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Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 2:04 pm
by K4ICL

NOTE: These guidelines are based on years experience packing and shipping electronic equipment using most major domestic and carriers. Proper packing is the single most important step in conducting business on the Internet, yet often receives the least attention.


A gorilla, larger than you can imagine, will throw the package at least 30 feet to another large gorilla. The second gorilla will not catch it and it will slam against the brick wall and drop to the concrete floor.

You will have to file a damage claim if you do not DOUBLE BOX the item. Dealing with damage claims is a REAL hassle, likely to involve much paper work and hard feelings. It will make you very cranky.

The Reality

All shipping carriers, including the U.S. Postal Service, have automated their distribution systems, using bar codes to route packages. Your shipment will be moved through the read-and-sort process using conveyor belts. The conveyor system will drop your package from one belt to another at a heights of up to 40 inches. This means that your package will experience a free fall drop(s) at some phase of being carried from your QTH to its destination. IF YOU DON'T PACK IT PROPERLY, IT WILL BE DAMAGED.


Always insure the package for one and one-half times its ACTUAL REPLACEMENT VALUE.

MINIMUM Requirement

Any package should be packed in such a manner that the contents of the package will not be damaged if the package is dropped from the height of a normal shipping counter to the floor, a distance of about 40 inches or three and one half feet.

Step by Step Procedure to assure it getting there undamaged

WARNING: If your unit has a heavy transformer, such as is found in some linear amplifiers and similar equipment, REMOVE THE HEAVY TRANSFORMER AND SHIP IT IN AN SEPARATE PACKAGE.

1. Place item in plastic bag or other suitable plastic cover to protect it from packing materials and moisture. Same with any extra small items, manual, accessories, etc. Remember, the vibration of a long haul truck can completely ware the paint off a surface rubbing against packing material.

2. Wrap item in at least five layers of the large bubble wrap. There should be enough bubble wrap surrounding the item to absorb the shock of being dropped from a height of 40 inches.

3. Place item in suitable size heavy duty cardboard box, preferably one that just fits the item with it bubble wrapping, including any accessories. Fill any spaces on the top, bottom and sides of the bubble wrapped item with sheets of foam. The pink sheets of foam insulation from Home Depot or the blue sheets from Lowes are perfect for this. DO NOT use Styrofoam “peanuts”. The peanuts wll be pounded to dust causing the item to bang around in the box. DO NOT USE NEWSPAPER, WADDED PLASTIC OR ANYTHING NOT DESIGNED FOR THE PURPOSE.

4. Seal the box carefully. Double tape everything. The better it is sealed, the better it will absorb the shock of being dropped.

5. Next the sealed box goes inside a second box leaving at least one inch of space between the boxes on ALL sides.

6. Prior to placing the smaller box inside the larger, place one or two sheets of foam board in and on the bottom of the large box. This is to strengthen the bottom of the two box container you are building. IMPORTANT: For LARGE HEAVY items, there should be at least two inches of Styrofoam sheets. DO NOT USE STYROFOAM PEANUTS OR ANY OTHER LOOSE MATERIAL. (Note: the “pink” one inch foam board available at Home Depot is perfect for this application. Often slightly damaged sheets are discounted to half price. Even better!)

7. After placing the smaller box it the larger, place foam board on all sides and the top of the smaller sealed box. Fill all remaining space in the second box, leaving NO air space at the top. The inner "first" box MUST be securely held in place so it will not shift when you shake the package,

8. Seal the second box with packing tape then over the top and bottom "lids" again. Double tape everything.

9. IMPORTANT: place on each surface, except the bottom, stickers or signs indicating that the contents of the package is a FRAGILE ELECTRONIC INSTRUMENT and DO NOT DROP. If you fail to do this, the package WILL BE HANDLED AS IF IT WERE A BOX OF ROCKS!

10. Place address label on top of package, completely taping over with clear packing tape.

11. IMPORTANT: Immediately after shipping, forward the tracking number the recipient.


Packing and shipping

Posted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 2:46 pm
by W8VVE
Great post....and one that I agree with completly. I don't believe you can be too careful when you pack an item. Thanks for the tips....Sam W8VVE

Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 2:19 am
If the item is particularly "heavy" or expensive in nature for example like an $4000.00 Alpha amplifier or if it's a heavy boatanchor like an R-390A etc., you might consider not even using a cardboard box at all.

Your local army surplus store might have something like this:

(I got mine at Fair Radio and paid around $25.00)

The extra expense involved is often justified with peace of mind particularly if you are not very confident with how the gorrillas are handling "your baby" down on the conveyer line. .

Sometimes, I will ship this extremely heavy duty box to my seller with the appropriate packing materials already inside. It can often save a lot of misery down the road.

I can usually ship this box out empty with practically nothing but lighweight packing material inside for around $20.00 using Fed Ex ground.

Besides, I always get the box back later with a nice present inside.

Just another option to consider.

73 Charles - KC8VWM


Posted: Fri May 14, 2010 3:04 am
by stock-man
really thanks fo sharing great post

Posted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:27 am
by taratraynor56
Agree with u "K4ICL"! I have been in the commercial packing and shipping business for 7 years and speak with experience learned the hard way. I refuse to pack and ship an item unless it will survive the gorilla handling. Cost more YES arrive safely YES.


Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:50 pm
by SanzCat
I'm well aware that this is an older post, but I completely agree with the general consensus of this thread. I was looking for business/shipping forums and found this thread.

The article you posted is simply fantastic! As someone who goes through the day to day process of shipping products, it's always great to see helpful advice on the matter. Many different types of items are shipped throughout the world every single day and they all require different types of shipping.

Most fulfillment services require you to take extra precaution in shipping certain items -- electronics in particular! Some items are perfectly o.k. to be thrown around while others are very fragile. Motherboards and processors LOOK like they could withstand a hit, but in reality, they need special packaging to ensure that those items install properly. Static can actually be detrimental to the motherboard and processors; therefore, special packaging is required to ensure the safety of these expensive items.

As mentioned before, this is a great article. I learned quite a bit from it and I'm sure that those starting up in the order fulfillment industry can learn a thing or two from all this. Thanks again! =)


Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 1:57 pm
by k5dkz
That requires lots of work, usually without compensation. Then you have to take it to the carrier unless you can convince them to come get it. If it gets damaged in shipment they still claim it was not packaged properly.
Lots of effort, no reward.
I leave the packing and shipping to the buyer. Let the buyer deal directly with the shipper to pick up, pack, and ship. Leaves me free to do useful things.