No one can carry all the food and gear they need for a 2,665 mile journey with them all at once.  Instead, hikers choose to resupply themselves with food and gear in one of three ways. 

First, some hikers choose the "Buy as You Go" method, hiking or hitchhiking into towns to purchase the supplies they need.  The advantage of this method is that very little is wasted because you are buying exactly what you want and/or need when you need it, instead of trying to anticipate what you might want weeks or months in advance.  The disadvantage of this method is that getting to town, purchasing supplies, and repackaging them for the trail can be a time consuming process.  And, some of the smaller towns might not have the supplies that you need.

Other hikers choose the "Mail Drops" method.  These hikers purchase all of their food and gear in advance and then mail it ahead to post offices and businesses along the way.  The advantage of this method is that you spend less time purchasing and repackaging supplies along the trail, you get exactly what you think you might want or need, and you can easily accmmodate any special dietary  needs.  The disadvantage of this method is that post offices have limited  hours, so if you arrive on a weekend or holiday, you might have to wait a day or two to pick up your package.  Also, tastes and preferences change.  That spicy curried rice dinner you lovingly dehydrated at home might lose its appeal by mile 500, leaving you stuck eating it anyway or throwing it in the hiker box and purchasing something else.

Finally, some hikers choose the "Combined" method, sending part of their resupply in mail drops, but choosing to purchase other food and gear along the way.  This method allows hikers to save postage and accommodate changing tastes and preferences by purchasing some food and gear along the trail, while still ensuring that they get the food they want where supplies might be more limited.

Sierra and I are vegetarians, so we have chosen the combined method to ensure that we have a good variety of tasty vegetarian dinners while on the trail.  We will purchase some food and supplies as we go, but will be sending most of our dinners and some other food, maps, guide book sections, and supplies in mail drops.

So what's packed in those resupply boxes?  Here is a breakdown of the types of food we are planning to eat during the 5-6 months we are on the trail.

Breakfast and Morning Snacks
We planned to eat traditional trail breakfasts - oatmeal or cereal, powdered milk (Nestle Nido is a tasty whole milk variety), and hot chocolate - supplemented by Emergen-C Kidz Vitamin drink, and Carnation Breakfast Essentials (powdered vitamin and protein packed breakfast drink).  We soon realized that taking the time for hot breakfasts in the morning just didn't work for us.  Sierra quickly voted for more portable breakfasts to help us get on the trail faster some mornings.  So what did we end up eating for breakfasts and morning snacks?

We started each day with ProBars, and never got tired of them.  We usually drank a Breakfast Essentials (mine had Starbucks Via added) along with them.  Later in the morning we would eat a snack of granola bars, energy bars, or the classic thru-hiker staple, Pop-Tarts.
We are trying to buy our lunches as we go as much as possible.  For maildrop locations with limited resupply options, we will plan to mail lunch foods that will not spoil.  Bread items will include tortillas, crackers, pretzyls, and wheat thin sticks.  We will also send a variety of spreads, such as Justin's nut butters, individual jam packets, and individual tetra paks of Wild Garden hummus.  Where possible, we will purchase fresh bagels, other bread items, and cheese.  Looking for individual packets of nut butters, jams, hummus, and other foods?  Try

Afternoon Snacks
We are mailing Crystal Light, other drink mixes, and a variety of nuts, trail mix, Clif Bloks, Sharkies, candy bars, and other snacks.  Not to mention Jelly Bellys and Skittles (aka "Power Pellets"), which do an amazing job of keeping younger (and older) hikers motivated and energized in the late afternoon.  We will have to keep snacking throughout the afternoon to keep energy levels high and to keep up with all the calories we are burning.

As much as we like to go gourmet on shorter hikes, we are trying to keep things simple because we know we will be tired when we get into camp each night.  We are mailing most of our dinners, but they will be simple, easy-to-cook foods such as Knorr Pasta Sides (Cheddar Broccoli is a favorite -- Sierra loves broccoli), Knorr Asian sides, macaroni and cheese, Top Ramen, instant mashed potatoes and stuffing, burritoes with instant black beans and cheese, tomato alphabet soup with Eden vegetable alphabets, and other quick meals.  We will also be sending Harmony House dehydrated vegetables and Just Tomatoes brand Just Corn to add to our meals.  Some evenings we will also have hot cider, tea, or hot instant Jello.