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Garment Bag vs. Suitcase

J. Cogburn

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The Mission: Identify the ideal piece of luggage that can accommodate 3 suits and five days worth of business travel. Would be nice to keep this under $500.

Question 1: Should I go with a garment bag or a suitcase?

Question 2: What is the best make and model of the above for my purpose?

The Samsonite wheeled garment bag / suitcase that I presently have is simply not long enough to accommodate by suits, which is deeply annoying. And I travel a lot. Must upgrade.

Unlike most, I prefer to check-in my bags, so I don't need something designed to fit into the overhead.
 

kanukki

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From what I understand, garment bags are currently a bit out of favour to a good suitcase, which with proper packing techniques can accommodate a suit just as well as a garment bag in any case.

I saw an MCM bag in this video which looks like the ultimate combination of suitcase and garment bag. The garment bag wraps around and attaches to the suitcase, so the jackets don't get a sharp crease. I haven't seen it available anywhere, but haven't really tried that hard.
 

Twotone

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Suit case. I'm assuming you will be checking your bag as five days worth of clothes will exceed the carry-on limit. Garment bags don't protect clothes when handled by baggage people. It could end up under other heavy bags.

A much better alternative for domestic travel is FedEx.

Twotone
 

JayJay

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Suitcase. I used a garment bag for years, but realized later that I could pack just as much and protect it better with a suitcase.
 

intent

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I have a Samsonite Black Label suit case that folds up to be a garment hanger. Best $100 I ever spent at a Marshalls. The benefits of a garment bag with a harder exterior.
 

luftvier

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Suitcase. You can fold and pack suits and shirts in a far-superior manner with a suit case than a garment bag.
 

Bartolo

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Originally Posted by Twotone
A much better alternative for domestic travel is FedEx.

How much does that end up costing?

And how do you handle the return -- drop the "packages" off at a Fed Ex location?

I hear Fed Ex advertise this, but it seemed to me that it must be quite costly.
 

A.K.A.

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I travel a great deal in my work, but usually I am not seeing the same people from one day to the next. Often I wear a navy blazer and pack two pair of odd trousers, and a new shirt for every day, plus boxers, t-shirts, one or two ties. A pair of nylon shorts, polyester T, one pair anklets, and one pair of Nike Free running shoes easily pack into the outside front pocket.

All of this goes into a 22" Tumi roll-aboard. I can do two suits for more variety, but I hate to have suits folded in my case for long periods of time, as the sleeves often get creased. Three suits packed is damn near impossible.

To travel for that many days, it's tough on one pair of shoes. If I'm out for five days, I put an extra pair of shoes in my briefcase - which is a Mulholland Aviator.

I never check my suitcase, unless I don't have priority boarding, and even then I check it at the gate only if there is not room in the overhead storage. (This is starting to sound like the monologue from "Up in the Air".)

I have heard good things about the Red Ox Airboss. I also like the Filson 22" Pullman. Either of those bags would easily weigh 30 pounds, which would be hell to carry through a big airport such as Charlotte, Atlanta, ORD, BWI, Newark, Dallas, et al.
 

J. Cogburn

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There are several reasons I check bags:

1. Fully booked flights mean that you're lucky to get an overhead bin these days unless you are determined to do the line standing thing for 20 minutes or so at the gate. And if you're on a tight connecting flight, you're probably doomed. If you don't get that bin, you lose your leg room or have to check anyway.

2. The one quart bag for toiletries thing is murder. Hard to fit everything in the stupid bag, many of the things I like to carry don't come in 3 oz containers or aren't transferable to the same, you've got to get it out for scanning, and you risk getting razors confiscated by idiots.

3. Lugging luggage around airports is a pain. With the security lines being what they are, you often have an hour to kill before a flight. Better to check the luggage and free yourself.

Sure, the airlines can lose your bag, but it only happens once in a blue moon (two or three times for me over the past dozen or so years). You usually get it within the day. Life doesn't end. Deeply annoying and troublesome, of course, but so is the accumulated pain of lugging luggage around given the above. And yes, it takes more time to get in and out of airports if you've checked luggage, but it's not that bad. You get time for a cigarette or two while you're waiting for the bag. And you need that time anyway.
 

A.K.A.

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Originally Posted by J. Cogburn
There are several reasons I check bags:

1. Fully booked flights mean that you're lucky to get an overhead bin these days unless you are determined to do the line standing thing for 20 minutes or so at the gate. And if you're on a tight connecting flight, you're probably doomed. If you don't get that bin, you lose your leg room or have to check anyway.

