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Garment sleeve for a carryon

Okay, so I have a packing challenge, and I naturally gravitated to the experts in this forum!

I'm attending a wedding in a couple of months which will necessiate packing a suit. I'm a dedicated carryon only guy, and unlike in my working days (I'm retired now), I don't want to lug around or check a heavy garment bag for just one suit. What I'm looking for is a decent trifold sleeve that would fit in a domestic carryon of 22". I looked at the Eagle Creek pack-It version, and it seems well rated and not too expensive.

Ideally, I want to minimize wrinkling to avoid having to have the suit pressed upon arrival, so there needs to be some structure to the sleeve. It also has to be light enough to allow enough space to pack my other clothes (trip duration is three days, so this shouldn't be too big a problem using the packing tips I've picked up on this site).

Any ideas? I don't want to cheap up on this, but as it's a one-off, I also don't need to spend a lot on something I may never use again. Thanks in advance for the feedback!

Posted by
2592 posts

Can you pack neatly folded suit pants - in thirds wil usually fit - and wear the suit jacket onto the plane? Then neatly fold the jacket after you’re seated? It would save space in the carryon and prevent the jacket from getting crushed in the suitcase and getting very wrinkled.

Posted by
3923 posts

Some people fold their suits in a dry cleaners bag to minimize wrinkles. Try it before you go to see if this technique could work for your particular suit material. The price and weight are certainly right!

Posted by
156 posts

Good suggestions. I generally find a long flight in a suit jacket to be uncomfortable and wrinkle prone, and have heard the dry cleaning bag idea before, and it isn't a bad idea. I do keep the bags my suits came in, and they're pretty solid, so that might be an option. I'd say that the biggest factor is "wrinkle proofing" the suit in transit.

Posted by
14615 posts

Go to youtube and search for "how to fold a suit." There will be dozens on videos on how to do this for travel. Try them out to see if one works best for you. No need for a special garment sleeve.

Posted by
980 posts

I travel with a suit and dress shirts often and I use the 'bundle packing' technique similar to what the previous poster linked to. Works well and no need for a separate trifold (even thought I have one that came with my 22" Kirkland carryon). When I arrive at my destination I take the suit out and hang it in the bathroom when I shower to steam out any slight wrinkles.

Posted by
8293 posts

For Pete’s sake. The anguish over doing carry-on only is never-ending on this forum. Check your bag and be done with it, for one time in your life. I promise not to think less of you.

Posted by
8329 posts

what's the point of trying to fit it in a carryon, if you won't have room for any other clothes? Just check a bag. If worried about luggage delay, put your other clothes in the checked bag, and carryon the suit.

Posted by
10864 posts

The Eagle Creek Pack It works well. We shipped a suit ahead for a wedding in South America. Priority Mail large box.

Posted by
418 posts

You don't say how long your travel is, but on long-haul flights many seats have a special knob on which to hang a jaclet at the side of the seat in front. So I agree with horsewoofie: pack the trousers and wear the jacket onto the plane but hang it up when seated.

Posted by
2109 posts

Likely The Container Store will have someone that will suffice. If not, just a simple nylon garment bag should also work.

Unless we are taking just a simple weekend trip with very casual clothing, our typical packing method is to take hanging shirts, trousers, skirt, dress, etc.,
put those (on the hangers) into a light nylon garment bag, zip it up, then fold it into threes, then set it into the RS rollaboard (disclaimer we have the older style RS carry-on that is no longer sold on this site....we would not be able to do this as easily with the new size RS rollaboard). Then once we arrive our hotel, we simply take the garment bag out of the rollaboard and hang it. If we are just staying a night or two, I don't even remove the hangers from the garment bag, I just unzip it and pull out what I need, etc.

We've lugged a tux this way a few times, as well as a sports coat. All came out just fine. If you are traveling in business class (or even comfort class), you could always ask the flight attendant if there is somewhere the inner garment bag could be hung during the long overseas flight. Even if I were in plain ole coach, I would probably very nicely explain my concern to the flight attendant, and you might luck up and have the inner garment bag hung during the long flight (or you could take it out and fold it in three in the overhead yourself, then switch positions (changing the fold areas half-way during the flight. But, seriously, unless it is a linen suit, you should come out just fine with the three-fold method, being careful to make sure the jacket sleeves are not bunched up as you fold.

