A common theme for any traveler is a lack of available space. For many items like shoes, dishes, and toiletries, your only option is to pack as light as possible. For items like clothing, blankets, and towels, there is another option – space saver bags. It’s amazing just how much satisfaction a person can get by watching a clear bag of clothes being compressed to about half its original size. It is pure magic and we’ve found a kit that should meet most traveling needs.
This particular kit sold on Amazon comes with 12 bags including: one jumbo (51″x40″), two XL (47″x32″), two large (35″x27″), two medium (28″x20″), and five travel roll ups. The jumbo works great for blankets and the rest should cover your entire wardrobe. If traveling with two people, you may need to buy two sets but I would suggest starting with one. The five travel roll ups are a good size for socks and underwear but they do not compress nearly as well as the vacuum bags.
Space saver bags are very easy to use, even if you’ve never used one before. One end of the bag opens and closes like a large Ziploc bag. After filling it with compressible items, seal the end and vacuum the air from a valve on the top of the bag that screws shut once the air has been drawn out. There is also a rubber flap that creates a seal over the hole. If you don’t travel with a vacuum, you can alternatively use an air mattress pump. Keep in mind that a vacuum is generally more powerful and will remove more air than the pump.
There are a few caveats about these particular bags and probably any other knock-off brands. The plastic is very thin and therefore much more susceptible to ripping and tearing. Think potato chip bag. We caught our jumbo bag on the corner of a dolly and ripped a six inch gap in the side. All of our other bags have made it through five moves and have held up great. The other minor problem is the Ziploc style seal will leak air if not properly sealed. If you take the time to run your fingers along the edge and make sure there are no gaps, you shouldn’t have any problems.