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Review: Urban Market Bags

My little pouch full of Urban bags.

My little pouch of Urban Market bags.

“That is so cool.”

The 20-something cashier at my local market was staring down as I took one of my new bags out of its little pouch and unfolded it. She was amazed that such a big bag came out of such a little one. I watched as she loaded all of my groceries into the aforementioned “cool” bag, happy that I finally, finally have a set of reusable bags that work!

About a month ago the folks over at Urban Market Bags sent me a set of their bags to try out. I was skeptical. I have a lot of reusable bags. A lot. I have bags for grocery stores, clothing shops and produce. My go-to bag has to be one my oldest made in nursery school. It’s a big burlap bag stamped by my then-three-year-old. I have others, but they get dirty and rip. None are all that fabulous. What could be so great about another set of reusable bags, I wondered? And then I started using them.

From the moment I took them out I was hooked. The three-bagĀ  set arrived tucked into the drawstring pack, which is 5-inches tall and 3.5-inches wide. I opened the drawstring and took out three bags, each 26-inches tall and 12.5-inches wide. (There’s also a six pack of bags. Those bags are 22 1/2 by 11 1/2.) All of the bags are made of nylon, which means they are machine washable. They looked big enough to handle what would normally go in a big brown paper bag, but would they hold up? They certainly have. So far, I can’t say enough about them.

Since unpacking them I have used them and refolded them many times, putting them back into their little pouch, which I keep in the door cup holder of my car. It’s so nice having my bags in one small place rather than all over my trunk. As I saw when I first took them out, they are big enough to stuff a lot of groceries into yet aren’t difficult to lug around. For instance, the handle never digs into my hand. They are also better than my other bags because they conform to the shape of whatever is in them. I recently used them at a local home store, filling them up with bulky and odd-shaped items and my little one was able to carry it to the car.

My little one carrying her sister's birthday gifts from a local home store.

My little one carrying her sister’s birthday gifts from a local home store.

So what’s the only drawback? For most, it’s going to be the price. My three-pack costs $28. The six-pack is $40. Those prices don’t include shipping. That said, would I pay $28 for another three bags? Absolutely. They are easy to remember and carry into the store since they are always staring at me when I open my car door. They are also really comfortable to use. Most important, they hold a lot of stuff.

I figure it’s a matter of looking at it from a long term perspective. If you go to a store every day for a month — and really, who isn’t in a store or the library or somewhere you need a bag on a daily basis — the bags end up with a cost of about $1 per day or $.33 each. Amortize that out over a year and they run you about $.08 a day for the pack. Completely and totally worth it, especially if you live in a town that charges for bags, something that’s coming sooner than you think.

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