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Resupply Planning

Master the Art of Resupply Planning and Conquer Any Hiking Trail

Master the Art of Resupply Planning and Conquer Any Hiking Trail

Are you an avid hiker? Do you love to explore new trails and challenge yourself with different terrains, altitudes, and climates? If yes, then you must know that successful hiking depends on several factors, including physical fitness, mental preparation, equipment, and supplies. However, one of the most critical aspects of an extended hiking trip is resupply planning. In this article, we will share some expert tips and techniques to help you master the art of resupply planning and conquer any hiking trail.

What is Resupply Planning?

Before we dive deep into resupply planning, let’s define what it means. Resupply planning is the process of calculating and arranging the necessary supplies, such as food, water, fuel, first aid, and other essentials, to sustain yourself during an extended hiking trip. The duration and distance of your trip will determine how much you need to carry and how often you need to resupply. Resupply points can be preexisting, such as established campsites or traditional trading posts. They can also be self-created through a drop or cache of supplies for yourself or a postal delivery of a package that you sent yourself.

Basic Resupply Planning Techniques

Now, let’s explore some basic resupply planning techniques that can help you optimize your hiking experience.

  • Estimate the duration of the trip: Are you planning a day hike or a multi-day trek? You must have a clear idea of how long you will be on the trail to calculate the amount of supplies you need to carry or acquire.
  • Determine your route and resupply points: Once you know the duration of the trip, you can plan your route and identify potential resupply points. You can research established campsites, water sources, or trading posts along the way. It’s also essential to know the distance, terrain, and elevation gain between each resupply points.
  • Calculate your basic needs: You must consider how much food, water, fuel, and other essentials you need per day. Your body weight and activity level will determine your calorie intake. The rule of thumb is to pack high-calorie, lightweight, and easy-to-carry food items such as energy bars, nuts, and dehydrated meals. Water is perhaps the most crucial resource to carry and refill as often as possible. And, consider a fueling source that is easy to light, such as matches or lighters.
  • Plan for emergencies: Even if you are an experienced hiker, emergencies can happen. You must carry a basic first aid kit, including supplies for blisters, cuts, and insect bites. You must also have a backup plan for communication, either through a satellite phone or a GPS tracking device.
  • Consider the weather and seasonal changes: Weather is unpredictable, and it’s essential to consider the forecast. Dress for the season and temperature and have a waterproof layer in case of rain or snow. Depending on the season and terrain, you may have to modify your resupply plan to avoid dangerous conditions.
  • Pack it right: Choosing the right backpack is essential to carry all your supplies comfortably. You must consider your body type, the weight you need to carry, and the distance you need to hike. Also, pack items in a way that is easy to reach and carry, with lightweight items on the bottom of your backpack, heavier ones on the sides, ensuring the center of gravity is well-balanced.

Advanced Resupply Planning Techniques

If you are a seasoned hiker or planning an extended hiking trip, you may consider some advanced resupply planning techniques.

  • Resupply by mail: You can send your resupply box to a post office or a trading post on a specific date and pick it up while you’re on the trail. This technique is helpful for long-distance hikes or if you want a particular type of food or equipment.
  • Trail angels or trail magic: Trail angels are people who provide hikers with food, supplies, water, or transportation during their hike, often spontaneously. This technique is not reliable, but it can be a pleasant surprise during the trip.
  • Share resources: If you are hiking with a group, you can share resources and split the weight of supplies, such as cooking equipment, first aid kit, or water filter.
  • Resupply en route: In some areas, you can purchase supplies at local stores, restaurants, or volunteer fire departments that will hold packages for hikers. This technique is ideal for shorter hikes or in areas where there are limited established resupply points.


In conclusion, resupply planning is a crucial aspect of hiking that can make or break a trip. Whether you are embarking on a multi-day trek or a day hike, you must master the art of resupply planning. Basic techniques include estimating the duration of the trip, determining your route and resupply points, calculating your basic needs, planning for emergencies, considering the weather and seasonal changes, and packing it right. If you are a seasoned hiker, you can consider advanced techniques such as resupply by mail, trail angels, share resources, or resupply en route. With proper resupply planning, you can conquer any hiking trail and enjoy the beauty of nature without worrying about essential supplies.

FAQ – Resupply Planning for Hiking

What is resupply planning for hiking?

Resupply planning is the process of determining your food, water, and gear needs for a hiking trip and organizing resupplies along the trail or at designated checkpoints.

Why is resupply planning important?

Proper resupply planning ensures that you have enough food, water, and gear to complete your hiking trip comfortably and safely. It also helps reduce the weight of your pack, making your hike easier and more enjoyable.

What factors should I consider when planning my resupplies?

You should consider the length of your hiking trip, the terrain, the weather conditions, your level of fitness, and your dietary needs when planning your resupplies.

How can I determine how much food and water I will need?

You can calculate your daily food and water needs by considering your caloric requirements and anticipated water consumption based on the terrain and weather. You should also factor in the availability of water sources along the trail.

How far apart should my resupplies be?

The distance between your resupplies will depend on the length of your hiking trip and availability of resources along the trail. A good rule of thumb is to aim for resupplies every 3-5 days on a long-distance hike.

