Bringing back some wine or spirits from your travels? Get a VinniBag so you can be sure it will survive the journey.
As the makeshift bars sitting next to the international security lines at TSA checkpoints will attest, every day some suckers have to give up those bottles of booze or wine they bought because they neglected to pack them in their checked luggage. Now 10 years on from 9/11/01, some travelers still haven’t gotten the message. (I did get to watch one guy chug 1/3 of a bottle of Jack Daniels once though before heading into the terminal. That lightened up the mood in the security line. Hopefully he didn’t go puke in the bathroom.)
We’ve reviewed a few different carriers over the years, from a Wine Diaper to a soft and stretchy Built NY Wine Carrier. This VinniBag tops those in several respects. For one thing, I feel totally confident with this around a bottle of wine or booze that no matter how badly the luggage crew mishandles my suitcase or backpack, the glass won’t break. with the two-membrane construction and air in the middle, the contents are isolated from the outside. I tried this with both a rum bottle and a wine bottle, dropping it six feet onto the ground with no damage.
It’s also more flexible in its usage than most. It’s not just for wine: you can also slide in multiple spirits bottles or even a perfume bottle if you wish. Blow it up and the walls will conform to the object size. Or two objects in the same bag even.
The way it works is, you insert your item in the center of the bag and start blowing it up partially. Then you flatten the seal on the corners, then roll up and buckle the bottom. You then finish inflating the bag and your glass-enclosed liquid is safe.
So what’s the downside? You could argue that it’s a little pricey at $28 for one, a tad less for two. But considering the bottle you put inside just once could easily cost that much, it’s not a bad price if you use it multiple times. The main problem is that it takes up a lot of room. It’s the trade-off for having more cushioning. If you’re a light packer that hasn’t filled up your whole suitcase with shoes and “just in case” outfits, no problem. But if you’re the type that has to sit on your suitcase to get it closed and routinely gets dinged for excess weight fees, you’ll have a problem finding room for this. When I blew one of these up with a wine bottle inside, it was as big as my thigh. And I’ve been working out…
I guess the ideal thing would be if you’re bringing a gift to a business colleague far away. You cart the cult wine or single barrel bourbon in your bag, give your gift, then let the air out for coming home. Or if you’re going by train or on an airline that let’s you check two bags: Southwest.
If you manage to wear your VinniBag out, it’s recyclable PVC plastic. If you’ve got curbside recycling that takes numbers 1-6, just toss it in your curbside bin.