Business travel can be a chore at the best of times – but with the right accessories, it’s possible to make the process a little simpler.
For example, the right garment bag can work wonders in keeping your clothes fresh and free of wrinkles.
Garment bags are a business traveler's best friend – however, you need to ensure that the product you by is going to be suitable for your needs. For example, there is no point buying a modest bag which can accommodate two full suits if you’re going to be out of town for a week, and will need to have several changes of outfit for the various meetings and events that you’re going to be attending.
Given how these products can be quite expensive, you should expect that the manufacturer stands by the integrity and resilience of their bags.
Given how these products can be quite expensive, you should expect that the manufacturer stands by the integrity and resilience of their bags. Ideally, they will provide a lifetime warranty on each part of the product – including wheels and shoulder straps – which are the main things you’ll need to transport it around.
When it comes to wheels, always carefully check the experiences of other shoppers to see whether or not they’re strong – and can take a good bashing.
Your journeys are likely going to see you tackle not just pristine airport terminal floors, but cobbles and other uneven surfaces, where the wheels can be constantly bashed. The same applies on stairs – and here, sturdiness is going to be key.
As such, you should probably be weary of garment bags which have wheels that have a plastic construction, as these can become fragmented and fractured as time wears on – meaning that your only choice is to carry the garment bag around with you everywhere you go.
And, if it’s an especially heavy model and you have other bits of luggage to consider, you probably won’t be best pleased with this arrangement.
In this guide, we’re going to explore the five key characteristics that you should look for in a garment bag. They guarantee that you’ll get years of use out of this product, and clothes which come out neat and pristine after every challenging flight.
Best Garment Bag Characteristics
This may seem like the last thing you should consider when you’re buying a garment bag – however, purchasing a distinctive product that's pleasing to the eye can save you a lot of time when you’ve just landed at an airport.
If your garment bag has been placed in the hold of an aircraft, it means you’ll have to collect it from a luggage carousel at the end of your flight. Oftentimes, this can be a nightmare – with fellow travelers chaotically jostling around the terminal, checking to see which bag is theirs.
Going for a generic garment bag – perhaps brown or black in color – could mean that your bag is indistinguishable from those owned by other passengers.
Going for a generic garment bag – perhaps brown or black in color – could mean that your bag is indistinguishable from those owned by other passengers. You wouldn’t be surprised to learn that some people have only realized they picked up the wrong bag when it’s that little bit too late.
As such, consider going for distinctive colors such as royal navy or purple – even burgundy – to strike that balance between style and practicality.
If you would still prefer to go for a brown or black garment bag, it’s worthwhile to consider placing a few distinguishing marks on the bag – such as a bright sticker – so it’s easier for you to track it down at a luggage carousel.
Later in this buying guide, we’re going to discuss luggage tags and locks – another great idea for preventing mistakes in the crush of an airport.
Finally, remember that you might want to consider choosing a garment bag which has a color similar to the other items in your luggage collection – as if this new bag doesn’t match, it’ll look out of place when you’re heading on vacation with the set.
You might want to check with the manufacturer of your current luggage collection to see whether they make garment bags which boast the same patterns or block colors. However, don’t be too disheartened if there are slight variations in shade, as this will mostly be because of how different materials are used to make garment bags.
Whether or not your garment bag will have a shoulder strap will be determined by the product’s size – and what it’s been designed for.
Whereas primary garment bags are intended to be the only form of luggage you’ll need on short-distance flights – with plenty of compartments for fitting in your clothes and other accessories – supplementary bags are more suitable for longer stints of travel. That’s because you can keep several outfits completely wrinkle-free, and place the bag on top of a larger suitcase with wheels.
First, always check to see whether or not the shoulder strap can be adjusted to match your height.
Supplementary garment bags are usually equipped with shoulder straps, making it easier to negotiate airport terminals and long, winding hotel hallways with several bits of luggage. However, this nifty feature isn’t always executed to the standard you would expect – so there are several things to watch out for.
First, always check to see whether or not the shoulder strap can be adjusted to match your height. If it doesn’t, it’s possible that your garment bag will be so suspended that it drags along the floor.
Equally, you don’t want it too high up – as this can be incredibly uncomfortable, with an array of fixtures and fittings banging into your sides.
There may be times when you don’t want to use the shoulder strap that’s been provided by the manufacturer, too, and in these instances, opting for a bag where the straps can be detached is going to prove to be a massive advantage. Finally, it is worthwhile checking the widths of the straps, as you really don’t want the straps to be flimsy and vulnerable to snapping easily – usually at the most inconvenient time.
Generally, you will find that a garment bag with a sturdy handle, which can be firmly placed on top of a larger suitcase, is going to be easiest for traveling over long distances.
If this bigger piece of luggage has wheels, grabbing both handles and gliding it through airports is going to be a breeze – without compromising on your levels of comfort, and keeping physical exertion to a minimum so you don’t end up hot and flustered.
There was a video posted online once which showed the journey that luggage makes through the innards of an airport. Often, each bag is roughly handled – and gets bashed around from pillar to post. No wonder people with fragile equipment are nervous about flying to their chosen destinations.
Whether you intend to have your garment bag as carry-on luggage or not, a rugged design is essential for ensuring that your new bag doesn’t have to be replaced in a matter of months.
Usually, garment bags are able to accommodate the full length and width of several suits before gently folding over to create a compact design.
If it’s made out of resilient materials, there’s also less chance that your clothes will become creased and wrinkled even if it’s given a rough ride on the plane – in the overhead compartments or the hold.
Usually, garment bags are able to accommodate the full length and width of several suits before gently folding over to create a compact design. Even though this means that your clothes are going to be doubled up – even in high-end garment bags – you won’t be left with an ugly crease in the center of your jackets and trousers afterwards.
Hallmarks of durability and a rugged design include garment bags which have been built out of nylon or 600 denier polyester. There should also be a soft lining that cushions your clothes during transportation. Integrated clothes hangers are always a bonus, as they guarantee your garments will stay securely in place for the duration of your travels.
Always check that a rugged design hasn’t resulted in the garment bag of your choice becoming heavy and cumbersome to use.
When it comes to business travel around the world, you’re going to require lightweight materials. This doesn’t have to result in shoddy materials which aren’t going to last for the duration of your fortnight-long trip, however.
As many airlines have strict regulations regarding the weight of luggage that’s taken on board, a durable yet light garment bag will be essential so you don’t fall foul of the rules.
If a garment bag has been designed to be your sole luggage carrier, it’s crucial that there are a series of pockets and compartments for all of your clothes. A prime example of this will be your shoes – after all, if you’re carrying around trouser suits and other smart attire, it’s highly likely that you’ll have a nice pair of footwear to complement them.
Belts and socks also matter, and you will usually find that there are a series of mesh pockets throughout the garment bag where these can be stored.
Of course, you will have to ensure that your shoes are completely clean – and free of any dirt – before they are placed in the garment bag.
Of course, you will have to ensure that your shoes are completely clean – and free of any dirt – before they are placed in the garment bag. Some manufacturers have helped protect you against any complications by including a lined shoe compartment that effectively isolates your footwear against neatly pressed clothes.
Alternatively, you might also want to purchase travel shoe bags that can be inserted into your garment bag – even if there isn’t a dedicated compartment for them. They’re usually really inexpensive, yet made out of high-quality water repellent nylon. A drawstring closure also guarantees that they won’t unexpectedly leave their casing during your travels.
Depending on the design of the garment bag, it is possible that the luggage will become bulky and misshapen when it’s packed with all of your clothes and shoes. As you’d imagine, this is something that you’ll really want to avoid at all costs – so do consider buying a primary garment bag which has a fixed shape and a pair of sturdy wheels.
These products are comparable to a suitcase in many ways, but the crucial difference is how they have been designed specifically for storing your suits in a wrinkle-free fashion.
Finally, bear in mind that your garment bag may not have room for the tools that you use to keep shoes in fine fettle – so you might want to consider giving them a shine prior to your travels.
Luggage tag and lock
And lastly, you might be interested in investing in a garment bag that comes equipped with a tag that makes your luggage easily identifiable in airports and train stations. But as we mentioned in an earlier section, don’t be disheartened if your perfect bag doesn’t come with this feature as standard – as there are other ways to make your garment bag stand out from the crowd.
What really matters is whether or not your garment bag has some sort of locking mechanism to deter pickpockets and thieves.
What really matters is whether or not your garment bag has some sort of locking mechanism to deter pickpockets and thieves. This can also be useful in hotel rooms, and when your expensive belongings are passing through airports.
In recent years, there has been something of a clampdown on the use of luggage locks – in the interests of security during air travel. That means you cannot use any old padlock from home to secure your garment bag or suitcase when traveling. However, many manufacturers offer the next best alternative – which is known as a TSA-approved lock.
They come with a combination lock that can only be determined by you, and if this code is forgotten by any reason, you can use a key to override the lock and access your luggage all the same. As you’d imagine, such a feature would only be found on a larger garment bag.
So, in summary, there are five key characteristics that you should keep an eye out for when you’re shopping around for a brand-new garment bag.
A bright color will mean your garment bag is easy to find on a luggage carousel, while shoulder straps also bring portability and convenience to the table. A rugged design means that your garment bag will always fulfill its sole function: helping to get your clothes from A to B without them becoming incredibly creased along the way.
Next, a shoe compartment will keep your footwear looking smart and properly shaped during your long-distance journeys, while a reliable lock ensures that all of your belongings are kept safe and secure for the ride.
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