MADISON (WKOW) -- Memorial Day kicked off summer travel season.
This year, for many families, it's summer travel season on a budget.
Most airlines charge $15 to $20 for every bag you check. We wanted to test a product that might save you money on airline bag fees.
Space bags promise to let you cram twice as many clothes into your bags by squeezing the air out. That might let you take fewer bags on your trip, and save money on checking fees or even avoid big suitcases entirely and use only carry-ons.
We tested the manual "roll-up" version. Some bags come with a valve designed for a vacuum to suck out the air.
We don't think that's practical for vacations, because you'd need a vacuum in your hotel when it comes time to re-pack your dirty clothes for the trip home.
We filled a small carry-on bag to the brim with shirts, socks, boxers, and a towel. Then we put everything into space bags and squeezed the air out.
The bags are very easy to use. You get 80% of the air out on the first few rolls. Then, you can punch or squeeze the bags to push the final air pockets out.
It seems to squeeze everything together. However, when we loaded the four space bags back into our carry-on -- there was hardly any additional space.
We tried it two more times, laying the clothes flat in the bags, unrolling the t-shirts, but still -- the bags did not give us a better end result. With the clothes in the bags, it looked flatter, but our carry-on bag was not any roomier.
Why? Well, we think it might be because of the type of clothes we packed. Shirts, socks, and boxers are naturally slim anyway. You can flatten those in a bag by yourself. So, we guess the space bags squeezed the air out just fine, but you can do just as good if you just cram everything into your bag yourself.
Some 27 staffers say they've gotten good results packing winter coats or sweaters that take up a lot of air on their own. But that's not summer travel.
We give space bags 2 stars out of 5 for saving money on a summer travel budget.
Email Dan Cassuto at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas for future products to test.