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Compression Bags are AWESOME!

We are wheels up in two days to go to Germany for 16 days. No, I am not excited or anything :) I just packed last night. I bought compression bags to see what kind of a difference they would make. The weight is the same, but those bags made everything fit so nicely! I got the ziplock travel bags. I sat on them to get the air. I did see a warning where they are a bit fragile, so I will be careful with them. They are perfect for carrying on! I even have some space left over for trinkets to bring back. Although having room left over makes me feel like I am forgetting something :)

One Bag I fit 3 pairs of jeans and a pair of yoga pants.
One bag I fit 8 longsleeve tshirts and two cardigans ( I may take out a shirt)
The last bag was 5 pairs of socks, 5 pairs of undies, three scarves, a pair of leggins and pjs.

Of course I packed my toiletries too. Let's DO this!! :)

Posted by
23431 posts

I could argue that compression bags allows you to take more weight than you need. Personally never found an advantage over large zip lock freezer bags. Good luck.

Posted by
5258 posts


I've never used compression bags, but sounds like they are working for you.

I usually pack slightly less than you (2 pants & 6 tops plus 7 undies & socks), however on our last trip & ended buying 4 new tops,so next time I will pack less!

Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
19151 posts

I agree completely with Frank. Don't use compression bags; take less.

Actually, my problem has been that my bag is too big for it's contents. If I used compression bags, they would just add to the weight without solving a problem.

I finally got a bag with compression straps from eBags to hold the contents in place. I wish Rick would sell a smaller convertible bag, like the size of the Rolling Backpack (20"x14"x7"=1960 ci) but without the weight of the wheels.

In addition to what I wear, I take:

Two pair of slacks, folded on the bottom of the bag (I might try rolling them next time),
four golf shirts folded flat in a Tide mesh washing bag,
two sets of underwear in a small mesh bag,
a charger for my camera and a plug adapter in a nylon stuff bag,
RS toiletry bag with toothbrush, wash cloth, soap, and hair brush,
Ziploc bag w/ inflatable hangers, drip-dry clothes pins, twisted clothes line,
and a sweater.

Total volume without any compression = 1400 ci (23 liters) about half the regulation volume.

Posted by
16706 posts

I'd say you guys don't understand women very well! ; )

We ladies like to take more clothes than you, and that is OK. Although eight long-sleeve shirts would be more than even I would take.

Posted by
2618 posts

I do like using the compression bags, though for 2 weeks I only bring 1 spare pair of jeans, maybe 6 tops and a sweater, same amount of undies and socks--I don't mind doing sink laundry. I feel my clothes are better contained and protected in the plastic bag, and they don't tempt me to over-pack now that I've gotten a handle on what truly works for me clothes-wise.

Posted by
1068 posts

I use a compression bag to mash a light raincoat and windbreaker together so they fit easily (size wise) into an outside pocket of my suitcase. The compression bag also helps them slip (slippery wise) easily into the pocket. To me, the compression is much easier to use than a zip lock bag and makes the coats smaller.... so I don't mind pulling out the rain-coat or windbreaker if weather calls for it. Glad you have found yours helpful.

Posted by
2733 posts

Germany is awesome this time of year; no wonder you are excited! I hope you are really strong too because with all those pants, your suitcase is going to weigh a lot. I humbly suggest you remove one or two pair of jeans and two long-sleeved tops. Especially the jeans -- they weigh quite a bit. Even if your suitcase has wheels, you have to carry it on trains and sometimes up and down stairs. But whatever you decide, I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time.

Posted by
1309 posts

I have used compression bags for winter trips to New York when the bulkier clothes just take up more room. (And, yes, I layer also, but going out in 30 or 35 degree temps requires a couple of wool sweaters in the carry-on bag.)
I found that even if the bags develop a leak, they can still be used for packing. Just fill them last and add them last to the suitcase. When they expand with air, it won't matter because they are already in your closed bag!
Have a great trip!

Posted by
518 posts

I've used compression bags in the past too and my only complaint was that the clothes got really wrinkled. Although, for items such as wool sweaters they are great because it takes what would otherwise be very bulky and makes it more compact. The other issue I had was that after compression there was still a bit of awkward shape/profile to the compressed bag that still left spage gaps in my luggage. I then switched to packing cubes (those zippered fabric containers). However, I'm not sure if that's a good answer to the compression bags. I might ultimately end up using both, each for certain types of clothing.

Posted by
1152 posts

I agree that you shouldn't use compression bags to carry more weight or more stuff. But they do help me to use the smallest bag possible, which means I can usually fit my bag under my seat on the plane and not worry about fighting for space in an overhead bin.

Posted by
4171 posts

Not being a fan of plastic, I recently I bought zipper mesh compression packing cubes to use in the smaller carry-on I now have. Obviously they don't lower the weight, but I've already tested them, and they cut the volume in half. I'll find out about wrinkling on a domestic trip soon, although I usually don't take anything very wrinkle-prone. They might be another tool for those of us who are packing light enough, but want to go to a smaller bag or have space to bring a few things home.

Posted by
1878 posts

If you are trying to fit a reasonable amount of clothes into a small bag, I have always thought these could really help. You would still be under the airline weight limit but with a much smaller and easier to handle bag. A slightly smaller bag (say 22" vs. 25") often has a dramatic reduction in volume, so these could really help. Also perhaps packing cubes though I have never tried those either. My thinking is still evolving on this due to experiences on recent trips. The size of the bag is much more of an issue for me than the weight. I am easily strong enough to lift a 40 lb. bag, but the bulk of a larger bag can make it cumbersome when getting on trains, etc. Also the size of rental car trunks has become an issue, as I mentioned on a recent thread.

Posted by
3521 posts

I use the compression bags for my dirty laundry (nice to keep that separated from the clean clothes in my bag) and for things like wet swimwear and towels. Like them a lot for those uses.