Showing young scientists the incredible power of the sun can be a tricky task, but with the Solar Bag, you have a great (and gigantic) teaching tool. The Solar Bag, which stretches to 50 feet when inflated, harnesses solar energy to expand and float into the air. It truly is a sight to behold as a giant, black "solar sausage" lifts off of the ground using nothing but sunshine! Don't settle for imitation bags that are only 10 feet and, let's be honest, just don't work. This is the original 50 foot Solar Bag!
Using a Solar Bag is easy. Start by tying off one end of the bag, then filling it with air by running with the open end. Now just tie off the other end and watch as the heat from the sun causes the air inside to expand. Within minutes, the enormous Solar Bag rises into the sky and floats like a giant tube of solar science. Just be careful! The material that Solar Bags are made of has to be thin to enable the sun-powered flight. If you do wind up with tears, packing or masking tape will fix it right up to be used again!
- 50' (15 m) long Solar Bag
- 400' (122 m) of Solar Bag String
- Activity guide with student worksheets
What Does It Teach?
The energy harnessed in the Solar Bag comes straight from the sun, but we can't see it! Using the Solar Bag offers a multitude of scientific applications, beginning with how energy from the sun causes air to heat and expand, especially when amplified by the black surface of the Solar Bag. From there, teachers and students can engage in discussions of density, air pressure, buoyancy, convection, and more!
- great - don't have too many "cooks" in the "kitchen" Review by Janette Moman
I used this product last year with 15 students and it ended up with a couple of holes that we taped up so it could still fly. It looked like the Lochness Monster up in the air. But this year I bought another one, and I had 20 kids working with it and ended up with too many holes. When they say not to use it on a windy day - that means, like, NO wind at all. I didn't think it was windy until we tried to inflate it and realized that yes, it was indeed, too windy for this activity. But I guess that is part of the experiment. (Posted on 8/1/14)
- Fun Very Fun Review by Rhonda Robinson
I used this at a Girl Scout Event and the girl's loved it! It does tear easily but we just cut off the torn part and it still worked and was a BIG hit. I will definitely be purchasing this product again. (Posted on 3/26/14)
- Encore! Review by Carrie Wolf
Bought one several years ago for a summer science camp and LOVED it! We filled it with the leaf blower ... less chance of puncture while running around to fill it. Then I stored it wrapped in a bedsheet. I've used it several times over the years and each time we get a few more holes but it still works enough to prove the point! Way better than any kite. So, I'm in for another run. Can't wait to do this experiment again. So impressive. Why would the bag arrive in shreds? Strange that several people had that experience....hope mine is good! Thanks to everyone at SSS for making science so much fun and easy to teach. (Posted on 2/22/14)
- Fun activity - Keep some tape nearby. Review by Carol @ Learning with Boys
My kids love doing science activities. They really enjoy the solar bag. We tried it last year at our house, but it was very difficult to find enough space to run and fill it. Also there were lots of trees and obstacles and we ended up tearing it very badly on the chimney. We still had a lot of fun. This year we bought another and took it to the local park. Very fun! We did get a couple of holes that we taped, but I think we will able to use it again. (Posted on 8/20/13)
- Fun- But thank goodness I bought 2! Review by Kerry Grella
I'm a 7th grade teacher and I bought 2 to demonstrate convection with 2 of my classes. As soon as I opened the package, I noticed the bag was SHREDDED- slits all over the place!! I had the throw that one away, but luckily, I had a spare. Take 2 was MUCH more successful! It heated up almost instantly (it was a sunny 62 degree day in NY) and lifted off a good 200 feet! Only problem that time was a student accidentally stepped on and ripped the string, causing the bag to float away (and hopefully not into traffic!). Im upset at the initial bag being ripped and my second class therefore didn't get to do the experiment much to their disappointment , but overall it was A LOT of fun! (Posted on 4/25/13)
- High flying success!!! Review by LaDonna Ferguson
I have used these several times with my home school co-op science kids with marvelous success! People should realize that to make the 50 foot wind bag a success, it is going to be thin and light weight. When the kids get a bit to enthusiastic, I'm nearby with some scotch tape or packing tape to fix the hole or rip and we continue... for hours! Be sure to plan this activity for a cool, sunny morning - such as a hot air balloon team does and you'll be amazed! Wait until an afternoon at the warmest time of day and you may be disappointed at your lack of planning :) Great product! Great instructions! Follow them.