What are some common resupply methods?

Common resupply methods include mailing packages to designated post offices or businesses along the trail, purchasing supplies at trail towns, and using a pack animal or resupply service.

What should I consider when choosing a resupply method?

You should consider the accessibility of the trail, the availability of resources, and your budget when choosing a resupply method.

What should I pack for my resupply?

You should pack food that is lightweight, high in calories, and easy to prepare. You should also pack any necessary gear, such as stove fuel or water treatment supplies.

How can I save money on my resupply?

You can save money by choosing cheaper food options, purchasing supplies in bulk, and sharing resupply costs with other hikers.

What should I do if my resupply is delayed or lost?

You should have a backup plan in case your resupply is delayed or lost. This may involve purchasing food and supplies from a nearby town or relying on the generosity of fellow hikers.

What are some tips for successful resupply planning?

  • Research the trail and surrounding areas beforehand
  • Consider your dietary needs and preferences when choosing food
  • Pack lightweight, high-calorie food options
  • Choose a resupply method that works best for you and the trail
  • Have a backup plan in case of delays or loss

Related products for Resupply Planning for Hiking

  • Backpacking Stove: A lightweight, efficient backpacking stove is essential for cooking hot meals and making hot drinks at camp. Opt for a fuel-efficient and easy-to-use option, like the Jetboil Flash or MSR PocketRocket 2.
  • Water Filtration System: Safe drinking water is critical for any hiking trip. A water filtration system, such as the Sawyer Squeeze or Katadyn BeFree, ensures that you can always have access to clean drinking water along the trail.
  • Bear Canister: If you plan on hiking in bear country, a bear canister is essential to protect your food and prevent any unwanted interactions with wildlife. The BearVault BV500 is a lightweight and easy-to-use option.
  • Food Dehydrator: If you’re planning on bringing your own food for your hike, a food dehydrator can be a great investment. It allows you to dehydrate your own meals and snacks, saving both weight and money. The Nesco Snackmaster Pro is a popular option for hikers.
  • Bear Spray: If you’re hiking in bear country, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Bear spray is an effective way to deter bears and give you a bit of extra peace of mind. The Frontiersman Bear Spray is a popular and effective option.
  • Trekking Poles: Trekking poles can be a game-changer for hiking, particularly on steep or uneven terrain. They help to distribute weight and reduce strain on your legs, making hiking more comfortable and efficient. The Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock are a great option.
  • GPS Device: If you’re planning a multi-day hike, a GPS device can help you keep track of your location, trail progress, and potential hazards along the way. The Garmin GPSMAP 64 is a popular option among hikers.
  • Ultralight Backpack: When it comes to hiking, every ounce counts. An ultralight backpack can help you save weight and stay comfortable on the trail. The Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest is a popular option for backpackers and hikers.
  • Power Bank: If you’re using a GPS or other electronic device on your hike, a power bank is an essential backup. The Anker PowerCore 10000 is a lightweight and affordable option.
  • Hiking Boots: Quality hiking boots are essential for staying comfortable and safe on the trail. They’ll help keep your feet dry and prevent injuries. The Salomon X Ultra 3 are a popular option among hikers.

Pros & Cons of Resupply Planning for Hiking Trails


  • Ensures Adequate Supplies: Resupply planning can help hikers to ensure that they have enough supplies to complete their journey. It helps to prevent situations where hikers run out of food, water, or other necessary items.
  • Allows for Lighter Packs: When hikers know that they can resupply at certain points, they can carry lighter packs. This can make the journey more comfortable and less physically challenging.
  • Improves Safety: With a well-planned resupply strategy, hikers can avoid dangerous situations. For example, they can avoid hiking for long periods without adequate water or food and can stay within safe camping areas.
  • Offers Flexibility: Resupply planning gives hikers the freedom to change their route or itinerary without worrying about running out of supplies. They can adjust their plans based on weather conditions, unforeseen obstacles, or personal preferences.
  • Allows for Exploration: With the confidence of planned resupplies, hikers can explore more remote and less-traveled areas where they may not be able to carry all necessary supplies for the full journey.
  • Enhances Preparedness: Resupply planning encourages hikers to assess their gear, food, and water needs in advance, thereby improving their overall preparedness for their trek.


  • Requires More Planning: Resupply planning adds an additional layer of planning and coordination that can be time-consuming. Hikers will need to research and plan their resupply points and ensure that their transportation and storage logistics are in place.
  • Can Be Costly: Depending on the location and availability of supplies, resupplying can be more expensive than packing everything beforehand. This increased cost can be a significant factor for those traveling on a tight budget.
  • Reliance on Resupply Options: Depending too heavily on resupply options can also be risky. Hikers may not find the needed supplies at their planned resupply points or may experience unexpected closures, thereby leaving them without the necessary supplies.
  • May Alter the Hiking Experience: Hiking with planned resupplies can alter the experience of the journey for some hikers. For those who value solo backpacking with all supplies on hand, resupply planning may detract from the overall experience.
  • Transportation Logistics: Planning for resupply points can also require coordinating transportation logistics. Hikers may need to arrange for a ride or public transportation to their resupply points, adding another level of coordination and potential delays.

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