar with town stops, prices etc. Also, the pace you plan to keep will doubtfully match the one you come to agree with the trail with, sending too far ahead may cause headaches for you while you're trying to enjoy yor hike.
    If you now have enough food for the whole trip, disregard the above but I'm thinking expiration date and a growing disenchantment with your options.

  6. #6

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    This really doesn't answer your question ( I guess it's a very individual thing) but I can share a few ideas.

    In 06 I had too many to start with, I actually lost a great pair of Frogg Toggs that I had sent forward, and completely forgot about when I ended up off trail with an injury.

    At mountain crossings I got my first box, and ended up giving away most of the cool stuff I had sent myself (food wise).

    On a 30 day section in 05, Rubberbandman and I planned for a drop at Harper's Ferry, and got to the P.O. a few minutes after they closed, and that was a total drag.

    I plan on using them very sporadically, or "on demand" from home a week or so ahead if I need anything.
    ad astra per aspera

  7. #7
    Thru-hiker Wanna-be Fiddler's Avatar
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    There's a lot of food in those #10 cans, and they have a very long shelf life. But before you open them and begin making individual meals with them check on how long the food stays good after the can is opened. You don't want to prepare too much in advance and then can't use it.
    Remember this - - Even the best of friends cannot attend each other's funerals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mozzie View Post
    the problem is just how many food drops are possible within reason?
    Wrong question. The question should be, why have ANY? What exactly will you need on the trail that you can't buy locally?

    Oatmeal? Pasta? You've got to be kidding. Hiker boxes from GA to ME are overflowing with the stuff.

    Speaking for myself, the main thing mail drops are good for these days are maps. The ATC maps are heavy. Mail drops are a pain. Try to minimize them. Use them specifically for items that you absolutely need but cannot buy locally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mozzie View Post
    i have been collecting food for two years.this is free food postage is all it will cost.three cases of tvp,beef and chicken,two cases eggs,all #10 cans,10 banana boxes of miss. box full of bubble gum,pasta ,the best is dry dumplings, just like pasta but stick to your ribs good. the problem is just how many food drops are possible within reason?
    the best is the oatmeal i have 3 cases of 28 boxes.heartsmart the good stuff,i plan to give a lot of it away. what do you think
    your chances of hiking the whole trail are slim. buy as you go. no mail drops

  10. #10
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    Default how many is tooo many mail drops?

    Quote Originally Posted by L. Wolf View Post
    your chances of hiking the whole trail are slim. buy as you go. no mail drops

    The above is the clear and simple answer. On the other hand, some people received stuff in care packages that I envied. A world-class napper got small bottles of alcohol that he shared with his fellow hikers (great man ). Couples got interesting, frivolous but some times useful stuff. Then there were all those packages that just got emptied into the hiker boxes... thanks for the free re-supply. Oh yeah, then there is the one person who can actually make mail drops work.

  11. #11
    Registered User Dakota Dan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L. Wolf View Post
    your chances of hiking the whole trail are slim. buy as you go. no mail drops

    If going solo I'd agree. Since I'll have a nephew to fetch mail-drops from the PO it may work out better and cheaper. I want to travel with a minimal of inconvenience. I'm looking at taking and sharing a wood burning camp stove so I don't have to fool with store bought fuels. No cell phones or electronics, just LED lights. I've also been trying to figure out if shipping eggs in our mail drops is going to fly. Haven't decided on this one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dakota Dan View Post
    I've also been trying to figure out if shipping eggs in our mail drops is going to fly. Haven't decided on this one.
    shipping eggs is totally not needed. there's plenty of places to get fresh eggs

  13. #13
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dakota Dan View Post
    If going solo I'd agree. Since I'll have a nephew to fetch mail-drops from the PO it may work out better and cheaper. I want to travel with a minimal of inconvenience. I'm looking at taking and sharing a wood burning camp stove so I don't have to fool with store bought fuels. No cell phones or electronics, just LED lights. I've also been trying to figure out if shipping eggs in our mail drops is going to fly. Haven't decided on this one.
    I really thought trying to get fuel cans would be a pain. No problem down south. A few places up north we did mail them, no problem. Loved having my pocket rocket and used it the whole hike.

