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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Reclaim Your Storage Space! - Vacuum Storage Bags

    A few weeks ago I wrote an article about using a vacuum sealer in your RV. While it definitely has its uses, the size of the bags in width is limited. Vacuum sealing works really well on items with lots of air in them. I figured what about stuff like pillows, blankets and quilts? Currently, I jam them into whatever storage will fit them, but if they were vacuum sealed the size would be MUCH smaller. After some research, it turns out I didn't have a "million dollar idea" -- there are lots of choices for that kind of thing. So, I ordered a few different sizes and waited until they arrived. Do they work? Is it worth the extra hassle?? Read on!

SmartDesign Magic Bag
Once they arrived, I opened the package and took a look. Simple, large, thick plastic bags with a wide "zip-lock" opening and a large 2" diameter vacuum port. You fold up what you want, slide it into the bag, zip the end closed and suck out all the air with your home vacuum hose using the port. That's it. It's like magic watching a large comforter/quilt go from its regular folded size to essentially flat! From around 18" high to 3" high. Wow! I can now store them in the bottom drawers in my RV's under-bed storage or even upright in the closet -- they get pretty rigid without air in the mix.

Since they are air- and water-tight, you could put them in basement storage without fear of getting them wet or mildew/mold smelling. The trick is in the one-way valve that allows air out but not back in when a vacuum is applied to it. They are NOT all created equal. The ones WITHOUT the snap-open cover work far better and maintain the compression for a LONG time. Look at the SmartDesign Magicbag line for an example.

Simple To Use!
They aren't all that expensive. I got a 4-piece variety pack with 2 MEDIUM, 1 LARGE, and 1 JUMBO bag for only $9.97. Though if you want REALLY large ones it's more expensive (36"x48" 4 for $19.88). Since they are reusable it's not all that terrible, pricing-wise.

I tested these with several home, shop-vac and canister style vacuum cleaners. Pretty much anything with a hose will work. I was surprised (and happy) that my 12 Volt shop-vac would do so great a job with them. That means I can pack (and repack) items on the road! Fantastic. I am going to be looking for other items that will compress, that aren't used all the time, to increase my available storage. Should be fun to see how much space I can reclaim.

I will definitely have all the sizes on board this season. Who knows what I can use them for! Hmmm...bulky sweaters and the like come to mind right away. I mean you (hopefully) won't need them in the Summer! As a bonus, without air, they stay really fresh. I've even seen folks put a dryer sheet in the bag before it's vacuumed out. Good idea!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"

www.thewanderman.com

9 comments:

  1. See, you thought i was crazy when i mentioned my trashbag trick! I've corrupted you! Of course, like any good "carry more in the same space" trick, you're just enabling yourself over-packing your rv now... lol.

    My record using this method is packing 3 man-months of laundry - 3 weeks, four people, nothing laundered until home again. With two teen boys, the REAL value to me is odorless storage *after* wearing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wolfe,
      Thanks pretty amazing! I'll bet the laundry was, uh, ripe when it was unpacked!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
    2. Um, yeah... i don't recommend pushing it that far, but I refused to waste trip time doing laundry. Wore less presentable old clothes on drive days, and despite being mostly shorts and tees it still took several days to run it all through washer once home.

      Considering I used trash bags, maybe some of them should have taken the victory lap and then stayed in the bags curbside...lol.

      Delete
  2. Haven't found any compression bags that don't decompress after a short time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Simonsrf,
      Try the Magic bags without the air valve cover. they are working well for me. 5 Months so far.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  3. Have tried several brands and after traveling East to West or West to East, they don't like the elevation changes ...... At least that's what I found

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Magic,
      Vacuum will definitely have some issues as altitude changes dramatically!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  4. We us these at home all the time and they are great for stuffing things under the bed! However, we found that after awhile, they don't hold out air as well so we had trouble getting that inflated bag back out from the tiny space into which we put it! lol

    Found that their are compression bags that you simply "push" the air out of...as in sit on...so that you don't need the vacuum hose (we only have a small upright with no hose in our RV). They are made primarily for travelers who may be staying in hotels, but would work well for RVs also.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unknown,
      The stuff sacks you mention do work, but it's hard to get all the air out. See comment above about bags without valve covers working much better!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete

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