- Dec 31, 2019 at 7:19 pm #3625033
Looking at my first thru hike which involves an Airline travel. Checked luggage( $30 each way) verses free carry on with my Arc-Haul backpack. My thru hike will be the Trans Catalina Trail 46 miles near LA
Since I want to save the $30 each way to check my luggage I started looking at the TSA requirements for Carry on Backpacking items. Basically for me it comes down to 2 times: Trekking poles & pocket knife not allowed in Carry-On. So if I can find a way to remove these items I can then Carry-on. TSA says since I use a canister propane / butane stove, I can bring the stove but will need to purchase the canister at my destination, no problem.
So, I was thinking of just mailing my trekking poles and pocket knife General Delivery to Avalon, Catalina Island at the start of my trip a week or two before my trip and picking it up from the post office after I arrive on the boat. They will hold it in General Delivery for 30 days. Then after my trip on the way to the airport I will mail the trekking poles and pocket knife back to my house.
I am sure many of you have done something like this to save the $60 checked baggage fees , so what are the draw backs? Any input on this topic is appreciated.
LiamDec 31, 2019 at 8:28 pm #3625038Chris HBPL Member
@chrishLocale: Somewhere on the Virginia A.T.
I’ve used general delivery a few times. Works like a charm. I’d also mail the stove and any tent stakes or poles. On the stove, more just to be sure it’ll make it. If they detect any fuel smell/residue, they won’t allow it.
I general delivered my entire pack one time, just out of fear of having a lost checked bag and possible ruined trip. It was double the checked bag price. Then I checked it on the way home since I could wait on it if lost.Dec 31, 2019 at 11:19 pm #3625052Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Fly Southwest? No charge for the first two bags.Jan 1, 2020 at 5:07 am #3625055M BBPL Member
Mailing not much cheaper than checking bag. Lot of trouble to save $10, but to each their own.
Many airline branded credit cards give you free checked bags. Ive planned trips well in advance , sign up for cards to get signup bonus, use that to pay for trip. Works if have about 1000 per mo spend you can charge. Cancel cards before annual fee comes up next yr. I got about $1500 free travel on JMT hike thay way (airfare, hotel, bus , train, even $25 fee for holding resupply was travel related that was reimbursed)Jan 1, 2020 at 10:46 am #3625100
i will check out Southwest
LiamJan 1, 2020 at 11:01 am #3625103
Wow, thanks for the airline credit card info
i will check it out
LiamJan 1, 2020 at 1:15 pm #3625112David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Yes, shipping stuff ahead can work out nicely, at least in the 48 states (UPS is a lot more expensive to/from Alaska although USPS is still cheap enough).
USPS Parcel Post is now nearly the same price as Priority Mail and you get free tracking with Priority Mail but not Parcel Post.
Score a good shipping tube that fits the poles. Pad the ends well. Sometimes I see map tubes, tubes from inside printer/plotter paper rolls or old long, triangular shipping boxes in the cardboard or mixed-paper bin at the recycling center. Or the USPS and FedEx have triangular shaping tubes. On Catalina, wrap the shipping tube in a kitchen trash bag and tuck in a highway culvert or some other semi-hidden spot for your return. Or if you have lodging before/after your hike, maybe you could leave it with them and/or send your package to their attention.
I’ve used General Delivery to get things to the Aleutian Islands where everything arrives by plane. Including groceries ordered from Amazon (why have Amazon ship to my home only to carry it there myself?).
Can you get butane fuel on the island? Some vendors will ship butane canisters by air and to USPS General Delivery, unlabelled. They’re not supposed to, but some do.
The car rental place in Cordova Alaska (which is essentially an island because you fly in and fly out) has a set of drawers labelled, “If you need it, take it. If you can’t take it with you, leave it.” with a collection of bear spray, fuel, aerosol DEET, etc that people can borrow/use while there on a (usually hunting or fishing) trip.
I keep a few things you can’t fly with stashed in different places around the country that I return to. Butane, alcohol fuel, knives, etc. Sometimes with the AirBnB host. Or a relative. Or tucked under a bridge on a footpath.
That Trans-Catalina trail has hardly any shade. I’d want my Chrome Dome sunbrella to keep the UV off and because I feel 10-15F cooler under it and that’s worth the 8 ounces to me. I’d put that in the mailing tube with the trekking poles.Jan 1, 2020 at 2:06 pm #3625115
I was thinking of the shipping tube and will price out the priority shipping cost since it will only carry my trekking poles and pocket knife. I have a shipping tube that is 4″ diameter x 18″ long and will be boating into Avalon since they have the Post office and boating out of Two Harbors at the other side of the island and will probably just carry the shipping tube and stuff my Z seat into it. . The Catelina Express boat to /from San Pedro has a near by Post Office 20 minutes walking from the dock .
To make it easier… I may just take Southwest out of Oakland to Long Beach and since they don’t charge for the checked luggage seems like the way to make it hassle free. Just trying to coordinate the Flight times and Boat times with the cheap flights from the San Francisco area. Cheap non stop flights to Long Beach or LAX include SFO with Jet Blue ( baggage fees) OAK with Southwest ( no baggage fees) , and my more local airport Santa Rosa with Alaska ( baggage fees) . So I have a variety of choices.
