You want the super short version?
Reflective bubble wrap can keep perishables under 70°F for 24 hours. Beyond that, do not expect it to keep your goods cold.
I had heard that reflective bubble wrap would work as well or better than the 1.5" thick insulated liners we use for a 48 hour shipment.
At ⅜" thick for the bubble wrap is a quarter of the thickness of our liners. My high-school physics brain raised a red flag regarding R-value and thickness. My science brain said "test it".
So I did.
Below is the graph comparing the two. The blue line is the reflective bubble wrap, and the orange line is the thicker insulation.
Thicker insulation works better, especially for the first 35 or so hours. At hour 24, it's a 15 degree difference. At hour 35 there's a 12 degree difference, and there's still an 8 degree difference at hour 45 (68° for the thick insulation, 75° for the reflective bubble wrap.)
Surprisingly (to me), reflective bubble wrap isn't that bad! Here are good times to use it when you're shipping perishables:
For anything else, use insulation that's at least an inch thick.
We are PSYCHED to help you learn how to ship your perishable product across the country. A consultation with us can save you years of experimenting and thousands of dollars. Reach out via our Contact form to learn more.
Here's to your small food biz success!