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Field Tested: Eco Bags’ String Bag

Storing small items like food and supplies is always a challenge while overlanding. The jarring and tossing motions of a vehicle on back roads necessitates securing them in boxes or bags,  but some items just don’t survive well under such conditions. For example, throwing fruit like bananas or apples into a drawer or duffel will usually result in a bruised or very smashed snack. Wet odds and ends like swimsuits or towels may need ventilation in order to dry, and tossing them into a bin will quickly lead to mold and sour smells. I’ve tried a mix of solutions over the years ranging from high end drawer systems to cheap organizers from target, but the Eco Bag has been the cheapest and easiest answer I’ve found thus far.

The design is beautiful in its simplicity, just a net of cotton strings with reinforced fabric handles. The more food or supplies you pack into the bag, the more the fabric stretches to accommodate the new shapes and odd sizes. We’ve used them to carry various every day items like food and coffee containers, to four-wheel drive gear like wet tow ropes. They pack down into a tiny ball and are easy to stuff into the back of a seat, so = we keep a few extra on hand in case we need some additional separate storage for unexpected items. For example, some wet jeans after a photo shoot in a marsh.

The String Bag is available in a range of sizes from starting at 4″ and stretching to 13″, and each carries a weight rating of 40 lbs. The cotton is available in both a traditional and organic variety, as well as several different colors for those who don’t want black or white. It’s also machine washable, so don’t worry if they get a little dirty.

So now you’re probably wondering, where in the heck do you hang these things? During testing I placed one or two on each rear coat hanger. I didn’t secure them in any other way, and was surprised to find that they stayed in place regardless of the shaking and rolling off-road. Your optimum bag size will depend on your specific vehicle setup and cargo preferences, but I found that storing a long handled bag below a short handled bag on the same hook worked flawlessly in our Excursion. This gave us more storage space, as well as prevented the shorter bag from swinging freely into the window.

With prices starting at $6.99 per string bag, they are certainly one of the cheaper storage options reviewed on our site, but also one of my favorites.  They even look great, and are made using socially and environmentally responsible production methods, so you can feel good about your purchase.

To purchase your Eco Bag or see more styles and colors, check out their website here. 

More about Eco Bags

Eco Bags was on the ground level of the reusable bags scene back in the late eighties. Their first product, these string bags, was launched on Earth day in 1990 at a festival in New York City, where they sold out in just four hours. Since then they have created a wide range of environmentally friendly bags, and continue to create them from the best materials in factories where workers are offered competitive compensation, extended health coverage, retirement benefits, pension plans, vacations and holidays.

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Chris didn’t receive a real taste of the outdoors until moving to Prescott, Arizona, in 2009. While working on his business degree, he learned to fly and spent his weekends exploring the Arizona desert and high country. It was there that he fell in love with backcountry travel and four-wheel drive vehicles, eventually leading him to Overland Journal and Expedition Portal. After several years of honing his skills in writing, photography, and off-road driving, Chris now works for the company full time as Expedition Portal's Managing Editor.