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Does It Work?: "Space Bags"

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Wouldn't it be great if you could triple your home storage space?

A heavily advertised product claims it'll help you do that. The WRAL Five On Your Side team recently put the product, "Space Bags," to the test

The commercials advertise storage packs that supposedly let you take a whole stack of clothes and vacuum seal them into taking up the space of a pancake.

Plenty of viewers have asked whether they really work.

The problem is common: Stacked shelves, crammed closets and overstuffed drawers. What do you do? Are "Space Bags" the solution?

To find out, WRAL bought a box of four Space Bags for $19.95. The idea is you pack your clothes, bedding -- even stuffed animals -- in the bag, zip it up, then use a vacuum hose to suck out all of the air inside.

It worked at first with stuffed animals, but after a few minutes, the bag sprung a leak at a seam and started expanding again.

In another test, the bag did flatten a bundle of clothes.

But there's more to the promise than just shrinking down a closet full of clothes. The commercial claims: "Unlike plastic storage bags, space bags are made with nylon, guaranteed to lock out moisture, dirt and bugs."

The Web site even claims that Space Bags protected items in Hurricane Katrina.

WRAL put the claims to the test by submerging a bundle of Space Bag-enclosed clothing in a hot tub.

How did they hold up? After about 5 minutes under water, the clothes stayed dry.

WRAL has not been able to successfully re-inflate the bag that leaked -- it seems the seal doesn't work right.

After doing some Internet research, WRAL noticed other people complaining about the same problem.

Another complaint: the "nylon" bags are much thinner than WRAL expected. Quite a few people complained they were easily punctured -- considering these were $5 per bag.

The bottom line, while they may help with some storage situations, it's not clear that they are the solution.

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