Introducing: The Suit-Carrier Holdall

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Thursday, November 9th 2017
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Although many of our collaborations have taken a while, this has been the hardest and most time-consuming ever.

Perhaps because it is so different, and functionality so important.

It is a bag and garment carrier in one - and it is called the Suit-Carrier Holdall (or SC Holdall for short).

A suit carrier wraps around a central, cylindrical bag, attaching to it with magnets and straps.

Because both are made from canvas, and have minimal structure, they can be carried as one bag without being too heavy.

But they can also be carried and used separately, particularly at a destination - when you no longer need the suit carrier, for example.

It was developed with the wonderful people at Bennett Winch, is made in the UK, and is available to buy now on their site (in either black or olive).

Hard, tight folds are what cause creases in tailoring. It’s why folding a jacket around something, such as shirts or knitwear, is a good idea when packing a suitcase.

But even better is not folding the jacket or suit at all - and as with the SC Holdall, wrapping it around the case instead.

A few brands, including Vitale Barberis Canonico at one stage, have sold garment carriers with a similar idea.

They generally roll up into a cylinder, leaving a space in the middle for shoes and clothes.

Unfortunately this means the inside has no structure, making it soft and unable to hold much weight. The internal contents also flop out when you unzip everything.

I came to the guys at Bennett Winch with the idea of making something similar, but with more structure and in their waterproof canvas.

That’s where we started.

But over the next 18 months - and more than a dozen iterations - they changed, improved and refined the idea into something a lot more original and versatile.

We looked at a simple, rolled-up suit carrier, but found it hard to give real room and structure to the contents inside.

That design also requires two odd circles of material attached at either end, which mean the carrier can’t be hung up or otherwise used.

Much better, it was decided, to have a separate, internal bag, and wrap the suit carrier around it.

The problem then is weight. How do you make two bags that are not much heavier than one?

Bennett Winch stripped back their normal bag structure to achieve this - the central bag is simpler and softer than their normal Commuter model, for example.

But when the two bags are together, the multiple layers of canvas mean that not much structure is actually needed. The only bits that have to be firm are the two ends of the bag.

(Those ends, again unlike other designs, are also teardrop-shaped rather than round, which means the bag sits upright and doesn’t roll over. A nice touch.)

We also realised it was important to make the bag(s) simple to use.

If the means of joining them together was too complicated, I can see people not bothering when they’re in a hurry.

Magnets were therefore used on the bottom of the central bag, rather than poppers.

And on the top, the straps that slide through and fasten back on themselves were refined several times to make them easier to use.

Helpfully, Bennett Winch have also shot a video where you can see the whole process, below.

Everyone in the team has been trying the holdall over the past few months, with great success. (Ru, pictured with me trying the bags here, is the brand's designer.)

Jackets don’t crease; the fastenings all work well; and the weight is no more than most other weekenders.

It’s such a lovely sense of accomplishment to make something so functional.

And I can hardly take any of the credit - rather like an interested consumer, I have merely said at every stage what I would like and what I would use.

The Bennett Winch team have done everything else.

Manufacturing points on the Holdall:

  • It is made in the Bennett Winch 24oz cotton canvas, which as I have written previously, has a lovely handle and is waterproof (being actually two layers of canvas bonded together).
  • The leather sections, such as the panels on the bottom of the bag, are all veg-tanned full-grain leather.
  • The hardware is solid brass.
  • It is made in the UK.

Functional points:

  • The suit carrier comes with its own slimline, wooden hanger but can take any regular, flat hanger.
  • It is designed to accommodate one jacket and one pair of trousers.
  • The suit carrier has one, zipped external pocket. The holdall has no internal or external pockets. 
  • It also comes with a shoulder strap, and a removable waterproof section that fastens inside the central bag.

The Suit-Carrier Holdall is available to buy now on the Bennett Winch website - not the Permanent Style shop.

(This is what I tend to prefer with items I am not buying and stocking myself, such as my colour of Baudoin & Lange Sagans.)

There will also be a few bags in the pop-up shop, which opens on November 15th. So you can see and try it out there.

Thanks everyone, I really hope you like it.

In the shoot I am deliberately wearing an outfit I might put on for travel, with a suit in the carrier, as well as a second pair of shoes. That outfit is:

  • Seraphin waterproof brown-suede bomber jacket
  • Anderson & Sheppard grey-flannel trousers
  • Edward Green unlined desert boots
  • Luca Avitabile button-down shirt
  • Anderson & Sheppard cream-cotton knitwear

Photography: Joshua K. Jackson

Joshua K. Jackson London Photography
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Hugh

Are A&S trousers bespoke or Haberdasherey?

