What's in My Bounce Box

Woo Hoo!

My 2017 Appalachian Trail thru hike starts in five months!

It feels like forever, but I know it will be here in no time.

Every month I'm counting down and sharing action steps for the month.  (In case you missed it, here's the five-month countdown list.)

Resupply is on my mind this month.

Let's start with the bounce box.  

And the laundromat in Hot Springs.

Hot Springs, NC, that is.

The Appalachian Trail passes down main street of this quintessential trail town. 

Follow the white blazes through town past ice cream, Bluff Mountain Outfitters, the post office, a laundromat and the down-scale “resort” where you will take a dip in the hot springs.

In the old laundromat, a helpful sign told patrons that they must be dressed in order to use the facility.

And that, no, a strategically-placed towel does not count for clothing.

How well they know hiker trash.

It does beg this question:  what will I wear while I’m doing laundry on the trail if I only have one outfit that gets washed once every two weeks?

Though some hostels along the way, like the Notch Hostel near Lincoln, NH, will lend you clothes to wear while you launder your stinky heap, mostly you’ll have to make other arrangements.

Some people wear their rain gear.

My plan is to include town clothes in my bounce box.  Probably just a skirt and a cotton t-shirt, so I can spend the afternoon feeling feminine and wearing something cotton for a change.

What’s a Bounce Box and What Do I Do With It?

A bounce box is a care package you send to yourself, filled with things that make you happy that you wouldn’t dare put in your pack because they’re too heavy or not necessary or not needed, yet.

Before deciding what to put in your box, though, you decide where you’re going to stop along the way to pick it up. 

You can send it to yourself in care of a post office or a hostel. 

Some other businesses, like certain outfitters, will even accept packages for you.  

How it works.

Set up your bounce box before you leave home.

Pick it up at the designated pick up point.

When you’re done, pack it back up and send it off to your next pick-up point.

Easy Peasy.

I’m still planning my bounce box pick-up points, so stay tuned for those details as the plan congeals.

What’s in My Box.

Meanwhile, though, I’ve been thinking hard about what’s going in my bounce box.

Here's my tentative list (subject to revision, of course):

  • Town clothes (skirt, t-shirt, flip-flops...so my feet can breathe)
  • Razor
  • Essential oils--Purification, Joy, Inner Child, Hope, Fun
  • Extra journals--because I'm picky and I've stocked up on the ones I like)
  • Extra pens--again, picky
  • Stamps and note cards--so I can send cards and letters to my honey.  And my mom.
  • Bubble bath, fancy shampoo, fancy conditioner
  • Laundry detergent pods
  • Sunglasses
  • Refills on Advil, bandaids, vitamins, foot balm, ear plugs
  • Maps and guidebooks for the next section
  • Wireless keyboard????  It will make blogging in town easier, but will it hold up to the rigors of the USPS?
  • Packing tape, index cards & a sharpie--so I can repack and bounce my box to the next stop.

Bounce Box Etiquette and Other Things to Consider

  • Post offices have limited hours.

It’s hard to know where you’ll be at any given time, but it sucks to get into a town where you have a package waiting on a Saturday afternoon and be forced to take a zero because the post office is closed.

  • Hostels don't have hours, but be cool.

Patronize the business that graciously accepts your package, stores it and keeps it safe for you.  Try to stay at the hostel or buy something from the outfitter. You know.  Be cool.  Not entitled.


No one is going to hand over a package addressed to Mud Butt, unless Mud Butt is your real name and it’s on your driver’s license. 

  • Your guidebook will guide you.

I'm using Awol’s AT Guide and it tells me what businesses accept packages and under what circumstances.

One last fun fact.

One final fun fact about Hot Springs, which is just an hour away from my home…word has it that when the NOBO thru-hikers show up (a month or so after they leave Springer Mountain), they are accompanied by the first gnats of the season.  Clouds of gnats descend on the town along with the first hikers of the season. 


I think not.


So, what's in your bounce box?  Leave a comment and tell us what you'll be looking forward to when you tear open your own box.