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Share Shipping Tips and Tricks



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Original Post
Señor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

Seems to me the biggest source of friction keeping this from being a true "Dirtbag Climbers Exchange" is the cost of shipping stuff back and forth. I've learned a few tricks to reduce those costs and I'm sure the MP community has many more. Here, off the top of my head, are mine:

  • Use Paypal Shipping, even if you don't use Paypal for the transaction: They have a hidden shipping site that has the lowest cost postage printing I've been able to find anywhere. Link HERE. If you are completing a PP transaction it's especially handy. 
  • Flat Rate Zone Boxes: You have to order these from the USPS site directly and buying postage is a little tricky, but the Regional Flat Rate A & B boxes can save a bundle. I just shipped a #6 cam within California for $7.65 that would have cost $15 any other way.
  • Use first class mail from Paypal site above for single cams. I'm able to ship a single cam for about $3 with delivery confirmation. I re-use Amazon delivery padded envelopes to ship in. 
I'd love to hear any other tricks. 
Xander Bremer · · San Francisco, CA · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

Thanks dude, great tips!
USPS media mail is great for guidebooks and the like.

mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 120

Ditto all the above.

Often first class rates are better if item is small-light enough, not only for cams.

Flat rate is only a deal when the package is heavy enough. Using Flat rate for lightweight items is often not cost effective. For example, when shipping climbing shoes, often shipping using USPS priority by weight NOT flat rate is better rate, as you stated, sometimes better with regional box or otherwise just in Tyvek envelope (which is how resolers ship as well.). And it is generally more money to ship shoes in original box.

Señor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

The Tyvek Priority Mail envelope is a great way to ship shoes or big cams. I think on Paypal it's $7.

The Regional Rate Box A and B can be ordered here. Box B and Box A.

The way you ship with the regional rate boxes you list the address like you are going to ship a priority mail package by weight. Select 2 lbs if using Box A. Select 5 lbs if using box B. Then you can cram the hell out of them with anything you want and no limit. They tend to be about 25% to 50% cheaper than the flat rate boxes, especially if shipping nearby.

Caz Drach · · C'Wood, UT · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 310

What about skis

Lyle M · · New Haven, Ct · Joined Aug 2018 · Points: 0

If you have it shipped to your work or a business address I believe it is cheaper through UPS/fedex as well...? I think something like an additional $4 for residential per package?

Señor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
Lyle M wrote: If you have it shipped to your work or a business address I believe it is cheaper through UPS/fedex as well...?

Yes, FedEx and UPS are cheaper to commercial addresses. 

Alexx Dominguez · · Bend · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 30

USPS Priority Padded Flat Rate Envelope = ships @ 7.25-8.05$
Comes with tracking and 2-3 day delivery at any weight

Anywhere in the US

B DeMers · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2018 · Points: 0

Can we sticky this thread?

Scott Morrison 182 · · Alburtis, PA · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 2

USPS nailed me $14.72 to ship three rockcentrics in a box with no dimension over 12” Will be using the link above!

mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 120
Scott Morrison 182 wrote: USPS nailed me $14.72 to ship three rockcentrics in a box with no dimension over 12” Will be using the link above!

Total weight still might be over first class availablity, but If they fit in a bubble/padded envelope and are light enough to go First Class Parcel, would likely be under $5


USPS priority and flat rate boxes (addressing these as two separate but related issues) can work as either friend or foe depending on weight and package size.
mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 120
Alexx Dominguez wrote: USPS Priority Padded Flat Rate Envelope = ships @ 7.25-8.05$
Comes with tracking and 2-3 day delivery at any weight

Anywhere in the US

Just like flat rate boxes, flat rate envelopes are usually only a deal if package weight exceeds first class availability. First class also includes tracking, and typically is delivered within a day of the priority shipping time. With first class it also depends on zone. Flat rate is same regardless of zone.

