Winter sports fans, rejoice: did you know you can ship hockey sticks rather than hauling them all over the place? That’s right; gone are the days of checking your stick at the airport—or worse, bringing it onto the plane and getting dirty looks from the other passengers as you try to stuff it into the overhead cabin! This guide has all the info you need on how to package and ship hockey sticks, and also goes into why dimensional weight fees might make shipping them cost more than you think. Time to drop the puck and get started!
Create the Proper Packaging to Ship Your Hockey Stick
Yes, you read that title correctly; the key word here is create. The thing is, you’re probably not going to find any packaging dedicated to hockey sticks out there. That would be too easy! Instead, you’ll need to gather some different kinds of packing gear to make your own packaging that will fit around your stick. Lucky for you, we’ve laid how to do that below:
Step 1: Wrap the Hockey Stick in Bubble Wrap
First thing’s first: hockey sticks are made of wood, so you want to use the right kind of packing material that will protect it from getting chipped or cracked during transit. The best way to do this is to cover the whole thing in bubble wrap. For a hockey stick, we suggest using several layers of small-bubble wrap (meaning the kind where the bubbles itself are on the tinier side).
Once you’ve wrapped it up, you’ll know if you used enough once you’re able to squeeze any part of the bubble wrap and not feel any part of the stick itself. If you need to pick some up, you can buy a pack of bubble wrap on Amazon for pretty cheap!
Step 2: Use Cardboard Tubes to Cover as Much of the Stick as Possible, then Tape Them All Together
Next, you’ll need to fashion some outer packaging out of cardboard tubes…aka long, rectangular pieces of packaging. In our experience, the best way to do this is to use several Priority Mail Medium Tubes that you can order on USPS.com. USPS will deliver these tubes to your door in either packs of 10 or 20, so there should be plenty to work with. The best part is, ordering these Priority Mail tubes is totally free! You’ll only need to pay for the cost of Priority Mail postage, since you’re technically using Priority Mail packaging.
When you’ve got your tubes, use one of them to cover the bent part of the stick (the part where you hit the puck). Next, use two or three to cover up the long shaft. Once you’ve covered as much of your stick as possible, tape them all together so that no part of the stick is showing underneath the cardboard.
Pro Tip: This is easier said than done, so don’t worry if an inch or two of the stick is visible once you’ve fashioned your outer cardboard packaging. As long as you’ve got cardboard tubes covering the majority of the stick, you should be in good shape!
Step 3: Weigh the Package and Measure the Dimensions Like it’s a Large Rectangular Box
Lastly, when you’ve got your stick covered up with cardboard, it’s time to measure the dimensions and weigh it. Weighing it is fairly straightforward; just set the whole thing down on any scale, and you’ll receive an accurate reading. Measuring the dimensions, however, will prove to be the more challenging task.
In this case, first lay the stick flat, so that it resembles a crooked “L” on the ground. Next, measure the longest side of the hockey stick (where you hold it) as your Length, and then measure the bottom part of the “L” as your Width. Finally, measure how tall the cardboard is starting from the floor, and you’ve got the Height of your package.
For reference, typical dimensions for a package containing a hockey stick should ballpark somewhere around 40 x 12 x 4″.
You Can Try Sending the Stick Without Packaging
If you’re not in the mood to create your own makeshift packaging for your hockey stick, you can always try sending it without any packaging. Believe it or not, a hockey stick without any packaging wouldn’t be the weirdest item that USPS has ever handled. USPS has transported a variety of abnormal items over the years, including the Hope Diamond, mannequin limbs, animal skulls…and once upon a time, even a tree stump!
If you’re in the mood for some fun light reading, check out our guide on the Ten Weird Things People Have Shipped with USPS.
Hockey Stick Shipments are Considered “Irregular Packages”
Something to remember when sending a hockey stick is that USPS (and all the other carriers) consider these sorts of shipments as irregular packages. Therefore, if you’re buying postage online with shipping software, you’ll need to designate your shipment as an irregular package.
Designating your shipment as an irregular package means that certain shipping services won’t be available when buying your postage, such as Priority Mail Cubic and First Class Package. That’s not such a big deal, though. Hockey sticks are generally disqualified from either of these USPS services, anyway, since they’re too big to qualify for cubic rates, and often too heavy for First Class Package Service.
You’ll Probably Need to Pay Dimensional Weight Surcharges
Since your hockey stick is large, oddly-shaped and relatively lightweight, carriers will charge you additional dimensional weight fees. This means that your shipping rates will be based on how much space the package is taking up on a carrier’s truck, as opposed to how much it actually weighs. As a result, shipping a hockey stick will often cost more than you like, even though your package likely won’t weigh all that much. In fact, dimensional weight charges for a package containing a hockey stick could get up into the high double-digits!
Unfortunately, there’s no way around these types of dimensional weight fees; carriers will almost always charge more for transporting large, lightweight packages. The best thing you can do is try to save the most money possible on your shipments…and you can learn more about how to do that here.