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howdy all.

please fill me in:

are bounce boxes still being used for trips?

or has there been a suitable replacement that I should know about?

thanks kids.


whats a bounce box

From what I have read and seen, most people that use a "Bounce Box" on a long distance hike are using 5gal plastic buckets.  The don't fall apart, are quite strong, and the lids are tight and stay on.   If your bouncing a laptop make sure it is well packed in foam and protected from drops and bumps.  The buckets can take a bit of a beating. 

Hope that helps.


i still dont get it, is it like a cache for food and extra gear, thats the way i do long distant hike over 3-4 weeks. i have used 5 gallon pails for that since the 70s

GaryPalmer said:

i still dont get it, is it like a cache for food and extra gear, thats the way i do long distant hike over 3-4 weeks. i have used 5 gallon pails for that since the 70s

 Bouncing usually refers to gear you won't use on the trail but want access to when you get off trail.  Chargers for electronics, bigger electronics like a laptop, etc.  You grab and use for the day or whatever, then send on to another PO unlike supply drops where you are refilling your bag.

oh, okay, i call it backpacking by mail, and sometimes when i bike tour i send things on ahead to myself so i dont have to carry the things i dont need on the road

Thank you for the question Gary. I was in the mist there too, but then conditions and language are quite different to my place.

I had never heard anything called bounced, when I first looked at the post I thought the person was asking about being bounced off  trailspace?

I have gear cached and food cached on long trips when doing area where I can access areas along the routes taken, like a long 28 day backpacking trip I did in the Grand Canyon when I went down at four places prior to doing the hike and left four caches of food,water and clean socks. Then I did not have to leave the canyon during the 4 weeks I did the hike.

My bicycle tours I do thru areas I want to backpack away from the bike but do not carry the gear for hiking on my bike like boots and backpack as they are extra weight to carry on the bike and worthless for the tour, so I mail them ahead to myself to post offices along the route I am going, like last falls 2500 mile tour thru WY,UT,AZ,CA and back to southern AZ.

5 gal bucket?



it's just that I like my own of certain somethings.

for instance....

the last trip I took I used the laundry detergent at the hostel and broke out in hives within minutes from a sensitivity reaction that lasted a near week, meanwhile the strawberry shampoo there smelled so god-awful sticky sweet that all I could smell for the week following was strawberry, not to mention the bugs followed me like deadheads followed jerry.

lessons learned.

in any event,

to bounce?

or to simply tote a few small pkgs. of baking soda (multi-purpose laundry & soap) simply for these purposes?

since the trip length is short as is, the extra weight wouldn't kill me per se.






Those comfort things are worth the effort sometimes and avoiding hives goes way past comfort. 

Have you settled on the LT 522?  Assuming you are doing a resupply or two you might just want to combine the soap and whatever with that. Just enough to use of each item so you don't have extra to carry.

Not knowing the length of your trip and what your sending forward, I just suggested what is commonly used for something like the PCT. 

LT?  That sounds like one of the Long distance trails, but I don't remember which one. 

Bounce Box:  ( As I am referring to it here)

Is a container that you send to towns along the trail that you plan on stopping at.  It can be used for Medication, Limited Food supplied, extra gear, electronics, and just about anything else that you would need in town, like shampoo and laundry detergent, or anything after that town on the trail.

Bounce Boxes are a way to move your gear along a long distance trail.  I could be used for a shorter trail too, if for example you needed chargers and a tablet halfway along a route and there was a town close by.  But fewer and fewer people seem to be using a bounce box.  They either take what they need or just mail packages to given towns and don't resend the stuff forward. 

If your only sending a small about of something then I think it would be easier to just send a Priority Mail package to where ever you need it.  It may cost you more in supplies and containers to hold the supplies, but mailing even a small bucket or box from town to town can get very expensive, well as related to postage. 

If you still need to be able to send it on, there are smaller buckets, 2.5 Gal, and restaurants often have one gal buckets that they just throw a way.   A clean one gal paint can could also work.  The other option is just to use a USPS Priority box and get a new box at each town.  They are free, just include some Shipping tape in the resupply package. 


522 I used a bounce box a couple of times when resupply was minimul on the AT.I bought in other towns and just bounced them forward..I also included Qtips and other hyegine products I wanted in Travel size I could find..I basically used it as a mail drop..So it is still being used today just not as much as the past..I also had new batteries forwarded Etc for my electronics..

thanks all! :)



People are still bouncing things ahead - but not as often as in '02. Some smaller post offices have closed, and hours are shorter.  I found bounce-boxes to be kind of a pain in '01 on the Long Trail, and that was with the longer hours. I'd be less likely to try it now.

Just finished reading the "AT Thru-Planner" this afternoon. It stated bounce boxes and mail drops are still common, but that 25% of surveyed thru-hikers say they would not use them for a second trip.

I plan to, among other things, bounce a pair of hair clippers ahead of me, with the intent of shaving my head bald every 2 weeks.

thanks again--  ALL the beta!

looks like i'm gunna hafto fire my creative cylinders on this one :)


September 26, 2020
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