What is the best garment bag?
Many people have a garment bag in their luggage collection, and it’s not just business travelers. Many travelers appreciate these versatile pieces of luggage for packing clothing to arrive wrinkle-free when they arrive at their destination.
If you’re thinking of investing in a garment bag, here’s our buying guide covering what you need to know. There are a few recommendations at the end, including our top choice, Samsonite Silhouette 16 Hardside Spinner Garment Glider, a sleek design with flexible packing solutions.
What to know before you buy a garment bag
What you can put in a garment bag
Many people reserve garment bags for more delicate clothing, such as suits and dresses. Typically, these pieces use wrinkle-prone materials, like wool, silk or polyester.
Garment bags’ designs include spacious interiors that allow garments to lie flat without being crushed or wrinkled by surrounding items. As a result, clothes sustain minimal wrinkling and creasing in transit and may only require light steaming or ironing before they’re worn.
Some travelers use garment bags as overnight or weekender bags, even if they’re not packing fine clothing. Many of these bags are space-savvy and highly organized, making it easy to pack a couple of days’ worth of belongings.
Types of garment bags
There are a few styles of garment bags you’ll come across:
- Suitcase garment bags have structured designs and usually feature a high level of internal organization. They have bifold designs and are suitable to use as checked baggage.
- Carry-on garment bags have dimensions that meet an airline’s size guidelines. These slender designs fit beneath your seat or in the overhead compartment.
- Some suitcases have built-in garment storage, in which they have a separate compartment for suits, dresses and similar clothing. They’re often thought of as all-in-one travel garment bags.
- Soft folding garment bags are lightweight versions of suitcase garment bags. They’re somewhat flimsy and don’t offer much in the way of protection. They often lack organization as well, so many travelers prefer them for road trips or short journeys.
- Hanging garment bags, also called garment storage bags, are usually intended for home use. While they’re the best garment bag for storage, they’re generally too flimsy for travel.
Garment bag weight
Generally speaking, the larger and bulkier a garment bag is, the more it weighs. This is important to keep in mind for air travel. Airlines enforce strict weight limits for checked baggage, and if your garment bag is over the limit, you may need to pay extra fees.
Garment bag features
Length when opened
Consider the garment bag’s length when opened, especially if you’re packing longer garments like gowns. Otherwise, you may find yourself stuffing the bottom of a dress or suit inside the garment bag, which defeats the whole purpose of wrinkle-free travel.
On average, garment bags measure between 40 and 54 inches, though a few styles open to 60 inches. Keep in mind these measurements refer to travel garment bags. Garment storage bags, which often hold wedding and formal gowns, may be longer than 60 inches.
Some travelers seek garment bags with high levels of organization, typically in the form of compartments, pockets and sleeves. Depending on their shapes and sizes, these compartments may hold footwear, toiletries or accessories.
Ease of moving and carrying
Garment bags have wheels, straps or handles for carrying. It’s common for garment bags to be equipped with some or all of these.
- Wheeled garment bags are the easiest to tote around terminals and train stations, though the wheels may add considerable weight to the bag.
- Some garment bags have adjustable shoulder straps. They’re fairly easy to carry, provided the garment bag isn’t too bulky or heavy.
- Many garment bags have handles, though they’re not necessarily intended for carrying. More often than not, they make it easier to lift and move garment bags.
Garment bag cost
Lightweight and soft garment bags, which aren’t always suitable for travel, cost $50 or less. Mid-range garment bags cost between $60-$150. High-quality garment bags made by reputable luggage manufacturers cost anywhere from $175-$600.
Garment bag FAQ
How do I know whether a garment bag can be used as a carry-on?
A. Once you have the garment bag’s specifications, take a look at the airline’s carry-on size requirements. Keep in mind that size requirements may vary between airlines. If you have a connecting flight with a different airline, you’ll need to check their carry-on size requirements as well.
Will my garment bag come with a warranty?
A. It’s common for luggage manufacturers to include limited or lifetime warranties. They often request proof of purchase to open a claim. Many manufacturers now offer online product registration, which saves your purchase information and may streamline claims.
Which garment bag should I get?
Best of the best garment bag
Our take: This premium hard side spinner garment bag offers premium protection and has an expandable storage design.
What we like: The telescoping handle offers seven height adjustments. It’s equipped with built-in TSA-approved locks, has a removable suiter panel with a roll bar and is backed by a 10-year warranty.
What we dislike: It weighs a little over 11 pounds and is rather bulky.
Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s
Best bang for your buck garment bag
Our take: Popular for packing uniforms and formalwear, this garment bag is an affordable option that holds several garments and a couple of shoes.
What we like: It has a durable design with 1200D polyester and reinforced edges, mesh corner compartments suitable for footwear or accessories and the telescoping handle is stable when fully extended.
What we dislike: It doesn’t have spinner wheels, but that’s not a dealbreaker for most consumers.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Honorable mention garment bag
Our take: A slender travel garment bag that holds the bare essentials and secures them with a three-belt system.
What we like: The lightweight design is easy to carry with the adjustable shoulder strap. It has a large external pocket for basic office supplies and a rear sleeve that fits over most telescoping handles.
What we dislike: It doesn’t hold too many garments and has mixed reviews regarding whether it fits in overhead bins.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.