Hikers typically resupply (by whatever method) about every 75 to 100 miles, or about once every 4-5 days. Hikers are frequently able to carry less in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast where town crossings were somewhat more frequent.
There are three basic methods of resupply: Drop Boxes, Bump Boxes and Trail Resupply.
Drop Box: A package mailed from the hiker’s “home” base, a drop box typically contains the bulk of a hiker’s food supply for the coming leg of the hike. A drop box may also contain maps or alternative equipment. Hikers frequently assemble their dropped supplies prior to departing. The boxes are then mailed (and sometimes supplemented) by a person supporting the hiker.
Bump Box: A package mailed from point to point by a hiker, a bump box typically contains extra and/or alternative equipment, maps and town items. A bump box can also be used to forward supplies from a town with good services to a subsequent stop with limited resupply opportunities.
Trail Resupply: Supplies acquired on or near the Trail, trail resupplies generally consist of the hiker’s food supplies for the coming leg of the hike (although extra and/or alternative equipment is frequently acquired along the Trail). The quality of resupply opportunities vary greatly from town to town.