How far in advance should you mail resupply packages?

We’ve recently heard from a few U.S. Postal Service employees about holding PCT resupply packages. states “Mail addressed to you at General Delivery will be held at the area’s main Post Office™ for up to 30 days.” Crest trail veterans know how important a service this is. We receive boxes of food, shoes and letters from home via General Delivery.

However, there is a nuance that we didn’t know about. While letter mail is held “for up to 30 days”, internal procedures dictate that packages are only supposed to be held for 15 days. After that, it counts as a failure in their system as it’s not an “acceptable delivery event”. The wonderfully supportive post offices along the PCT have found ways to continue to hold your critical food and resupply packages, and still we can do our part to help them in return. Time your packages to arrive no more than two weeks before your expected date of arrival. It’ll help free up space on their already crowded shelves and will prevent them from being dinged with demerits in their internal performance evaluation system.

One last tip, keep marking your packages “Please hold for PCT hiker arriving on:______”. They appreciate it.

Please don't expect them to hold your packages for weeks on end.

Please don’t expect them to hold your packages for weeks on end.

Author: Jack "Found" Haskel

As the Trail Information Manager, Jack works to connect people to the PCT. He's involved with a wide variety of projects that help the trail, the trail's users and the community that surrounds the experience. He has thru-hiked (Pacific Crest Trail in 2006; Colorado Trail in 2008; Continental Divide Trail in 2010) and is an obsessed weekend warrior.