2020 Guide to Picking the Best Garment Duffel

Travel 2020 | 6 min read 

Whether it’s for leisure or work, there will come a time when you need to travel with a formal ensemble that requires special packing. Be it a suit, dress, or coat, you’ll need a convenient and efficient way to store these items on your travels. Many of us are familiar with a traditional garment bag, but are looking for a luggage piece that can do more than carry a few dress shirts.

[Image: Signature 2.0 Plus Backpack in Black with Signature 2.0 Garment Duffel in Black Croc] 

An upgraded alternative is a 2-in-1 garment duffel bag. When laid flat, it looks like a classic garment bag. However, when the sides are fully zipped, it forms a duffle bag. This soft-sided style is meant to maximize your carry space by transporting higher-value clothing in the garment compartment, and additional items in the duffel compartment. Typically, garment duffle bags can store 2-3 suits or dresses, a weekend’s worth of clothing, shoes, and toiletries. This makes garment duffel bags perfect for travelers that frequently pack fancier attire for shorter trips. It’s the perfect 2-in-1 luggage for weddings, business trips, 3-day weekends, and holidays. For travelers that need their luggage to be both stylish and functional, a garment duffel bag is the best option.

Tips for picking the Best Garment Duffle

1. Materials

Choose a garment duffle that is made with durable and functional materials. It is common to see garment duffels made from leather, vegan leather, or canvas blends. However, keep in mind the following pros and cons of each material:

Genuine Leather |

Pros: long-lasting, durable, flexible, ages well over time

Cons: heavy, not eco-friendly, not cruelty-free

Vegan Leather | 

Pros: durable, weather-resistant, fade-resistant, tear-resistant, easy-to-clean, lightweight, cruelty-free

Cons: less flexible than genuine leather

Canvas |

Pros: lightweight, tear-resistant, flexible, durable

Cons: doesn’t wick liquids unless specially-treated, not as eco-friendly (requires large amounts of water to grow cotton and flax plants) 

Stay away from cheaper or flimsy materials because these tend to crease while you’re on-the-go--this defeats the purpose of trying to keep garments wrinkle-free! The material of your 2-in-1 garment duffel should be thick enough that when folded in half, it forms a rounded bend rather than a harsh crease.

2. Color 

Choose something that will match your other luggage pieces, backpacks, or totes. Oftentimes, you’ll want to carry them together so coordinating these pieces will achieve a cohesive look. Neutral colors like black, grey, navy, and brown, will match a majority of your wardrobe and other luggage pieces. These darker colors are also great because they won’t show all the dirt that luggage tends to collect while being moved from overhead cabin to floor, etc. 

3. Storage

A garment duffel should be able to store 2-3 suits or dresses in the garment compartment. In the duffel portion, it should have room for a weekend’s worth of apparel, shoes, toiletries, cosmetics, and other essentials. It’s important to find a garment duffle bag that has a separate compartment or pocket to store shoes--you wouldn’t want to put dirty shoes near clean clothes and toiletries.  

4. Comfort

Choose a bag that features sturdy and padded handles. Whether you’re carrying your garment duffel by hand or on your shoulder, you’ll want to be sure that the carrying features are comfortable and durable. A removable shoulder strap is not only useful for multiple carrying options, it also allows you to remove the strap when not in use. No one likes getting tangled in straps that aren't needed.

5. Functionality

The best garment duffel bags are not only stylish but functional as well. Make sure the size of the bag is suitable for you to carry and store in-flight. For people with smaller frames, some garment duffles may be a bit large to carry by hand. However, they are easier to carry by shoulder, or on top of a rolling luggage. Your garment duffel should contain a thin, low-profile hanging loop near the top of the garment bag to provide a space where hangers can attach to. This will ensure that when in transit, all garments stay secure. 

It’s also important to make sure that your 2-in-1 garment duffel has additional internal and external pockets. This will allow for easy access to personal items when the bag is folded and unfolded. Items like: passport, kerys, wallet, headphones, books, etc., will always be in reach. 

Additionally, be sure that the bag’s zippers allow for easy packing. Many high-end garment duffel bags will have a single-zipper system that makes unraveling the bag very easy. The internal zipper should either be diagonal or vertical so you’re able to place garments, hassle-free. 

A bonus feature on many high-end garment duffles is a trolley sleeve. This handy sleeve is typically on the back of the bag, and slides over the handle of a rolling luggage. A trolley sleeve secures your garment duffel to your rolling luggage so you can navigate through the airport without it falling off.  

Learn more about the VESSEL Signature 2.0 Garment Duffel

This 2-in-1 Garment Duffel is a unisex style, crafted from premium vegan leather, silky nylon and waterproof zippers. This modern take on a classic travel piece has 52L capacity and carry-on approved by most U.S. airlines. 

This dream duffel garment bag features a weatherproof exterior that is specially treated for abrasion- and fade-resistance. The durable exterior is crafted from the same materials seen on our tour-grade golf bags, to offer a refined style that will last for years to come. Available in beautiful neutral tones, our luxury garment duffels complement any wardrobe and pair easily with other luggage pieces and backpacks. It is lined with high-quality nylon to provide a plush interior that protects designer clothing, valuables, shoes, and delicates. 

Our garment duffle is designed with a single-zipper system to allow the bag to lay flat like a traditional garment bag. This enables quick and effortless packing and unpacking. The practical and foldable design features an interior hook for vertical hanging to ensure that all suits, dresses, dress shirts, and sport coats are secure throughout your travels. 

With three internal zipper pockets, you can safely store: jewelry, watches, cufflinks, and other small accessories. All of your valuables that need a secure place can be tucked away when your garment duffel is fully zipped.

 When partially zipped, you can create an open-facing duffel that allows you to effortlessly stack and organize tops, bottoms, toiletries, shave kits, and cosmetics. Two elastic, interior side pockets are perfect for stashing extra shoes, small towels, or more clothing.

The exterior showcases 2 magnetic, expandable pockets that are perfect for stashing passports, credentials, or other items that need to be easily accessible. The Signature 2.0 Garment Duffel features top handles and a removable shoulder strap so you can interchange how you carry your bag. Or, if you prefer to transport your garment duffel on top of your rolling suitcase, then the Trolley Sleeve provides easy portability. Make this 2-in-1 luggage piece your own, by adding a personal touch-- all Vessel Garment Duffels have a removable nameplate that can be engraved with up to 5 initials. 

The Signature 2.0 Garment Duffel pairs best with: 

Best Travel Accessories for Signature 2.0 Garment Duffel: