Backpacking Resupply Tips
When you package your resupply, there are a few considerations that will make your resupply stop easier and better for you.
make sure you send your packages in a timely manner. This may require sending your packages at different times, and even leaving one or two packages to a trusted friend, to mail at an appointed time, after your departure.
make sure you send your resupply package by the required carrier. UPS delivers door to door, so if UPS is specified, make sure you send it by UPS! Follow the resupply point's directions to the letter. If your mis-sent resupply package causes extra work, extra driving time, or extra cost to your resupply point, they may not go out of their way pick up your package.
always package your resupply in a mouse and varmint proof package. One year at Tuolumne Meadows, the field mice had a field day after they nibbled their way into the Post Office Tent Cabin, and subsequently into all of the cardboard resupply boxes, and feasted on all of the backpacker food not contained in hard plastic. Therefore, always package your resupply in a plastic paint bucket.
add the things that you can really use at the resupply point. Little luxuries. At places with a shower, send yourself a hotel sized bottle of shampoo, a mini-bar of soap, and a bit of moisturizer. Don't forget to resupply with batteries, suntan lotion, new socks, first aid supplies, (moleskin, if you have known blister problems), medicines, and maybe a memory card or film, if you are shooting images. If you read on the trail, it may be time for a new book.
If you are taking days off at the resupply points, pack yourself some tasty treats and a bottle of wine to enjoy during your days off, or extra bits of food to avoid having to purchase all of your food during your stay at the resupply point. Everybody parties at the resupply points, though Tuolumne Meadows is patrolled by serious Federal Cops disguised as Rangers, as well as Wilderness Rangers. Muir Ranch is a hit and run situation, so you may have time for a wine and cheese lunch after you resupply, and before you depart. Every other resupply point parties freely.
consider packing an extra day's food for the distance between each resupply point. This will give you the chance to stop for two half-days, or one full day, at the most beautiful places you discover along the trail. I have both rushed down these trails, and meandered down them. Food is time, and extra food will give you the time to see more deeply into the nature of the terrain you are crossing, by either moderating your pace, or allowing you to stop at the most beautiful spots along the way.
Most Important is that we balance our menu for our actual calorie consumption on the trail. This entails testing our capabilities for work against our needs for calories and rest.
We look at balancing the contradictions between work, food, and rest as we approach the trailhead.