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  1. #1
    MikeE
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    Default Mailing fuel canisters

    My first section hike this June, and I am planning my mail drops. I went to the post office with an 8 ounce can of MSR isopro fuel and asked if I could mail it ground mail only. They all looked puzzled and said no. I mentioned "section 342.22 a-c, from Pub 52, which reads that you can ship less than 1L of fuel as long as it is ground only. I found the above from a tread on trailjournals.

    Can anyone share with my how they have mailed fuel canisters? I know an soda can stove is lighter and can use denatured alcohol, but I love my pocket rocket and the the easy set up for boiling water.

    Thank you to all for your time,
    MikeE

  2. #2
    Garlic
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    Default

    A friend of mine has a laminated copy of that passage you cited to carry with on the trail and show to the POs along the way. He hasn't hiked the AT, though. I imagine on the AT they all know the rules. Best of luck on your hike.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  3. #3
    MikeE
    Join Date
    04-16-2010
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    Saline, Michigan
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    Default

    Thanks for the reply. Do the PO's make you open the package in front of them, wondering why your friends carries that with him. If they do not watch you open it, then I'm wondering why he bothers carrying it.

    My concern is with mailing it form my town: mainly what to tell the PO in my town about how to mail these packages to various mail drop on the AT. I'm afraid if I tell them it's canister fuel going ground only, they will just say no and I'll be without canister fuel. Or do I just box it up, seal it up, and mail it without telling anyone what I'm mailing as long as it ships ground only.


    Whiteblaze.net sure rocks! Thank you

  4. #4
    Registered User
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeE View Post
    ~ I mentioned "section 342.22 a-c, from Pub 52, which reads that you can ship less than 1L of fuel as long as it is ground only. ~
    MikeE
    Mike,

    The one liter rule is for liquid fuel. Pressurized gas is limited to containers with a water-holding capacity of no more than 4 ounces.
    Roland


  5. #5
    Registered User
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    Mike,

    The one liter rule is for liquid fuel. Pressurized gas is limited to containers with a water-holding capacity of no more than 4 ounces.
    This is incorrect.

    342.1 Definition

    Hazard Class 2 consists of three divisions:
    1. Division 2.1, Flammable Gases. A material that is a gas at 68° F (20° C) or less and 14.7 psi (101.3 kPa) of pressure. Flammable gases also include materials that have a boiling point of 68° F (20° C) or less at 14.7 psi (101.3 kPa) and that are ignitable at 14.7 psi (101.3 kPa) when in a mixture of 13 percent or less by volume with air or that have a flammable range at 14.7 psi (101.3 kPa) with air of at least 12 percent regardless of the lower limit. These conditions must be established in accordance with ASTM E681–85, Standard Test Method for Concentration Limits of Flammability of Chemicals, or other approved equivalent method. The flammability of aerosols must be determined using the tests specified in 49 CFR 173.306(i).
    342.2 Mailability

    The following conditions apply to the mailing of gases:

    Domestic Mail via Surface Transportation. Toxic gases in Division 2.3 are prohibited. Flammable gases in Division 2.1 and nonflammable gases in Division 2.2 are generally permitted if the material can qualify as an ORM–D material and meet the quantity limitations and packaging requirements in 342.3 and 342.4.
    342.3 Packaging

    Mailable compressed gases must be packaged to protect valves and fittings and to ensure integrity of the primary receptacle during transport. Containers must use recessed valves, screw thread caps, tap closures, or other means to prevent accidental discharge.
    The following conditions apply:

        1. Metal Containers. Mailable nonflammable and flammable compressed gases are acceptable in metal primary receptacles thathave a water capacity up to 33.8 fluid ounces (1 liter or 61.0 cubic inches). The liquid content of the material and the gas must not completely fill the primary receptacle at 130° F (55° C). Additionally, the following apply:<LI class=OL2alpha>A DOT 2P container must be used if the internal pressure is from 140 psig to 160 psig at 130° F (55° C). <LI class=OL2alpha>A DOT 2Q container must be used if the pressure is from 161 psig to 180 psig at 130° F (55° C).
        2. A container with an internal pressure over 180 psig at 130° F (55° C) is prohibited from mailing.
        1. Packaging Instruction 2A or 2B, as applicable, must be followed.
    Flammable Gases. A mailable flammable compressed gas is restricted to 4 fluid ounces in a nonmetal primary receptacle or 33.8 fluid ounces (1 liter) in a metal primary receptacle per mailpiece Packaging Instruction 2A must be followed.
    http://pe.usps.gov/text/pub52/pub52c3_017.htm

