How Not to Pack a Trailer Hitch

Even though it’s really hard to damage a trailer hitch made of 5/16 inch welded steel plate, that hitch made a mess out of the cardboard box:

Trailer hitch receiver - as received
Trailer hitch receiver – as received

It’s a Class III hitch with specs (3500 pound max, 525 pound tongue weight) that greatly exceed the Forester’s ratings (1500/150 pound), but it seems to be the only way to get a 2 inch receiver socket. I have no intention whatsoever of towing anything I can’t see over and around.

This is part of the “how to haul the recumbents” solution. Trailer hitch racks require a receiver with a tongue rating of twice the static load; a pair of Tour Easy ‘bents and most of the racks weigh in pretty close to the Subaru OEM 150 pound rating.



7 thoughts on “How Not to Pack a Trailer Hitch

  1. More of a demonstration of how so many folks can’t or don’t package correctly. Seems like most of the boxes I have received with something heavy are also sprinkled or stuffed with packing peanuts … which really do no good at all since they are easily compressed by heavy items. Between poor packing and shipper’s handling, it’s a wonder anything arrives intact at all. However, at least all of the shippers give packing and drop requirements.

    I have said for years that UPS, Fedex and USPS should offer (and possibly charge for) packing certification (maybe they already do?). Of course this would come with some little logo that could be posted on your business site or ebay listing that says “XYZ Packing Certified”. This way you could at least hope for a better chance of receiving the item you ordered undamaged the first time and without claims.

    1. sprinkled or stuffed with packing peanuts

      At least they weren’t that foolish; the peanuts would have leaked out along the way.

      I think the only way to package something like that would be a foam-in-place block that encapsulates everything in a solid mass. Long ago, when I was shipping stuff, foam-in-place was prohibitively expensive for a small-time operator, but in bulk it seemed rather cheap.

      I don’t know if there’s any liability for damage to other packages, but it’s certainly a contender in that category…

  2. Re: packing certification

    Some years ago I built a solar system for our tent trailer (done in 2001, still works) with mail order pieces from an Arizona company. IIRC, they would not ship panels via UPS, claiming that UPS had special skills at wrecking panels. They did ship some batteries via UPS (AGM, barely light enough to be shippable and robust as hell), and these were double boxed with peanuts between the box layers. Looks like one had been thrown, but it still survived. I recall it was leaking a few peanuts.

    (I still remember a handmade gift plate received via USPS, where the holiday temp carrier decided it would be better to drop the plate over the driveway gate rather than leave it safely on the porch. I glued it back together, but bubble wrap can only handle so much abuse.)

    1. a handmade gift plate received via USPS

      I have a DDJ mug (from back in the day), patiently epoxied together from the myriad fragments that arrived inside the DDJ t-shirt…

      1. I got lucky, only two pieces, and Duco cement did the trick. My aunt raised Italian Greyhounds at the time (14 pounds, and as adept at stealing hearts as the bed covers), and she commissioned plates and mugs one year. A later year, it was a stained glass portrait, of an IG–didn’t get screwed up. IIRC, she still sent that one via USPS–not too many options where she lives.

        No more little dogs–the eagle perched on the kennel one day sealed that decision. Our 50 lb dogs don’t have problems, though we keep them inside at night–great-horned owls wouldn’t stop at a dog that size.

        FWIW, did you ever meet Gordon French? (Home-brew computer club founder and co-founder of an engine-modeling club I belonged to.)

        1. high an orbit

          Different planet, I suppose. I had been going to the engine club meetings a couple of years before Hackers came out, with a mention of him. He talked about HBCC a bit later on, but his interest at that time (mid-late ’90s) was home machining, with a rather nice steam locomotive (“Tich”) to show for it.

          I realized I bought some 4K RAM ICs for my H8 at his shop many years before…

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