Should I POD should I truck?
February 27, 2007 8:30 PM   Subscribe

How do PODs stack up vs. moving trucks, in terms of the amount of stuff one can fit inside? I know the cubic footage in each, but... how much of that can actually be used? Looking for info from people who have moved (or helped someone move) using both.

Moving from coastal North Carolina to Minneapolis in May. Considering a POD to make our move easier, but we're concerned about space. (We checked - we can get one in our area for a small additional delivery fee.)

The POD website claims that the larger size (8x8x16) can hold the contents of an average 1500 sq. ft. home. We need to move our 1500 sq. ft. home worth of stuff and are considering the POD rather than a rental truck (the POD would cost us about $600 more - $400 if you subtract the cost of diesel - but would make the move much much easier).

However, we used a 26' Penske truck to move to our current home. I know the truck wasn't packed to the roof, but I'm concerned about how much one can actually put in the POD.

One POD is about 1024 sq. ft. in packable space. One 26' Penske truck is about 1400 sq. ft. - but again, we only packed things to a height of about 5 or 6 feet on average.

Can anyone who has used both moving methods give me some insight as to whether we might be OK using one POD?

Some details (if you care):

Our basic issue is twofold. First, we are loading and moving ourselves - just my wife and I. We had help loading and unloading the truck; we figure the POD would make that easier. Second, we have a car we need to move, and two cats. We will not be able to easily fit the cat carrier into the cab of a truck, and do not like the idea of locking the cats into our car on a car carrier for a three day drive - doesn't seem especially safe for them.

Using a car carrier if we went with a rental truck is our only realistic option. While I don't mind driving the truck my wife would not be able to drive such a long distance in the car by herself - she gets sleepy behind the wheel on long trips.

We feel like we have a lot of stuff, but in reality our house is not especially cluttered. Furniture is fairly minimal: Two queen size beds, one dresser, one small kitchen table, couch and two chairs, a couple of desk chairs, a small desk and 5-drawer file cabinet, one dining room hutch, plus some other assorted odds and ends. We can put a small amount in the car, but it's a 4-door Cavalier, so aside from dropping our bikes on a rack we can't haul too much there.

So... recommendations. Go with a POD, understanding that it is safe to pack it to the brim, or go with a truck, know we can fit everything but have no clue how to move our cats, maneuver the damn thing through the streets of our new neighborhood, or unpack it in time?
posted by caution live frogs to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Can I add on? Is it possible to BUY a POD or similar unit?
posted by clango at 8:43 PM on February 27, 2007

I moved with a pod from from a medium-lightly furnished house of around 2000 square feet. I had all the time in the world to pack and I used the entire large POD to the brim, and still moved some stuff separately.

The POD worked especially well for me because I used it to float my stuff during the two weeks before moving it into our new house, and because the move was entirely within one POD zone. That means I got exactly what I needed for the absolute base rate (of the time, not quite two years ago). Crossing zones or covering a longer period would have jacked up the price, so keep that in mind.
posted by NortonDC at 9:02 PM on February 27, 2007

"some stuff" being mostly several dining room chairs, which all fit into a friend's Toyota Matrix with leftover room.
posted by NortonDC at 9:05 PM on February 27, 2007

Any links about these? I'm moving soon and of great concern is moving my wood shop. If the pods are left really low to the ground that would be terrific - I have a bandsaw that weighs 1500 pounds. I can move it, but it ain't going up no ramp.
posted by RustyBrooks at 9:09 PM on February 27, 2007

Um, Google PODS, RustyBrooks?

(I know, you're a little rusty....)
posted by Floydd at 9:15 PM on February 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

We used a POD to move a few months ago. We had it packed pretty full; to the roof in places (You aren't supposed to pack it all the way to the top if it's going to be stored, because they stack them and the roofs flex from curved upwards to flat). It has straps and things to help keep stuff in place; it worked well.

