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Dunnage for Dummies: What It Is and How It’s Used

Dunnage for Dummies: What It Is and How It’s UsedPhoto from Unsplash

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When learning about the warehousing industry, our clients encounter many unfamiliar terms that often throw them for a loop. One such term is dunnage.

Dunnage is one of the most important and practical parts of our business, and we want to tell you what it is and how we use it! Read on for everything you need to know about the important concept of dunnage and how you’ve likely already used it many times.

What Is Dunnage?

Dunnage is a packaging component designed to secure, support, and protect items being shipped and handled. Some common forms of dunnage include bubble wrap and packing peanuts, but many kinds of dunnage are used for unique products.

How Is Dunnage Used?

To choose the right kind of dunnage for your product, you must first assess the fragility and overall value of the shipped items and the conditions they face in the shipping and handling process. While a glass vase or an expensive electronic may require more dunnage to stay safe, soft items like pillows and clothing require little protection.

Typically, the sturdier and more supportive your dunnage is, the more it will cost, so we encourage our clients to consider what level of dunnage they really need before investing.

If you’re unsure of what dangers your items will face in shipping or need assistance choosing dunnage, the shipping experts at %COMPANY% would be happy to help.

What Are the Benefits of Quality Dunnage?

Dunnage is used for various kinds of item protection, including:

  • Shock absorption
  • Damage protection
  • Moisture protection

What Are the Different Kinds of Dunnage?

Many different kinds of dunnage can be used to protect items during the shipping and handling process. The durability of the dunnage you require will depend on how valuable, as well as how fragile the items you’re shipping are.

Here are some of the most common kinds of dunnage and how they’re used:

Bubble Wrap

Buddle wrap is a transparent and pliable plastic material that is most often used to protect glass and other breakable items. It’s one of the most common forms of dunnage as it’s versatile and reusable as long as the bubbles don’t pop.

Air Pillows

Air pillows can prevent smaller items from sliding around in their packaging by filling the gaps of missing space. Air pillows are also a very common type of dunnage.

Kraft Paper

Recycled, cheap, eco-friendly, and highly effective, kraft paper is a fantastic, simple dunnage solution. Kraft paper is simply recycled paper that is crinkled and stuffed in a package to create padding and fill gaps.

Corrugated Paper

A more high-tech dunnage solution, corrugated paper is used to ensure that packaging materials can carry heavier weight. This type of dunnage also protects against moisture, which can be an important feature depending on the nature of the item being shipped and the environments it may pass through.

Steel Dunnage

For heavier items of higher value, steel is sometimes a great option. Although it’s one of the most expensive forms of dunnage you can invest in, steel is also one of the most reliable. If you’re shipping multiple items, steel dunnage can also prevent heavier items from damaging smaller, lighter ones.

Hard Plastic Dunnage

Another form of heavy-duty dunnage is hard plastic. Again, this form of dunnage is only really worth investing in if you’re shipping fragile and valuable products. Hard plastic dunnage is usually used only for industrial shipping.

Wood Dunnage

For heavy goods, wood dunnage can create sturdy barriers between products, preventing them from moving and making contact with each other during the shipping process.


If you’ve purchased electronics online before, you’re probably familiar with foam dunnage. This material is often used for shipping electronics, medical equipment, and items with sharp edges. Foam dunnage is of a higher quality because it usually must be cut to precise dimensions to fit around the products.

Who Uses Dunnage?

While big freight shipping companies commonly use dunnage, it’s also used for e-commerce. As the online shopping industry explodes, our need for dunnage increases.

It’s important that we think about the dunnage’s sustainability and how these products can be reused instead of always sending them to landfills with the rest of our packaging waste. We encourage everyone to reuse dunnage for their own shipping purposes or talk to local warehouses about where dunnage can be responsibly recycled.

Together, we can work to improve the sustainability of the shipping and online shopping industry.

Let Our Experts Help You Choose Dunnage

The kind of dunnage you need will depend on the kinds of products you’re looking to ship, the distance they’re going, and the kind of handling that they’ll experience during their journey.

If you’re selling electronics, it’s important to think about shock absorption as well as moisture protection. Items made from glass or other fragile materials will need padding to ensure they don’t break on their journey. Heavy items have the potential to damage smaller goods, so they may benefit from being secured behind wooden barriers.

It’s our job to ensure your items are handled and shipped safely. We have years of experience with dunnage and will equip your goods with the best available protection at every stage in their journey.

If you have input or if you’d like to choose a dunnage strategy for yourself, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We welcome you to be a part of the process.

Work With a Warehousing Professional for Dunnage Done Right

At the end of the day, dunnage helps prevent broken items, mitigate customer returns, and save you money. There’s no point in selling and shipping a valuable item without taking the precautions to prevent issues on the road–and that’s precisely what our team can help you do.

For superior dunnage and a wide range of reliable shipping and warehousing services, get in touch with %COMPANY% at your convenience. We look forward to being your one-stop shop for merchandise and freight protection and movement.

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