It's inevitable, there will come a time when you need to travel with a suit. Maybe just a pair of slacks and a dress shirt. Or maybe just a sport coat. But the fact of the matter is, your destination is requiring that at some point in the journey, you'll need to look your best. Your best friend's wedding... your wedding, job interview, etc. And if you travel for business, consider this a common occurrence.
So what is a garment bag and why should you use one?
A garment bag is a soft sided piece of luggage that exists for the purpose of carrying garments meant to be stored on a hanger, rather than folded up in a drawer.
Anyone who travels on a somewhat frequent basis is a candidate for owning a garment bag. Think about it-- most trips requiring a fancier attire are shorter in duration, but, they happen on a more frequent basis: weddings, business travel, 3 day weekends to explore a new city, etc. The perfect combination of luggage for such a trip is a weekender duffel, accompanied by a garment bag.
TAKE NOTE: when carrying your bags, the weekender goes on your shoulder, while your garment bag is carried in hand, at your side.
The main purpose for using a garment bag is for transporting and storing higher value clothing, without leaving them wrinkled and creased. But they also help make sure you're maximizing your carry space while traveling to and from. Carrying a garment bag will free up space in your duffel, allowing more room for things like your dopp kit, workout gear, wedding gift, casual dress, etc., while saving a little space for souvenirs. And on some airlines, as long as it only contains a few items (rather than being stuffed like a duffel bag), they may not consider your garment bag to be your carry-on. And if you ask, they may also be willing to hang it up for the duration of the flight. But please confirm this with the airline before traveling.
Here are some things to look for when choosing garment bag:
1. Choose something that matches your weekender. In many cases, you'll be carrying them both at the same time. They might as well look good together. Or at least not clash.
2. Make sure it contains a thin, low profile hanging loop (aside from the handles). This will make hanging it in your hotel room a piece of cake; whether in the closet, on the bathroom door, etc.. After all, handles are made for carrying, hanging loops are made for hanging. Some handles are just too large for hanging on small hooks. And when traveling, you might not have a lot of options.
3. It must have a separate pocket for shoes. Preferably 2 pair. When packed in a weekender, shoes take up a lot of space. When packed in your garment bag, they fill a void-- and even provide added protection from bending and creasing. Additionally, who wants to put the shoes you use to walk around the city in the same bag that's carrying your cleanly packed clothes and toiletries?
4. Look for external pockets that allow for easy access to personal items when the bag is folded up. If you are in fact using it as your carry on, it's good to have pockets that can be easily accessed. For things like boarding passes, car keys, wallet, headphones, book, etc.
4. Make sure the zipper allows for easy packing. We prefer a diagonal zipper. It makes for easy packing while your clothes are already hanging up, but also while the bag is lying flat on a bed or floor.
5. A garment bag must be made from quality materials. Cheap material has a tendency to crease and/or bend. And that defies the reason you're carrying a garment bag to begin with. The material should be thick enough that when the bag is folded in half, it doesn't crease. Instead, it maintains a rounded edge at the fold.
6. Chose a bag that has sturdy and comfortable handles. We recommend against using a shoulder strap. Carrying a garment bag on your shoulder can result in the bag bending around the contour of your body. And if you're also caring a weekender on your shoulder, you're setting the stage for wrinkled mess. Therefore, choose a handle that is comfortable when carrying in-hand and forget about draping it over your body.
Our garment bag is made from ballistic nylon, high quality leather handles, is made in USA, and built to last a lifetime. We've tested it over and over again to ensure it gets the job done, and looks great while doing so. Here are some of our favorite features:
As always, if you have questions, or need some additional advice, please don't hesitate to contact us. Travel often, and always carry the claw.