You didn't ask about packing a tie, but what I do for that (when my spouse will need one), I fold place white tissue paper around it, fold it in half, then carefully roll it (with tissue paper sort of cushioning the roll), then set it into a Tupperware-like container (round), with a lid on the top...then that finds it way comfortably into a small open space in the suitcase. That method avoids a crummy wrinkle that can develop if the tie is folded over trousers and shifts in position en transit.

My husband wears a lot of the Brooks Brothers long-sleeve no-iron all-cotton shirts when we travel (provides some sun protection), and people are always asking me if I iron my husband's shirts each day. NO!!!! Never!! Just packed with the method referenced above.

The challenge when one needs more formal attire is those darn extra dress shoes -- they take up a lot of space, but stuff socks, undies (in baggies), etc. in them.

Posted by
156 posts

Thanks for the replies. I’m not against checking bags, but that wasn’t the question. A checked bag versus a carryon would still contain the suit. The video on the inside out method of folding a suit was quite informative, actually. I traveled on business fairly regularly years ago, and often traveled in a suit. But it’s been a few years, and as luggage has changed, was looking for a “new and improved”method. It’s a short trip (see the original post),so I don’t have a lot of other clothes to bring, which makes the carryon option more atttractive. Thanks again.

Posted by
23119 posts

I will actually try to answer your question instead of jumping on a tangent. I use a single suit, tri-fold, sleeve and it works very well with a suit. Also, once a year I attend a formal function in various parts of the country and need a tux. Both the tux and suit are of a high quality light weight wool. It will be creased where folded but not winkled. On arrival I hang it in the bathroom, take a good, hot, steamy shower and the folders fall out over a couple of hours. I am also retired and down to one long sleeve white shirt and five ties - want options. The tux is easier with black tie and cumberbund.

I sometimes just use the sleeve as a carry-on in addition to my regular carry on bag. It slides in easily on top of my bag in the overhead. It is so small it is hardily noticed. Never been questions by the gate people.

Good luck.

Posted by
173 posts

Maggie, I'm fascinated by your packing method. It sounds so easy and logical. Do you group outfits on one hanger--shirt, pants, jacket? Do you use very lightweight hangers to avoid overweight bags? I would be afraid that the hangers would add too much weight.

Posted by
2109 posts

We use the cheapie (free) dry-cleaner wire hangers (to reduce weight), and then we use a wire (think large-bread-bag-like wire tie, but usually something that we've saved from electronics packing....wires to hold things in place in packing, etc....just wrap the wire around the hanger handles), to hold all the hangers together, so they don't slip and damage clothing....that big gob of hanger handles is OUTSIDE the light-weight garment bag, and the "handle" to the garment bag (nylon) is wrapped around that gob, too.
When taking a tux or a formal suit (which is rare for us), then a wood suit hanger, with the trousers under the jacket, is used. Ditto for a really heavy type outer jacket (such as for our trip to Greenland).
Typically under the tri-folded garment bag we can place some shoes, etc. to leverage that bottom space in the old-style RS rollaboard.
How I will miss those great suitcases when they finally "die" from old age. The new RS models are just not as large, and (as I said in my earlier post), we would not be able to use the exact same packing in the new-model rollaboard (it's too small; we have one of those, too, and rarely use it).
But our packing method works for us (as different ones work for other posters). We've traveled all around the globe in a variety of weather environments. The easiest: the t-shirts, shorts, and bathing suit packing for the islands :) Very few hangers for those type trips :) And, our thoughts are with the dear folks in the Virgin Islands as they continue to recover from the hurricane. The worst packing challenge: Artic locales, because of the layers, those darn high Artic boots (even when filled with items to maximize space). I almost wore pink Muck boots on an Icelandair flight this year, but we were able to rearrange items (but still had to check one case....even though I almost won the carry-on challenge.....just could not accomplish it for that trip ;(