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What is Mil Spec Crating?

Maybe you've heard the term before or maybe it is something new, but today you'll learn, "what is mil spec crating?"

A United States defense standard, often called a military standard, "MIL STD", "MIL SPEC", or (informally) military spec boxes, is used to help achieve standardization objectives by the U.S. Department of Defense." Defined by wikipedia

what is mil spec

Sounds official and a little complicated. So we went ahead and created a Cliffsnotes™ version on exactly, "what is mil spec?" The following information represents a pared down description of the many elaborate explanations you'll likely find online.


Military spec boxes in simple terms is military specifications used to describe the physical and/or operational characteristics of a product, says the Government Accountability Office (GAO). In even simpler terms, the Department of Defense (DOD) defines Mil Spec as “military performance specification,” period.

The objective of Mil Spec is to ensure that items and products meet specific requirements:

  • Total cost of ownership (TCO)
  • Reliability
  • Logistic systems compatibility
  • Manufacturing requirements
  • Testing standards
  • Other defense-related objectives

The GAO notes that mil-spec helps:

  • Protect against contractor fraud
  • Promote greater opportunities for competition among contractors
  • Provide products that can perform in extreme conditions
  • Ensure interoperability between products

Military Spec Boxes Shipping

In addition to the DOD, defense standards are utilized by many non-governmental agencies, this includes packaging and shipping. In the world of packaging and shipping, the physical and/or operational characteristics of a shipment may include, but are not limited to:

  • Bar codingwhat is mil spec wood crate
  • Cleaning and drying procedures
  • Cushioning, wrapping, and barrier materials
  • Outer shipping containers
  • Packing levels
  • Preservation methods
  • Preservative materials to be utilized/applied
  • Quantity per unit pack and intermediate pack
  • RFID (radio-frequency identification)

Companies that require or prefer military spec boxes for their domestic or international shipments have a variety of options to choose from including:

  • Custom Wood Crates
  • Shipping Containers
  • Heavy Duty Wood Boxes
  • Part Specific Boxes
  • Light Duty Boxes

Many Mil-Specs cover federal requirements for shipping crates, boxes and containers used for domestic and overseas shipping of various products, materials, and supplies.

So, if you’re in the business is asking "What is Mil Spec crating?" you’re likely encountering the following specifications: PPP-B-601, PPP-B-621, MIL-DTL-197K, ASTM-D-6251, ASTM-D-6256, MIL-B-2427, MIL-DTL-2845, ASTM-D-6039, MIL-C-104, and ASTM-D-7478.

To get descriptions and downloads for these specs, visit our blog post Mil Spec Crates Explained.

Topics: Wood

Valley Box Company

Written by Valley Box Company

Valley Box demonstrates what is possible beyond just the typical wooden crate. This specialty crating manufacturer works with a wide variety of materials from wood to plastic, corrugated, metals and more. Discover how to take specialty crating to the next level.