P.S. My daughters and I got stranded in terrible weather when camping... I keep one of these in my car for an unexpected fun time at the park... we used about half of a bag to shield us and our backpacks from heavy rain and very cold winds! Never know what you can do with Steve Spangler products on a rainy day :) (Posted on 4/8/13)
- It doesn't work Review by Claudia Garcia del Puerto
I tried to use it as described in the instructions but it din't lift at all. I would not recommend this product.
Claudia -(Posted on 3/18/13)
Shoot! We don't like the sound of that at all. One of our customer service representatives will be contacting you very soon to try and get your Solar Bag flying!
- Steve Spangler Science Web Team
- COOL! Review by donavon leu
Yes the big balloon is fragile but it's a blast to watch the students jump and scream while the balloon lifts off. This is definitely an educational tool. A+ (Posted on 1/25/13)
- Solar Bag Fun Review by Charlene Knight
I used the solar bag to teach a lesson to my class about creating a good atmosphere where we could all be filled, lifted, and learn together. They LOVED this fun science experiment. You may receive a few orders for solar bags, as everyone wanted to know how and where to get one! (Posted on 1/8/13)
- LOVE Review by Ginny Schwalbach
This is a big hit in our mini Space Camp for 1st and 2nd Graders. It is VERY fragile and I realize that it may not be something that I can reuse from year to year. I have been doing this demonstration for 6 years and one year I did try the shorter, less expensive one. I'm back to Steve Spangler because this is SO impressive! After the kids watch me fill it by running through the park, I tie it to a bucket of rocks and we sit back for a story about the sun as we observe the bag rise to the sky! I remind children that they can not grab it but it it fun to play tag in the shadow of the bag (shadow is safe base). This year it did get a small tear near the end that I will try to patch for next year's group. I store this in a soft pillow case to prevent punctures. (Posted on 12/10/12)
- We wowed the camp crowd. Review by Michelle "The Nature Lady"
As the enviromental science teacher at a local day camp, I am always looking for something new to do with my groups. I had a group of 4th and 5th graders playing with the solar bag for almost two hours in our open area. We attached string to both ends of the bag and watched it as it rose above the trees on our baseball field. Everyone wanted to learn about how it worked and what was this giant thing in the sky. Even our preschool groups learned about Bernoulli's principles from observing the bag. My only complaint was that yes the bag is very flimsy, and as gentle as the children were, one of them still put a small hole in it with their finger. The good thing is it was near the end of the bag,we just cut off that part with scissors and continued our experiment. Thanks for making our day extra fun. (Posted on 11/19/12)
- Uh-oh, they let it go! Review by Mrs. D
Hello, I love the solar balloons and use them every year in my science class. This year I had a class that just wouldn't listen and despite me telling them that they cannot let it go, they did. Up, up and away... not too high... just hovering over the trees and freeway traffic. Oh my! I thought we were going to be arrested, I thought for sure this was going to cause an accident or something terrible was going to happen. It left me with a SICK feeling in my stomach, I acted like it was going to be fine so the kids didn't worry but really, is this product really safe?? Somewhere someone is letting go of this balloon and I sure don't want to be driving or flying and have it cause an accident. Fun, affordable but not really safe!
Mrs. D -(Posted on 10/14/12)
You're right in worrying about stray Solar Bags. As unlikely as a Solar Bag is to cause an accident, it's best to make sure it doesn't even have a chance. On top of that, a loose Solar Bag is just going to be litter. That's why we include the string in the kit. It prevents loose Solar Bags from floating up and away and keeps them in range to be disposed of properly or, if you're careful, reused. We understand your concern, but Solar Bags are 100% safe when used following the directions in the activity guide. Don't let it keep you from experimenting!
