Whether you’re a frequent flyer, frequent bike packer, or anyone else who likes to stay organized while on the go, Eagle Creek is crafting some quality products to make such a lifestyle more user-friendly and headache free. Though I’ve yet to own any Eagle Creek products myself, many of my friends in the travel business have found their catalogue of items to be well designed and very reliable. Recently, I had the opportunity of putting the compression bags of their Specter Tech Starter Set to the test to see how they perform and hold up to my rigorous outdoor lifestyle.
Excitement was not a word I would use to describe my initial impression of this product. Though it was readily apparent that the function of the bags was primarily centered on organizing clothing while traveling, I ceased to feel a real need for them. See, I’ve traditionally never considered purchasing such a product because I’ve been a disciple of the plastic bag school since I was a kid. Before Boy Scout camping trips, my mother and I would pack my clothes in those crinkly plastic things to help keep them clean while maintaining some degree of organization. But, while I began fiddling with these new fangled compression sacks, I found myself thinking, “Maybe it’s time to take my organization to the next level.”
I’ve been a world and regional traveler for years now and before that, I was a seasoned camper and hiker as a member of the Boy Scouts. Packing for trips is one of the corner stones of a well-planned excursion and I eventually became excited to try these out on an upcoming trip to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
In the small bag I was able to fit 4 pairs of underwear, 6 pairs of socks, and a belt. The medium bag held two pairs of pants, a pair of shorts, and two short-sleeved shirts. The third bag was also a medium, but it had a lightweight, plastic backing to it to provide a bit of structure for use with more formal wear. I thought this would be ideal for collared shirts, so I put four formal shirts with collars in there and found that I probably could have squeezed in a fifth. Most of my clothing is of medium sizing, so people who are smaller or bigger may be able to fit more or less items within the bags’ dimensions.
When the time came for packing up the pack for the overnight, I greatly reduced the amount of clothing in each bag but added a few documents I had printed off earlier to see how they’d hold up.
Immediately I was super impressed with how compact I was able to make everything. After I had squeezed the air out of the sacks, I was able to slide them into my traveler’s pack as if they were documents. I can see how these would already be useful during one of my excursions to South America in the future; where more clothing would be needed and every ounce of space is invaluable.
The compression did not hold as well as I’d expected and there was some re-inflation, so to speak. The zippers feel like they’re of good quality and Eagle Creek claims they are self-repairing. In other words, if the teeth become misaligned during use, it seems you can fix this easily by pulling the zipper all the way back to the other end and re-zipping.
Additionally, the construction is of durable, tear-resistant material. In fact, the material feels so light and thin that one might fear it’d be destroyed after its first encounter with a sharp object. However, experience has taught me that these new age, tear resistant fabrics are the real deal for durability despite their thin, lightweight nature.
During the course of my two-day trip, I hiked the Carters and climbed three more of New Hampshire’s highest peaks. The air was persistently humid yet cool. My hiking partner and I experienced a few spells of rain, however, each time I went to access the contents of these Eagle Creek sacks, I found my clothing and documents dry and crisp, as if I’d just pulled them out of my dresser drawers at home.
This being said, I used these sacks in combination with a waterproof pack cover but, I credit the water-repellent properties of the bags with how absolutely dry I and wrinkle free I was able to keep the garments despite the humidity that persisted throughout my trip.
I am a flesh and blood convert to Eagle Creek Specter bags. For years I’ve been using plastic grocery bags while traveling when I should have been using these instead. It’s truly that simple.
Though I have been getting along fine for years with shoddy grocery bags, I have found an undeniable advantage in using these sacks while traveling. The zipper is of good quality, they’re lightweight, and the compression feature was useful in maximizing space; a feature that should prove invaluable to me on a longer journey abroad.
A bit of translucence in the material allowed me just enough of an idea of what was in each sack for quick reference before pulling it out of my traveler’s pack. Ultimately though, I was super impressed by how dry and crisp my clothes remained in combination with my pack’s rain covering.
Though these aren’t mandatory for traveling, they are, undoubtedly, the tools of professionals. Stresses related to organization and pack economy are lessened significantly here and I would wager that alone warrants the purchase.
For more info or to purchase: visit shop.eaglecreek.com
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