Travel gear: Vacuum bag lets you store more

  • By Ross Werland Chicago Tribune
  • Saturday, October 15, 2011 12:01am
  • Life

Name: Space Bag to Go.

What it is: A vacuum storage bag with Ziploc-type seal. The bag rolls up, forcing air out and creating a kind of luggage “brick” of your clothing, dramatically cutting down mass but obviously not weight. The bags come in numerous sizes; I used the medium roll-up, 13 ½-by-19 ½ inches, perfect for carry-ons.

How it works: Insert your clothing, seal the bag, push down to force out most of the air, then start rolling from the sealed side toward the opposite side, which lets the air escape.

The good: At a time when many travelers are trying to rid themselves of checked bags because of fees, this will give you a fighting chance to pack enough clothing in a carry-on even for a weeklong trip. You will end up with packed clothing that looks like a vacuum-packed TV dinner.

Using just one bag for a long weekend trip, I had lots of extra space for my laptop computer, charging cords and toiletries.

I plan to use two roll-up bags for a week in Europe. Space Bag also offers luggage-size bags that you simply push down rather than roll up. That would be easier for larger payloads.

The bad: If you tend to try things before reading the directions, you will roll this up in the wrong direction. Read the directions. The only real drawback is the density of the clothing. Because it takes so much less space, you will be able to pack more clothing, but that is going to make for one heavy bag.

Watch that if you’re not going to be rolling it. And one neatness caveat: Though casual clothes came out wearable, a dress shirt did wrinkle, but I expected that.

Cost: $4.95.

Available from: spacebag or several other stores and online retailers.

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