Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Victorinox Seefeld Convertible luggage – ultimately practical

From the first time I heard about the Victorinox Seefeld convertible, I knew I had to give it a try. Described as a Hybrid Duffel Garment Bag, it’s really the Swiss-army-knife of luggage.  Appropriate enough, especially given its lineage.

One of the beauties of a Swiss army knife is that you can be prepared for whatever life throws at you.  Sometimes you need a big blade, sometimes a smaller one, but at other times what you really need is a toothpick. In similar fashion, this bag is ready for whatever type trip you are taking.

I haven’t had the chance to use it as a garment bag yet, luckily not needing a suit on any of my recent travels. However, as a garment bag, this should function just fine. .The main section is capable of easily carrying multiple coats and slacks. The end pockets will readily hold toiletries, socks and underwear. Folding inward, the two end pockets clip together and with two folds, this bag looks similar to a conventional garment bag.

In its more utilitarian mode, the same garment type bag rolls up and becomes a hybrid duffel bag. Through Victorinox’s engineering wizardry, the zippers go around the two end pouches, creating a bag with additional storage inside and a secure zipper around the entire exterior. Self-healing YKK zippers are lockable for the main compartment, and use heavy duty pulls with padlock holes of adequate size. 

On a recent 7 day Caribbean adventure, I was able to pack 3 slacks and four shirts for myself as well as three pants and four blouses for my wife in the roll-up garment section. Okay, okay…I know, less is more, but the cavernous interior of this bag kept saying “Cmon, I can take a few more shirts, why leave them home?” For a two-day journey down to Barbados, the clothes came through in very nice shape. 

A cinch cord is provided to keep your hangers in place and a top zipper provides quick access when you arrive at your destination. A compression strap will keep the clothes from shifting and a pair of foam bolsters help prevent creasing. Despite its size, ideally, you wouldn’t stuff the garment section near as full as I did.

Once the garment section was loaded, the zipper was closed about three-quarters of the way, and the interior of the duffle bag became apparent. In this space, I was able to add four pair of shoes/sandals as well as some of my electronics and camera chargers. The end pockets held socks and underwear on one end and toiletries and sunscreen on the other.  Unfortunately, the side pockets aren’t quite large enough to engulf a pair of shoes, but they come close.

Traveling on a couple regional jets, I knew I wanted a carry-on that could handle our clothes, yet still fit in that miniscule excuse for an overhead compartment. Being as flexible as this was, it molded itself easily into the overhead without as much as a whimper. 

The removable shoulder strap was generously padded and I appreciated that as I carried the bag quite some distance to Cleveland Hopkins most distant departing gate. Being overstuffed with clothes, the side of the bag molded itself to my side and was a pleasure to carry. 

Back at home, the bag was ready to do normal home duty as a gym bag.  Not needing to use the garment section for hanging clothes, it can just be left zipped closed with nothing inside. That creates additional space in the interior of what now is a standard duffle bag. The interior actually measures roughly 10x10x22 which would easily hold a couple basketballs or soccer balls. 

Available in either maroon or black, with black strapping, this is one sexy-looking, supremely versatile piece of luggage. Made of extremely durable 600D polyester main body material, this is a bag you will enjoy for a long, long time.

Check it out online at the Victorinox website. The Victorinox SKU # is 30314503 Maroon or 30314501Black.  Clevelanders, you can look for the bag locally at Macy’s or Dillard’s.

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