Since we have researched & tested many ecofriendly reusable bags before offering the best to our customers, we get many requests to let readers know the differences between reusable bags including Envirosax, RuMe, Chico, EnV bags and others.
This Reusable Bags Comparison of the 4 brands mentioned above is sorted by basic bag characteristics:
Material – all 4 bags use a similar polyester material (feels like an umbrella). The polyester may not be as ecofriendly as a cotton tote, however it is much easier to keep clean, compact and lighterweight. All of these benefits mean you will actually USE your bag more, rather than letting it home in a drawer while you continue to accept “paper or plastic” at the stores daily. That being said, the thickness of the RuMe bag material is slightly more than the others (some like this thickness, others feel it makes them more bulky)
Weight – The Envirosax & RuMe bags consistently hold the most weight and are the most durable bags. You can easily carry 40+ lbs of weight per bag for either brand. The EnV bags come in 3rd here as they hold 30+ lbs however we have heard feedback the seams are not quite as sturdy as the Envirosax or RuMe bags. The Chico bags are smaller and seem a little flimsier so they will hold 25 lbs of weight per bag.
Storage – The Envirosax bags each roll up and snap shut into a compact little nugget about the size of a tube of lipstick, and 5 bags store in a little included wristlet pouch which is about the size of a small brick (albeit MUCH lighter and HANDIER!). The RuMe bags don’t have snaps, but they rely on a velcro closure and rather than rolling them shut you fold them and you can stack 3 RuMe bags together and wrap the velcro around them for carrying them. The stack is slightly smaller than the Envirosax pouch (however you only get 3 bags as compared with the 5 in Envirosax). The Chico bags individually have attached pouches they stuff back into. Handy if you’re just taking 1 bag, bulky if you need multiples. The EnV bags do not have any closure to keep them closed, you simply fold them and put all 5 folded bags back into an included drawstring pouch (similar in size to Envirosax pouch, but more square).
Clean/Care – As with all reusable bags, you can machine wash them, however you will extend the life of your bags considerably if you simply wipe with a damp cloth as necessary and handwash periodically (honestly, they really don’t get that dirty in daily use) and hang to dry. The reason you want to avoid machine washing is that the power and heat of the washer will weaken the seams & fabrics and fade the designs eventually with any brands. It is a quick few minutes to give your bags the care they require to last indefinitely!
Designs – This is based on personal preference, however the Envirosax brand has the most variety in designs, as well as offering both solids & patterned styles. RuMe also offers both (fewer design choices), Chico only offers solid colors, albeit many to pick from, and EnV offers patterns only with several different styles to pick from.
Style – The Envirosax, EnV and Chico bags are all most similar in design to a plastic bag in that they lay flat until you put items into them. The RuMe bag offers gussetted sides and bottom more like a typical paper bag, so they have a little more structure to stand on their own as you fill them.
Where are they made? – All of the reusable bag brands listed are actually made overseas (China or Vietnam), however all state they are manufactured in Fair Trade factories. Envirosax are designed in Australia; Chico, EnV and RuMe Bags are all designed in the US.
Based on years of selling reusable bags to customers, we provide the following recommendations:
– If you’re looking for multiple bags and use them mostly for grocery or mall shopping, the Envirosax offer the best value, most designs and highest fashion style rating.
– If you’re looking for one or two bags and use them for hiking/camping/active pursuits/gym use, the Chico bag is probably your best bet as it includes a carabiner to easily latch to a belt loop or backpack, and solid colors work well as fashion isn’t of highest importance in these types of pursuits.
– If you’re looking for bags with gussetted sides and super compact carrying size is not as important to you, the RuMe bags will be your best option.
– If you’re looking for multiple bags but don’t want to deal with rerolling, detailed refolding or restuffing them at all, the EnV bags will be a good option as they are easy to do a few quick folds and put back into the pouch, or keep them loose and individual for quick use.