2. The one quart bag for toiletries thing is murder. Hard to fit everything in the stupid bag, many of the things I like to carry don't come in 3 oz containers or aren't transferable to the same, you've got to get it out for scanning, and you risk getting razors confiscated by idiots.

3. Lugging luggage around airports is a pain. With the security lines being what they are, you often have an hour to kill before a flight. Better to check the luggage and free yourself.

Sure, the airlines can lose your bag, but it only happens once in a blue moon (two or three times for me over the past dozen or so years). You usually get it within the day. Life doesn't end. Deeply annoying and troublesome, of course, but so is the accumulated pain of lugging luggage around given the above. And yes, it takes more time to get in and out of airports if you've checked luggage, but it's not that bad. You get time for a cigarette or two while you're waiting for the bag. And you need that time anyway.


1. Perhaps you don't fly enough to get priority boarding. If you get to board in the first two calls, then you have room. Also, connecting flights suck. Always fly non-stop if possible. I'd rather pay more to take one plane, than to make two stops just to save $100. I realize that some people live in places where direct flights are almost unavailable.

2. If you can't work all of your liquids into a 1 qt. baggie, then you have a problem. Hotels provide shampoo and conditioner. Shaving cream can be dispensed into a 3 oz. jar. Your razor should not go into this bag either. Hair gels or creams can easily be dispensed likewise into smaller containers. If you wear contacts and need saline, or have a liquid meidicine, then you are allowed another 1 qt. baggie. {my 1qt. baggie = 3 oz. jar filled with Every Man Jack shave cream, half-ounce jar with hair grooming cream, 1.7 oz. jar of grooming clay, 1.7 oz. squeeze bottle of pre-shave oil, bottle of Veramyst, 1 small travel tube of toothpaste.}

3. Baggage claim eats time. Who wants to waist 30 - 45 minutes waiting in the airport basement? And if you are using that time to smoke, perhaps you should think about kicking that nasty habit.
 

Don Carlos

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Originally Posted by J. Cogburn
1. Fully booked flights mean that you're lucky to get an overhead bin these days unless you are determined to do the line standing thing for 20 minutes or so at the gate. And if you're on a tight connecting flight, you're probably doomed. If you don't get that bin, you lose your leg room or have to check anyway.

Not to derail the thread too badly or anything, but what's up with that? Every flight I've taken in 2010 has been fully booked, if not overbooked. It's ridiculous. Doesn't matter which airport, time of day, day of the week, or week of the year. Every flight is filled to capacity, and there's a 45-minute built-in delay involved in selling off the oversold seats, loading everyone onto the plane, and then checking whichever bags were unlucky enough not to grab an overhead bin.

Seriously, it's as if the airlines got together and thought "You know what? We don't make life inconvenient enough as is for our customers. How can we better fuck them? Ideas?"
 

Metlin

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Originally Posted by A.K.A.
1. Perhaps you don't fly enough to get priority boarding. If you get to board in the first two calls, then you have room. Also, connecting flights suck. Always fly non-stop if possible. I'd rather pay more to take one plane, than to make two stops just to save $100. I realize that some people live in places where direct flights are almost unavailable. 2. If you can't work all of your liquids into a 1 qt. baggie, then you have a problem. Hotels provide shampoo and conditioner. Shaving cream can be dispensed into a 3 oz. jar. Your razor should not go into this bag either. Hair gels or creams can easily be dispensed likewise into smaller containers. If you wear contacts and need saline, or have a liquid meidicine, then you are allowed another 1 qt. baggie. {my 1qt. baggie = 3 oz. jar filled with Every Man Jack shave cream, half-ounce jar with hair grooming cream, 1.7 oz. jar of grooming clay, 1.7 oz. squeeze bottle of pre-shave oil, bottle of Veramyst, 1 small travel tube of toothpaste.} 3. Baggage claim eats time. Who wants to waist 30 - 45 minutes waiting in the airport basement? And if you are using that time to smoke, perhaps you should think about kicking that nasty habit.
Exactly. Flew ~200k miles last year, and did not check anything in even once, even for multi-week trips. Never had any problems with TSA (or any other security folks) trying to "confiscate" my razors, either. Heck, I work with "girly girls" who pack all their makeup in their carryon -- I don't think it would be that hard for men, in comparison. Going back to OP's question, I've one of these babies -- McKlein's detachable carryons, that I take with me. The advantage is that once you've reached your destination, you can remove the wheels.
That and a lightweight zippered garment bag and you're set. You can wear a jacket and have the flight attendant hang it for you, and you can easily accommodate 2 jackets and a few dress shirts in a small garment bag. The pants, toiletries, undergarments, ties and a pair of shoes can go in your bag.
 

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