There are two ways that a duffel can roll up your suits without needing to create folds. The most common way is where the whole duffle lies flat in the fully opened state like a garment bag. You pack the suits, dresses or pants into the bag and then it rolls inwards and zips up into a cylindrical form to become a duffel bag in its closed state. The sides of the duffel may have shoe pockets and the front of the garment section will have several pockets to hold accessories. Once in the closed state with just the top zip open, the interior space is where you store the rest of your clothes. This is called a convertible garment bag because in its open state you can hang the whole bag up by its own integrated hook.
The other way is where there are two pieces to the luggage. There is one zipped cylinder that holds accessories and the garment section rolls around the cylinder to become a duffel bag.
There is one disadvantage of this type of garment bag and that is you’ll have to completely unpack it to get at your suit. If this is not something you care to do, take a look at our recommendations for normal carry on garment bags. If you want wheels, you won’t be able to carry on your bag just because wheeled garment bags don’t fit the size restrictions. If you’re ok with checking in your bag or you’re just driving, take a look at our best rolling garment bag reviews.
Amazon had a few of these duffel garment bags, but we have selected just a few that are the best and reviewed them below.
Convertible Garment Bag
Code Alpha Hybrid Garment Duffel Bag
The Code Alpha Hybrid is the highest rated garment duffel bag because its design is simple and its construction is solid. Maybe it’s because the company specializes in military gear. While we don’t know any business traveller who would pick any of the camouflage patterns, the plain black, navy and khaki brown colors are suitable for all. The material used is water resistant polyester.
The Code Alpha measures 5 x 15 x 24 inches and weighs just 4.4 lbs. While the length goes slightly over the standard 22 inch allowed for carry on with many US airlines, it is softsided and customers say they have always been allowed on board.
The garment bag can easily hold 4 shirts and 2 pants or 2 suits and shirts. The padding in the panels prevent creases from forming in the clothes. Once converted into a duffel, the inner space can hold lots of other items too. There is a standard metal hook and D ring at the top of the bag to hand over a rod and hold your own wire hangers. Velcro flaps fold over the top and bottom of the bag and a zip runs through the length of the bag in the center to close it once your formals are packed. The side flaps and the top and bottom of the garment bag fold up and are held together via dual zippers to form a duffel bag. A top zipper zips the top closed. There are clips that hold the zippers together but they are plastic and don’t provide a tight closure, so you may want to use your own small carabiners or luggage zip ties.
There are two zippered pockets, one mesh and one opaque, in the middle and on either side of the bag. There are two flap front pockets on the outside and two slip pockets on both the side panels.
The shoulder strap is adjustable and detachable and comes with an adjustable pad for a relatively comfortable carry, although we don’t suggest trying a lug this on your shoulder for long distances if you pack it to the rafters. Dual grab handles on top are secured together with a Velcro fastener for another mode of transport.
Golden Pacific Travel Garment Bag Convertible To Duffle Bag
If you’re nervous about the length of the Code Alpha bag above or prefer a more sophisticated looking bag, conside the Golden Pacific Convertible garment to duffel. It is only available in black polyester with black leatherette trim but it does have a more polished business look to it.
This roll up garment bag for carry on measures 21″L x 9.5″W x 13″H in the duffel form and 37″ L X 21″ W when lying flat open as a garment bag. It weighs a very light 2.4 lbs.
The design is similar – pack your suits or other formals into the garment bag that opens in the center by a zipper and then fold down the top and bottom flaps to keep them in place. The zippers that bring up the side panels are a bit awkward to use if you pack the bag full and there are no clips to ensure that they stay together when closed, so you do have to be sure you’ll take this only as carry on and don’t check it in if you’re flying. This bag can accommodate 2 suits, 1 pair of pants and 3 shirts along with other items.
There are two zipped pockets on each exterior side and a large zipped pocket on the front exterior, but there are no pockets on the inside of the bag except for two slip pockets on the inside of each side panel. You also won’t find a hanging hook on this bag but there is a D-ring to use with your own wire hangers. The spartan design helps to keep the overall weight of the bag down, so it’s easy for just about anyone to carry. This is also helped by a detachable and adjustable shoulder strap with padding and dual leatherette top handles.
