POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 7, 2013
» What they are: These remarkably strong, lightweight, packable bags are made of ripstop nylon, a material familiar to campers. The bags can be used for shopping excursions or for stowing in luggage to schlep newly bought souvenirs on a trip. The bags come in two sizes: Big Joey opens to 18 by 28 by 5 inches and closes to 91⁄2 by 5 inches; Regular Joey opens to 14 by 21 by 4 inches and closes to 8 by 4 inches. An internal pouch holds the bag for easy transport. But as many as three smaller bags can be stuffed into the pouch of a Big Joey. They also can be tucked into luggage wherever they fit or wherever you might want a little extra padding.
» How they work: The maker says Big Joey can hold four shoe boxes and that Regular Joey can hold two. That sounds right. The company also says Big Joey can hold 40 pounds. That is conservative because as part of my test, I put three bowling balls in the large bag. Total weight: 46 pounds.
» The good: Frankly, I never envisioned writing about these. But they are so strong and so versatile, I was sold the first time I tried one. They are a great travel tool whether on a trip or commuting back and forth to work. Keep one in your briefcase for days when you have extra stuff to carry or need to shop on the way home.
» The bad: I'd complain about price, but they really are rather reasonable.
» Cost: A set of one large and two regulars is $20, or individually $8.50 and $7, plus shipping. Some proceeds go to SOS Children's Villages for orphaned and abandoned children.
» Available from: joeytotes.com
--Ross Werland, chicagotribune.com