-Steve Spangler Science Web Team
- Ripped in five munutes Review by steven
Feel like i got ripped(literally) off, I go these as a giftfrom my grandparents and the bagripped, mind you i was wearing gloves, had no jewelry(I'm a male, I don't typically wear them) as comments above stated... what a rip
Steven-(Posted on 8/16/12)
We're sorry that you feel ripped-off by our Solar Bag. We don't want your experience with us to feel like we've swindled or cheated you in any way. Our customer service team will be contacting you immediately to rectify the situation.
-Steve Spangler Science Web Team
- Solar Bag Review by brian
i used one and within seconds after lifting off the bag torn and then i tried another one and it ripped too.these bags should be made to withstand a little damage. i did not feel that i got my money worth. I would please like an free replacement.
Brain-(Posted on 7/16/12)
We're very sorry to hear about the trouble you had with your Solar Bags. The material has to be very thin so that the Solar Bag can work as intended, but we do not want you leaving this experience feeling like you didn't get your money's worth. A customer service representative will be contacting you soon regarding the issue.
-Steve Spangler Science Web Team
- Great Fun!!! Review by Lisa
I ordered the solar bag as something fun to do with my kids during the summer. We first tried to use the bag in the back yard, but soon found out that we needed a larger space. The bag tore when it lifted over our wooden fence. We fixed the hole with a little light weight tape and took it to our school football field. We made sure that it was early in the morning which is key to getting great lift. Filling the bag is easy, but it does make you look funny running around, dragging a 50 foot bag behind you. I didn't use the string that came with the bag, because it tore to easily. So I used a nylon string made for large kites, and I made sure I had it tied through several loops. The bag was cool! The bag went very high. It even attracted the attention of the summr school kids during an outdoor break. I would tell anyone to buy this. Yes, it is true that the product is thin and you may only get a couple uses out of it, but the experience is worth it. (Posted on 6/23/12)
- COOL it’s a UFO! Review by Donavon Leu
My 4th graders had a great time watching the big black bag float up, up, and up. We did have a slight malfunction while filling the bag. Temperature was 30 degrees F and the grass had frost on it. As soon as the bag slid across the grass we had multiple rips in the bag. No problem, we just ripped the bag down to about 3 meters, filled it with air, tied it and away it went, awesome! (Posted on 4/24/12)
- Bags tore Review by Susan A
I tried these with my science club on several occasions. What a bust (literally). These bags did not work. The kids were disappointed... that they tore after only several minutes.
Susan -(Posted on 4/3/12)
We are extremely sorry to hear about the trouble that you had with your Solar Bag. A customer service representative will be contacting you shortly to help rectify the situation.
- Steve Spangler Science Web Team
- Solar bag Review by Sherry Dart
Love anything that I get from Steve Spangler. My students are hooked on science!!! (Posted on 2/28/12)
- One and done....almost Review by Nick J
Myself and a coworker tried two of these out on the ballfield to make sure and have it down before we did it with the kids. It was amazing at first until it landed and easily put a hole in it. I understand it must be thin to fly but it almost makes it impossible to use more than once. Even the tiniest of holes can keep it grounded and those things are not easy to spot. We thouroughly enjoyed it for about 4 minutes. Too bad the students couldnt see it :) (Posted on 1/24/12)
- Solar Bag Review by Christina
This was so much fun! I did it with my classes throughout the day and even tied in the angle of insolation and characteristics of the bag that made it heat up so quickly. It was quite the scene and the kids are still talking about it! (Posted on 12/25/11)
- Fun for a few! Review by Robin
My son and friends LOVED this bag. We're very impressed with how quickly it filled and went up, however, the wind blew it into a tall oak tree and that was the end of it! Make sure you are in a WIDE open space. (Posted on 12/7/11)
- Sad solar bag Review by Rachel
When I tested the solar bag with my staff, things went well. When my elementary students participated the solar big tore almost immediately. I thought maybe the bag was just faulty, so we used another solar bag I purchased and it tore within 10 minutes of trying to fill it with air. I think for the money you spend on the bag it should be able to withstand supervised elementary students.
