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Gas Station and Convenience Store Resupply Guide

Gas Station Food Mart
Gas Station Food Mart

It’s a sad fact that many of the grocery stores you used to find in small towns along the Appalachian Trail and other hiking trails have been replaced by gas station convenience stores. The quality of food available has suffered and it can be difficult to walk away with anything resembling decent and wholesome food.

Here’s some advice about what you should look for and reliably find in gas station food marts if you want to eat reasonably “clean” and avoid eating junk food like Little Debbies or Pop Tarts. Consider this a checklist of things to look for your resupply since it’s easy to temporarily lose your mind when you walk into a store after being on the trail for a few days. You might already eat like this, but if not, it will feed you for a few days until you can get to a Walmart or pick up a food drop at the Post Office.


  • Smoked Almonds
  • Shelled Pistachios
  • Peanuts
  • Trail Mix

Bread, Pasta, and Grains

  • Loaf of Bread, White or Wheat
  • Dried Pasta
  • Minute Rice
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Mac N’Cheese
  • Instant Oatmeal
  • Cereal, often single serving
  • Triscuits
  • Wheat Thins
  • Ritz Crackers
  • Animal Crackers (probably the least worst snack food)
  • Chex


  • Peanut Butter
  • Jam
  • Honey


  • Fresh Bananas
  • Fresh Oranges
  • Fresh Apples
  • Raisins
  • Dried Fruit Mix

Dairy and Protein

  • String Cheese
  • Sliced Cheese
  • Block Cheese
  • Creamed Cheese
  • Butter
  • Beef Jerky
  • Summer Sausage
  • Canned Beef Stew
  • Tuna
  • Eggs
  • Bacon


  1. Philip; consider me provincial but I would consider Tuna a protein and NOT a topping. Perhaps you could elaborate what you would use tuna as topping for. I could always use unique ideas regarding food.

    • I eat mine out of the can on top of a spoon.

      • Good one Phil! My favorite spoon topping is peanut butter and chocolate chips. I call it “Reeses With A Sooon”

      • I met a guy once when I was hitching cross country. He informed me without gloating, that tuna spread on a Saltine cracker was a complete food. Protein in the tuna, the oil it is packed in for the fats and of course the carb factor in the cracker. Additionally he pointed out that salt on the cracker helped maintain body fluids on a hot day. I actually tried it for a week or so and he was right. Kind of boring but several cans of tuna a day with half a box of crackers actually kept me going as I hauled an 85 pound pack up freeway onramps, crossing fields to get to better camping spots and climbing fences to get to gas stations to fill up water bottles. Not great fare for backpacking but a thought for those thru hikers who get in a bad spot and the pickings are thin.

        • I avoid tuna, or fish of any kind in bear country. Bears are attracted to the smell of fish and tuna is often used as bait in bear traps.

          Otherwise the tuna in foil packets is awesome, when you can find them.

        • I agree. The smell is strong for tuna and other fish and the bears come a running. A friend and I caught several Grayling each in Denali Natl Park and were frying them up right there at the creek about 1/2 mile from camp. On the way back to camp next to McKinley River, we found grizzly tracks in the mud covering our own tracks we made walking to the creek. Fortunately none bothered us. We did count 34 grizzly on that trip though.
          Another time near Medicine Lake in Alaska, another friend was taking a pan of bacon grease to bury away from camp when he tripped on a root about 20 feet from camp. He flung it all over the ground. Several bears came out of the brush and rooted around the area licking it all up and sniffing around for more eats. Again, fortunately they did not tear us or camp up. Strong smells is just inviting visitors in bear country.

        • I need to actually measure it some day, but the cans for chicken and tuna are very light, maybe lighter than the foil pouches. Canned chicken is fairly tasty and tender.

        • The foil tuna packs are a twice daily protein-and-oils hit for me. I fold the empty pack over, stuff it a an ziploc, and loft the ziploc in the bear bag at night. So far no problems … but, AT newbie here, only 200 backpacking miles on my boots, wildlife encounters limited to rodents, snakes, and solo black bears.

          Tuna boredom can be defeated with some rousing antioxidant-filled chili or curry spices, I find.

          Regarding the health threat of mercury, a bit of perspective. In the early 18th century, Europeans considered a chaser of mercury to be a good counter to the effects of aging. Not recommended these days, of course, but I would guess that the risks pale c/w aroused mama bears, wood ticks, and dehydration.

          Never have seen the foil in the culinary wastelands of foodlike products at convenience stores, though, so I’m concerned about getting out of range of resupply packages. Thanks to all for your advice!

        • Wow, hello mercury poisoning. No one should be eating that much tuna.

        • I don’t think a week long trip is going to harm anything. Too much liberal brainwashing from media and agenda pushers.

        • AND…….The price is right for a scraping the bottom of the barrel budget. It was not a pleasure trip but a lifestyle move. If its a pleasure trip and you plan for it then spend your big bucks of Mountain House or dehydrated Kale chips or buffalo cheek sliders or whatever.

