Monday, October 1, 2012

Space Bag® Dual-Use Bags - Gear Review

Have you ever heard of or even owned a set of Space Bag®? You know the "As Seen On TV" space saving bags that you load up with your clothes, zip close, hook up your vacuum cleaner and suck the air out of them? Yeah, we had a set of those for quite some time. They came in handy too. Every time the weather changed from cold to hot and vice-versa, we'd swap out our wardrobes. We'd place the clothes we weren't going to wear in the Space Bag®s, suck the air out to compress them as small as possible, and store them in what is now Dinah's closet. This practice occurred for around 3 years before the bags either ended up with holes (thanks to our cats) or the zipper (much like a Zip Lock bag zipper) failed.

Never once did it ever occur to us to use these things for backpacking or camping. They came in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Of course you'd have the whole challenge of getting it compressed again once it was open. You know, there aren't any vacuum cleaners out in the woods, unless of course you've happened to bring one with you. HAHAHAHAHA.

Enter Space Bag® Dual-Use Bags. The fine folks at Space Bag®, have create a bag that not only can you compress the bags and there contents with a vacuum, now you can compress them by rolling them to expunge the air out through their patented one-way valve.

We were given the opportunity to try these bags out. We liked our old Space Bags and figured, why not try them out. They seemed like they might be worth a try, especially for camping and even possibly backpacking or hiking. We received a large and medium Dual-Use Bag from Space Bag® to try out and review. These bags are pretty cool, you can load them up with all sorts of stuff and then compress them down to about half the size of what they were full and without compression. When zipped they are water proof, keeping your items and gear out of the elements.

When we went for our camping trip over Labor Day weekend, we decided to pack our backpacks with our clothes and some other gear we would need for the weekend rather than our large duffle bag suitcase (what we normally would take on larger camping trips). With this in mind we thought this would be the perfect time to try out the Space Bag® Dual-Use bags. Once all of our clothes, both Robin's and mine were gathered, Robin set out to stuffing the bags full. She stuffed her clothes in the medium bag and my clothes in the large bag. With the medium bag, Robin was able to fit most of her clothes, which included a pair of jeans, pair of yoga pants, pajama pants, a few shirts (both short and long sleeve), unmentionables, and socks. In the large bag, Robin packed in a pair of hiking pants, a pair of shorts, pajama pants, socks, several shirts (again both long and short sleeve, and again unmentionables).

The bags were rather large for their size prior to compressing them but once Robin zipped them up and "wrestled" the air out of them, they compressed down considerably. Of course the large bag still tended to take up a little more room in my pack than I would care for had we been going on an overnighter or more in the back country. Since we were just going camping though, it wasn't that big of a deal. The medium bag would likely be the best way to go for the whole backpacking option. It compresses down much smaller than the large bag and can hold all the clothes you'd really need for a night or two in the backcountry, provided you aren't an ultralighter or a gram-weenie.

Speaking of ultralighters and gram-weenies, the weight of the medium and large bags are 80g and 100g respectively. This might be a little too heavy for those looking to cut weight in their packs. Their cost however might offset the weight for those looking for gear on the cheap. On Amazon, you can get a pack of 3 large bags for $15.99, a pack of 3 medium bags for $12.99 and a combo pack of 2 large and 2 medium bags for as low as $12.53. The bag's dimensions are as follows:
Large: 21.5" x 33.5"
Medium: 18" x 22.5"

I have to say, that while Robin had to wrestle with them to get them compressed the first time, once we were used to it, compressing them wasn't such a hassle and for our purposes, the bags seem rather useful. According to the Space Bag Community website, there a several great uses for these bags, more so than for just hiking, camping, and backpacking purposes. For us, they definitely served their purpose, holding our clothes and keeping them dry whilst camping. And yes, we did end up with rain during our trip and there was some slight leakage into our tent. Our clothes stayed dry thankfully. Of course, the real test would be to pack these things full of clothes, compress them, and hang them in the shower with full out water pressure on them. *Insert Mischievous Laughter Here* I may have to try that out real soon like.

So, bottom line, these bags serve a purpose, and for us, that purposes was served well on our camping trip. The medium bag would definitely be better for a trip into the backcountry over the large bags, and at the price, might be a very suitable option for many.

Happy Trails,
Tim and Robin

P.S. If you'd like to try out the bags yourself, then stay tuned as we will be giving away a set of bags tomorrow to one lucky winner.

Disclaimer: Tim and Robin received the Space Bag® Dual-Use bags  from Space Bag®  for review purposes only. Appalachia & Beyond is in no way affiliated with Space Bag® and are not being compensated by Space Bag® for this review. The opinions expressed above are Tim's and Robin's independent thoughts and experiences.