Five months on the trail may sound like the perfect way to test yourself and enjoy the great outdoors, but it doesn't come without it's logistic challenges. Whether your goal is the Pacific Crest, the Appalachian Trail, or one of the other long hikes, chances are that you may need to cancel your apartment lease and store all of your stuff until you return. The following tips can help you make the most of storage, while still making it easy for your support person back home to access necessary items.
Tip #1: Choose a unit close to your support person
Most long distance hikers have a family member or friend that acts as their off-trail support person. This is who you check in with at town stops, as well as who you depend upon to keep an eye on your off-trail responsibilities and send out your mail drops to your resupply points. Instead of renting a storage unit near your old home, choose one that is convenient to your support person's location so they can access it easily while you are away.
Tip #2: Pack with ease in mind
Chances are that you won't be the only one digging through your unit. This means that it is especially important that you pack carefully and label thoroughly. Opt for moderate-sized boxes that stack easily and can be easily handled by one person. Items you aren't likely to need on your hike, such as appliances, books, and furniture, should be placed in the back of the unit. Items that may become necessary, like clothing or extra gear and equipment, should be well labeled and placed near the front of the unit.
Tip #3: Store mail drops wisely
Prepared mail drops with food, maps, and extra socks are a must for most through-hikers. The problem is that pests may get into the boxes. To prevent this, store your prepared mail drops in a tightly-sealed, heavy duty plastic storage tub. Leave the actual shipping boxes unsealed in case your support person needs to add anything to them. Then, label the boxes numerically so it is easy for you to request the box you need mailed to you next. That way, all your support person needs to do is pick up the box from storage, add any needed items, update the drop address if needed, and take it to the post office.
For more help with your storage needs, contact a personal storage facility near you or your support person.