Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

Overpack for 55 Gallon Drums

July 23rd, 2020 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

You can’t beat a 55 gallon barrel. Not only is it the go-to container for numerous industries and uses, it’s also the iconic steel drum. When you picture a steel barrel, you picture a 55 gallon. And so it’s no wonder that this favored workhorse is a common container for overpack usage as well.

Skolnik’s 55 gallon drum for overpack is tested for solids and certified according to UN criteria. These drums qualify as secure outer packaging for overpack situations.

That is to say, they are manufactured and certified to provide protection or convenience handling a package or to consolidate two or more package (as in a multipack). You’ll note we mentioned they were tested for solids. An overpack drum is not meant to hold a leaking or compromised container. That situation calls for a salvage drum. 

In the most simple terms, an overpack drum is a larger container into which a smaller one can be placed. More often than not, overpack drums are used to make it easier to handle multiple packages or items. At Skolnik, we hold our overpack drums to the same rigorous standards that we do any other container — our overpack drums are pressure tested at 1A2/X plus 15 psa hydrostatic pressure per CFR 49 for the over-packing of Toxic by Inhalation packaging. And, as always, our 55 gallon TIH (PIH) overpack drums are the most popular of the bunch. Considered large enough to hold multiple packages or a smaller container, but not too large so as to complicate shipping or storing.


If an overpack drum is sold as a salvage drum, the DOT will hold both the manufacturer and distributor liable and both parties could face a fine. However, if an overpack is used as a salvage drum, the shipper is also liable. So take care to use containers certified for your use case and materials.

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