The Pacific Crest Trail boasts many great and glorious things along the way, but I’d like to dedicate an entire post to the hiker boxes scattered throughout trail towns. Hiker boxes are boxes where hikers throw all the stuff they don’t want or need. You can find some really great things in hiker boxes: MREs, pudding mix (looking at you, Little Foot), dehydrated veggies, Gatorade powder, half-eaten trail mix, town clothes, whatever.
Can I just pause to say how exciting hiker box clothes are? Hiker box clothes were my go-to when I was in town and my two outfits were in laundry. Hiker box clothes were something new. Something different. Something temporary. And hiker box clothes were almost always cleaner than whatever I had been wearing.
It’s the little things.
You can also find really terrible things, though, like homemade dehydrated bean dip*. And since you are a hungry cheapskate, you will pick that suspicious vacuumed-packed clump out of the hiker box, you will carry it miles and miles, and during one desperate afternoon you will eat all of it even though it tastes a lot like weird tuna. The rest of the afternoon will then be spent under a tree in Crabtree Meadows with an awful stomachache debating if you just blew your chance to hike Mt. Whitney.
Devouring homemade hiker box food required a certain amount of trust that I could be very quick to give depending on my hunger level.
The best hiker boxes by far were Kennedy Meadows South in California where everyone seemed to do serious pack shakedowns and Callahan’s in Oregon where…I’m not sure why the hiker box was so good. Maybe everyone was so pumped to finally be out of California and felt extra generous. All I know is I scored an unopened full-sized can of Pringles and life was great.
Also, I’d be curious to hear about your best hiker box find. So if you have one, holler below!
*I half apologize if you read this and were responsible for making the bean dip. It did get me through a hungry afternoon, despite briefly destroying both my stomach and appetite. Honestly, though, I can only assume you knew you had good reason for offloading it into the hiker box and so I’m not going to apologize fully**.
**Just joking. Totally going to apologize fully. Catholic guilt, yo.
New favorite song:
Through My Headphones
*Never Be Like You -Flume feat. Kai