Tim

Like a delectable cannoli!

Anonymous

So when you have the suit carrier wrapped around the bag, there is no protection on the “base” of it; how does that work when you put it on the ground?

Anonymous

Normally any case or bag, no matter its construction, will have feet or studs to stop it coming into direct contact with the ground. Yours doesn’t. So eg it can’t be put down on a damp surface.

y

nice holdall. how do you compare it with vocier c38? does it also get fiddly in the central section?

Y

Thanks. Do you know if this bag is heavy? Would it be hard for a woman to carry a full bag around?

Oskar

I got one for Christmas yesterday, and it is very much a beauty! But I find it to be fairly heavy, to be honest. Still, great idea and superb execution.

SmF

Have they done away with the shoe compartments in the process of slimming the bag down? Shame.

Do you have any pics of the inside of the bag? Surprisingly there aren’t any on the maker’s website.

Jeff from Chicago

Great looking bag and great function for travel. Forgive me if this information is in the write-up (I’m reading this over the 1st morning coffee so I’m not reading at full acuity)—does the bag fall within and meet carry-on specs?

Stephen

Hi Simon,

The specs shown on the Bennett Winch website are 55 by 36 by 45 cm. BA quote 56 by 45 by 25 for cabin baggage. EasyJet are similar. This seems to exceed that. May be worth a double check. Perhaps the BW website is wrong.

Regards,

Stephen

Bjorn

This is genius – can see this working particularly well for a weekend away when you may want to travel casually, but want a jacket and more formal trousers for the evenings. Very well done!

Noel

Hi Simon,

Interesting product.
I was actually planning to get the commuter bag in order to have a small, light holdall for short trips. Would you say that this holdall (without the suit carrier) is roughly the same size as the commuter one?
Would it be ok to use the holdall alone much more often than with the suit carrier, or will wear and tear damage the bag’s ability to link-up with the suit carrier?

cheers

Anonymous

Hi Simon, can it be carried in the airplane cabin?

Nate

Is there a way to buy the suit carrier separately?

Thanks

Daniel

The nominal dimensions are much bigger than the commuter (55 x 36 x 45 vs 49 x 26 x 28) and therefore it will not work as a hand baggage for majority of airlines.
Could you say if the bag is stiff or can be somehow compressed if it is checked during boarding?

Chancellor

I note that many North American airlines limit the height to more like 25 cm, so much less than even the corrected height of 32 cm. It may still fit with compression, and lax enforcement by airlines.

BW

I can’t recall seeing a post on this Seraphin jacket. Where can one get a similar one? Haven’t figured out where these jackets actually retail. Thanks

Ahmed

Do you mind sharing where you were able to get this particular bomber jacket?

Bob

I note the hook of the coat hanger doesnt come through the suit carrier. Was that for a reason? Is there a way to hang the suit carrier part of it in a wardrobe or on a door etc without trying to hook another coat hanger through the handle?

Bob

In which case I’m surprised that you duplicated the handles on the suit carrier part rather than have the holdall’s pass through it.

Bob

Well, technically you’d have the two slots to pass the bags handles through which could effectively be used as handles or you’ve the hook of the coathanger. Though I wonder how many will carry the suitcarrier as a bag on its own.

Rik

Very nice, Simon. What’s the blue coat and brown suede shoes in the other pictures?

Chancellor

Hi Simon,

A create-proof traveling bag is something of which I am much in need!

You write that it can hold one suit. Is it possible to fit two suits in it? Or is there just no room for that?

Thanks!

Joseph

No, indeed. The shoulders would suffer, among other things.

But as a possible leeway, would 2 trousers – 1 spare for the suit – fit there? (Pretty difficult to imagine a situation where both of a suit’s matching trousers need to be brought along, but you never know.)

Anyway, congratulations to Simon and the Bennett Winch team. This is a truly creative solution to luggage dilemmas.

Joseph

I see, the carrier’s probable roomy enough for just a trouser + jacket pair to remain neat. Remembering your post on wearing heavier cloths, this is probably an amusing measure of the quality of one’s suits: if two pairs of a man’s trousers can fit in without wrinkling then the materials are much too fine.

Sorry if I’m asking these questions despite not being in a position myself to get the bag. Hoping others pick up on this exchange for proper ways to use it.

