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.
Listen, it may sound too good to be true, but we are PSYCHED to help you learn how to ship your perishable product across the country. If you have any questions about this article or anything surrounding perishable shipping, please comment below so we can share the knowledge.
If you're in San Diego and want to test your product packout, reach out via our Contact page below and we'll fit you into our testing schedule. Yes, for free.
If you have questions but can't get a package to us for testing, use the Contact page and I'll help as much as I can.
Here's to your small food biz success!