Two words rarely uttered by season air travellers: checked luggage.
Most travellers are loath to give their lives over to baggage handlers. Up to about five days, most travellers will stick to a carry-on at almost any cost. But most department-store carry-on bags offer little in the way of storing a suit or jacket properly, and let their users down in other ways, as well.
John Thiessen, head honcho (really, that's what his card says) at UN Luggage, offered a look at some travel solutions to help you and your clothes arrive together still looking presentable. "Nobody likes to iron in a hotel room," he said.
The first is the SkyRoll garment bag ($175). It's no bigger than a duffle bag, but it carries up to three suits with features to minimize that travelled look. It is a tube around which a garment-bag-like carrier is wrapped. So you put your suits and shirts in the garment bag while it is laid flat, zip it closed to contain your items and then roll it around the tube and secure with plastic latches. By rolling it around the tube, you minimize creasing of your clothes. The tube will hold toiletries, shoes and undergarments.
If you need to carry one suit, such as for a short trip or if you're wearing the other, LAT56 ($165), a Scottish brand, has a unique system. The bag is about the size of a small portable stereo, but holds a suit and keeps the suit's shape. You use a foam device instead of a hanger, which holds the shape of the shoulders, and then lay the suit into a zipped sleeve, which then folds up to fit in the carrier. Tubes at the fold points maximize the radius of the curve around the fold to help minimize creasing.
For the ultimate carry-on, Briggs and Riley's wide-body ($489) is the way to go. Not only does it contain a nifty suiter, it keeps the handle mechanism out of the inside of the case to create a flat packing area. Mesh covers cinch down tightly to keep clothes from crinkling. It opens so that you can lay the bag on the luggage stand and rest it against the wall. Large tubes at the fold points help reduce wrinkling, and straps and covers cinch the clothes in place to keep them flat.
If all you need is to keep your shirts crisp, there's the Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder ($30), which includes a plastic folding guide and a nylon cover to prevent settling. kelly.taylor@ freepress.mb.ca