Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: PBL SANDBAGS HEAVYDUTY PHOTO VIDEO SADDLEBAG 4 BAGS HOLDS 20LBS OF SAND NEW Steve Kaeser Photogrphic Lighting & Accessories
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon August 12, 2010
Up until now I've been buying sandbags at the camera store, pre-filled. Reason being that "pre-filled" (and fully sealed) bags just seemed so much easier! Buy it in 5, 15 or 25 lbs and it's ready to go.. no worrying about buying sand, filling it or dealing with the mess. I bought about half a dozen of these in different sizes before giving in and getting these (the same price, or less, than one of the pre-filled bags).

Right off the bat, they've got some pros and cons.

+ Obvious pro is that you get 4 of them for the price of 1!
- Downside is that you need to buy sand / filler
+ Plus-side of that is that you can make these 2 lb bags, 5 lbs, 8 lbs, 15 lbs, etc.. youre not stuck with 20 lbs. Just add/remove weight to get to what you need (good for those times where you need a little counterweight but not 20lbs worth.. or you dont want to carry 80 lbs in sand around.
+ On the same side, you can fill them on location... Taking photos at the beach seems odd to carry around 80 lbs of filled sandbags when you can just fill it up there! The instructions also claim you can use other materials like rocks. I'd be a bit hesitant on the rocks/sharp objects as they could puncture the bag (and leak sand all over if you decide to re-fill it).
- The design isn't the prettiest.. its got a caution look which is cool, but blue and black? why not yellow and black?
+ The design is reversible.. flip it over and it's all black.
- The handle is very wide.. about 2 inches? Trying to squish that down to fit into a small carabiner isn't fun.
- The handle is also quite tight to the part of the bag it connects to (which also has a hard piece inside to keep it flat) , this makes it a little tougher/less comfortable to haul around, but not too bad.
+ Double-zippered (and opposite ways) to prevent sand from leaking out through the zippers
- Double zippered but only single-layered everywhere else. If something pokes a hole in it, sand will come pouring out.
- Iffy quality on some. 3 were fine but the 4th seemed stretched out (as if the seams were about to burst) and had all sorts of loose threads (the company said they would send a replacement though) and the others seemed fine.

My little tip is to pre-package sand before putting it in the bag. I bought a box of ziplock bags and filled sand in those before putting it in the sandbag (as an extra layer of protection) - this also helps if you need to lessen the weight without dumping sand out wherever you are.

One odd note.. these seem to be the same bags sold by Cowboystudio in their products, but rated at 12 lbs. which makes me wonder which is right.

I bought 2 50 lb bags of sand and ended up using maybe 2/3rds of a bag to fill 5 of these -- I suggest getting the bags one at a time to fill as necessary. Assuming 20 lbs per sandbag is a lot (and very heavy!) when you might end up only using 10 lbs a piece or less.

The fact you get 4 of these is great.. I can use them on lightstands, tripods or booms without coughing up cash for 4 individual bags. Although I listed negatives above, I still consider this to be a 5 star product.
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on January 3, 2011
I am in the event production biz. I bought 12 of these. after spending a considerable amount of time filling them up and double zipping them, I was pleased to see that the sand did not come out. However, I was not delighted to find that 25% of them had seams that failed. 3 of the 12 leaked sand right away. I have only used them for one job, so it remains to be seen if the others will break, or it is only these. I had to take pictures of the broken ones to get 4 more sent to me. To their credit, they are shipping 4 more when just 3 were broken. I have to say that for 25 pounders (these are 20 pounders), the cost is around $35 per piece (filled with sand) from local distributors, so for around $5 each + labor and sand, they are a great price, as long as the other ones don't start pulling apart. Another hint: after the first few bad ones, I started putting 1 gallon freezer bags inside the pockets. Of course after 20 to 50 jobs, I expect the plastic to fatigue and the bags to start leaking, but hey, your saving 70%
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on September 17, 2009
There's not a lot to say about a sandbag. These are quality made bags, however. There are a couple of features that I really like. One, there are double zippers for each compartment. The zippers are oriented opposite to one another. The makes material coming out of the compartment very unlikely. The other feature is the provision of two carrying straps, one on each side of the bag. So whether you decide to have the colored side or the black side of the bag visible, there's a carrying strap available. I filled the bags with lead ingots, averaging about 10 pounds per bag. The bags hold these with no hint of a strain on the material. I would highly recommend Steve Kaeser's bags. I had never heard of these bags before, and I stumbled upon the product. But in the future, when I need sandbags (although these may last for many years) I will definitely purchase his bags again.
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on November 28, 2011
Within seconds of opening the package I knew I was returning this. There were only 3 bags instead of the 4 advertised. Each one had some type of sewing defect. The worst one had only one side of the handle sewn on. That revealed the rusting metal plate down the spine. It was completely unusable. The stripes were coming off on the others.