    And yes, buy your eggs on the trail if you really want them. Actually I would wait until you hit towns and have breakfast. Cooking at times can be a pain on the trail, esp a thru hike when you are making miles, etc., and get there exhausted or you're freezing cold and just want to get into your sleeping bag and konk out. I was glad for simple meals. And you don't want the pain of cleaning out an eggie pan, which I think is worse than a mashed potato pan, esp if you don't get to it and the egg dries on. But whatever works for you.

    BTW - my hubby loves taking drinks of my soy milk. I tease him about it though.







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  14. #14
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    Here's something to think about that is rarely talked about on the AT. Sending maildrops from the trail while hiking. This is done regularly on the PCT. It's beneficial because
    1) it's expensive to send food across the country (and pointless).
    2) you don't know whether you'll make it to said town. There's always a possibility of getting injured or quitting.

    Though admittedly this is time consuming and may not be what you wanna do on your zero day. I suggest doing it from a town that has a good market and somewhere that you plan to spend some time at.

    I'd send a Fontana Drop (if skipping the Hoch's) from Hiawasee or Franklin.
    I'd send a Harpers Ferry box to the ATC office from Waynesboro.
    I'd send a Port Clinton box from Duncannon
    Maybe send a box to Glencliff from Hanover, though I don't think a food drop is mandatory here
    Maybe send an Andover box from Hanover or Gorham if you're taking it slow.

    Something to think about. Will definately save you money, you'll eat what you want and you'll cut down on the pre-hike prep
    Anything's within walking distance if you've got the time.
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    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A-Train View Post
    Here's something to think about that is rarely talked about on the AT. Sending maildrops from the trail while hiking. This is done regularly on the PCT.

    That's what I did on past hikes. Wish I had thought about it for the AT.

    It is a great compromise between "Buy as you go" and having food waiting for you in smaller towns.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blissful View Post
    And yes, buy your eggs on the trail if you really want them. Actually I would wait until you hit towns and have breakfast. Cooking at times can be a pain on the trail...
    Seems like it'd be easy enough to hard boil up to four eggs in an Imusa cup -- just did a couple on the supercat, just to test -- would you carry some for a quick snack? I think they'd be ok to the end of day.

  17. #17
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoyoteWhips View Post
    Seems like it'd be easy enough to hard boil up to four eggs in an Imusa cup -- just did a couple on the supercat, just to test -- would you carry some for a quick snack? I think they'd be ok to the end of day.

    You're right, that would be good. Boiled eggs don't keep as long as fresh, though, but should be fine in the cooler times of the hike.







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  18. #18
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    Mozzie did say in the original post that all the food was free. Telling him to buy it along the way is nice (and there are generally good reasons for doing so), but free food is free food. Sure, he can get oatmeal anywhere, but he already has it. If all he needs is postage, that's not a bad thing.

    So, to sum up:

    1. Have someone pack and mail the boxes as needed, rather than mailing them all to yourself before you hike;
    2. Mail them to hostels, rather than post offices, where possible;
    3. Be careful about shelf life of canned items after the cans are opened;
    4. Be aware that your tastes may change over the course of the hike;
    5. Be willing to supplement your maildrops with food you buy in town.
    Ken B
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  19. #19

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    Donate those powdered eggs to a homeless shelter or something. Yuk!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Appalachian Tater View Post
    Donate those powdered eggs to a homeless shelter or something. Yuk!
    My dad actually likes those. Two weeks ago he was reminiscing about powdered eggs, asking if maybe we could bring them on the next hike ...

    I have awful memories of powdered eggs in Boy Scouts.

    Jonathan

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