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  1. #1

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    Lightbulb Why You Need a Vacuum Bag

    My recent trip to the dollar store yielded an interesting discovery for hammock backpackers: plastic compression travel bags. I got a few to play with and am reporting very positive results for many reasons. I will be taking one on all subsequent backpacking trips.

    IMG_0255.JPG IMG_0671.JPG IMG_0674.JPG IMG_0681.JPG IMG_0680.JPG IMG_0687.JPG

    What Are They?

    These are plastic bags used for compressing "stuff" for both travel and storage. They are airtight, have a ziplock-style closure on one end, and a one-way valve on one side. The valve lets you squeeze air out and prevents it from coming back in (giving you compression ability). It also has a screw cap to hold air in (important as you shall see).

    I got mine at the dollar store for... a dollar. You can also get them at Walmart, Amazon, Target, REI, and likely many other places for <$5. They come in a variety of sizes from many different brands. The ones i have are roughly 18"x24" and weigh about 2oz.

    Why Would You Want One?

    Oh so many reasons!

    Compression: I can put both of my full length quilts plus a pillow and some spare clothes in one bag, crush it down, and slip the whole kit into my backpack. It takes up half the size it used to and leaves me with a less bulky pack.

    Waterproof: Having all of my down locked away in airtight plastic means i don't need a plastic bag liner, trash compactor bag, or roll-top dry bag anymore. Even if thrown into a river, it will not leak.

    Ultimate Pillow: After you've dumped your stuff at camp, the now empty bag converts to a gigantic Ultimate Knee Pillow, a full-size head pillow, or back pillow for Sofa Mode lounging. I've been testing mine for weeks and have already had it on a multi-day hammock backpacking trip. It seems to hold air indefinitely and is very strong. You can even throw your jacket or spare clothes in the bag at night for extra insulation or just plain storage.

    Emergency Go-To-Ground Pad: If things got really bad, this does kinda work as a torso ground pad, although i would really want two of them together.

    Big! I can put all of my down goodies in one bag, so i don't need to carry separate stuff sacks for each component. I can just squash everything into one waterproof bag and it slips right into my backpack. Being slippery plastic makes it even better.

    Weight Savings: Getting rid of stuff sacks and backpack liners means i can gain additional functionality while actually dropping total weight. Nice!

    Mostly i wanted mine for knee pillow support, but the compression/drybag ability means it replaces stuff i would already be carrying anyway.

    Try one on your next adventure and let me know how it goes.

    Happy Hammocking!

  2. #2
    Senior Member jeff-oh's Avatar
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    interesting, thank you

  3. #3
    cmc4free's Avatar
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    I have a bunch of the vacuum type around the house, and there are also types that you simply roll up to squeeze out the air, which don't require a vacuum. Hard to tell which type you posted because I'm not used to seeing the plastic valve and cap on the roll up ones.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B06WW...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  4. #4
    Member kamileon's Avatar
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    Me and the wife got a box of these at Costco around Christmas time. They are made by ziplock and came in a few different sizes. We bought them to organize our closet. Never in a million years did I think of using them for my gear. My concern though is it possible to over compress a down UQ and cause some sort of damage?


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  5. #5

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    The ones I have are an off-brand I got from the dollar store. The wrapper mentioned using a vacuum, but I can easily poke the valve and squeeze the air out. This worked great in the field. To inflate, i open the zipper a little bit and just blow in.

    I was also concerned about long term damage, but I donít suppose putting something in this bag would be much different than cramming something down into the bottom of my backpack and having all the compression straps tightened down.

  6. #6
    Member kamileon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leiavoia View Post
    I was also concerned about long term damage, but I donít suppose putting something in this bag would be much different than cramming something down into the bottom of my backpack and having all the compression straps tightened down.
    Thatís actually a really good point. And its not long term.


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  7. #7
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Another great tip from Leiavoia!

    Thanks!

  8. #8
    I've used these types of bags for packing a sportcoat in a suitcase or a carry on bag. I adjust the jacket so it's inside out, then fold it and leave a little air in the bag to keep the jacket from getting compressed/creased/wrinkled by the other stuff in the bag.

    I love the multi-function camping options. Awesome.

    Why didn't I think of this?!? This has become a common refrain for me when reading this forum.

    I've wanted to try the knee pillow thing. This clinches it.

    Thank you for sharing!

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  9. #9
    Member groupertrpr's Avatar
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    I grabbed a few of these from the Dollar Tree the other day. I was able to put my top and bottom quilt in it and compress it down without a vacuum. This will be a great space saver. Thanks for the idea!

  10. #10
    TxAggie's Avatar
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    They actually make a version of these that donít require a vacuum. Thereís a double seal at the bottom that closes from outside air pressure, these are normally found in travel sections with luggage. Since thereís no big valve and screw on cap they are even lighter than the ones for vacuum use.

    Iíve thought of using these for backpacking, but the issue I found is that when compressed they also become very rigid.


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