    In Summary, you can surface mail a compressed flammible gas up to 1 liter in volume provided it is in its metal primary container. The 4 oz rule is for non-metalic containers. Additionally, gasses of certain presseures at certain temps may require special rated containers. Without looking at one I do not know if a fuel cannister is rated to either DOT 2P or DOT 2Q.
    Adventure is the invitation to the common person, to become uncommon. ~ wm
    Bivouac is a French word for "mistake". ~ Ed Viesturs

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeE View Post
    My first section hike this June, and I am planning my mail drops. I went to the post office with an 8 ounce can of MSR isopro fuel and asked if I could mail it ground mail only. They all looked puzzled and said no. I mentioned "section 342.22 a-c, from Pub 52, which reads that you can ship less than 1L of fuel as long as it is ground only. I found the above from a tread on trailjournals.

    Can anyone share with my how they have mailed fuel canisters? I know an soda can stove is lighter and can use denatured alcohol, but I love my pocket rocket and the the easy set up for boiling water.

    Thank you to all for your time,
    MikeE
    Have you seen this thread?

  7. #7
    Registered User
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    Default

    You don't have to claim at the Post office on either end that there is a fuel canister in the package as they are legal to mail by ground mail.

  8. #8
    Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by makoboy View Post
    This is incorrect.

    ~.
    Hazardous materials are manufactured every day. And, they are shipped all over the country, every day. But doing so requires special packaging, labeling, placards, handling regulations etc. This adds significantly to the cost of shipping. (These regulations are the jurisdiction of the US Department of Transportation, and apply to all shippers, including UPS, USPS, FedEx, etc.)

    The question to hikers is not whether a hazardous material can be legally shipped, but whether it can be done practically and economically. To this end, the DOT allows certain hazardous materials, in limited quantity, to be exempt from costly shipping regulations. If fuel canisters meet the exemption parameters, they could be shipped in drop boxes, along with maps and other goodies, and not require any special handling.

    Products qualifying for the shipping exemption are classified as Other Regulated Materials (ORM) and labeled ORM-D by the manufacturer. So, a hiker could include in a bounce-box any item bearing the ORM-D label, and avoid expensive shipping regulations, legally.

    Here's where things get tricky, and confusing. You are right that isobutane, packaged as a compressed gas, is on the list of hazardous materials which may be shipped as a consumer commodity, in specified limited quantity. But, to qualify for the ORM-D label, which identifies it as a consumer commodity, the container can have a capacity no more than 4 liquid ounces. If the gas container could hold more than 4 ounces of water, the canister can still be shipped, but it does not qualify for the ORM-D exception and must ship as HAZMAT. To a hiker, shipping a fuel canister which does not bear the ORM-D label would be prohibitively expensive.

    Isobutane gas canisters are commonly available in 4oz and 8oz sizes. Until recently, manufacturers applied an ORM-D label to the 4oz canisters, exempting them from expensive shipping. But the DOT recently ruled that the 4oz canisters are really 6oz canisters, containing 4 ounces of gas. Because the liquid capacity of the canister exceeds 4 ounces, the DOT no longer allows these to bear the ORM-D label. That means 4oz fuel canisters must now be shipped as HAZMAT. (This is the reason REI, Campmor, EMS, etc no longer sell fuel canisters by mail order; shipping costs makes it impractical.)

    Not every UPS, USPS, and FedEx employee will know the detail of the law. So, it's likely that some may allow 4oz isobutane canisters to ship as consumer commodities. Some hikers may include gas canisters in their bounce boxes and not declare the contents or lie about it when asked. And they may never get caught. But remember, these are federal regulations. Violation is a federal crime. Know the risks.

    MikeE, when you review the parameters for fuel gas canisters to qualify for ORM-D consumer commodity exemption, I'm quite sure you'll agree that 4oz is the magic number.
    Roland


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