How to Arrange Drop-Offs for Reloading Camp Supplies

How to Arrange Drop-Offs for Reloading Camp SuppliesManaging the logistics of a multiday or multiweek backpacking, ski or rafting trip requires planning, timing and precision. Depending on your trip, location and duration, you can employ everything from the U.S. Postal Service to bush planes and drop-offs. Adhering to the adage of plan for the best but expect the worst is a valuable tool when preparing the logistics and drop-off routine for any expedition or backcountry foray.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Maps of your trip
  • Stamps or appropriate postage
  • Addresses of resupply stations
  • Pen or marker
  • Boxes and packing supplies
Step 1
Go over the routes and trails on the maps of your destination. Look for small towns along the way, or areas where there are small population centers. Research local post offices or mail drop areas along the route. Trails such as the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail go through several small towns and population centers where there are post offices. Plan your daily food and supply needs, and calculate the weight you can carry with full loads. Calculate how many days your fully packed backpack gives you for food, and trail supplies.
Step 2
Phone the post offices along the routes to get the mailing addresses for these Post Offices (you need the city, zip code and state). Prepare your food and resupply stocks in boxes with the appropriate packing supplies to keep the load secure. Address the box with the marker with the post office address.
Step 3
Mail the boxes to your name, general delivery, and the city, state, zip code and name of the post office. Mail your boxes several days in advance. Ask the post office manager when you phone, how long the post office will hold general delivery packages and be sure to pick them up before the deadline.
Step 4
Contact a bush flight charter service if your trip takes you to areas outside the realm of postal drop-offs, like into the Brooks Range of Alaska or other remote areas. Ask the pilot about drop-offs. Inform the charter service of your trip, and give them the maps and coordinates and proposed routes of your trip. Rely on their expert opinion for drop-off areas along your route. Arrange for them to drop off your resupply stocks a day or two before your estimated time of arrival at the rendezvous site.
Step 5
Pack your resupply gear and food into bear proof canisters for Alaskan drop-off trips. Have the pilot mark them with bright orange spray paint or tape so finding them along the tundra is easy.

Tips & Warnings

Mail your packages earlier than you expect to need them. Mail does get delayed. Do not run your food and gear reserves to the minimum before resupply in case packages arrive late.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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