I am planning a flyfishing/camping trip out west this summer, and there will be a lot of gear to be taken. However, since we are flying out, how do I get the gear out there? Has anyone ever mailed half of a pallet full of tents, camp stoves, and sleeping bags? What are the issues, prices, expectations that go along with that? Fyi, I have a friend to ship it to, but dont know how to get it there!
There are a lot of questions you need to consider or make clear. How many people are traveling (because you will be alloted a certain number of bags by the airlines before overweight it charged). Different airlines will have different overweight policies. Weight will be an issue. And the final shipment, from the airport to where ever it is that you will fish will have to be considered if you really have a huge pile of stuff (trucking). Packing will be important, eliminating everything you don't absolutely need will be important, and packing to protect your belongings from the shippers or baggage handlers is critical. It is astonishing what damage can be done to something even packed well in a hard case. A commercial shipper is the simplest, on a pallet or in a container, but if it gets lost, it all gets lost (as distinct from losing a single bag). I assume you are talking about shipping by air. Sorry if I am stating the obvious, but the more stuff you have, and the further you have to ship it, the greater the complexity. Best bet is get some professional help, someone with expedition experience if you really have a lot of stuff. Otherwise, just treat it as luggage and hope for the best.
I have shipped freight through UPS in the past when I sold pieces of furniture going to other states. I don't recall the pricing, it wasn't exactly cheap but the pieces were large and in crates that I built for them. A simple call to UPS should give you some answers if you know the zip code you are shipping to and the approximate weight and size of what you are shipping. I would think it would be cheaper than a bunch of extra luggage but I could be wrong.
You could ship things out early that you won't be needing before the trip to ensure that they arrive on time. Rates via ground are cheaper than air but if you ship earlier you can save some money.
My company is doing tons of Freight LTL shipments from 150lbs all the way to 3 metric ton, means from a one 3'x3' standard pallet to giant crates.
UPS and Fedex limit their ground/air service up to 150lbs. They'll charge you an arm beyond that and your leg if you wanted it by Air.
If your friend can receive a pallet/crate shipment then I recommend to ship it Freight LTL Ground 3-5 business day. Just to give you an idea, I asked for a quote for a shipment from Los Angeles, CA to Astoria, NY. Using Day Light Transport. www.DYLT.com
@200lbs you are looking at roughly $160
@400lbs at $200
@600lbs at $250
Price to Canada and Mexico is different of course.
Please note that we have company discount, so you'd better to find someone who can use their company account to ship your gear out.
Also, make sure you wrapped the gear with BLACK industrial plastic wrap. The thicker the better.
Once you get your shipping price, search the city you're flying into for places to rent gear. I know REI stores often rent tents, bags, stoves, etc. and I'd guess other places do as well You might find it ends up being a cheaper option than shipping it out and then back again.
For camping stuff you're going to use for a short time-tents, stoves sleeping bags, you can probably buy it at Big Five cheaper than you can ship it. And it's summer: it's not like you need high end gear-just something to keep the rain/dew off and keep your bod out of contact with the ground.
We camped lots when my family was younger. We eventually came to an understanding on the difference between a camping trip and a fishing trip. Most meals on fishing trips came out of cans and were often eaten from the cans. Minimum housekeeping/maximum fishing. Camping trips had menus, lounge chairs, and napping.