Which leather garment bags are best?
Every traveler can appreciate arriving at their destination with wrinkle-free, ready-to-wear clothing. Unfortunately, this is often not the case if you’re traveling solely with wheeled luggage. Garment bags are smart ways to carry clothes so they don’t get wrinkled and creased while in transport.
While garment bags can be made from many materials, few match the aesthetics of leather. Not only does it result in a refined style, but it actually gets better looking with age. The Piel Leather Executive Expandable Garment Bag is a perfect example of this. Over time, it will develop a beautiful patina and as long as it is maintained properly, the leather stays soft and supple.
What to know before you buy a leather garment bag
Those looking for an affordable leather garment bag probably have seen the term “PU leather.” Despite the name, this is not leather; it’s a synthetic thermoplastic polymer material designed to look like and feel similar to leather. Many people like it because it is a low-cost, animal-friendly alternative to real leather. That said, it lacks leather’s durability, luxuriousness and ability to look better with age.
Bonded leather, sometimes referred to as bi-cast leather, is another common material you might encounter; it is a combination of real leather scraps and a polyurethane binder. Because it contains some genuine leather, it often is more expensive than PU leather yet not as expensive as full-leather garment bags. However, it is no more durable than PU leather, so there is no benefit to purchasing an item made from it.
Genuine leather is made entirely from animal hide and is extremely durable. Quality leather products can last for several generations and if regularly conditioned, become more supple and develop a beautiful patina with age.
Types of garment bags
While at one time, all garment bags may have had a very similar form, these days, there are many types. Traditional garment bags for traveling may have a bi- or tri-fold design and are generally carried over the shoulder. They may have a few extra pockets on the inside or outside, but are mostly designed to carry garments and just a few accessories.
Rolling garment bags look akin to other rolling luggage, although they generally are squatter and wider than your average carry-on. Like traditional garment bags, rolling garment bags store clothes in a folded position. Many people find the addition of wheels make them more convenient to transport.
Duffle-style garment bags have a section for garments and an all-purpose section for other items. They may have a dedicated shoe compartment. Unlike the other two styles, duffles store garments rolled around the interior compartment, rather than in a folded position.
Not all garment bags are the same length, so look at the dimensions of any model you are considering to ensure it is long enough to accommodate your clothing. If not, the garments may bunch up at the bottom of the bag, which will cause wrinkles.
What to look for in a quality leather garment bag
Straps and handles
Depending on the type of garment bag you choose, it may only have handles or both a shoulder strap and handles. They should be thick enough that they won’t dig into your skin, and the shoulder strap should have some kind of adjustable padding. Ideally, the shoulder strap will be detachable so it won’t get in the way when not in use.
Garment bags vary in the compartments they have. The most basic models may only have room for a few hanging garments and nothing else. You can find options with several pockets on the interior or exterior for accessories and toiletries, and even garment bags with large compartments for shoes or folded clothing.
Most garment bags have a small hook or loop on the inside where you can attach the hanger your clothes are on. This makes it easy to quickly pull your clothes out of the bag when you arrive at your destination and hang them in the closet or bathroom. For the most convenience, look for models that feature a flip-out hanging hook so you can hang the entire bag with your garments still inside.
Generally only found on duffel-style garment bags, luggage sleeves allow you to slip your bag over the trolly handle of your wheeled luggage.
How much you can expect to spend on a leather garment bag
Leather garment bags can be pricey so expect to spend $150-$500 or more on a quality piece. If that is a bit out of your budget, you can opt for a PU leather bag, which generally costs $50-$150.
Leather garment bag FAQ
Are garment bags allowed as carry-on luggage?
A. As long as your garment bag falls within the size restrictions of your chosen airline (and most do), there is no reason you can’t use it as carry-on luggage.
Does leather get ruined if it gets wet?
A. Technically, leather doesn’t get damaged when it gets wet. Instead, the damage happens during the drying process because the natural oils of the leather evaporate along with the water. That said, you can prevent this damage by treating your leather with a conditioner while it is still damp. You also can pretreat your leather with a protectant before it gets wet to prevent that damage.
What are the best leather garment bags to buy?
Top leather garment bag
What you need to know: This garment bag pairs a stylish design with a smart layout for a model that is as attractive as it is functional.
What you’ll love: It expands for those times you need to carry some extra clothing, and it is handcrafted in Colombia from premium top-grain leather.
What you should consider: Its large size and thick leather makes it heavy even when empty.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top leather garment bag for the money
What you need to know: This affordable duffle-style garment bag makes the perfect weekender and works on business and casual trips alike.
What you’ll love: It has a spacious 45-liter center compartment that includes a separate shoe compartment. There is a trolley handle sleeve for added convenience when traveling with multiple pieces of luggage.
What you should consider: The hardware quality doesn’t match that of the leather.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This convenient wheeled option is ideal for the traveler who doesn’t want to deal with carrying their luggage.
What you’ll love: It has three zippered exterior pockets for items you need easy access to, and the main interior section has a small compartment for toiletries.
What you should consider: It weighs 15 pounds even before putting any clothes into it.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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