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  1. #1
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    01-03-2018
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    Clearwater, Florida
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    Default Resupply Info - USPS Priority mail box shipping - may help others

    This isn't a guide or article, just passing info i myself have figured out. It may help others.

    TL;DR To anyone planning on USPS shipping items, the best bang for your buck to Region 4, 5, and 6 would be the REGIONAL RATE B2 BOX only available from USPS.com. It is a boardgame shape and fits a whopping 22 analog bags. After that, Regions 7+ use the LARGE FLAT RATE BOARD GAME BOX also only available from USPS.COM.

    The Details
    I plan on freezer bag cooking. All of my meals half-fill a 1 quart Ziplock Stand and Fill Freezer bag. For my analog, I poured in 2 cups of dog food. Dog food is similar in weight (bit heavier) and volume to freeze dried / knorr / idahoan packages. They are rolled up into soda can shape cylinders. I then took each type of box USPS provides (provided they sent them to me...), and measured how many bags I could stuff into each.

    I focused on their FLAT RATE or REGIONAL boxes only as they are the cheapest method to ship and include tracking, hold for pickup (if purchasing postage online) and free pickup.

    The box specs are as follows:
    USPS BOXES.JPG

    16 bags weighed 90oz. The shoe box at the bottom of the table is to show how much it would cost not using flat rate.

    Shaking and Shifting the box settles the bags and allows them to fill all air gaps using 99% of the box's capacity. The strange thing is that the volume of the Regional B2 box is less than B1, but holds more. This is due to the shape of the food bags being cylindrical and about 7" wide. There was still room on the sides of the box to stuff smaller items.

    Pro Tip for those freezer bag cooking freeze dried meals. give the mylar bags a furious shaking before transferring the contents to ziploc bags. This breaks up any sharp edges off food that can puncture your bag while in transit / hiking.

    Hope this helps and if you need more details or want pictures, just ask and I may elaborate or write a complete guide.

  2. #2

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    Just hope it gets delivered before you finish the trail

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-10-2010
    Location
    Jupiter, FL
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    Thanks for the tip. Every year I send a supply box for a long section hike and think there has to be a better way.

  4. #4

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    I used a Regional Rate Box B as a bounce box when I thru-hiked. I found that the employees at several post offices did not know what regional rate boxes were. Sometimes they tried to charge me flat rate shipping, since Regional Rate Box B looks the same as a Medium Flat Rate box. Twice they just charged regular Priority Mail prices, which, as you can surmise, was quite expensive.

  5. #5

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    What do you do with all the freezer bags?

  6. #6

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    Thanks for sharing this good information! I didn't even know those "regional" box rates existed. Turns out they don't help me living so far away from the AT, but good info nonetheless for most.

    I did the entire AT and LT using priority mail boxes, work great, even with $18 postage for a large box, the money saved with bulk food purchases was significant, and the convenience of never having to food shop along the trail was fantastic. Many do not like mailing food for long hikes, but it works very well for some.

    Just FWIW, I can fit about 5-6 days of food in a Large PM box, 3-4 in a medium. Tight fits, but with careful repackaging, like you do, it works. I do not like the "board game" shapes though, doesn't work for me.

    Yes, I also use FB cooking, and sure, I toss mine away as most would. I can live with myself doing this, and I'll stack my overall environmental responsibility against pretty much anyone.

    One little mailing tip you probably already know: avoid shipping to Post Offices, use hostels and businesses along the way that accept your resupply. If you use PO's, you'll inevitably get burned with bad timing! (ie: closed PO's). Lesson learned on my very first resupply in Hiawasee! Arrived at noon on Saturday, forced to take a zero right off. Unnecessary with all the hostels/hotels/businesses that accept boxes.

  7. #7
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    04-21-2015
    Location
    San Antonio TX
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    If/when I get to hike the AT I plan on shipping my food because I also think the savings on bulk buys will be worth it.

    IAlso I take medicine and will need my meds mailed to me. A small box is $6 so I figured I might as well go with at least a medium and mail me some food. Then again the large isn't that much more either.

    There are several items I can probably only get here that I will want to eat. I also figure having food mailed will help me control my spending better.

  8. #8

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    If someone is at home and able to switch food over this can work. The folks who prepackage their boxes way in advance sometimes lose their appetite for whatever they thought they wanted to eat and end up dumping a lot of stuff in hiker boxes and hitting the local stores.

  9. #9
    Registered User
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    11-08-2013
    Location
    Noble, Oklahoma
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    43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Highland Goat View Post
    I used a Regional Rate Box B as a bounce box when I thru-hiked. I found that the employees at several post offices did not know what regional rate boxes were. Sometimes they tried to charge me flat rate shipping, since Regional Rate Box B looks the same as a Medium Flat Rate box. Twice they just charged regular Priority Mail prices, which, as you can surmise, was quite expensive.
    After some discussions with my local post office, and them calling higher ups for clarification, here's what I found before I started my hike:

    Regional rate postage is only available online, or via a commercial meter. You cannot purchase it at the retail counter.

    Regional rate boxes cannot double as flare rate boxes. They will be priced as regular priority mail at the counter.

    I live in Oklahoma and we determined regional rate would be cheaper only as far as Harper's Ferry. North from there, flat rate won.

    It saved me a few bucks in postage, but it really wasn't worth the time spent figuring it all out vs. how many mail drops I did. Someone doing many drops might make it work.

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