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Protecting Packages When Shipping Them Through the Mail

paper padded mailers

While you can often provide the highest level of protection to your goods with a cardboard box or custom container when sending them through the mail, it can be cost-prohibitive to do so. Alternatives like paper padded mailers and poly bubble mailers can be more practical, all things considered.

And despite the fact that they offer less protection overall than cardboard boxes, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to improve parcel protection when using them. Here are some of the best options at your disposal.

Use Adequate Padding or Cushioning

The level of protection you’ll need to offer your parcel when mailing it will depend on what it is that you’re shipping.

Documents, portfolios, and catalogs might need minimal to no protection against being crushed. Some paper goods need nothing more than a paperboard mailer to provide a little bit of extra rigidity to protect against folds and creases.

Other, more fragile items will benefit from being shipped in paper padded mailers or poly bubble mailers. Mailers with integral padding are suitable for shipping pictures and documents, catalogs, portfolios, small art prints, craft supplies, discs, and other small, relatively flat items.

Other small consumer goods can be shipped in padded mailers and don’t necessarily need the protection of a box.

While some padded envelopes offer a higher level of protection against being dropped or crushed, you can supplement this padding by wrapping your package in bubble wrap or foam sheets prior to inserting it into the mailer.

Going this extra step can make the difference between a package that arrives at its destination in pristine condition, and one that suffers unwarranted damage.

paper padded mailers

Choose a Mailer Made of Appropriate Materials

Depending on what you’re mailing it might be most cost-effective to mail it in a rigid or recycled paper mailer.

Paper is lightweight, cheap, often recyclable (and sometimes made from recycled fiber, to begin with), and often offers a high level of rigid protection.

However, most grades of paper are not resistant to being crushed or to tear or puncture. In addition, paper mailers typically offer very low protection against moisture damage, which can be a serious concern for some parcels.

By contrast, polyethylene, or PE mailers, offer a very high degree of protection against water. They are also very resistant to tear and puncture and are recyclable. In addition, they are lightweight and very affordable.

There are other proprietary materials that also provide a much higher level of protection against tear, puncture, and moisture damage. Examples include Tyvek, which is lightweight, moisture-resistant, and very strong, along with Fibercraft and Herculink.

Some parcels are more sensitive to water damage than others. Be sure to use a mailer that offers the requisite level of protection to keep your package safe.

Extra Protection Against Water

The best thing you can do to protect your package against water is to mail it in a container that is naturally water resistant, such as Tyvek or a poly envelope.

However, even if you do, it’s easy to add a second layer of protection against water ingress, especially for small, sensitive items.

Before inserting your parcel into the mailer, wrap it in a sealable plastic bag. This way, even if the mailer gets wet, your parcel may still survive.

For extremely water-sensitive materials, consider adding some (clearly marked) silica desiccant gel packets to the mailer. Also, when sealing it up, be sure you fully close the adhesive strip and tape up any seams that might let water in.

Seal It

Many paper-padded mailers feature peel-and-seal closures like zip-stick closures which are easy to use and offer a self-sealing ability.

Consider adding a second layer of tape to the sealed seam and the other end of the packaging to serve as a deterrent to theft. A ripped seam is more noticeable if it is flagrant.

However, there’s no need to overdo it with multiple layers of tape as this will simply waste precious packaging resources and make it difficult to open the package at its eventual destination.

Label the Item as Fragile

Prominently stamping an item as “Fragile” or “Handle with Care” won’t prevent all accidents, but it will ensure that conscientious workers involved in shipping your package will know that they should take extra care.

Either use a bright prefabricated label with contrasting colors or label your mailer (on both sides) in bright ink.

paper padded mailers

Consider Parcel Insurance for Very Expensive Items

Finally, for particularly fragile goods and other items, it might be worth your while to purchase parcel insurance that will protect you in the event of loss.

Accidents do happen and there are situations in which even the best paper padded mailers, poly bubble mailers, and even well cushioned boxes will not be able to protect your package. If the parcel warrants the price of insurance, consider coverage.

Not Sure What Mailers Will Work Best for You? Contact Us!

We offer a wide range of padded paper, cushioned mailers, and other specialty packaging materials. If you’re not sure about the specifications of some of our mailers or would like additional guidance, feel free to get in touch with us at and we’d be happy to help.

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