LiamJan 1, 2020 at 4:30 pm #3625126John S.BPL Member
TSA carryon- stakes, stove/fuel, trek poles, knife, lighter, tent poles
1. stakes- plastic stakes at walmart; dollar store screwdrivers
2. stove/fuel- carry on stove with no fumes; no cook; pick up fuel on way to TH
3. trek poles- hiking pole at walmart; broom handle; fishing pole
4. knife- scissors; plastic butter knife; nail clipper; cut off knife blade from multitool
5. lighter- carry on lighter or book of matches; pick up on way to TH
6. tent poles- check with airline; use shelter with trek pole alternative aboveJan 1, 2020 at 11:57 pm #3625169Cameron MBPL Member
@cameronm-aka-backstrokeLocale: Los Angeles
There is no way that I would baggage-check an Arc-Haul without serious protection, so I have hand carried my entire kit on many national and international flights. I use three-part poles, and as a caution I roll-up and bind poles and tent sections in my trap or tent so they may not look so threatening if inspected. I also leave the rubber tips on, same reason. Small scissors and razors go undetected. Fuel is the only item I have not attempted. I would call the tourist office in Avalon for possible sources. Certainly the Vons market would sell some kind of small paring knife. Some of the boats stop at Two-Harbors along the way to Avalon; the store at Two-Harbors has a lot of camping items. When I am in doubt, I arrive early for a flight so that if they were to refuse an item, I would have time to go back and baggage-check it.Jan 2, 2020 at 2:44 am #3625171Roger CaffinModerator
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Some airports these days have shrink-wrap facilities. You could put your pack on the turntable and end up with a silkworm cocoon. People do their old suitcases like this.
We have sometimes put a pack into a cardboard box of matching size, put two green garbage bags over the box, and then generously applied 2″ packaging tape. This gets done at home. Slice open at destination and put pack on back. Slice open: I leave a hooked box-cutter blade concealed at the surface of one pack.
If you do either of these things, **leave a reliable lifting handle sticking out**. The baggage guys will use it.
CheersJan 2, 2020 at 5:30 am #3625175Brad PBPL Member
The airline credit cards sometimes have annual fees, so you have to fly often enough on that airline every year to make it worthwhile. This might not be true for all airlines, so it’s no harm to check.Jan 2, 2020 at 7:42 am #3625180Paul WagnerBPL Member
@balzaccomLocale: Wine Country
<p style=”text-align: left;”>We’ve just out our backpacks into large suitcases and checked them. Works perfectly. And we’ve been able to leave the suitcases at our local hotel, to pick up on the way back to the airport…</p>Jan 3, 2020 at 3:41 am #3625312Seth RBPL Member
I have taken my fully loaded Arc Haul in the overhead bin multiple times, fits fine for a week long trip. I have a medium sized hard sided suitcase for checking all the stuff you have to check. Poles come apart and I bubble wrap the tips. I also pack two big vacuum bags so I can store my stinky stuff (way home) and my shoes (both ways) without causing anyone to gag. Flattened Arc Haul fits just fine in the suitcase for the way home. I usually fly Southwest because of the bag policy and I have a boatload of miles from the credit card so it’s free. If carrying on food be aware that security may go over any powders you have packaged with test strips to check for explosives. Cost me some time at TSA last trip.Jan 3, 2020 at 3:47 am #3625314Roger CaffinModerator
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
re food: hilarious.
On one trip overseas the Euro security equivalent of TSA picked up on our Nalgene bottle of jam. ‘We can’t accept that: you will have to bin the bottle.’ Yeah, well, we needed those bottles for the trip, so Sue I sat there, in front of the security officer, and ATE the jam. Surely the sight of us EATING the jam would convince anyone that it was not an explosive? Nope. And she insisted we wipe the jar clean with some TP.
CheersJan 3, 2020 at 7:20 pm #3625438HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
In terms of fuel, there are plenty of REIs in the Los Angeles area. One right off the Expo-Metro line going into Santa Monica if wanting a side trip (variety of different priced accommodations nearby too).
Could call up a few stores on the island too seeing if they carry your type of fuel. I saw a number of hikers while I was on the island for training … so pretty sure they know what backpackers want. Plenty of other users like cabin renters and kayak-campers too. Beer and snacks are expensive though..Jan 4, 2020 at 4:31 am #3625466M BBPL Member
I typically buy thrift store duffel and bookbag $3 ea.
Loaded pack goes in duffel
Bookbag is my carryon…$$$ gear cones in it
Items are thrown away at airport
Mail another small duffel to end point for return with clean clothes
Use pack as carryon for trip homeJan 4, 2020 at 10:52 am #3625510HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
As to the original question I’ve checked anything up to a Vapor Trail, ULA CDT, and same sized Zimmerbuilt onboard (didn’t want to leave all that expensive down to the mercy of baggage handlers), then either (1) mailing forward or (2) checking my poles, cleaned stove, food bag (usually half full from the last trip – all hail preservatives), knife, and sometimes shelter in a baggage handler proof container. Some airlines may be more picky though.
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