  2. Often you can find eggs, too. They can be a bit difficult to carry, but not too bad wrapped in a fleece. When you get to camp, you can simmer some water over an open fire and boil them. An excellent source of protein, vitamins and calories and they keep for two or three days in the shell after cooking. Same for a pound of bacon. Bacon & eggs make a good supper. The rest will keep very well for three or four days without refrigeration. Added to rice, etc it adds plenty of calories and a bit of protein. All sorts of pills are usually available. Pain pills, anti-sting, anti-allergy, etc. And you forgot my favorite. A can of beer!

    • I can just picture you lugging a 30-pack of Pabst back onto the trail!

      Good adds. I’m not an egg person, but people are.

      • Back in the eighties I would go winter camping carrying a case of 16-ounce Miller Lite cans wrapped in my sleeping bag. They didn’t make 30-packs until after I got sober in 1993. My pack would weigh at least 70 pounds.

        • The last time we went backpacking, I think you carried 96 eggs. I think you have an egg problem. You need help.

        • Guess Who; I sympathize with you beer carrying dilemma. In Jan of 1981 two friends and I built a sled to haul gear to a friend’s cabin on a winter/closed road in Interior Alaska. We used old skis for runners and it looked like a traditional dog sled. On it we had 450 pounds of food and gear. And 9 cases of beer. It took us 6 days with two of us pulling and one behind pushing sled to go about 43 miles up into the White Mts. Our slow time was due to no plowing of road since Oct of previous year and about 25 twenty foot stream fed glaciers coming off the hills that sometimes were slanting about 45 degrees downhill. Had to unpack and “carefully” walk every little thing over each glacier and then repack. When we got to about 1/2 mile from cabin, hellatious blizzard formed out of nowhere and made us camp almost within sight of cabin. Next day we got to cabin to find it had been ravaged by bears. Several hours of cleanup were needed before we could settle down, enjoy the fire in stove and thaw the beers out and begin serious party time. We only lost a dozen of the beers or so to freezing and rupture of cans. We made it back to Fairbanks 22 days later. Wheels. Yeah, wheels are what you need to carry a 30 pack to your next camp!

        • Is it weird that i read your posts in the voice of the grandpa from The Simpsons..?

          No offense meant. Thank you for sharing.

        • You have the age group nearly correct but my voice is still sounding like a silver tongued devil. Must be from all the outdoor living I have done.

      • A flask of Irish Whiskey packs much lighter that a case of beer.

    • Marco- boil the eggs while in the parking lot, I’ve done it and then they’re easier to carry.

  3. I got back to a hostel after a quick Gas Station resupply. Looked for an hour to find a can opener. Don’t forget to check for pop-tops or carry a P-38 micro can opener.

  4. Pasta – Go for thin pasta like angel hair spaghetti. To save fuel.

    Check the expiration dates on any food you get at rural convenience stores. They are often way out of date and can taste bad.

    I often carry regular white rice instead of minute rice because it packs much smaller and tastes much better.
    It can be a bitch to cook. My method that also works with red lentils is to bring the water to boil, then add rice/lentils, stir occasionally until a couple minutes after it comes back to a boil again. Then turn off the flame, cover and let sit for 30 minutes wrapped in some kind of insulation.

    I have done this with an alcohol stove many times. Turns out perfect as long as you don’t rush it or open the pot after the flame is off.

  5. Stay away from the hot dogs…

  6. Try being a vegetarian. Oh the humanity!

    Even in a “civilized” town where carnivores can readily feast on dead animals, we sometimes struggle to find good food. Especially in the South, bless their hearts. Even a salad comes festooned with bacon and god knows what else. Tried ordering a salad in NC a while back, sans bacon, and almost caused the waitress to faint.

    I’m not quite lugging blocks of tofu with me– yet. But I’m getting there. Maybe I’ll buy a PackWheel or something…

    • I bring textured vegetable protein flakes that I get from the bulk bins at my local COOP and add them to my dinners. They’re not very dense so you can bring enough to cover a couple resupplies without much penalty.

  7. I think it’s a shame that Ramen is on the list but Snickers are not. If you look at the nutritional labels, Snickers really aren’t any worse for you than Ramen.

    • Mike; I believe that in ANYONE’S book Ramen and Snickers are not high on any list for nutritional value. They are high for quick energy though and THAT is why I think people value them as well as ease of use. Of course, Snickers does have much more nutritional value than Ramen with the included peanuts. Sometimes energy is just as important as nutrition in given circumstances.

  8. What about something like Dinty Moore beef stews? I realize that they are microwavable (and unless you’re at a hostel or a more modern shelter, you won’t have one), but they can be cooked in a pot too (or worst case, eaten cold). Weight might be a factor, but they could be something that you eat that night–or right after returning to camp.

  9. I’ve been carrying the P-38 since 1971. My dad gave me his. I still have that external frame backpack too.

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