Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1

    Default How early to send mail drops?

    Just wondering if anyone has ever sent out their mail drops before starting their hike. I've read that the post office will hold a package for 30 days, but is that true? I need to send out some packages that will not be picked up for 60 days. Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default

    If you do USPS, you can forward a package up to 3 times for free, if the package isn't opened. Bounce them along with you.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    06-15-2008
    Location
    Randolph, NH
    Posts
    9,962
    Images
    34

    Default

    True, they can only hold a package for 30 days. Most of the PO's along the trail are very small with very limited storage space. Find a friend or relative who can mail the package to you a few weeks before you expect to arrive at the PO. The shorter the time the package sits in the PO, the quicker they will find it when you get there.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  4. #4
    Registered User TheMidlifeHiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-14-2018
    Location
    Sturbridge, MA
    Age
    41
    Posts
    68

    Default

    Iím packing all mine (4 total) and leaving them with someone to mail. When Iím 150 miles or so from the drop point, theyíll get in the mail. Iím not fast so thatís likely 10-12 days of lead time. Plenty for Priority.

  5. #5
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-20-2013
    Location
    Upper East Side of Texas
    Age
    72
    Posts
    7,850

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AllDownhillFromHere View Post
    If you do USPS, you can forward a package up to 3 times for free, if the package isn't opened. Bounce them along with you.
    I have read, but have not actually experienced this myself.
    Internet sources claim that you can't take possession of the package and then ask for free forwarding. Verify with the USPS exactly how you can forward a package without handling it first.
    I would call the various post offices that you don't expect to arrive at until after 30 days and ask them what their policy is. After viewing some videos online, treatment can vary GREATLY from one post office to the next one up the trail. Find Dixie's Homemade Wanderlust PCT video about the Shasta, California post office's refusal to forward a package because she didn't appear in person.
    Bottom line: The USPS Rule seems to be: What rules?
    Wayne
    "So it's sorta social, demented and sad, but social. Right?Ē
    John Bender, The Breakfast Club

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-04-2013
    Location
    New Orleans
    Posts
    3,952

    Default

    Bouncing ahead a priority mail box for free technically cannot be done if the customer comes into possession with the box, so it can't be used to bounce ahead a box if you need access to the contents. Of course, you can always pay for shipping it again. Now, some small town POs are hiker friendly and others not so much. It wouldn't surprise me if some small POs let you bounce ahead a box via priority mail forwarding after you get something out of it but don't rely on that.

    BTW, you can save a lot of money using the regional rate boxes (I like regional rate box B) rather than using the flat rate small/medium/large boxes when sending priority mail shorter distances, as one would for a bounce box. A priority mail regional rate B box is 12" x 10.25" x 5". A priority mail large flat rate box is slightly larger at 12" x 12" x 5.5". But shipping cost is dramatically lower for short distances with regional rate.

    Example: Shipping a large flat rate box is $18.90 no matter where you send it and has a very high weight limit (I think 70 pounds?). But if you ship a 15 pound regional rate B box from Leadville to Salida, Colorado, the cost is just $7.41. I used a bounce box in Colorado years ago using this method (just rechecked rates on usps.com).

    One small catch is that regional rate postage must be purchased online, not at the PO. So you have to plan ahead and print out forwarding labels for each bounce. Before leaving home, I paid for and printed out labels to bounce my box from Denver to Breckenridge to Leadville to Salida to Lake City and finally to Durango.

    FWIW, I don't use bounce boxes anymore but figure this is worth typing out for those who do. It's a hassle to be tied to PO hours...