The best thing about this bag is that it’s the cheapest of the lot but you do have fewer features and one legitimate negative mentioned above to take into consideration.
Weekend Bag Company Duffel + Garment Bag – The New Standard
If the lack of organizational features put you off the Golden Pacific bag but you otherwise like the size and look, consider the Weekend Bag Company’s The New Standard. It measures 14″ W x 22″ L x 12″ T and weighs 2.8 Lbs and is made of heavy duty canvas.
While the outside of the bag looks very similar with a single zippered pocket on the front, it’s the insides that differs quite a bit. There are several pockets to keep your items more organized. Two elastic top shoe pockets at the bottom and three zipped pockets line the top and bottom of the garment bag in its open state. What’s clever about their positioning is that when in the closed state, these pockets are in just the right locations to be accessed easily without having to open up the bag completely. After packing your garments (you can fit 2 suits and 2 shirts, or 4 shirts and 2 pants) in the bag and zipping it up, the top secures shut via two snap buttons.
There is a detachable padded shoulder strap and nylon dual top grab handles and the bag folds completely flat when empty for easy storage.
While the bag itself is good, customers say that the zippers are difficult to use and will take time getting used to.
Hook and Albert Canvas and Leather Garment Weekender Bag
If money is no object then get the Hook and Albert Canvas and Leather Garment Weekender Bag. It is designed for men, but its available colors and design are just as good for women. In fact, tall men say that this bag doesn’t fit large suits. It measures 22 x 13 x 10 inches and weighs 5 lbs and is made of canvas on the outside and nylon on the inside. The trim, dual handles and adjustable and detachable shoulder strap are made of genuine leather.
There is one large zippered pocket on the exterior back that is big enough for a tablet or e-reader. There are two pockets on the front sitting side by side that close with a buckled snap button flap. The inside of the garment bag features a shoe pocket on each of the side panels, three small zippered pockets for accessories and one full width narrow zippered pocket for ties. A snap button tab on the top closes down to secure hanger loops. All the pockets are perfectly placed so that they can be accessed freely even when the bag is in its duffel state.
The side panel zips secure together by strong metal clips but customers say that when you unclip the zippers they tend to unzip too easily and if you’re packing more than one suit you have to be careful while inserting the garments in to ensure they remain wrinkle-free. This bag also gets quite heavy if packed too full. It’s a durable bag that’s designed well, but the cost of this bag may not be justified.
Garment bag around a small duffel
Henty Wingman Two-Piece Travel and Suit Bag
All the above options are of bags made of one piece that convert from a flat garment bag to a closed duffel bag. The Henty Wingman is a two piece bag where the garment bag is separate from the duffel and the former wraps around the latter. The construction of both is of nylon.
The design is geared towards local travel and specifically for business people who want to cycle to work and then change at the office to their suits. If you want to travel farther afield, this bag can hold enough stuff for two days, provided you’re a minimalist packer. It measures 9 x 22 x 11 inches and weighs 4.4 pounds.
The garment bag opens via a full length u-shaped zipper, so placing your suit or other formals inside without crumpling is easy. You can fasten your hanger hook to the top via a velcro tab and then zip up the bag. Next, take the separate small duffel bag and pack your shoes and accessories into it. It zips closed along the top. You then lay the duffel on top of the garment bag and fasten them together using the attached snap buckles to keep the duffel in place. Then picking up the top of the garment bag, roll it over the duffel to cover it completely. Now use the bottom buckles to fasten the ends of the bag to itself to form a tight cylinder around the duffel. Once it is fully closed, there’s a zipped pocket on the front that is padded and big enough for an iPad or a Macbook. There’s also space for pens, keys, etc.
The whole piece of luggage can be slung over your shoulder like a duffel using the padded and adjustable shoulder strap but it sits diagonally across your back. To keep the Wingman from moving around you use the front chest strap to attach via a buckle to another point on the bag. This makes it very good for cyclists. The problem with it is that it is designed to be carried this way only over one shoulder, so walking with it over long distances will be tough, especially because it can be quite heavy if you pack it to the gills. There is also no top grab handle as another option.