I made a decision early on when I started planning on hiking the AT, that I wouldn’t rely on mail drops for resupply. My reasons were that A) cost concerns were not something that weighed as heavily for me as it does for a lot of thru-hikers; and B) I valued flexibility, and having to schedule my stops along the way to meet opening hours at post offices impacted that. I’d like to depend on freeze dried backpacking meals for the entire journey, but that unfortunately isn’t possible. Many places along the trial where I’ll need to resupply do not have outfitters or other retailers that sell freeze dried food. So often, I will have to depend on the offerings of supermarkets or even (shudder) convenience stores.
Research the subject of trail food and it is apparent that the two most popular hot meals at the end of a long day trekking are Knorr Side Dishes, and ramen. Which is understandable, as they are easy to prepare using the resources available to a hiker, and are relatively cheap. Not to mention they’re chock full of those two essential ingredients of the American diet, carbs and fat. Both are lacking somewhat in the protein department, but that can be remedied by adding foils pouches of tuna or chicken.