If you are anything like me, finding enough space for all your stuff in your luggage is a big problem! Especially when you travel by air, and have limited luggage.
Lucky, there is a simple answer to our luggage space problems while traveling!
It is called - space saving travel bags.
(let me here you say: hallelujah!)
The idea is pretty simple, but amazingly effective at saving you loads of space.
You put your clothes (some or all) in these simple plastic bags, that have a ziplock seal.
Then you remove the air and reduce the space they take by sometimes over 50%!
How Do Space Saving Bags Work?
There are usually two main ways these space saving bags work.
First you place your clothes neatly in the bag, without overfilling it (else you can't seal it properly).
Then you firmly and securely close the ziplock (usually with a sliding helper) and make sure it is 100% sealed by checking it first.
Then you have to remove the air either:
- By rolling the air out (or simply throwing yourself on the bag!)
- Suck the air out of them with a vacuum cleaner
This rather cheesy video shows you how to do it with one of the vacuum-ready bags. It gives you a rough idea of how it works.
The vacuum method takes a bit more air out, but you need to have one handy. More on that later.
The third option is with the more expensive and robust bags from companies like Eagle Creek. They offer a zippered system that can help compress your clothes to a more manageable size. They cannot compete with the real space saver bags, but for some people it is more than enough.
Which Are The Best Space Saver Bags?
There are a few things which make these bags either great or average, so be on the lookout for these when buying the standard space saver bags:
- The ziplock is sturdy, reusable and comes with a nice slider (sealing it by hand is a pain in the butt)
- The value suits your needs (only for vacuum, or can you also do it by hand)
- The plastic is relatively strong (don't put sharp objects in there, but still it will take a beating)
To really save you having to worry about all this stuff, I have researched a couple of great options which I will show you below.
Acrodo Space Saver Compression Bags 10-pack
This is a great choice for first-time space savers because you get two choices of size and the system is so simple to use (see the video below).
Like most of the options, these bags come with a nice ziplock that is easy to use and reuse.
The plastic is also quite sturdy, although you always have to be careful to not put anything sharp in the bag - clothes only.
These space saver bags are only meant to be rolled, so don't have the vacuum option. But if you ask me, this is perfect because you don't have a vacuum when you travel anyway. Just be aware, you will have to do a little bit of work :>
You just add your clothes, and then sit on them (only joking) or roll them to get the air out. If they are super bulky (like a down jacket, fleece or even pillow) the results can be insane - look at the image above!!
- Sturdy plastic that will last you a while and still be resuable
- Simple to use sealing and compressing system (just roll)
- Only two sized bags, but enough to get you started
- Cannot be vacuumed to reduce size, so you lose some space but it's ideal for travel
Samsonite Luggage 12 Piece Compression Bag Kit
This is also a great choice for a first time space saver - because it comes with such a variety of sizes.
Why is this so useful? Well, ideally, when using these babies, you should not be ramming everything in one big bag. It's too hard to pack.
Instead, you should be putting different shapes and sizes into their appropriately sized space saver bag. And with these 12 options you are almost guaranteed to find the right one every time!
The quality of the bags is reasonable. They are not the most robust on the market, but if this is your first time trying such a thing it is worth starting with this, or a simple 3 pack.
- Lots of options with the variety of size space bags you get
- Simple, sturdy and resuable
- Can use with or without a vacuum
- Not the most robust option on the market
- Because it is all plastic, things can break
Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cube Set
Rather than show you yet another ziplock space saver bag (you can find more than enough options on Amazon) I thought I would show you a third option that Eagle Creek have.
They are not as space saving as the other options, but are a more reasonable way to pack your clothes. The end result is easier to store and pack than a misshaped plastic bag like the other space savers.
With these space savers, you pack them like a packing cube, then have to slowly work the compression zipper around to compress them.
The end result it pretty close to the other space savers, but there are some issues:
Because you are using a zipper, it can get caught and be more difficult to get compressed than a simple roll or vacuum method. Some people have also complained they are not as robust (with breaking zippers or zippers getting caught on the nylon).
However, for me they are just a different more stylish option. They keep your clothes in a less compressed state, which means they may be less wrinkled, and they are easier to pack (being more a cube).
- Easier to pack as they form nice cube shapes
- More of a long-term packing item than a simple plastic bag.
- A quality material (nylon)
- Not as simple to compress
- Will not be as tight as a rolled or vacuum reduced space saver
- Some people report issues with using the zippers (prone to catching, breaking etc)
Space Saver Travel Bag Tips & Tricks
It is worth mentioning a few things here so you make the right choice and get the most out of your purchase.
1. How to choose your space saver bag type:
- If you want to compress a big jacket, then the rolled method (from Acrodo might be best).
- If you want to store stuff, then the vacuum option from Samsonite is better as you get more bang for your buck in terms of saving space
- For those wanting to just save a little space and want a nicer and easier to pack bag, the Eagle Creek Compression Cubes are better
2. Getting the most out of the spaced savers
- Don't overstuff the bags as it will lead to seal problems (with the zip lock versions) or the inability to close the zippers on the Eagle Creek bags
- It goes without saying, but only put clothes in them. Otherwise you might rip the plastic (no more compression!) or ruin the nylon bags
- If you have the vacuum option, and use it, don't forget you can't take a vacuum on your trip. So the extra space you save (versus rolling) you will lose on your return trip.
- Don't put clothes in these bags that need to come out unwrinkled. These babies will wrinkle almost anything you put in them. Keep that in mind.
- Generally I only use these on bulky items (you get the most compression) and then store them at the bottom of my pack or suitcase. They are often a weird shape or very flat with lumps, so you can pack things on top of them better than packing them on top of each other (unless you have a very uniform contents). Play around with it to get the most benefit from them.
Not using some form of space saving bag when you travel is a big mistake.
Not only can you take less luggage, but you can bring back more shopping or souvenirs from your trip.
Or, you can simply take a smaller case (carry on vs big suitcase) than you need to, when you go on a small vacation or business trip.
The advantages are many when using these space saving bags and I don't know how I lived without them before!