Product Review: the magbag

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When I’m getting ready for a trip, my packing style is totally bipolar. I’ll spend tons of time choosing the right gear for a trip and thinking about what I want to bring way in advance, but then the actual packing happens in a panicked frenzy the night before my trip and the morning before I leave. Don’t ask me why I do that to myself. Maybe it’s the journalist in me who loves a good deadline.

I’m gearing up for a 3-week long trip to Europe in June, and my packing ritual has begun. I came across one gadget a few weeks ago that caught my attention for several reasons: 1) I had never seen anything like it before, and 2) I knew I had to have it. It’s a magnetic jewelry pouch called the magbag.

Anyone with a sizable accessory collection knows the trauma of unpacking a jewelry case and finding that each piece of jewelry has inexplicably found a way to permanently affix itself to every other piece of jewelry in the case. And then that jewelry amoeba glommed itself onto the case. Luckily, I have a very patient boyfriend whose sailing experience has been put to good use untying countless necklace knots…but not everyone can say the same.

Sometimes, I get pin-spired (hey, the phrase, “google it,” is now in the dictionary, so give Pinterest a little love!) and try to find ways to avoid this necklace nightmare. My favorite solution so far has been to thread each necklace through a straw and clasp it around the straw. This will do in a pinch, but it doesn’t work for anything thicker than a straw, and it is also a really inconvenient size and shape for storage and packing. Not to mention, it’s a HUGE waste of plastic straws (they tend to break after one use)!

With the magbag, Zach’s knot skills can stay on the sailboat and those plastic straws can stay out of the landfill. This case is a great solution to tangled jewelry woes!

Here’s the basic premise:

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The magbag comes in 3 different sizes (and 3 different colors) to accommodate different amounts of jewelry. I chose their medium size, which is 8 inches by 10 inches. The pouch has a super strong magnetic liner that holds jewelry in place while traveling, to avoid that dreaded bird’s nest of accessories. The bag is padded and the magnets are lined with a crushed velvet fabric to protect the items inside. The whole thing has a zipper seal for extra security.

(The magnet itself is REALLY strong – there’s actually a loud slap when you close it when there’s nothing inside!)

I was a little confused by the concept at first – I was under the impression that your jewelry was supposed to stick to the magbag liner. I started tossing my entire collection into the bag, and watched half of it stick, and half of it slide off. I finally realized that the bag works like a magnet sandwich – you arrange all the items inside, and then close the lid. The magnetic seal is what keeps all the pieces in place!

Some items will stick – like metals in many types of costume jewelry. But other, items, like gold, silver, pearls and other beads, are held in by the magnetic seal when the pouch is closed.

I had a lot of fun experimenting with different items in the bag. I personally wouldn’t recommend putting small, non-magnetic items such as rings or earrings in the magbag, because they are at risk of falling out if you’re not careful when you open or close the bag. But, then again, these items usually don’t get tangled in a regular jewelry pouch.

I’ve been using the magbag for thin necklace chains (the ones that are the most infuriating to untangle) as well as a variety of larger necklaces and bracelets. I found that I could fit between 7-15 items, depending on their size. 

The 8×10 size works well for me. It is certainly a large item, compared to cloth only pouches, but there is a smaller (5×7) option available, and I think the protection and convenience is worth the size. The magbag itself is pretty light – only about a pound. The final weight depends on how heavy your jewelry is!

According to the website, you can store whatever you’d like in the magbag – including makeup and miscellaneous valuables. I personally plan to use it exclusively for jewelry, but I could see the benefits for other uses.

One important detail: DON’T store watches, computer equipment (flash drives, etc.) or credit cards inside the magbag! The magnets can damage these items. They are, however, safe outside of the bag – for instance, packed next to the magbag in a suitcase or purse.

Another important detail: it IS safe to fly with. According to the website, magbag uses ferrite magnets with the same characteristics as a Macbook cable or a purse clasp. I have yet to personally test it with airline security, but I have no doubt that it will pass TSA’s standards!

The bags range in price from $29.95 to $49.95. The standard 3-5 day shipping is $8.95. For a jewelry bag that prevents hours of headaches, I think it’s worth it.

Right now, it’s only available through magbag’s website directly.

So, I have my jewelry packing instrument all picked out…as for the actual pieces, I’ll leave that until the night before. 😉

Thanks to magbag for providing the sample!

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