One of the most frequent questions we got from friends and family before setting out on our Appalachian Trail hike was how they could send things to us along the way. Turns out, it’s actually pretty easy–and there are lots of post offices close to the trail. And though I’m focusing on the AT (since that’s the only place I’ve done this), similar strategies can also be applied to other trails that cross through or near towns.
How to Fill Out the Address:
- Name: Make sure this matches your ID… i.e. don’t use your trail name!
- City/State/Zip: Get a guidebook (we used Awol’s The AT Guide)–it’ll list this info for you (but be sure of which post offices you’ll be visiting before passing addresses along to family/friends).
- ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival): This made us nervous at first… what if we were way off on our date? But after way too much time spent in post offices (and on the phone with postal workers), I can tell you why there’s no point in worrying:
- As long as your ETA is within a couple of weeks of your arrival, you’re ok (when talking to a postal worker near the Whites of New Hampshire, he said his post office will hold packages for about a year)
- If your hike is off schedule (or maybe you change your mind about going into town or accidentally get into town Saturday afternoon and don’t want to wait around until Monday…) and you need a box re-shipped to a different PO, they’ll do this at no extra charge as long as you ship priority mail.
|Mail from an awesome blog reader!|
- Blissful Hiking: “Postal Advice on Mail Drops for Long Distance Hiking” (This is just a great hiking blog in general, and she’s hike the AT twice–if you’re planning an AT hike, be ready to get sucked in.)
- White Blaze Archive: Mail Drops (White Blaze is the source of all hiking–and especially AT–info you could ever want to know. Just be ready for a lot of debating in the comments section.)
- The Good Badger/Zach Davis: “What You Need to Know About Sending Mail Drops” (This guy also has a site called zrdavis.com. If you like his writing, this is another site that includes practically everything about the AT, but with an extra infusion of humor.)
- And, in the interest of having some pages to quickly reference if (when?) we attempt the Pacific Crest Trail: Pacific Crest Trail Association: “Resupply Strategy” and PMags: “A Quick and Dirty Guide to the Pacific Crest Trail” (you’ll have to scroll down a ways to get to the mail section)