Amazon was great with the return.
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on August 17, 2011
Okay, I've been on Professional sets a ton, so I know real sandbags: They are sewn shut, and they are bulletproof, sure - and they are $20-30 a piece. This set of 4 bags for $20 is a great deal. The zippers are plastic toothed but of reasonable quality. I read a bunch of reviews and took the advice to fill them with pea gravel rather than sand - it just made sense considering the bag isn't technically "sealed" So for $4 worth of gravel from Home Depot (You can get more expensive even smaller pea gravel at a pet shop - look in the fish dept) I've got 4 reasonably well made sand bags that do the trick. Or do they?

There is NOT a handle on the black-only side of the bag. There is only a handle on the blue and black striped side. If they would have added grommets to secure the middle at the handle, and given it a handle on the black-only side - 5 stars. But for the price, it's hard to complain.

UPDATE:
still like them, but they are cheap, so be careful. I made the mistake of treating one like a real sandbag and tossed it, it split right open on the seam and out came all the sand filling and went everywhere. I threw that one out. Lesson learned.

UPDATE:
After having these on set a bunch, I am wishing more and more that I'd filled them with sand. I'll update again after I swap the filling.

UPDATE:
Down to two bags now. They keep tearing open when you set them down. They are just cheap. But even if I buy a second set, I'm still ahead of the game if I'd bought into Matthews bags.
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on August 3, 2010
These sandbags are good quality but have an inherent flaw. When they are full with 15-20lbs of sand, the stitching on the handles can tear. I solved this by putting a pop rivit (3/16 medium with backing washers) into each of the 4 corners where the handle attaches to the bags. To do this, you drill a hole through the material at each corner where the handle is attached to the saddle bags being careful not to drill into the sand-holding pouches. Insert a rivet in the hole and a rivet washer on the back of the rivet and crimp (you need a rivet tool). Pop rivit spindles break off when they are fully crimped. Now the handles are solidly attached and will not come off. This is the technology that made Levi Strauss famous for Levis!
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on May 10, 2014
Just filled these yesterday, so I can't talk much about durability. They do seem well made and are not leaking yet. I bought 100# for playground sand and puled out my Weighmax 2822-50 scale (asin B003N3ZVJQ (Amazon SKU)) to fill them up. But I couldn't get 12# of sand in the bag and still zip it closed. They ended up being 12# including the bag, not 20# so I knocked off a star.

I intend to update this review for product durability as I get more use from these.
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on November 20, 2011
Filled the bags up with sand today. That's when I found out the terrible condition of the zippers. There are 4 zippers to each bag; two on each side. Quality is cheap. Sometimes they would get off track or not bind properly. On one bag, one zipper had pulled off on one side so the zipper was useless. On another bag, two zipper pulls were on the same zipper! Apparently no quality assurance was done to the bags before they were shipped.
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on July 11, 2013
I got a bunch of these to throw on to my lighting truss and stands in the studio. They're good products, but they could stand to be better made. I've noticed a lot of stray threads that make me worry about the zippers failing. It's like the factory's sewers were not paying attention to their machines, and forgot to reload the bobbins while sewing the zippers on a couple of my sand bags.

I like that the bags have dual layer opposite running zippers, and rubber inner bladders. That prevents accidental sand leaks on set.

At least these bags beat the devil out of the cheap crappy little bag that came with one of my boom lights a few years back. That one had no zippers, just Velcro, and no inner liner. You could only chuck some weights, or tools in that one.

At least these will hold a lot of mass, and seem to be able to hold up to in studio work nicely. Since my studio gear does not get moved about frequently, they should be fine as they are for years to come under light duty use, as long as they're set and left alone for long periods in semi-permanent installations of lighting gear. I wouldn't recommend frequent location shoot usage with these bags though. I doubt they'd hold up to the riggers of being used on multiple shoots per day, every day for more than a few months. Time will tell.

If you find loose threads, you can stop them running with a little glue. Just don't pull on them.
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on July 22, 2012
You will never get 20 lbs of sand in any of these. I only got about 12 lbs in each and all but one have busted in a couple of months since - used on about 3-4 easy gigs. Be warned, these are not any where near the quality of anything else I've ever used - not that I expected much for the price, but just thought it should be known that you'll never see 20 lbs of sand in any of these.
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