The 4 best garment bags for travel

If you're traveling with items that need to remain pressed and polished, the right garment bag is essential. But there are infinite options out there, and many of them won't be worth your time or money. To zero in on the best garment bags for travel, there are a few important factors to consider.

The first thing to think about is whether you want a bag that works as a carry-on for flights. The tricky thing about garment bags is that the most carry-on-friendly ones are often the least spacious. If you're looking for a bag that can fit a week's worth of clothes, you'll probably need to go with something bigger and just check it when you fly.

You'll also need to decide between wheels or no wheels. While a rolling bag may be easier to get around, the tradeoffs are that it'll be a lot heavier (5 to 8 pounds heavier, to be more specific) and, in some cases, it will offer less packable space.

Finally, you should think about your budget and weigh that against how long you're hoping the bag will last. This is a scenario where you usually get what you pay for, and while you can find a bag that's under $40, it probably won't last you as long as a pricier option with more thoughtful construction.

Now that you hopefully have a better idea of what you're looking for, read on for my list of the best travel garment bags, so you can find the one that's right for your needs and budget.

1. The Overall Best

Overall dimensions: 22.8 by 11 by 11.8 inches

Length when expanded: 37.5 inches

What makes it great: If you're looking for something that can fit a few days' worth of clothes while still being small enough to use as an in-flight carry-on, this roll-up garment bag is your best bet. Impressively versatile, it packs up into a duffel bag with an internal storage compartment that fits up to two pairs of shoes or boots. It also has a few internal pockets to keep small things organized. The water-resistant fabric is a durable blend of polyester and Jacquard, and the shoulder strap is both adjustable and detachable, which means you'll be able to customize it for the most comfortable fit. Also, this bag is incredibly light, weighing in at just 2.5 pounds (for reference, some of the wheeled bags on this list weigh as much as 10 pounds).

This option doesn't feature wheels, but it does have a convenient strap that allows you to slide it onto the handle of your wheeled luggage. And while the bag's dimensions lead me to believe it may be too big to use as a carry-on for some of the stricter airlines, among the hundreds of reviews, I couldn't find a single complaint about having to check it at the gate. All in all, it offers surprising quality and convenience for the price.

What fans say: "I used it to carry my tux internationally for a wedding. My tux arrived ready to wear and the compartment for the shoes, bow tie, and accessories is amazing. The first couple of uses the zipper on the ends can be difficult to close, but once it’s been a used it becomes easier. I would strongly recommend this bag. It is very durable and fits as a [carry] on."

2. The Best Wheeled Garment Bag

Overall dimensions: 21.75 by 14 by 9 inches

Length when expanded: Not specified

What makes it great: For a top-quality wheeled bag that's built to last, this Travelpro garment bag is a smart investment from a reliable brand. Constructed with wear-resistant nylon, it features sturdy, in-line wheels, as well as an aluminum telescoping handle that's steady and stable. It also offers a multitude of pockets and straps to hold everything in place. In spite of these additional features, this is one of the most compact options on this list and falls within the carry-on size restraints for most domestic flights. However, that does mean space is tighter, and longer suits or dresses may need to be folded a second time to fit.

While I don't have this garment bag in particular, I've been traveling with the same Travelpro luggage set for years without any issues — so, I'd say this brand lives up to the hype.

What fans say: "4 days worth of mens dress shirts, shoes and even suit jacket all fit no problem. Lightweight and fits well in overhead bin. Plenty of room for a carry on. Also and most importantly the clothes aren't a wrinkled mess!"

3. The Best Cheap Garment Bag

Overall dimensions: 22 by 7 by 23 inches

Length when expanded: 44 inches

What makes it great: At just under $40, this wheeled garment bag is not going to last forever, but it's a quality option given the price tag. Made with 1,200 denier polyester, it has a retracting handle and in-line wheels. The bag also boasts internal and external pockets, so you can keep smaller items handy. With hundreds of five-star reviews on Amazon, this popular pick is incredibly spacious, which means you'll be able to pack a lot, but you'll also need to check it for airline travel.

What fans say: "This garment bag holds a lot of clothes. We were able to pack a dress, men's suit, a youth suit, and 3 pairs of shoes with all of the other dress accessories with room to spare. I initially thought we would be tight on space, but once unzipped with clothes hung inside, I immediately realized there was a lot of room to spare. If you are needing to pack 5 pairs of dress clothes and possibly 2 pairs of shoes and accessories, you should have plenty of space. The bag rolls well and is easy to load and unload in a vehicle."

4. The Best Garment Bag For Longer Clothes

Overall dimensions: Approximately 14 by 3 by 21.8 inches

Length when expanded: 52 inches

What makes it great: Small enough to use as a carry-on for most domestic flights, this tri-fold garment bag expands to 52 inches in length, making it perfect for longer suits and dresses. On top of that, once it's unfurled, the whole thing can be hung up on a hook or in a closet. Made with 1,680 denier polyester on the outside and 210 denier polyester on the inside, this bag offers multiple pockets for shoes and accessories. While it doesn't have wheels, it weighs just 4.5 pounds, making it easy to carry around. The biggest drawback is that it may only hold one or two outfits. But overall, this bag offers many thoughtful design touches to keep your clothes pressed and ready to wear.

What fans say: "Like: Construction, nice design and color. Dislike: Only fits one suit. Cannot use for week long business trips."

Also Helpful: Travel Hangers For Garment Bags

What makes them great: Both strong and durable, these stainless steel hangers work great with most garment bags. They won't bend or break like hangers made from other materials, such as steel, wood, or plastic. Plus, they have a high approval-rating among Amazon users, with 4.7 stars. Measuring at 16.5 inches wide, the hangers are available as a pack of 10.

What fans say: "These things are strong! I use them to hang backpacks and my travel suitcase which weighs around 5 pounds, and it doesn't [bend] at all. They work great for clothes too and they are nice and compact. Will definitely buy more in the future"

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