Living on the Road

Balikbayan Box Cover


Handle-with-care case for care packages

The Balikbayan Box Cover is a heavy-duty canvas bag with reinforced seams and side handles that’s designed specifically to fit a 20″ x 20″ x 20″ cardboard box. The beauty of the box cover is that after TSA officials inspect and reseal your box, they can zip up the top flap on the bag closed and your box is further protected from re-opening. The bag also helps guard your box (and its contents) from rough airline baggage handling. Gearing up for an extended visit to Moscow, my wife and I struggled to find a way to pack a large box of provisions that would still be well-sealed even after TSA inspection. I’m typically a minimalist when packing for trips, but this was a much different situation than your typical few days on vacation. I was concerned TSA folks might not be especially thorough about re-taping the box seams, which could lead to the box tearing open in transit. A Filipino friend came to the rescue with this simple, but incredibly effective solution (in the Philippines, when someone travels abroad, it’s customary to ship his/her relatives a Balikbayan box filled with gifts/goodies). At 60 inches linear total, the box cover conforms to major airline luggage size restrictions, although it may take some creativity to keep the weight within the 50-lb. limit in this large of a box.

— Rob O’Daniel

Balikbayan Box Cover
Available from Balikbayan Gear

[The covers come in an array of colors, including “bubblegum pink”; helpful if you’re looking to make a quick ID at baggage claim. –sl]

Related items previously reviewed in Cool Tools:

The Practical Nomad

Rick Steve’s Europe Through the Back Door

Mr. McGroovy’s Box Rivets