What is a Hiker Box?

A hiker box is a box or an area where hikers, trail angels, or others leave items for other hikers. Hiker boxes can be filled with almost any type of item. So it can be a lot of fun to see what you can find.

Best Water Bottles

Hiker Box

Hiker boxes can be found in a lot of hostels, motels, and stores that thru-hikers frequent. They contain items hikers don’t want to carry anymore. It’s important to visit the hiker box before shopping because it’s common to find at least one thing you can use.

Heavy plastic containers

It doesn’t take long for hikers to realize some containers weigh a lot.

Toilet Paper

This is one of the best finds . No need to purchase four rolls of toilet paper at the store if it’s in the hiker box.

Remember to pack out used toilet paper. And never burn toilet paper in the wilderness.


It’s so nice to find shampoo for the shower!

Nalgene Flask

You will likely find discarded heavy items toward the beginning of the trail. People tend to have a lot of heavy items that might seem to be a good idea at the time but don’t end up working out on trail. For example the heavy Nalgene bottle.

Mystery Bag

There will likely be many bags without any labels in the hiker box. Some items you can easily figure out what they are, like rice. Others will require a risk assessment.

Ramen and more

Every box should have some ramen. Score!

Old low flowing water filter

It’s common to find low flowing water filters in hiker boxes, once hikers realize they need to get a new one.

Snickers Bar

Finding a Snickers bar in a box is about as rare as finding Bigfoot. You will likely find something you need but finding a Snickers bar will not be one of them.

Assortment of condiments

It’s common to find an assortment of condiments. Hot sauce is a favorite for many hikers.

Eyeglass Case

It’s very common to find heavy eyeglass cases along the trail. Thru-hikers realize that they can make a case out a much lighter option.

Fuel Canisters

Every box has to have an assortment of almost empty isobutane fuel canisters. If you are very lucky you might find a full one.

Big Bag of Something in the Hiker Box

Almost every box has a big bag of something. This big bag contains rice but it isn’t instant rice, which isn’t super ideal for cooking with a small backpacking stove.


It’s always a good practice to look over the hiker box in town before going shopping. You might just get lucky and find what you need.

Remember to put any items you don’t need back into the box, in case the next lucky hiker needs it! Sharing is caring.