The StowAway bags are made of wrinkle-resistant nylon in a variety… (Photos courtesy of Kim Reese,…)
Name: StowAway Bags
What it is: Lightweight — OK, featherweight — nylon bags that weigh less than a pound and can fold neatly into a zippered pouch that comes with each bag.
How it works: The bags come folded flat in an 11-by-9-inch carrying case but can expand to hold enough clothing and gear for a weekend getaway or even a weeklong vacation. The bags are available in sizes medium (15 inches by 20 inches) and large (18 inches by 24 inches). They are waterproof and wrinkle-resistant, too.
The good: The bags hold a lot of gear and make a perfect carry-on. They're also a great choice when you might have more stuff coming than going and want to take along an extra bag.
But the best thing about StowAway Bags is that all of the profits after taxes go directly to the Believe in Tomorrow Children's Foundation based in Baltimore. Kim Reese, the creator of the StowAway Bag, is a board member for the nonprofit that offers housing for families of critically ill children undergoing treatment at Johns Hopkins. The foundation also offers respite housing in Ocean City, Fenwick Island and Deep Creek, allowing families to recharge in a relaxing environment.
The bad: It doesn't offer an optional shoulder strap, which would make it easier to carry and leave hands free.
Cost: Medium bag is $25; large bag is $29. Available in chili pepper, blueberry, coffee and lime colors. The company also recently introduced a matching lightweight, compact umbrella that sells for $15.
Where to get it: StowAwayBag.com
— Michelle Deal-Zimmerman