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Showing 1-10 of 158 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 167 reviews
on July 9, 2012
After looking at many overpriced Sandbag options, I decided to purchase the PBL Saddlebag Sandbags. I needed sandbags for lighting stands and tripods, and also to help support a new 24' ladder. The PBL sandbags exceeded my expectations, but you need to know a few things to get the most out of this economical purchase.

First, the sandbags come with both "handles" on the same side. Why? Who knows... However, BEFORE inserting sand, you MUST flip the handles to either side of the bag by manipulating the handles and bag. It's not exactly turning them inside out, but similar. Very hard to describe solely with words, but if you look at my pictures you'll see how I maneuvered the handles to either side of the sandbags.

Second, I would highly suggest buying a package of Ziploc DOUBLE-zip freezer bags in the Gallon size, as well as Play Sand from your local hardware store (Home Depot sells a big bag for under $4 bucks). Why? Inserting the Ziploc's inside the Sandbags prevents leakage. Use the Playsand to prevent sharp objects, rocks, sticks and other debris from beach sand from puncturing the Ziploc's and sandbags, thus creating leakage. Fill the Ziploc's with sand - about three quarters full - and then insert them into the inside pocket. Getting double-zip locks adds another layer of security for preventing leakage. I know how much you like the word leakage, and want me to continue using it in this review, but I'll stop. Promise.

Now your PBL's are ready to rock.

The bags perform quite well and I LOVE the Yellow Striping on the bags to prevent (Ha! you thought I was going to say leakage here, didn't you...) individuals from tripping of the legs of the stand. The added visual element without a doubt helps identify the stand, especially in low-lighting situations. A great idea that bags costing triple the price don't have. They shipped quickly and all four bags, as promised, came in the same package.
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on December 10, 2011
The bags are well built except for the zippers. To describe the zippers as crap would be polite. But having said that, I would easily buy them again...in fact, I might buy a few more. Here is what you do...put your sand in gallon size zip lock baggies and then place the filled baggies into the sand bags...zip 'em up and forget ever touching the zipper again. Works like a charm. I bought a sixty pound bag of "play sand" at Home Depot. It was exactly the right amount of sand to fill all 4 sand bags.
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on July 22, 2017
For the price these are well made and deserve 5 Stars. Some people complained about sand leaking out and another suggested filling large ziplock baggies with the sand. Pebbles maybe the better choice. The double Zippers, one under the other are nice. Yes, as someone noted, sand could get into the teeth, especially if one just pours in the sand or the bags are not kept vertical. So back to the baggies!
The straps are sewn well and they seem very strong to me. Time will tell if the seams are strong.
I really like the yellow caution stripes as I put them on the feet/legs of my tripod and have one for a counterweight. It should help prevent tripping and thus shifting of my equipment.
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These:
stuffed in a Priority mail envelope
nicer stitching, slightly better material
zippers work better
has a logo on the corner
brighter yellow stripes

StudioFX:
each comes in a clear plastic wrapper
larger handles on the zippers, but fussier about opening and closing

Both take about 4-4.5 18 oz. "party cups" full of play sand in a 1 gal. ziplock bag. A 50 lb bag from the hardware store is enough for slightly more than four sandbags (eight sides). Sakcrete play sand claims to be "sanitized". That and the ziplock prevents mold if the sandbag gets wet. It takes about 15 minutes to fill four. You could put more sand in, this is to the point the bag is comfortably full but not stressing the seams, so about 12.5 pounds per bag instead of the standard 15.

These are not probably strong enough for daily rental or a grip truck, but good for studio use or occasional locations. If you need better, you are ready for filled shot bags at $50 each, not these at about $6 plus 4 minutes of your time.
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I've destroyed number of umbrella's in the past and you'd think I learn! I finally decided to use one as the yellow is a good attention & color to let people know there's something nearby while protecting your light stand and other things from falling.

Construction is decent though I will agree with other reviewers that the double zippers are all flimsy. I found 3 out of 4 bags with the zipper opened on both sides which I only had to slide it towards one direction and close it back up. I didn't throw any sand (didn't have any zip loc bags) but did toss in bunch of clean rocks. It's holding up just fine and of course keeping bag in place. Honestly I would opt for using round flat rocks. I'd hate to use sand or other material that could rip open and make a mess indoors.