Ravi

Simon, Joseph,

I contacted Bennett Winch directly and they said that two jackets could fit into the suit carrier. Have either of you found this also to be the case after a few years of using the bag? If not, would there be material disadvantages to putting two jackets in the bag, versus packing one jacket in a checked in suitcase, for example?

I ask because only being able to carry one suit or one jacket seems quite a waste for a bag that’s intended for travelling (personally, I’d travel with one suit and one sports jacket to cover all bases).

Many thanks in advance!

Kidster

Absolutely genus! Well done all!

Stephen Dolman

I have been looking for something like this for years.
Is it comfortably big enough to take a suit on a decent hanger without creasing?
How about cost?
Regards
Stephen

Thomas

Very nice. When the suit carrier is used with the bag inside, it seems that it is the former’s handles that are used and not those of the inside bag. Is that right? Doesn’t that mean that the whole weight of whatever you have inside the bag (including heavy things like shoes or books) rests on the top of the suit when you carry it?

James

Very slick. I just ordered the olive.

Thank you very much!

MIWH

What a great idea. Hats off!

Anonymous

The design seems fine, the quality of maufacture high but at £650 it is more than a Tumi (the most expensive executive luggage brand – high overhead in marketing and R&D) high tech composite carry on. Cotton canvas, though rugged, is simple and cheap to manufacture. I applaud your developments and efforts to grow UK production but I figure, at a minimum, that the cost is £200 above where it should be. Some may be drawn to the unique aspect of low production numbers and useful design but it seems to offers little in the way of a luxury product nor does it offer very good value for money.

Rob

Simon you’ve outdone yourself yet again. Your ability to fill holes in the market with well considered, high quality and practical products is amazing. My only difficulty is choosing the colour. I thought the black was navy when I saw it on Instagram which made khaki an easy choice, but I’m no toying with black..

Christopher

What a perfect combination! Better than my actual combination ;-)) but actually a little bit above my limits for bags
By the way….the cap…is it the Bakery Cap from Lock & Co?

Anonymous

Hi Simon–

Do you plan to eventually release in other colors aside from black and olive?

Ben

This is a particularly handsome version of an old idea: a garment bag that wraps rather than folds. At university (quite some years ago) I used a “convertible duffle” by Golden Pacific. Other models I see at airports quite a bit include the “hybrid garment bag” by Code Alpha and the particularly ugly Skyroll Garment Bag.

In my experience, these bags are only marginally better at preventing wrinkles than the more common folded variety. The problem, even without the middle fold, is the lapels, which crease dramatically with the slightest bend in the carrier. Anything but heavy woolens have required a post-flight pressing regardless of bag style.

I’m also concerned that handle-to-bag connection on the suit carrier, a canvas-to-canvas connection made with just a box stitch, will suffer durability issues. While I like its minimalist look, I’ve had past issues with even leather-on-leather connections of this type and now favor full-length stitch connections like that on the zip-top Clegg briefcase that you’ve showcased in the past. The problem seems particularly acute in this case as this canvas-on-canvas connection is meant to take the full weight of the full suit carrier plus central bag combination and as BW is a relatively new company without a track record of durability. Perhaps offering buyers a lifetime repair warranty will ease some of these concerns.

Robin Winch

Hi Ben,

Thanks for your comments. While we have always dealt with any issues at all regarding repairs in the rare occasion something goes wrong, we now officially offer a lifetime warranty on all products. Please check our website for more detail. Very best, Robin

Peter B

Lovely work, Simon.
Do you know if there are any plans to make it in navy?

Anonymous

A bit of an unrelated question, I have noticed that over the course of the blog that you have used both Globe-Trotter and Rimowa suitcases. Are you planning to review both or do a comparison of the two? It would be very interesting to hear you takes on both brands and your opinion into what makes for a well crafted and durable suitcase.

Litigator

Brilliant – I have been looking for something like this since forever.

I assume the eponymous nod in the name “SC Holdall” is not unintentional? 😉

J

Love it, ordered – thank you!

The Baker Boy, Locke?

Matthias Su'uch

Looks like a great idea. I have one on the way…….

Anonymous

Simon, how do you store your bags when not using them? Do you put something inside to help them hold their shape?

Kevin

Dear Simon,

congratulations on this beautyfully made, and well designed Suit Carrier. Like a previous contributor said, you filled a gap, that was almost vacant, for all the gentlemen travelling out there. On a side note i want to express you my sympathy and my astonishement about the fact, that you somehow manage to keep your cool, after so many silly-nerdy-repetitive questions. I always thought you might sometimes, be a tad pedantic on some (very few) of your answers, but i now understand why it might have appeared so, by reading the 57th question about the carry-on luggage, or how many grams of pressure the handles will support at 10 000 feet, in a middle of barrel-roll.

