#livethePCT, pacific crest trail, packing for the PCT, PCT, PCT guidebook, wilderness press, Jordan Summers

Packing Food for the Pacific Crest Trail

Imagine having to organize and pack everything you need to survive living out of your backpack for the next few months. Sounds a little daunting, right?

I hit the Pacific Crest Trail last week to begin my thru-hike from Mount Whitney to the Canadian border, as I revised the Wilderness Press Pacific Crest Trail Northern California and Washington & Oregon guidebooks. Here’s a peek at what my resupply boxes looked like.

#livethePCT, pacific crest trail, packing for the PCT, PCT, PCT guidebook, wilderness press, Jordan Summers

Mountains of boxes to take to the mountains

#livethePCT, pacific crest trail, packing for the PCT, PCT, PCT guidebook, wilderness press, Jordan Summers

All the other gear I carry

#livethePCT, pacific crest trail, packing for the PCT, PCT, PCT guidebook, wilderness press, Jordan Summers

Do I really need this?

If you are organized, packing resupply boxes should feel more like a fun game and less like a chore. Here are five tips to help your preparations go more smoothly.

Plan your menu

Visualize how you want your days on the trail to look. Do you want to enjoy a hot, leisurely breakfast before hitting the dirt, or do you prefer to eat on the go? Determine which meals are most important to you, and pack food accordingly.

#livethePCT, pacific crest trail, packing for the PCT, PCT, PCT guidebook, wilderness press, Jordan Summers

I like to pack a mix of hot meals and snacks

Practice snacking

Think about your favorite snack. Will it still be your favorite if you eat it every day for weeks on end? Will it make you sick? Testing your palate and discovering what you like and dislike before your backpacking trip will save you from experiencing stomach woes on the trail.

#livethePCT, pacific crest trail, packing for the PCT, PCT, PCT guidebook, wilderness press, Jordan Summers

What? They’re a good source of protein!

Consider weight

Sure, that can of tuna fish would taste delightful after a long day of walking. But do you really want to lug around cans of food? Your shoulders and back will hate you. Lighter foods, such as freeze-dried meals and instant mashed potatoes (my favorite), give you the most caloric bang-for-your-buck without extra weight.

#livethePCT, pacific crest trail, packing for the PCT, PCT, PCT guidebook, wilderness press, Jordan Summers

Carefully deciding what food will go in each resupply box

Vary your flavors

Backpacking doesn’t mean you have to steel yourself for bland food. Pack a mix of salt, sweet, and savory snacks to keep your taste buds happy. Consider including small packets of salt and seasoning mixes to spice up your meals.

#livethePCT, pacific crest trail, packing for the PCT, PCT, PCT guidebook, wilderness press, Jordan Summers

A good mix of salty, sweet, and savory

Pack non-perishables

I can assure you that there is almost nothing sadder than a chocolate bar melted beyond recognition. When packing your resupply boxes, think about if your food will withstand extreme heat or cold or if anything will spoil or get moldy.

#livethePCT, pacific crest trail, packing for the PCT, PCT, PCT guidebook, wilderness press, Jordan Summers

Please don’t melt, chocolate!

Jordan Summers
summerstrails.elkgrove@gmail.com
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