Rachel-(Posted on 11/13/11)
We are extremely sorry for the bad experience you've had with your two Solar Bags. One of our customer service representatives will be getting in touch with you soon to get some replacement Solar Bags sent your way.
- Steve Spangler Science Web Team
- Solar Bag Review by Ashley Green
I am a science lab teacher and I teach grades K-5th. I showed my 5th graders the solar bag. They throughly enjoyed it! It worked well but it did tear in the end. (Posted on 11/3/11)
- Easy and Fun Review by Jim Hanifen
We finally took out the Solar bag I gave my 10 year old niece for her birthday. Went to a park where there was plenty of space. There was a light breeze which helped fill the bag, we forgot the string, so we tied the ends with hair ties, they worked great. After only a few minutes it rose in the air. It was a lot of fun, thanks again Steve Spangler! (Posted on 9/5/11)
- So-so success - even on the ground was impressive Review by Mark Derail
At our fundraiser, the day was too windy and not enough sun.
I had bought two, tried deploying only one.
With the wind it wrapped itself around the rock bucket that was it's mooring point, effectively becoming two bags.
Even on the ground, it was impressive !!! (Posted on 8/20/11)
- Great product Review by Angela Wall
I used one of these last year and students loved it. You do have to be careful just as the included directions specific. Also, for younger kids, I would recommend cutting the bag into several smaller bags that are easier for them to handle. It works just as well - just not quite as dramatic as the full length. I am ordering some more of them right now! (Posted on 8/8/11)
- Bags shipped torn Review by Labcoat Lexie
I would not recommend this product. The bags were torn when I removed them from the box, thus unable to be used for our science summer camp. I imagine they tear easily, and this situation probably could not have been avoided-- but it was a bummer to have spent so much on each one to find them unusable from the start.
** Labcoat Lexie... Love the name by the way... Our customer service team will be contacting you shortly to replace your Solar Bag at no cost... Sorry for the problems. The bags are very thin, so they will fly easily. We suggest that people wear cotton gloves or remove rings and watches when using the bags. Let's us know what you think after the replacement comes and your Solar Bags are airborne. Again sorry for the inconvenience. ** - Steve Spangler Science Web Team(Posted on 6/16/11)
- FRAGILE Review by Rebecca
I had planned on using the solar bag with my 6th grade science classes. It only lasted through 1 period before getting holes in it. It was pretty disappointing. This bag is VERY easy to break, I wouldn't suggest having your students fill the bag. Also try to perform the experiment on grass so if it does fall it wont rip. (Posted on 4/27/11)
- Not so great product Review by Janou Farrell
Used this product one time. had planned to use it for several classes. The plastic is so thin that it tore on our first run. The film needs to be thin to work but does not stand up to use by second graders, even when being careful. (Posted on 3/27/11)
Write Your Own Review
- How Does It Work?
After rolling out the bag and tying one of the ends, you have to run around and fill the bag with air. Once it is full, tie the other end so that air can’t escape and watch the power of the sun at work! The solar energy will heat up the air inside the bag causing the molecules to move around and bump into all sides of the solar bag and make it rise!
- How much weight will it lift off the ground?
The solar bag is not intended to lift any weight while it rises.
- How high can it float?
The sky’s the limit on this one. We have let a solar bag or two go and its been observed by satellites at over 120,000 feet in the air!! This is the main reason that it is best to have some string attached so that you can inflate it, watch it float, and bring it back in order to use it time and time again.
- Does it have to be a hot day?
The best environment for the solar bag activity is to have the sun shining with a cool temperature. You want the air inside of the bag to be able to heat up from where it originally was so that it can rise.
- How many times can you use it?
The solar bag is made out of a light weight plastic material and will tear easily. If you are gentle with it, you may be able to use it several times.