Logan Peterson · · Santa Fe, NM · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 75

Ditto on the Tyvek Priority envelopes. These have almost the volume of a medium box, but are way cheaper to ship. I've shipped a lot of cams this way and haven't had an issue (except when USPS lost a package once). I bubble wrap each cam, zip-tie lobes on the large sizes, and reinforce the seam on the envelope with packing tape. Tyvek is tough and much more water-resistant than cardboard.
Thanks Andrew for turning us on to PayPal's back-door to First Class shipping. Silly that USPS's website can't handle this.
Twice now, I've been talked into shipping small items with stamps, and I've regretted it both times.
Final hard lesson I'll share: Contrary to popular opinion, PayPal's buyer protection does nothing to protect the seller if the shipping company loses the package. Not saying you shouldn't use the G+S option, but this is merely insurance for the buyer.

Señor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
Caz Drach wrote: What about skis

I suspect, but don't know for sure, that UPS would be your best option. I know people who UPS their luggage places ahead of time to avoid airline hassles. 

Señor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
Logan Peterson wrote: 
Final hard lesson I'll share: Contrary to popular opinion, PayPal's buyer protection does nothing to protect the seller if the shipping company loses the package. Not saying you shouldn't use the G+S option, but this is merely insurance for the buyer.

The 3% Paypal insurance actually protects sellers in a different way. F&F transactions can be reversed by the sender, I'm not going to say how. But it's a real threat. G&S can only be reversed through a Paypal dispute.

USPS has insurance for loss of goods in the mail. $50 is included with any package. It's prohibitively expensive per $$ coverage, though. 

Christian Hesch · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 6
mountainhick wrote: Ditto all the above.

Often first class rates are better if item is small-light enough, not only for cams.

Flat rate is only a deal when the package is heavy enough. Using Flat rate for lightweight items is often not cost effective. For example, when shipping climbing shoes, often shipping using USPS priority by weight NOT flat rate is better rate, as you stated, sometimes better with regional box or otherwise just in Tyvek envelope (which is how resolers ship as well.). And it is generally more money to ship shoes in original box.


FWIW, most climbing shoes (unless we're talking a pair of 36.0's!) will exceed any weight thresholds, so that padded flat rate envelope (the usps will send them in packs of 10 to your door, for free) is your best bet at $8. It's also workable for large sizes, as you squish the shoes (did this recently with a pair of 46.5 approach shoes) as small as possible, toe to heel, slide them inside one envelope to the end. They are now sticking out of the envelope by an inch or so. Take a second padded flat rate envelope (needs to look identical, so use same envelopes), and slide that over the open end. You've effectively created a 1 & 1/4 sized envelope, tape it up well and nobody has ever questioned me about it (or just use the automated machine, if that's an option in your town).

Tyvek envelope sounds like it's 0.65c cheaper than the padded one, but I never see those in my local post, perhaps they'll mail those to your house for free as well?
curt86iroc · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 54
Señor Arroz wrote:

 I know people who UPS their luggage places ahead of time to avoid airline hassles. 

that just sounds like a hassle...

mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 120
Christian Hesch wrote:


FWIW, most climbing shoes (unless we're talking a pair of 36.0's!) will exceed any weight thresholds, so that padded flat rate envelope (the usps will send them in packs of 10 to your door, for free) is your best bet at $8. It's also workable for large sizes, as you squish the shoes (did this recently with a pair of 46.5 approach shoes) as small as possible, toe to heel, slide them inside one envelope to the end. They are now sticking out of the envelope by an inch or so. Take a second padded flat rate envelope (needs to look identical, so use same envelopes), and slide that over the open end. You've effectively created a 1 & 1/4 sized envelope, tape it up well and nobody has ever questioned me about it (or just use the automated machine, if that's an option in your town).

Tyvek envelope sounds like it's 0.65c cheaper than the padded one, but I never see those in my local post, perhaps they'll mail those to your house for free as well?

That's a nice trick if USPS lets it slide. Nice you have a lenient post office. Our post office workers take the job and uniform a bit too seriously!

curt86iroc · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 54
mountainhick wrote:

That's a nice trick if USPS lets it slide. Nice you have a lenient post office. Our post office workers take the job and uniform a bit too seriously!

they're everywhere..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hox-ni8geIw​​​
Señor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
curt86iroc wrote:

that just sounds like a hassle...

Not if your personal assistant has to deal with the hassle.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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