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What Will Military Movers Not Pack?

Written by Everett Bledsoe / Fact checked by Brain Bartell

what will military movers not pack

While moving homes, there’s always a chance our belongings can go missing or become broken and mishandled.

As such, it’s essential to ask ourselves, “what will military movers not pack?” before a military relocation.

Items that movers won’t handle include vehicles, live animals, ammunition, and building materials. Some other objects may also be excluded for liability purposes, such as live plants, foods and drinks, and chemical cleaning supplies.

Read on for specifics.

PCS Prohibited and Unauthorized List


Before packing, it’s vital that you know the PCS list, or the list of prohibited objects movers won’t handle during a permanent change of station. These prohibited PCS items are:

1. Hazardous or Flammable Materials

Examples are auto care supplies, glue, paint, explosives, and anything corrosive or poisonous, such as insecticide and herbicide.

Lithium batteries over 100 Wh or with more than 2 grams of lithium content also fall under this category.

2. Building Materials

Don’t expect movers to pack your cordwood, paints, and varnishes. If you have power tools, they’re fine to box, though. Just weigh them first and ensure they don’t exceed the moving company’s limit.

3. Certain Vehicles and Household Goods

  • Military movers will not deliver most vehicles (cars, trailers, mobile homes, planes, and farming equipment). You’ll need to pay another company to transport them.
  • A few exceptions are non-privately owned vehicles (such as motorcycles, golf carts, or snowmobiles), plus boats and single-axle utility trailers (which must be no bigger than 12×8 feet and with side rails at most 28 inches high).

These may be part of your household goods or HHG move, which is covered by PCS shipping.

Note that some countries do not permit the importation of motorcycles and that household goods exclude items you plan to sell or commercialize.

4. Live Animals

If you have pets such as cats, dogs, or fish, take them with you. This is the only way to ensure their well-being and avoid stressing them out during the move.

5. Ammunition and Certain Guns

Military movers will not transport ammunition, but you can pay them to ship firearms, so long as military local move rules or state laws allow it and the guns are licensed.

Legally, the guns must be disarmed, so remove parts like the firing pin and trigger assembly. You will also need to fill out paperwork to bring firearms back home from abroad or ship them internationally.

Note that PCS contractors won’t pack guns made after 1968 without a serial number.

Items That Military Movers Likely Won’t Pack


Besides the above regulations, military movers also exclude the following items for liability purposes.

1. Live Plants

Movers don’t want to kill your plants, so they’re typically excluded if the delivery takes more than 24 hours or 150 miles. Plants also require watering, sunlight, and other care, so companies find them too troublesome.

2. Drinks and Foods

These can leak and attract pests, especially if they’re unsealed. For this reason, only canned foods are accepted, if foods are even considered at all. Spices and frozen food are a no-go.

3. Candles, Personal Care Products, and Cleaning Supplies

These are often no-nos for the same reason as foods and drinks. Candles can melt, while personal care products and cleaning supplies can leak, especially if they’re liquids. To avoid contamination, moving companies do not pack these items.

4. Bulky Assembled Structures

Swing sets, trampolines, and other assembled structures must be broken down into parts before the movers come.

If they’re not ‘shrinkable,’ such as in the cases of pianos or hot tubs, let the contractors know beforehand and mind your weight limit.

PCS weight allowance (approximately 7,000 to 18,000 pounds) is dependent on military rankings and may or may not include the limit for unaccompanied baggage (which is up to 2,000 pounds and is separate from your household goods shipping).

Staying within these limits frees you from having to pay extra delivery charges.


What will military movers not pack? Refer to the information above while planning your shipment. If you’re unsure, make a list of items you want to have and consult the moving company. They might even have a checklist to help you prepare.

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