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Monday, January 23, 2012

Review: Skyroll Garment Bag

Tired of trying to get all your business or formal clothes to your destination wrinkle-free? Sad you had to give up your trusty garment bag because of the crazy baggage fees airlines charge? Wonder how you can bring more clothing, but still pack light? Need an intro to the clothes rolling packing technique? If you answered yes to any of these questions, read on: 


Okay, I have to say I'm REALLY excited about this review today. Last week I received a Skyroll Garment bag on my doorstep and I was thrilled to try it out. The more I investigated, the cooler it seemed. Since I've mentioned this on the blog and my Facebook wall more than once, I was happy to find out that my original impression of the Skyroll was not an overstatement. I found this excellent carry-on on a trip to Men's Wearhouse and grilled the sales guy there about it while my husband was getting some tailoring done. You'll have to excuse the many photos, but if you're anything like me, you want to see stuff from a million different angles and a demo (or two) of how it works and what all can fit in it.


Your garment bag wraps around a barrel bag that has two compartments that can be used for shoes, accessories, toiletries, electronics or anything else you want to bring with you. One of the compartments comes with a hanging toiletry bag that can hold quite a bit. The garment bag does double duty. As you can see, it has zippered sections for packing necessities. You might use it for socks, underwear, undershirts, ties, scarves, etc. You get the idea. Behind these mesh, zippered pockets is the actual garment bag. You can unzip it on three of the four sides in order to pack it more effectively. It also has a slot for a hanger, so not only can you pull it right out of the bag and hang in the closet, but having the whole thing hung up once at your destination would make for a very organized unpacking experience.


My first thought about the Skyroll Garment Bag was that it would be perfect for cruising. Why? Because it's hard to pack light when you also want to enjoy formal nights on the boat. Suit jackets, dress shoes and accessories can take up a lot of room and while I always suggest not bringing things you don't need, it's pretty impossible to leave some things at home if you want to look good or don't want to spend those evenings in your cabin or at the buffet.


Above, I chose what I would want to bring on my next cruise for myself and Eric. I did go a little crazy and brought two handbags, though I chose only one pair of shoes for two dresses. For my husband, he only needs one outfit (pants, jacket, shirt), but can make two different looks by changing his tie. Obviously, I would have had to be a lot more choosy if all this was to fit in my bigger carry-on. I'll let you in on a secret: suit jackets and shoes take up a LOT of room. When we cruised, I had to leave some things at home in order to fit my husband's suit jacket (and it is lightweight)...possibly, that's how I ended up forgetting socks. If only I had this bag!


Jacket and dress shirt are hung up, while I faced my dresses the
other way to even out the thickness of the clothing in the bag.
In one end compartment I packed Eric's dress shoes, his belt and
one of my evening bags.
In the second end compartment, I took out the toiletry bag and
packed my shoes, the other evening bag and my jewelry roll.
Once packed and rolled up, I could see how much room this would save me in my other carry-on to bring all our other cruise necessities, like shorts and bathing suits. What's also awesome is that the Skyroll is compact. You can stash it under the seat in the airplane and then in the cruise cabin closet. 


Check out the size of the Skyroll compared to both of my other under-seat carry-ons above (Eagle Creek Emerson bag which was reviewed earlier and my trusty Travelon roller bag with many pockets). The advantage the Skyroll has, besides the aforementioned wrinkle-free packing, is that it has a handle on the end that will help you drag it down the airplane aisle without hitting anyone in the head or arm or roll over their toes accidentally. In fact, I discussed this feature at length with my husband, who also declared it "spectacular!"




This led me to my second packing sequence: packing for weekend or week away. I took clothing that would work for cool to cold weather, including five tops, three pairs of pants and a pair of boots. (You could also bring my book if you want!) On the plane I would wear my walking shoes and coat.



Not needing to hang anything up, I distributed my clothing evenly inside the garment section, added under things, socks and a tank top and shorts for pajamas.


In one end compartment I rolled up my boots (they're packable!), added my jewelry roll, book and 3-1-1 bag. I also planned to use the included toiletry bag seen below.


Once you roll the bag up, it will be a bit fatter, but it will still be compact enough to carry-on and be less cumbersome than some other bags.  Here's what mine looked like both times I packed it. 


Check out this handy-dandy pocket on the outside, too, that you can put your boarding pass or other items you need easy access to. Another plus is the top handle and also the great padded shoulder strap that can be removed, if you have something against carrying things on your shoulder. 


In my opinion, the Skyroll garment bag is a must for business travelers and cruisers who are determined to pack light. It's also a fun second carry-on for couples who pack together like we do. I would even consider this bag fantastic as a main carry-on for the regular traveler who doesn't mind a smaller tote or large handbag where they can fit their on-board necessities (iPod, notebook, magazines, snacks, etc.). In fact, I could see myself traveling alone with this and my Emerson bag and having enough room for everything I need, and for anything I might want to buy while I'm there, as long as it isn't too bulky. I would even be able to easily lift this into the overhead on my own if I wanted to store it there during my flight. (It helps that you can't really overpack the Skyroll, making this a more achievable goal.)

I was told that a Marine was able to use this bag as a replacement for a duffle bag, so probably with some strategic planning you could get more than a week's worth of clothing in it. I'm a pretty good packer, but I would love to watch that guy work his magic. 


Don't you love it and want one, too? Need more convincing? Here are more things that can be said about the coolness of this bag, including specs and a special offer: 

What is the Skyroll made of? Extra-tough 1200 denier ballistic fabric
How big is it? Empty, it weighs 4 pounds and measures 22" long and 8.5" wide. Add 2-4" to width when packed. The garment bag measures 47" x 22".
Where can you buy it? You can purchase Skyroll from their website or at the following retailers: Men's Wearhouse, Moore's Clothing for Men and now Macy's.
How much is it? You might think the Skyroll is spendy at a retail price between $129.99 and $149.99, but with the durability of the structure and fabric, I believe it will last you many, many trips. It also comes with a limited lifetime guarantee. 
Other items by Skyroll: If you think the Skyroll shoulder bag is cool, you can also get the Skyroll on wheels that can hold even more or the Skyroll for motorcycles, for those who like to take road trips on their hog.

Get a $5 rebate on your Skyroll purchase if you post a photo of yourself with your new SkyRoll on their Facebook page. Like the page and click on PHOTOS to upload yours when you get it and test it out. Heck, I'm sure they would love it if you just went right now and liked their page, too.



Disclosure: I was provided with a Skyroll bag for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are 100% my own.
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