Travel tip: Packing a Hanging Garment Bag

EllenToday’s guest post is by Ellen Topp, an expert in communications who has worked with numerous companies from major corporations to start-ups. Ellen is currently Director of Communications, Student Affairs, at UC Berkeley. When she’s not working, Ellen spends her time traveling the world to find the tastiest food and the most beautiful sites, or lounging around the house with her husband Erik and cat Gretchen.

Years ago during my first trip with my husband, we were using the Parisian metro to travel from the airport to our hotel. This being Paris, I packed countless dresses, tops, jackets, shoes, bags and more. After lugging my copious amounts of luggage up and over yet another set of tracks trying to get out of the metro system, my husband, channeling Miss Piggy’s infamous “never eat more than you can lift” made me promise to never pack more than I can carry. This means we travel with two pieces of luggage each – a wheel aboard bag for each of us, a shoulder bag and a hanging bag – but I refuse to skimp on what I pack. I inevitably bring at least two to three cocktail dresses, three pairs of shoes, two to three purses, blazers, sweaters and more. The trick is choosing wisely and packing smartly. Through a series of posts, I’ll share my tips for packing.

First up – packing a hanging bag.

My trick is to collapse my hanging items. Three items I often pack are dresses, drapey tops and blazers. Instead of packing all three items separately, I layer them.

It’s important to start with the right kind of hangers. I choose an extremely slim hanger made of plastic that has rubberized coatings at the sides and across the bottom. This hanger takes up the least amount of room possible, reduces any chances of damage to the clothing and helps provide an anti-slip base. I bought these at Bed Bath and Beyond but similar ones are available elsewhere.

I begin by putting my dress on the bottom as it easily fits underneath the other items.

I then layer on the drapey top. It helps reduce wrinkling by having it nested between two other items and the other clothing provides another layer of friction to prevent it from slipping off.

I finish by adding the blazer on top. Not only is the blazer the sturdiest and does the best job of protecting everything else, but also having other items underneath it helps it keep its shape.

The result is a single hanger taking up no more room than the blazer does on its own.

I repeat this process with all items of clothing that I’m packing for my trip. You can easily bring a dozen articles of clothing on just four hangers. Below are some suggestions for layering other common travel outfits:

  • Suit pants, button down, suit jacket
  • Slacks, shirt, sweater
  • Skirt, camisole, jacket

Now you can’t call this packing “light” as it does weigh quite a bit, but it takes up very little room, and that makes it easier to maneuver up flights of stairs and down narrow streets.

Do you have any tips for packing a hanging bag?

One thought on “Travel tip: Packing a Hanging Garment Bag

  1. Bonnie Dewkett

    I love it! Awesome tips! I often travel with just a garment bag when I’m just doing a presentation and coming home. Mine has lots of little compartments, so I need to be careful NOT to over load it.


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