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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Smith

What Is Dunnage and What Are Its Benefits?

If you're into dropshipping or eCommerce business, you must already be familiar with what dunnage is. It has multiple use cases, including protecting fragile items from damage. Dunnage is mainly used for products with a high risk of damage while in transit.

Dunnage is a durable packaging material used inside the box to protect the products from damage while in transit. There are multiple types of dunnage depending on the size and type of product it has to be used for. Some of the most popular dunnage are solid plastics, bubble wrap, wood, air pillows, kraft paper, foam, etc.

Source: Methodshop

What Is Dunnage?

Dunnage is a packaging material used for products to protect them during the shipping and handling process. Anything can be dunnage, from plastic wastes to styrofoam, as long as it provides cushioning to the products.

You should always decide the size or type of the dunnage depending on the empty spaces inside the box. We recommend you to go for the right packaging size for a product. Avoid using big boxes for a small-sized product or mailing fragile items in a bubble mailer. Such improper decisions can cause unwanted movement in the cargo causing damage to your product.

Benefits of Using Dunnage

When your shipment is in transit, it goes under many rough conditions, from warehouses to trucks to fulfillment centers. Therefore using dunnage can help in absorbing the shocks while shipping the shipment. There are the five most prevalent benefits of adding dunnage to your package.

  • Protection against Damage

The primary use of dunnage is to protect your shipment from any damage they might receive while moving from manufacturers to endpoint customers. Proper dunnage can save your products while on the move.

  • Proper Weight Distribution

While shipping a cumbersome package like a couch or sofa can be challenging. So to make it easier for transportation, adding wooden dunnage can equally distribute the weight of the product. This weight distribution makes it easier to carry using a forklift or handler.

  • Protection against Moisture

Environmental conditions can quickly change, even though it may have been a sunny day when you dispatched your shipment from the warehouse. Electronic items can immensely suffer if exposed to dusty or wet conditions. Adding dunnage can protect it from any moisture or contamination.

  • Absorption of Shock

Dunnage can help protect goods from shock if they are subject to sliding around or collisions. They ensure that there are no damages during the transportation of the package.

  • Protection from Overhead Expenses

If your customers receive damaged goods, you'll have to provide a refund or exchange. This can add up to your expenses if not taken care of properly. Adding inexpensive dunnage is a good packaging investment as it can reduce such overhead expenditures.

Types of Dunnage

There are many dunnage options available. It would be best if you should choose a material depending on the type of package. Pick lighter materials like bubble wrap or air pillows for smaller items and heavier material like a wooden frame for bulky products. Here are 10 types of dunnage you can use for your product,

1. Air Pillows

Source: Sealed Air

Air pillows are used to stop the item from sliding or breaking in case of collision. The other use of air pillows is to fill the gaps between the item and box.

2. Bubble Wrap

The most popular dunnage for shipping a fragile or glass item is bubble wrap. It can also be reused until the bubble doesn't pop.

3. Burlap

Source: NYP Corp.

Burlap works similar to air pillows. It is used to fill in the space inside the package, placed in the form of squares or rolls.

4. Corrugated Paper

Corrugated paper dunnage is constructed to provide a sustainable packaging option. You can use it to carry a wide range of products and protect it against moisture.

5. Foam

The primary use of foam is for shielding electronics and other fragile items. It can also help protect small shipping envelopes by adding it as a lining.

6. Kraft Papers

Source: SSI Pkg

Kraft papers are the recycled paper used for stuffing the package. It's a cheap and eco-friendly option and can also be reused, making it highly effective dunnage.

7. Rubber

Source: Alibaba

Rubber dunnage is generally used for protecting valuable items like electronics. It can be used as a shock absorber to protect your item from physical damage during transportation.

8. Solid Plastics

Source: SSI Tote

Solid plastics are used mainly in shipping industrial products. Although this dunnage is more expensive than other types, it's still worth the price for protecting high-value products. Solid plastic dunnage can also be reused.

9. Steel

Steel is the most expensive material in the lists of dunnage, primarily used for protecting high-value industrial products.

10. Wood

Wood is among the most popular choices for dunnage in shipping. It allows air circulation and protects valuable items from physical damage. Wood is a popular option because it is cheap and can be easily sourced.

When to Use Dunnage?

You can use dunnage for the following cases,

  • For preventing cargo items from shifting

  • For securing containers

  • For filling empty spaces inside the box

  • For preventing water from entering the shipment

  • For providing effective ventilation

  • For distributing the weight evenly

  • For separating the cargo

Difference between Dunnage, Bracing & Cribbing


It's a packaging component used for protecting the shipment from contamination and moisture during transit. Dunnage also ensures the safety of the article.


It's a packaging material used to reduce or eliminate the cargo's vertical movement. Bracing holds the load in one place and thus helps to protect goods from getting damaged.


It's a packaging material used for stacking uniform blocks to create a sturdy frame to support heavy freight. Cribbing blocks a particular area or space to help increase the area and bearing height.


It is essential to keep your products safe for the survival of your brand and your bottom line. Ensure to conduct thorough research for the dunnage that would work best for your products. Using the right dunnage can avert unnecessary product returns and exchanges.

Let Titan 3PL Pack and Ship for You!

Titan 3PL is the best fulfillment company for dropshippers. We work with merchants in deciding the best dunnage for their product. To save on general logistics and shipping costs, partner with the Titan 3PL team. You can also request a quote by contacting our support team.

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