This Tiny Electric Pump and Vacuum Bag Set Works to Spring Clean Now and Travel Later
Almost one year ago to the day, I took my last international vacation. Normally, I go to Rio de Janeiro every spring as I love the city's energy, and the shopping's pretty incredible, too. I especially adore the brand Farm Rio, which has different styles there than in the US, so I'm always sure to stock up on the season's colorful pieces before I return stateside. If I had known that would be my last trip to Brazil until 2022, I would have bought even more clothing than I did . . . but there's one thing I bought before I left that I will now never travel without again.
I'd already purchased Space Saver vacuum bags for my small Manhattan apartment and when carrying bed linens to leave with family down in the Caribbean. In both those instances, I used a proper Dyson vacuum to suck away all the air and didn't need to worry about sealing bags for a return flight. But when searching for a more portable alternative before my last trip, I spotted a little USB-fueled electric pump on Amazon that came with eight bags to fit perfectly in a carry-on. Could I possibly pack all my new purchases in my suitcase without flying down there with a nearly empty one in preparation? I ordered the set and packed it, and off I went.
See how well that turned out ahead.
All My Purchases Before Vacuuming the Bags
Because there are such good prices in Brazil, I don't bring much with me and wear the clothes I buy while still on my trip. This time was no exception, as there happened to be a huge sale, so I went a little overboard.
I always travel with a small Roncato carry-on, so there's no way I could have fit all of these things in my suitcase without compression. I have tried the roll-up bags in the past, but those don't really help much, and definitely not enough for all the maxis, rompers, and skirts here. But I knew I had the vacuum to help this time . . .
A Close-Up View of the Vacuum Itself
Now, compared to my normal-size upright vacuum with a hose attachment, I was a bit skeptical about the power of this tiny pump, which was barely the length of a travel-size toothpaste. I plugged the USB end into an outlet using the plug from my regular iPhone charger and hoped for the best.
How the Vacuum Looks in Action
Boy, did it deliver! I was so impressed by how well this tiny pump sucked all the air out of both bags. While I stuffed them a bit more — fine, a lot more — than what is suggested, I was still able to tuck in the ends and easily fit them both into my suitcase with room to spare.
How the Bags Looked 2 Days Later When I Got Home
My inbound aircraft ended up having a mechanical issue, which meant I spent an extra unplanned night in Rio while waiting for the next day's plane to arrive and bring us back. I wasn't sure how well the vacuum seal would hold up considering I didn't get back to NYC until two whole days after I packed. However, as you can see here on my bed at home, both bags were still completely compressed. (I did have to take a steamer to the clothes once I opened these up, but I would have had to do that anyway, even when simply folding or rolling instead.)
VMSTR USB Electric Pump Travel Vacuum and Medium Space-Saver Bags For Travel
I did later try the bags at home — the results were the same, but the upright vacuum obviously got the job done quicker. I only used the two largest bags, but this VMSTR USB Electric Pump Travel Vacuum and Medium Space-Saver Bags For Travel ($28) set came with two bags each in four sizes. They could be used to vacuum-pack everything from underwear to a large wool sweater and could even be used at home when you're not traveling to stash away tights for summer or to make more space in your drawers as needed.
Also, this USB vacuum fits my jumbo vacuum bags (and looks to be a standard-size attachment as I have two different brands), so if you want to buy some of those for at-home storage and you don't have a vacuum, you can use this little guy to stash your current wardrobe to make way for a new one this season. That's a win for spring cleaning now . . . and for travel later.