How To Ship A Duffel

Do you advise shipping luggage to and from RAGBRAI? Absolutely, if it makes traveling easier. Airlines continue to raise fees for the first and second pieces of checked luggage. Depending on your situation (Airline carrier, distance from Iowa, size of luggage, etc.) shipping with SMB may be less expensive than or on par with the cost of checking your second bag with an airline. Some RAGBRAI charters, including Pork Belly Ventures, allow each client two bags (RAGBRAI allows only one bag for those using the Des Moines Register baggage transport service). Few people would pack and ship clothing and toiletries ahead of time, but they do save money and hassle by shipping the camping duffel, with tent, sleeping bag, Thermarest pad, flashlight—even the bike helmet. Shipping luggage has always been convenient, but now it can be about same price as checking a second piece of luggage on your flight to Iowa.

How is my bag measured and weighed to ship with The simplest way to arrive at a uniform measurement is to use standard-sized boxes to ship your duffel bag. For shipping, you can partially unpack your duffel so that everything, duffel and contents, will fit into your box.

What are the standard box sizes? We recommend a size is 18" X 18" X 24" or 4.5 cubic feet box, with a maximum weight of 60 lbs. Using this standard box size, you can order your shipping label easily. But as long as your box or duffle approximates 4.5 cubic feet the label we send will be fine. 

Where can I get a box for shipping my duffel? You have many options. Home improvement stores, Big box stores, sell boxes for a few dollars. You may find other retail outlets where these boxes are available. (The dimensions don’t have to be exact, as long as the cubic measurement does not exceed that the 4.5 cubic feet the label you purchase will work fine. 

What if the weight of my box exceeds the maximum weight listed above? Just contact us so that we can customize your label and price.

What if I want to ship a duffel that does not fit inside a standard box? Again, as long as it approximates 4.5 cubic feet and 60 pounds, it will be fine. For other larger shipments, check with pete at for a special rate.

What do airlines charge for overweight baggage? Most airlines draw the line at 50 lbs, and a duffel over 50 lbs will incur an overweight charge. Click on " Airline Baggage Fees " to see what your airline charges for overweight bags. Generally, you'll pay an additional fee of $50 to $125 for an overweight bag on a major domestic carrier.

If I box my duffel for shipping, may I re-use my box for return shipping? Yes. When you claim your shipped box in the start town, just empty it, flatten it, and make sure it is marked clearly with your name. We will save your box until ride's end, so that you can use it again for return shipping.

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