Space Bags Really Work.. Kind Of

Date Fri, May 16 2008

If you’ve ever had a TV in your house, changes are you’ve seen the commercials for space bags. If you watch a lot of home improvement shows like I tend to, then you’ve probably seen the commercials more times than you can count. The adverts claim that this wonderful product can fit all your winter clothes or bed linens and after zipping shut the space bags and vacuuming out the extra air, you’ll have 3 times as much room.

I bought this because it seemed to be too good to be true. I found space bags available at a local kitchen supply store that had a section for “As Seen on TV” items. I picked up a 2 pack which I believe held 1 large and 1 jumbo bag; however, I am not positive because space bags come in every combination possible!

I wanted to repack my items in a safer package and space bags claim to be waterproof, insect and animal proof as well impervious to oxidation (which spreads stains and lightens colours) and mildew. I figured that even if the space saving aspect of the bags wasn’t effective, I’d have an everything-proof bag to protect my linens and clothing.

The good news is they work! You can fill the bags and vacuum all the air out and it will look like.. well, the air has been all vacuumed out and greatly reduced in size, a bit like freeze dried food.

The bad news is you have to be extremely careful with space bags or a seam will rip. I had been zealous in stuffing my first space bag (a large size?) and after zipping it up applied just a bit of pressure a burst a seam near the zipper without actually realizing it.

While space bags may be everything-else-proof, they are certainly not safe from human error. Reviews across the internet point out that this seems to be a common issue with space bags; in fact, many customers purchased space bags to find that the seams were already ripped.

All this aside, I now to be more careful next time and if that were my only issue, I’d still love space bags.

The worse news is the space saving feature really only works with certain types of linens and soft items: the light and fluffy type. So while jackets, pillows, and comforters will compress nicely, towels, jeans rugs and any type of thicker/heavier item will not because it isn’t full of ‘extra’ air. You’ll still be protecting these items from rats and mildew but it will take up as much room as it normally would.

The worst news is that the sizes are ridiculous. I was happy with my large bag, it worked well for me to tuck into a corner, place on a box or hide under a bed for storage but the jumbo sized bag was so ridiculously large that it just wasn’t practical.

Even if you could neatly organize your items (which you can’t!) in the bag, and vacuum so it took up 100% less room, you’d still be left with an airtight bag the size of a medium dog and with a very difficult shape to store as most space bags do not have a flat bottom. Couple that with the slippery package and you have one giant space bag that it now going to stay where you put it.

The bright side is that you don’t need to purchase such large bags and I might have been spared the mistake if I’d read the dimensions. There are also cube space bags which might work better for stacking and staying in place as well.

I think I had a fairly typical experience with space bags. The fragile seams rip for many customers and other customers also have issue with vacuum attachments not fitting snuggly (although I didn’t have any problems with that myself).

One last issue I am concerned about but didn’t have a chance to test was that of re-inflating. The space bags site warns customers to be careful when moving and handling airtight space bags because this could cause the bag to re-inflate, especially if it is handled near the zipper.

Several customers on Amazon have reported their space bags re-inflating after only a short time. Since the seam tore on the large bag and i re-inflated and the jumbo bag was much too big and bulky to even warrant vacuuming out the extra air, I have not been able to see if an undamaged space bag would hold with inflating again. It did seem that the large bag helf for a bit even with the tear, however.

Overall, I was surprised that space bags did seem to do what the commercials claimed and I think an undamaged space bag in small, medium or large or a cube would work well for anyone who needs very secure storage. However, customers should be wary that bags sized extra large and above are bulky and inconvenient. Also, the seams easily tear so one should take care to not overfill the bags or apply pressure before vacuuming.

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