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How to send mail/packages to me on the PCT

// plus ideas for what to send

how to: send mail/packages to a PCT hiker

If you'd like to send me mail on the trail, you're awesome! Here's how it works:

First, let me know that you're planning on sending something so I can tell you where to mail it. I would hate to miss a surprise package or note because I didn't know when it was coming.

How to mail a box (or letter):

General Delivery (to a post office)

You can send something straight to a post office through General Delivery. Who knew? The post office will hold the box/mail for me and all I have to do is pick it up by showing ID. It doesn’t cost anything extra. Make sure to use my full name and not trail name, since it has to match my ID.

Putting an ETA is useful so it doesn’t get returned to sender before I arrive. I'll give you my best guess on ETA with some wiggle room in case it takes me a little longer than I planned.


Stephanie Seitz

c/o General Delivery

City, State, Zip

On the box, write with a sharpie:

Please hold for Thru Hiker (ETA: MM/DD/YY)

Sending to a hiker-friendly business

There are also some businesses like gas stations and general stores that will hold packages for thru hikers in some towns. The advantage here is that they often have better hours than the post office, but some charge a fee to pick up your package.

This will probably look something like this:


Stephanie Seitz

c/o Business Name

Business Address

City, State, Zip

On the box, write with a sharpie:

Please hold for Thru Hiker (ETA: MM/DD/YY)

I'll give you the specific address for whichever option in that town I think will be best.

Mailing Method

USPS Priority Mail is the way to go. They say it only takes 2-3 days, but you should mail it at least a week in advance to make sure it arrives on time.

Pro tip: It also really helps to use colorful or patterned duct tape on the box to make it easier for the employee to find it in a stack of other hiker's boxes! Just let me know what color or design of duct tape to tell them to look for. Writing my last name on the sides of the box would be helpful too!

What to send in a care package box:

Keep in mind that I have to carry anything you send me, so food or things I'll use up are the best way to go! Here are some ideas for things that would be a huge treat to get in the mail...

Card/note from you - encouragement and words of affirmation will be so welcomed when I am a tired, dirty hiker!


  • Homemade cookies

  • Snickers bars/Twix/Anything with chocolate and caramel

  • Candy (gummy bears, sour patch kids)

  • Fancy beef jerky

  • Small summer sausage

  • White Cheddar Cheez-its

  • Complete Cookies (these are by the protein bar/powder section)

  • Other fancy protein bars (variety)

  • Dehydrated refried beans/hummus

  • Dark chocolate espresso trail mix (from target)

  • Peanut Butter Crackers/Cheese Crackers

Backpacker Meals:

  • Good to Go backpacking meals (sold at REI and sooo yummy - only had the Thai Curry but it is amazing)

  • PackitGourmet (Texas Chili or Chicken and Dumplings)

  • Mountain House/Backpackers Pantry meals (I've heard Chili Mac is great)


  • Trader Joe's instant coffee with cream single serve packets

  • Cafe Bustelo instant espresso single serve packets (I've found these at Kroger)

  • Starbucks Via


  • ZIPLOC BAGS!!! (a few gallon-sized and a few quart-sized)

  • drink mixes/energy supplements

  • roll of toilet paper

  • travel pack of baby wipes

  • Burts bees/Vaseline chapstick

  • Travel sized moisturizer, body wash, face mask, anything to make me feel less grubby in town

  • new pair of socks [Injinji women's trail weight toe socks (M)]

  • gift cards/$$$ for town food

If you have any more questions, I'd be happy to answer them! I have been blown away by all the kindness I have been shown - thank you so much for wanting to support and encourage me!

- Steph

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