United States Priority Mail Packages and How to Mail

Mailing packages to yourself on the trail can be confusing. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Follow along for these tips & tricks!

Preparing a Mailing Label

To mail a package to a post office, use the general address below (illustrated to the left).

Your Name Here

c/o General Delivery

City, State    Zip Code

To mail a package to all other locations, follow the example below.

Your Name Here

c/o Name of Business

City, State    Zip Code

Small Flat Rate Box

If you need to mail just electronics or just a tiny amount gear the small flat rate box might fit your needs.

  • Outside Dimensions: 8 11/16″ x 5 7/16″ x 1 3/4″
  • Inside Dimensions: 8 5/8″ x 5 3/8″ x 1 5/8″
  • Volume: 75.3 cubic inches
  • Postage Cost*: $9.45

Medium Flat Rate Box (top-loading)

The medium flat rate box with top-loading is probably the most popular box among long-distance hikers. This is because it can easily contain enough food for one person for about five to six days and the box dimensions can accommodate most items a hiker needs to ship.

  • Outside Dimensions: 11 1/4″ x 8 3/4″ x 6″
  • Inside Dimensions: 11″ x 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″
  • Volume: 514.3 cubic inches
  • Postage Cost*: $16.10

Medium Flat Rate Box (side-loading)

The medium flat rate box with side loading has more volume than the medium top-loading box. However, it is more difficult to load because the height is just 3 3/8″.

  • Outside Dimensions: 14″ x 12″ x 3 1/2″
  • Inside Dimensions: 13 5/8″ x 11 7/8″ x 3 3/8″
  • Volume: 556.1 cubic inches
  • Postage Cost*: $16.10

Large Flat Rate Box

The large flat rate box is great if you need to ship a lot of items. A large flat rate box can easily carry enough food for one person for about 7 to 9 days. The large dimensions can accommodate most items a hiker needs to ship.

  • Outside Dimensions: 12 1/4″ x 12 1/4″ x 6″
  • Inside Dimensions: 12″ x 12″ x 5 1/2″
  • Volume: 792 cubic inches
  • Postage Cost*: $21.50

Shipping Prohibitions

Fuel including alcohol, propane, isobutane etc. are prohibited.

Hand sanitizer including wipes that contain alcohol are prohibited.

Lighters with fuel are prohibited.

For a detailed and most up-to-date list go to USPC.COM

*Priority Flat Rate Box Rates May Change

Check the USPS.com website for the latest details

Summary

The lowest cost flat rate box per unit volume is currently the medium and large sized boxes. The highest cost flat rate box per unit volume is the small sized box. The small sized box costs about four times as much per unit volume when compared to medium and large sized boxes.

Many long-distance hikers prefer the side-loading medium sized box because the dimensions make loading the box a lot easier. The medium sized boxes can easily handle 5 days of food or the typical resupply between towns. The best box for you will depend on your specific needs.