Maybe you could try arranging your furniture (either the actual furniture, or 3-d approximations in a graphics program) in the approximate configuration you'd be using and see how much space it takes? Some things are less stackable than others, of course, and it depends on how efficiently you can pack stuff in.

RustyBrooksl; their site is (I think there are other companies that do the same thing; POD is a brand name or something). The PODs are at ground level; I think there's a little lip though. (Found some pictures--scroll down a little; it's small but should give you a decent idea of how high the opening is when it's on the ground. )
posted by sleeplessunderwater at 9:31 PM on February 27, 2007

There is a series of intermittent glimpses of the interior of the POD in this video on their site. Might help you visualize a bit.
posted by misterbrandt at 10:06 PM on February 27, 2007

I used a pod to move across country, it worked pretty well for a one room apartment worth of stuff, but any more than that and it makes sense to have a moving company do it for you. I paid about $1900 to ship a pod from coast to coast.

I would be careful about how you pack though. I lost a cheap-o wooden file cabinet and a leg off a coffee table due to repeated lifting and dropping during moving made them collapse. Also the container is made of cheap plywood/waferboard & 2x4s, so I wouldn't ship anything fragile in it.

I think there is a weight limit of 2,000 lbs, though I'm not sure how you're supposed to gauge that.
posted by hobbes8calvin at 11:00 PM on February 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

You might also look into UPack. They drop a 22 ft pup trailer at your place, you load it, they drive it to the new place and drop it off again for you to unload. We used them for a GA to VA move and had no problems. However, it is a semi trailer so you'll need to get that bandsaw up into it. We moved a very full 1500 sg ft house with 2 kids worth of stuff and used every square inch of that trailer.

One more thing - box everything, and spend a couple hundred bucks to buy a bunch of moving boxes. Sometimes you can find them cheap or free on Craigslist. It's much easier to pack high and tight if you are working with several nicely proportional box sizes, and not a mish-mash of 50 different things you found behind grocery stores, etc.
posted by COD at 4:36 AM on February 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Get thee over to the unfortunately named (IMO), and log into the forums. You'll find all manner of first hand information about PODS and U-Pack and other ways to move stuff. I have to tell you that based the amount of stuff you have to move, from what I've read U-Pack looks like a great deal.
posted by SteveInMaine at 7:34 AM on February 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

COD writes "However, it is a semi trailer so you'll need to get that bandsaw up into it. We moved a very full 1500 sg ft house with 2 kids worth of stuff and used every square inch of that trailer."

It's pretty straight forward to get heavy iron onto a pallet. Once it's there you can hire a forklift to get it into the trailer. If you pallet a bunch of your stuff it's fairly cost effective.
posted by Mitheral at 7:37 AM on February 28, 2007

I had a really good experience with U-Pack. They were timely in dealing with the pick up and drop offs of the trailer, and while I didn't have an unlimited time to load and unload, I had lots of time.
posted by nita at 7:54 AM on February 28, 2007

nthing the recommendation for U-pack. I moved across the country with a U-pack Relocube, which is the 6x7x8' enclosed pallet. It is made of metal, unlike the PODS containers, and has double doors like a semi truck, and the packable surface is just a few inches off the floor.

I moved a 1-bedroom apartment, including a lot of books and a loom, with plenty of room, in one container. They will drop off 1-n containers and only charge you for the ones you actually use, so that might be a good plan if you are concerned about the volume of your stuff. Also, another bonus of this company is that the containers are designed to ride inside a semi truck, rather than on a flatbed in the open weather like a PODS box.

It was quite freeing to have my stuff get hauled away so I could lazily drive my truck, houseplants, and, and miscellaneous odds and ends to the other coast.
posted by janell at 8:46 AM on February 28, 2007

PODS are metal (all the one's I've seen are). The shitty faux PODS from Door2Door storage and moving are wood. I boxed up all of my stuff in 2 Door2Door storage containers for a while. It worked great -- I even remembered my combination on the lock! You could at least price out the difference between companies.
posted by zpousman at 10:22 AM on February 28, 2007

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