The bag material is like the ones you find with a regular backpack. It's not flimsy or thin either so as long as you're not tossing this around I can see a good use for a long time. For the price you can't beat it. One bag was enough to hold a light duty stand with a Yongnuo flash and 43" shoot through umbrella.
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on June 2, 2014
I write in hopes to save the next individual the grief of this shoddy product. The bags failed right away. I filled them up with Regular 'ol "Play Sand" at about 15 lbs. each so as not to over-fill them and the seams started ripping along the sides when I picked them up. Also, sand began seeping through what seams weren't ripping. I was going to open them back up and try to sew the seams better myself, but I couldn't get the zippers back open, as sand had completely entrenched into the zipper teeth and prevented the zipper from un-zipping. Very, very shoddy product.

Recommendation . . . buy ankle weights from a local sports store. They are very durable, more portable, and have Velcro straps made onto them. They work GREAT!
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on November 20, 2011
I ordered two set of these (8 bags total). I had one bad zipper on 4 of the bags. Luckily it all seemed to be the inner zipper (which is actually a nice feature of these) that failed. And I've had one of the bags with a very small hole in the seam on the outside edge where the yellow stripe comes in.
Other than the quality control issues I like the bags. They've been holding up well. The yellow stripes are great in dark studio situations and help to keep people from tripping over light stands. If you ever need to be a stealth photo ninja then you easily flip the bag the other direction and get the traditional all black and there is a handle (grab loop) on both sides so it doesn't matter if you go black or yellow. It's nice to have the option.

I'm sure these aren't the best bags out there but for the price they're pretty good. Overall I'm pleased with them.
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on May 27, 2014
This is my first set of sand bags so I didn't really know what to expect. Overall, the bags seem to be made pretty well, except for the zippers. Three of the four bags I received had some kind of zipper issue.

#1 - They had sewn through the circle at the end of the zipper pull and it was attached to the bag. I had to cut through the circle on the zipper pull to get it undone because I was afraid that cutting the thread would loosen the zipper itself.

#2 - One side of the zipper was out of the pull, so it would not zip up.

#3 - One zipper was totally missing the pull and it was zipped shut so I had to forcefully get it undone to get the sand in.

Despite these issues with the zippers I am still happy with the bags. I used the recommended approach of filling up zip lock bags with sand and placing them in the bags so I am not overly concerned with the sand coming out due to zipper issues. Since the bags have dual zippers, and only one of the dual zippers broke in my case, I was still able to zip up the compartments after placing the bags of sand inside.

The outside shell of the bags seems pretty sturdy and I am not worried about them ripping with use. If it had just been one zipper I would have chalked it up to a fluke, but since 3 zippers were bad these only get 3 stars.
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on April 16, 2015
Honestly, I think that many of the negative reviews on this product are a bit misguided. You can't fill a non-sealed container with sand and expect it to not leak out...would you also fill this with water and expect water to not leak out??? You also can't throw a product around and expect it to last, regardless of the quality of build. Treat it right and it will treat your equipment right.

That said, I LOVE these bags. They do just what they are supposed to and the price is right, so what more can you ask for?

I've taken up suggestions found online so that they don't leak. Here's what I did:

1. Buy a bag of sand from the local hardware store (usually found in the aisle with concrete mixer).
2. Fill a 1-gallon freezer bag with 10 cups of sand (more than 10 cups seemed to be too much for the sandbag pocket to handle).
3. Place filled bag in one side of sandbag and zip up the double zips.
4. Repeat steps 2-3 for the other side of sandbag.

I haven't had any issues with the zippers, bags breaking, or anything like that. I'm about two months into using them for occasional studio and location work, so they get their fair share of handling.
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on December 22, 2016
These things worked great for holding the skirting down on my ice hut, as intended. I have read numerous other reviews, and would agree about the potential of sand, gravel, or other leaking from the zippered sections of these bags. Another reviewer suggested using freezer zip lock bags for inserts to hold your substrate material. I agree with this one! It is a pain in the #@% to get the zip lock bags filled and the unit zipped up, the way the zippers are located, hence the lower rating I have given. If zipper system was upgraded to more user friendly, I would give a 5 star rating.
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