How to ship a backpack

There could be many reasons you might want to ship a backpack. Be it because you are selling backpacks and other bags as part of your job, selling an old bag second-hand, sending one to a friend or loved one across the globe, or shipping it to another country to save on airline costs. 

Unlike clothing, shipping a backpack can be a little difficult, usually because they are big and bulky and hard to fold. However, there are a few different safe and affordable ways a backpack can be shipped no matter the reason. Of course, the best way to send will depend on of the backpack is full or empty, but let’s go over those options on how to ship a backpack. 

Shipping an empty flat backpack.

The most common reason for shipping an empty backpack is if you are selling one. However, another reason could be if you are gifting a bag or want to send one to a friend or family. In this case, the backpack should flatten down, making it easier and cheaper to ship.

Priority mail flat rate box
you pick up a similar box from USPS for shipping your empty backpack.

Best way to pack and ship

When shipping your backpack, you will need to start with some empty cardboard boxes. These could probably be picked up from your local supermarket. Another option is to reuse a box from another delivery. You will also need some good packing tape to seal the boxes tightly. 

First, find the box that fits the backpack, leaving as little empty room as possible. You can also cut down a larger box to size, if necessary to make it work. Next, add some packing paper or bubble wrap around the backpack and then use the packing tape to seal up the cardboard box.

The cheapest method to ship the box

In most cases, the cheapest way to ship your backpack is via USPS. Of course, it is always worth comparing different options first, but USPS is the most reasonable for lighter boxes. Surprisingly, regular first-class or priority shipping will likely be cheaper than flat rate shipping, sometimes even by about half the amount. So although your package may be large, chances are it will be super light.

Sure, flat rate boxes may be more convenient because you can pick up the ready-made boxes for free, but if the actual shipping works out about double the price, it is just not worth it. You can also pick up priority-mail boxes from the post office for free; they will even ship these boxes to you. If you can’t wait for them to send you the box, use any old repurposed box that you have lying around the house. You can then schedule for it to be picked up at a time that suits you. This is one of the easiest methods when looking into shipping a backpack. 

USPS Shipping tip: If you pay online for the shipping rather than at the post office, you get a 10% discount; every little bit helps.

A Green colored Hiking Backpack
Photo by Ali Kazal on Unsplash

Shipping a packed backpack.

A slightly trickier option is shipping a packed backpack, as this will add considerable weight to the package. However, there could be several reasons why you might want to ship a packed backpack. Such as if you are traveling and need some extra gear sent directly to you or send some extra gear to someone else.

It will also save you from having to take so much stuff through the airport when you are traveling by air. This can save you considerable hassle at the airport and a significant amount in baggage fees. 

Another reason you may need to ship a packed backpack is if you are hiking to a destination or want to travel light, and have all your gear at your final destination when you get there. So the big question is, how do you ship the backpack?

Large Amazon box with other envolopes
Reuse a large box similar to this, you might need an even larger box for bigger backpacks

Best way to pack the backpack for shipping

Summary:

  1. Wrap the backpack with plastic wrap or bubble wrap tightly.
  2. Get an appropriate-sized box and line the bottom of the box with bubble wrap or packing paper.
  3. Place the backpack in the box and fill the box with more packing material.
  4. Seal the Box tightly with sturdy packing tape.

Packing your backpack may be the tricky part. It is likely to be big, bulky, and hard to fit into smaller boxes. To keep it safe and protected, you should first get hold of some bubble wrap or plastic wrapping, which should be sold in your local post office or can be ordered online. 

Make sure that you have enough to completely wrap around the backpack several times and secure it in place. The tighter you can make the plastic wrap, the better, as you don’t want whatever you have inside the backpack rocking around during shipping.

Once it is properly wrapped, you will be able to get an idea of the size of the box you need. Get the appropriate-sized box. Next, you will want to line the bottom of the box with packing material. Again, this will add a bit of protection and keep the bag snug during shipping.

Place the bag on top of this layer of packing material, and then fill up the space around the bag with even more packing material.

Once everything has been packed tightly, shut the cardboard box and seal it tightly with some packing tape. Make sure you are using enough tape to secure all sides tightly, and there is no chance of the box opening during transit.

The cheapest method to ship the heavy box

As the backpack is going to be full, chances are it will be considerably more expensive than shipping an empty backpack due to its weight. The best way to get the lowest price is to compare services between different carriers. If you are shipping on a platform such as eBay, they have an inbuilt calculator, where you can play around with different addresses and weights to find the most cost-effective way to ship. FedEx Ground is a cheap option if you are not leaving the country.

There are also dedicated companies whose job is to literally send packed bags whenever you need them to go, such as sendmybag.com. Keep your eyes out for first-time promotions or similar to get your delivery at an even more affordable price.  

Emily Winters

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