  7. #7

    Default

    ship to businesses along the trail. better hours and usually better service for package hold. put on the package a date range you expect to be there. If you find you will miss your pickup date, call before it's "expired" and let them know you are running behind and ask them to hold it with a new expected day of pickup.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    Bouncing ahead a priority mail box for free technically cannot be done if the customer comes into possession with the box, so it can't be used to bounce ahead a box if you need access to the contents. Of course, you can always pay for shipping it again. Now, some small town POs are hiker friendly and others not so much. It wouldn't surprise me if some small POs let you bounce ahead a box via priority mail forwarding after you get something out of it but don't rely on that...
    Never had a problem doing it in trail towns, they ask if you opened it, you say no, and they forward it. ESPECIALLY if its done right in the lobby, as in, you get 2 packages, 1 containing food and another spare gear. You open the food box, and not needing the gear, hand it back to them to bounce. Nobody I know had any problems, but I also don't know of anyone who tried to repack it after opening.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    06-15-2008
    Location
    Randolph, NH
    Posts
    9,962
    Images
    34

    Default

    Business or PO, you should try to stay in the 30 day window.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-28-2007
    Location
    Georgia and Hawaii
    Posts
    16,700

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PennyPincher View Post
    ship to businesses along the trail. better hours and usually better service for package hold. put on the package a date range you expect to be there. If you find you will miss your pickup date, call before it's "expired" and let them know you are running behind and ask them to hold it with a new expected day of pickup.
    There you go. This has worked for me many times.

    To make it easier back home to get someone to mail my boxes I pre box, label, seal and postage all boxes using USPO Priority Flat Rate Boxes(free at USPO's) which have set postage rates. I use Forever stamps. The additional care and service provided with this level of mailing has been told to me by long term PO family members having advantageous possibly resulting in packages being held a bit longer. Begin by calling your individual mailing to locations to see policy hold times if that box contents is critical. Different PO's, CG's, hostels, etc will hold longer than 30 days.


    As Penny Pincher said communicate by calling before the ETA written on the box. Calling ahead being civil, appreciative, and cooperative briefly adding the package has critically important contents I've had several PO's accommodate me in getting my package after hrs, on Sundays, held by someone else or a biz, held up to 60 days, etc. On many US hikes after some 150 boxes sent this way I've only been held up or not have my box there to get as anticipated twice. That's a damn good track record! I give Two Thumbs Up to the USPO. Great folks!

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-28-2007
    Location
    Georgia and Hawaii
    Posts
    16,700

    Default

    Different PO's, CG's, hostels, etc will hold longer than 30 days.


    Most do!


    Don't allow legalistic attitudes or those who haven't had much success in mailing and receiving boxes persuade you from exploring this as your resupply option. There is way to much negativity and supposed "it's an unneeded hassle" opining on WB surrounding this topic.

  12. #12

    Default

    Thanks for all of the great info! Sounds like bouncing a couple of my packages will be the best way.

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rest Step View Post
    Thanks for all of the great info! Sounds like bouncing a couple of my packages will be the best way.
    Make sure you keep copies of the tracking numbers, especially if they re-assign one on a bounce.

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-28-2007
    Location
    Georgia and Hawaii
    Posts
    16,700

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AllDownhillFromHere View Post
    Make sure you keep copies of the tracking numbers, especially if they re-assign one on a bounce.
    Sharp advice.

  15. #15
    MuddyWaters's Avatar
    Join Date
    05-05-2011
    Location
    state of confusion
    Posts
    9,316
    Journal Entries
    1

    Wink

    Leaving them at home and having somebody (parents, spouse, friend,) mail them out about two weeks prior to when you need them works too......... pre address them , number them and tell them mail number one on this date, #2 this date, etc.<br>
    <br>
    I usually use mail drops on hikes up to a month. It saves time for me just Grab &amp; Go. <br>
    And tortillas keep fine for that amount of time packaged in ziplocks if you've bought ones with a long enough expiration date on them. Much past that I don't think I'd be using too many mail drops.<br>
    <br>
    But also agree avoid PO's if you can. The hours are a problem. The weekends are problem. A couple places out west with limited storage are notorious for having sent a package back for someone in as little as a week. The 30 days that they will hold general delivery applies to mail , not necessarilly packages. Packages are actually at their discretion. Never heard of any po along the AT sending them back early , but it has happened in a few small POs out west. We're talkin places where the PO is basically a closet on the side of a general store.

    Calling ahead and confirming is always good. Places that handle hiker packages are usually used to the the deal.. I've had packages that were in pretty rough shape though and even broken open from repeated rummaging through stacks of them at popular places. The longer it's there the longer something can happen to it.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 03-23-2018 at 04:17.
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

++ New Posts ++

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •