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Traveling with great clothes

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am looking for a solution to the travel problem. When I'm on the road for more than a single night, I use a standard rolling suitcase, sized to fit in an overhead bin. I'll typically pack a suit or suits in a flimsy garment bag (the type you walk away with when you purchase a new suit). I can hang the garment bag from the handle of the rolling suitcase when I'm standing around waiting in line. On the plane, I can either hang the bag in the closet in front or store it in the overhead compartment on top of my suitcase. I want to do better. I think that traveling like this puts my (bespoke) suits at risk. So typically I end up flying with my older, less valuable suits -- but I still hate to see them banged up in transit. How can I travel safely with my suits, but still maximize convenience? For example, has anyone tried these tri-fold garment bags that fit into an overhead compartment? Will they wrinkle and wreck my jackets? Are there other solutions out there I should be looking at? How do you travel, and what specific luggage products do you recommend? Leather or ballistic nylon? Good brands versus bad? Help.
post #2 of 17
I have a tri-fold ballistic nylon Tumi garment bag that is guaranteed to put wrinkles into just about any suit, regardless of how carefully you pack. You're always going to get some wrinkles in your suits if you pack them tightly, but usually they come out with steam unless they are really bad.. I've been using a Briggs & Riley rolling suitcase with a suiter insert lately, and it seems to work well--the suits steam out OK. I'm constantly in search of the ultimate travel suit material that is durable but won't cost a mint. No success yet.
post #3 of 17
Believe it or not, about 10 years ago Sharper Image made a house brand rolling suiter of ballistic nylon with interior straps in all the right places. Not only minimal wrinkling, but there are sufficient exterior compartments for all the other items that suits (and the important items - shirts) can be packed loosely enough inside so as not to wrinkle - much. After deplaning and checking in to the hotel, it's off for a really hot shower. But first, hang everything in the bathroom so it gets good and steamy. You'll be wrinkle free - and relaxed - in no time. Downsides? I don't know if they still make the bag ... and it won't fit in a compartment - must be checked.
post #4 of 17
I have a trifold ballistic garment bag made by Patagonia. I find, when i do travel with dress shirts, jackets, suits, to cover each item with the same plastic that a dry cleaner covers your clothes in when you pick them up. Covering each garment separately alleviates some, but not all of the wrinkles. When I arrive at my destination I will hang them in the bathroom and run a hot shower to generate steam. If it is really bad, I will fill the tub with hot water and let the steam rise to the clothes on the shower rod. There is always the option of travelling with a portable steamer too.
post #5 of 17
I'm partial to the 3-suiter one that zips out to become a large garment bag. I used that for quite a while back when I was doing the road warrior thing but I was exec plat on American so whether or not my upgrade came through they'd hang it in the closet for me. The trifold carryon would be my second choice but you MUST do the hang in steamy bathroom trick immediately upon arrival. You should fill the tub with HOT water, hang it up, close the bathroom door and in a few hours it'll be fine. Sidenote: Repeat that before bed but leave the door open, when you travel in the winter you'll get dehydrated and the moisture in the air will give you a better night's sleep and help keep you healthy. No scientific reason to give ya, just about 3 million miles between the two of us :-)
post #6 of 17
I travel from time to time with Brioni suits and Lobb shoes-- I've found the key is that you can only take one or two suits + 2 pairs of shoes (no trees) in a large carry-on soft bag, like those sold by Ferragamo or Jack Spade (, or like mine: except mine is slightly larger and a twill plaid pattern). I normally turn the jackets inside-out at the shoulders and fold/ roll them, pants do pretty well just "folding" them gently around the jackets. Shoes in bags at the bottom, shaving case, and some rolled undershirts, boxers, and a polo shirt-- that's about all i can take and carry thru the airports like O'hare. Then, I check the bag at the door to the airplane (if there is an opportunity, as there usually is) or store in the overhead bin/ under the seat in front of me (with a soft bag like those described, either storage method seems to work fairly well for me).
post #7 of 17
I was on the road three weeks each month for years and developed the opposite system. I carried a 26" suitcase that I checked. I had two of them pre-packed with everything I needed to feel at home on the road for a week, including pajamas, workout clothes, umbrella, sewing kit, etc. In a real rush, like a four hour "say hi to the wife" layover between England and Australia, I'd dump one and pick up the other. With 4-5 suits, eight shirts, three pair of dress shoes, half a dozen neckties, etc. the bag weighed in at exactly 70 pounds, which was the then-current overweight fee point. The bag was never lost or damaged, even post 911 when it was unlocked. While I was always aware that I was checking $25,000 of gear against an airline reimbursement limit of perhaps $1,000, I added a schedule to my homeowner's insurance so I was covered. Will
post #8 of 17
I thought I read somewhere on this forum that some member simply shipped his stuff in a large box so that everything was hanging. Or maybe it was so that it was simply waiting for him on arrival. Obviously not doable if you're galloping over multiple locales, but if it's one place, I thought it was a great idea. It does cost $$$, but it the convenience seems like it's worth it.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
What do you think of this interesting combo suitcase/garment bag?
post #10 of 17
Sunday NYT Style T Magazine: " \tPERFECT BOUND Pack Man By TYLER BRÛLÉ Published: March 13, 2005 Life holds few bigger turnoffs than a person who doesn't know how to pack. Wheelie suitcase squeaking, laptop slung around the neck, carry-on bouncing off the thigh and brow moist with sweat are a disturbing and deeply unsexy sight. A perfectly balanced passenger -- valise clutched in one hand, gently swinging tote in the other -- not only is wildly attractive but could also well prove to be a potential partner for life. Sadly, such specimens are spotted with about the same frequency as a clean toilet on an airplane. \t I'm not smug by nature, but I do dart through the world's major ports comfortable in the knowledge that I'm a member of that top percentile. I'm not classically trained, but 15 years of moderate travel and another 15 of intense globe-trotting have given me a solid foundation in planning and packing for long-term assignments, 48-hour weekends and 10-day beach vacations alike. As a rule, I have little time for articles that tell readers how to pack because, without exception, they miss the most fundamental rule of travel: packing for three days or three weeks is the same basic exercise. Once you've come to terms with the fact that you don't need 10 kinds of suitcases or steamer trunks for long-haul trips (tamers of tigers, magicians and people with the surnames Dion, John and Twain excepted), you will extend your life by a decade. Add to this a well-edited wardrobe, and you can be packed and curbside in less than 10 minutes for travel as diverse as a three-day meeting with investors in Istanbul or two weeks seeing South Korea by rail. Some years ago, Puma introduced 96 Hours, which was supposed to tap into an underserved market of travelers who needed a ready-made wardrobe built around stretchy black fabrics. Conceptually, it was a great idea. Puma even managed to recruit the designer Neil Barrett. But the execution was terrible: trousers that looked like black underpants designed for prancing around on a float at a Gay Pride parade, and denim that was more appropriate for playing in a sandbox than for dozing on Cathay Pacific. There were stretchy black tops, a black trench and some black trainers masquerading as loafers. The hard-sided case might as well have had the word ''amateur'' stenciled across it, as informed travelers would know that the carrier had fallen for a piece of marketing rather than a piece of industrial design meant to improve travel. What you pack in is almost as important as what you pack. This is not to say that I've managed to find my dream bag. I recently came terribly close at Herve Chapelier in Paris, where I picked up a new soft-sided rectangular valise in black nylon. There are no pockets, straps or superfluous hardware on the outside. On the inside, there's just the luxury of volume. It's so generous that there's room for well-worn desert boots, sensible trainers and Church's cordovan brogues, as well as unexpected purchases. The best part is that the streamlined, unadorned profile makes the bag look positively tiny, so it always manages to find a home in an overhead storage bin. For overnight engagements, I depend on a black nylon bag from Porter of Japan. Capable of carrying a G4, a specially edited overnight toiletry kit, an Hermes diary, notebooks, at least three daily newspapers, torn-out magazine articles, all kinds of adapters and chargers, two novels, passports and gifts for clients or friends, it features a hidden pocket that accommodates two shirts (usually Richard James or Sovereign House from United Arrows), socks (always Falke), underwear (Calida or JBS) and a single-ply cashmere sweater. The pocket has so far saved me the embarrassment of pulling out my laptop for a presentation and having my briefs on display for all to see. Though I'm content with my current bag collection, my eyes still wander whenever I pass a luggage shop. My Chapelier could use a well-designed strap, and my Porter could somehow be re-engineered to accommodate sneakers, shorts and a T-shirt. But for now they're the best I've managed to find. That said, I'm always up for a bit of well-mannered temptation. TYLER BRÛLÉ'S 10 RULES ON PACKING 1. There's no such thing as check-in. Carry-on -- always. 2. You can usually carry on one extra bag if you ask nicely -- at least in Europe. 3. Three days, three months: it's all the same when it comes to packing. Hotels have laundry service for a reason. 4. No logos. Discreet is far superior to bling, particularly in less secure destinations. 5. Always pack a collapsible tote for shopping and in-flight material like magazines, toiletry kits, slippers et al. 6. Overlook bags by Porter, Herve Chapelier, Globe-Trotter, Coperto and Valextra at your own peril. 7. Consider the safari jacket (Helmut Lang or Alberto Aspesi); it is an excellent all-round, all-weather garment. 8. Opt for Peter Geeson knitwear in single-ply lamb's-wool; it's multiseasonal. 9. Always ask your laundry service to fold and bag shirts rather than hang them. 10. Dop kits (nylon over leather) are best kept small, as size imposes discipline."
post #11 of 17 I've always thought their other stuff was well-put-together. Presumably some value to this.
post #12 of 17
I use a Tumi 2 suit garment bag, which when hung in the steamy bathroom removes all wrinkles quickly. It is quite nice.
post #13 of 17
What do you think of this interesting combo suitcase/garment bag?
MC, this is not so much a garment bag/suitcase but a tri fold garment bag on wheel, oriented vertically. this should be a great bag - I have seen them in stores, I love B&R bags, they are very very sturdy and hard working. I now use a leather Tumi tri-fold, without wheels, sitting on top of a tumi computer case, with wheels. That is my prefered configuration. I never have a problem traveling with my suits and shoes, although I typically never take more than one pair of shoes with me (plus sneakers). Same drill - unpack and steam, or sometimes send out to be pressed.
post #14 of 17
Traveling 100% for 6 years straight I feel somewhat versed in this area (currently doing Sunday->Friday afternoons LGA<->DTW). I use an Andiamo Tuxedo tri-fold roller bag. It is basically a garment bag that tri-folds into the standard 22" roller configuration. Always fits in overheads (unless I am on an ERJ45 or similar). My current bag has about 150k miles on and its about worn out. I have tried Briggs bags but found the quality lacking (worn out in 60k). I think the way to go is Andiamo or Tumi. This eBay link shows what the bag looks like. The seller states "2 nights". I use this bag for 5 nights away and it fits everything (slacks, sport coats/suits, shirts, socks, undershirts, workout shoes, shoe trees, dock kit, etc). I purchased this bag as a "last year" closeout for $375.00 about two years ago, was a steal at the time. I think retail is north of $600. Bad thing about Tumi is I have a hard time finding configurations I like. PS: For the love of god do not purchase some "designer" luggage like LV, etc. It stinks of amateur.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Looks like that one on Ebay lacks the wheels. I considered bidding but decided not to. Here is the $600+ Andiamo model. Seems a bit nicer than the Briggs, but I'm not sure it's $350 nicer. Especially considering I'm pretty easy on luggage. Looking at the images more closely, I think the Brigg may actually be a better design than the Andiamo. It gives you independent access to the suitcase and garment bag areas, and it keeps the garment bag on the top of the bag when it's lying flat, so the remaining contents of the bag aren't squashing your suits. The more I'm looking at these the more I'm convinced that a trifold in carry-on size with some internal structure is the way to go. Maybe it won't get me to a wrinkle free outcome, but it seems to be the best mixture of convenience and protection for my bespoke.
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