David

Simon,
The visuals look like you have not put a suit in the carrier or if you have it’s wafer thin.
Would it handle your A&S cord and still look like this ?
Also, what would the bag typically hold without overfilling ? Wash kit, 1 pair of shoes, 1 sweater, 2 under wear, 2 socks , 2 shirts ?
It might be handy to post a video showing a complete packing exercise.
Regards, David

Winot

I have the VBC bag which you mention in the post and it works well (no creasing), but this looks better. Well done.

Stephen Dolman

Simon,
Will you have any samples to view in the pop up shop?
Stephen

Anonymous

This design is a close repeat of the Henty (formed in 2012) Wingman bag (known to commuting cyclists) and similar to Biaggi’s Hangeroo – though an older idea I think it only right that this be explained rather than framing the product as unique to your own development process. This, thankfully, is not a forum but valid arguments and points are aimed at giving feedback from the albeit small market place (I address a previous comment). Without a range of views, critical and uncritical, comments sections such as this become a useless, self confirming mirror. The limitations of the bag (no hard side, compression features, wheels, lead handles, expansion elements etc.) make it a no for me but I note that it has sold out…

Ed

Simon, I’m honestly very impressed by your concept.

However I also have to admit that Mr. Anonymous here has a point.

The charm of PS has always been the transparency of information, of which there is little to be found in the world of menswear blogs, and which you have striven so hard to provide. Readers place their trust in PS content, because they know Simon has done what he can to provide a fair and comprehensible review of whatever sartorial items are covered.

Which is why, the lack of critical assessment in this article (and the comment section here) worries me. The holdalls have certainly sold well, but so far no buyer has come back to provide reflection on their actual use experience. And the article itself focused more on the development journey of the piece, rather than Simon’s actual use experience and results.

IMO, it would be valuable to have a coverage piece on your actual use experience – for example, which trip did you use it on, how did the capacity suit your particular trip, what items did you pack, how the weight felt on your shoulder, and lastly but certainly not least, how did the suit fair after an extended transport to the destination.

Anonymous

I checked the market re. your price. In fact it sits fairly within comparitive offerings of high grade canvas holdalls. It is priced higher than single bags but with the inclusion of the garment carrier the uplift seems fair and offers greater flexibility, capacity and practicality than any other rival. So yes, it does offer value for money!

David

I want to see a video of this rig fully loaded before I make my mind up.
Most bags look great when they are empty – this is particularly true of suit carriers.

Rob

What is the largest size jacket this can hold? Most carriers arr too short meqning you have to fols the jacket up anyway.
Also, please make one that allows a shirt, jacket and trousers rolled together which will stop your shirt getting crushed by everything else in the holdall.
Thanks.

Matt B

I bought one for a weekend trip to Paris. I completely packed it brimming full, as I thought filling it would be better for keeping the suit un-creased. Of course, it was then massively heavy, and I yearned for something I could push or pull. So my question is, how full does the bag have to be to retain enough structure for the suit to remain uncreased?
The suit came out brilliantly by the way, but my neck and back not so much!

Rob

I’ve had one for quite a while now and I think this is the right description of the trade offs. I’ve found no need to pack it full to keep the suit in good shape. My summary would be:

1. The bag is great for looking after suits (probably priority number 1 for PS readers?)
2. The quality of the bag is great and looks like it will last (no doubt the quality of the materials does add a little it the weight).
2. The bag is heavy when fully loaded, especially if you have a laptop etc packed but I find it fine on the shoulder strap. The challenge is if you want to take two suits/jackets (wear one and carry one), then you can’t use the shoulder strap and the bag is very heavy which is fine if you don’t have far to walk are taking taxis around etc. But back breaking and sweaty(!) if you have to walk miles.
3. If you fly business a small bag on wheels and the holdall is ideal for a week and you can carry the holdall on top of the wheely bag whilst walking! But I hate checking in luggage so might overweight this benefit vs others who prefer one big suitcase.

I’d conclude by saying it does what it’s made for very well and is perfect for a weekend away with a jacket, or a business trip with one suit/jacket. Like all luggage it can’t do everything and there are trade offs (weight, wheels, size, need to check in etc). If I could make one change, I’d like to be able to fit two jackets in the carrier. I assume you tried that in the design process and it didn’t work?

