Did you know that play sand is dirt-cheap? Actually, it’s cheaper than dirt. I was looking to order a couple of 15-20lb counterweights, and sandbags seemed like a good idea. Filled sandbags are only a little bit more expensive than empty sandbags, but shipping can cost a small fortune.
I decided to place an order for empty sandbags, and although they haven’t arrived yet I’ve been looking around for ideas on what to fill them with. Of course there’s construction sand, but I don’t really want to risk releasing such material inside my home or shop in case of a leak. Even double-bagging the sand isn’t 100% fool-proof.
There are a couple of other decent alternatives, but I’ll be filling my sandbags with play sand. At less than $4 for 50lbs via Home Depot or Lowes, it’s almost a no-brainer. It’s washed, screened, dried, and should be fine sitting in a bag for a couple of years.
$4 for 50 lbs of the stuff! And to think that I was considering filling the bags with lead or steel shot, pea gravel (which is equally as inexpensive), and even rice.
Yes, I know that using sandbox sand for sandbag weights may seem obvious, but the idea has completely escaped me until this morning.
Now, if only durable sandbags were cheaper.
I have used play sand in sandbags for years, I fill up the bags in the winter to add extra weight to my truck for snow driving. I have found it adds extra traction for some of the larger storms the mountains in CA get. I have also used store bought bags of river rock then when spring comes I open the bags and use them in the landscaping.
Since you mentioned rice…
Get some small breathable (linen or something) bags and fill them with rice. Adding a little rice bag to the top of the bag is a great idea before you seal them up. Absorbs water that would otherwise collect in the bags and make your sand moldy should you ever have one break or puncture. A rice bag in each drawer in your toolbox can help absorb moisture and keep your tools from getting rusty. In some of the drawer liners, I think its Lowes, they make the Zerust coating on the liners also. Neat idea and they are good quality liners. but rice is cheap, something you have already, and most importantly its cheap & easy to replace if it does its job and gets a little soggy. I put them all over, toolboxes, the car/trunk, luggage, closets, etc.
I’m sure your area has a sand & gravel distributor who can sell you cleaned sand for far, far less than $4/50lbs.
I used BBs to make some small bags to function as weights to keep inkjet paper and photos from curling. My bags are for indoor use only and are approximately 1 to 2 lbs. each. I made the bags from the tops of old crew socks where the heels had worn out. I used a serger to both cut off the worn heel part and simultaneously sew it shut after filling the top with BBs. I got mine at Walmart: Crosman Copperhead BBs, 6000 count $9.39 [about 5 lbs.]. The BBs are clean and pose few problems if a bag spills. I considered lead shot, ball bearings, sand, rice and similar items but rejected them for reasons of cost, availability, how clean the items would be originally, pest attraction potential and the consequences of accidental spills. I would call these miniature sandbags.
We’ve used leather shot bags over the years for sheet metal work – with shot and playsand fill: