Space Bag storage packs as Dry Bags

Feedback for the article published June 4, 2005.

Space Bag storage packs as Dry Bags

Postby CScala » Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:41 pm

After reading your work on dry gear bags, I was struck with an idea. I happen to have a box of 15 various sizes of storage bags sold by a company named Space Bag. You have probably seen the ads. Essentially they are a zip lock style bag that is airtight/watertight and has a one-way valve to purge air. The plastic seems to be lightweight yet not too flexible. Have you or anyone out there ever tried these as a dry gear solution in their packs?

Space bags

Postby Jim Wood » Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:40 pm

I'm familiar with space bags, but have never actually used them (for reasons noted below). I assume the type you're referring to is the kind that allow you to manually squeeze out much of the air through a purge valve, rather than using a vacuum cleaner.

Zipper-style locks alone, without the compression, tend not to very reliable since, as noted in the article:

"...Even if [zipper locks] were used for this purpose, however, they might be problematic, since they're often easy to force open by pressing against the sides of the sealed sacks."

On the other hand, manually purging much of the air from a space bag should theoretically take most of the stress off the zipper seal, thereby reducing the chances of it popping open.

The primary issue, however (and the main reason that I've never tried them), are persistent consumer complaints about air leakage. You might want to check out this site.

Nonetheless, interesting idea... will revisit when I have a bit of time. Will also check out the weights of the various sized bags.

Thanks for your comments...

Jim Wood.
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Space bags

Postby CScala » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:15 pm

I wanted to post an update to my Mr. Wizard experiment. (that's what my wife called me when witnessing my absurd behavior). Anyway, I selected two of the "large" size (24"x 36"?)bags from the selection of sizes thinking this may be the size I would utilize as a pack liner. I could see possibly dropping this down to the medium size depending on specific packing list needs. I filled the bags with pillows, blankets, and towels, and closed the zip top with the attached closing device. Using my hand and knee, I applied pressure to force air out of the relief valve. I had to hold the rubber piece up with my finger to help the air escape quicker. After replacing the valve cover, I placed the bags in a bathtub 1/2 full of water. The fun part was finding enough weights to keep the very buoyant bags fully submerged. After 1 hour, I carefully removed the bags and thoroughly dryed off the exteriors. Careful examination yielded no signs of leakage to the interior of the bag that I could find. I believe this could be a viable option based on my test. A further field test under actual backpacking conditions would be required to prove whether movement and rubs against other gear could compromise the seal. The zip top seems to be the one area that if not sealed very carefully, could compromise the seal. Any other suggestions on how to better test this concept are requested! (additional test volunteers would be great also!) Thanks!

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