Hopefully this will be a helpful and balanced real world summary!

Robin Winch

Thank you for your feedback Rob, much appreciated.

We may look at an XL version to carry more than one suit in the future, but for now this design (and the materials we used) lent itself best to a 1 suit carry.

All the best and do stay in touch.

Gernot

After having used the suit carrier holdall for some weeks (on a daily basis, given I am on the road most of my time), I can say that its light, a great design, and best of all Bennett Winch have stellar service: when one button came off, Robin (Nennett) responded within less than a day and offered not only a repair, but a replacement suit carrier.

Robin Winch

Hi Gernot,

Thank you for taking the time to post. Very pleased you are enjoying using your SC Holdall and that you are happy with the service we provide.

All the best,

Robin

James

I’ve coveted the SC holdall since it was first released and finally took the plunge earlier this week as i’ve a couple of short trips coming up in the next month.

Build is beautiful, lovely quality and a great looking product.

I’ve not tested out the full functionality of the suit carrier element yet, which was where i was/am most sceptical as i wear a 44L jacket so worried it wouldn’t be able to comfortably accommodate jackets of my size but will give it a bit of a road test and see how it fares.

Robin Winch

Hi James,

Thank you for taking the time to come here and comment. Look forward to hearing how it performs on the road-trip!

All the best,

Robin

JAMES

One month on – 5 flights, 3 hotels, tubes, taxis and trains – I think it’s had a pretty reasonable roadtest.

Holdall come suit carrier the SC Holdall is just perfect and really fuses form and function. Delivery, presentation and build quality were all just great, and cement the ethos of buying great quality and designed products.

Really pleased with my buy and certain it’s a bag i’ll be using again and again for years to come.

Well done Simon and the Bennett Winch team.

Robin Winch

Great feedback James, thank you very much for taking the time to post. Happy travels with your SC Holdall sir! Robin

Adam

I’m curious how you feel about the new leather version now being offered. It looks much smarter and seems that the brown option would patrinate beautifully, but I worry about the added weight. Do you feel that the trade offs are worthwhile? Or does the weight and weatherproofing make the canvas more practical? I would love to compare them in person, but I don’t imagine that either option would be stocked in the US.

Robin Winch

Hi Adam,

Few things to mention here.

1. We only use leather to wrap the entire outter section of the suit carrier. The Holdall and other elements are the same as the all canvas version.

2. In terms of weather proofing, the canvas one has bonded (fully waterproof) canvas where leather now sits so both cause no issues with being weatherproof.

3. Because of the fact that bonded canvas has a rubber membraine in between two 12oz layers of canvas, it is actually not that dissimilar to leather in terms of weight. This is especially true when we split the leather down a little to reduce the weight (while staying plenty thick enough to be durable). For this reason the leather version of the SC Holdall is actually only 0.23kg heavier than the canvas version. The difference side by side is barely noticeable.

If you have any other questions do contact me directly on :

[email protected]

Best,

Robin Winch

Antonio

Hello Simon,

What are your thoughts on the Brunello Cucinelli suit bag? I know it’s far more costly than this bag, but I’ve wondered if it would be as effective and efficient as other suit bags.

Kind regards

Richard T

Very interested in this bag. It’s a great design idea, but I’m a little concerned that the pressure on the suit jacket caused by wrapping the suit carrier around the bag might result in crushing the shoulders or the roll of the lapels.

James

I’ve had the bag for c.6months now and just last week did over pack – 2xjackets plus a lil too much in the main bag – All unscathed from a 6+hr journey LDN to Lisbon once hung in a wardrobe and then later worn – so wouldn’t be too concerned. (i’m a 44in so my jackets fit ‘snugly’ into the carrier too – again no issue)

Richard T

Thanks, Simon. That’s helpful. One of the great strengths of PS is being to benefit from your experience and that of other readers.
I’ll pop into the B-W showroom when I’m back in London in the next week or two, to see if they have examples I can look at.

James

Hi Simon, sorry to dig up an old post – can I get the details on the darker brown (crepe soled?) chukkas/desert boots pictured above? Definitely not anything from Edward Green!

Carl

I really like this item and are thinking about buying one. But I am also considering he pros and cons of this bag compared to a carry on-bag with wheels (Rimowa cabin bag). When would you use the Holdall and when would you use a cabin bag?

Matt

It would be great to see a follow up on how the bag has held up after a few years travel.