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Tracy Frank, Published July 04 2012

Thursday review: Compression bags help cram more clothes into less space

FARGO – My husband and I recently traveled to Florida with our two young children.

Since we planned to fly, I was a bit worried about how we would get not only our clothes, but also our toiletries, shoes, and the blankets and stuffed toys we could not leave home without into just a few small suitcases.

Right away, we knew we would not be able to physically take four carry-on suitcases and would have to cough up the cash for at least one larger suitcase we would check.

We ended up checking two bags so we would only have one suitcase to maneuver onto the plane with our stroller, car seats, diaper bag, personal bags and children, ages 8 and 18 months.

We decided to buy some of our toiletries in Florida or just use whatever our relatives had to save space, but we also knew we would need more space for the return trip because the kids would undoubtedly get souvenirs, so we packed diapers instead of buying them there and tried to leave some extra room in our suitcases.

One thing that really helped save space without adding a lot of weight were some Protege Compression Bags my husband picked up at Walmart.

The reusable bags come in sets of four – one extra-large bag, two large bags, and one medium bag for $9.96 each. We bought two sets.

We were able to pack two large suitcases’ worth of clothing and stuffed toys into one large suitcase.

The compression bags were easy to use. All we had to do was fill the bags with our stuff, zip them up, and slowly roll them to squeeze out the air. A little bit of strength does help with this process. My husband was able to make the bags he packed flatter than mine.

The bags are also sold on Amazon.com for $6.99, where the company says the bags can be used to protect clothing, bedding, and other items from mildew, insects, moisture and odors when storing them.