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Gear Review: Lat56 Red-Eye

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a Scottish company called Lat 56 wondering if I’d be interested in doing a review of their unique garment bag. They had seen a review Brad did on the Skyroll a few years ago and wanted to let us know that they felt their bag was better.

So, I took a look at their website, was intrigued with the design, and saw that the bag was now available in the United States.

We agreed that the Red-Eye would be the best model to test and one would be supplied for review. It arrived in a few days with all U.S. orders processed by Amazon Fulfillment.

Before we proceed, I have to let you know my camera battery died and a replacement is on back order. Luckily, the folks at Lat56 have made some videos and that will make my review easier to do. Watch the first video and then come back and we’ll talk about it. (Don’t worry, I won’t be testing you on it.)

Let’s talk about the specs. The bag is made of military grade EVA foam and has sort of a rubbery, plastic feel. A friend who saw it thinks it looks like some crocodile gave its life for the bag. (None did). Think of this as somewhere between a nylon/polyester fabric and a hardshell case. There is some give to the material but not as much as true soft-sided bags. There is one grab handle on top, two “D” rings to attach a shoulder strap (included) and a sleeve on the back should you want to slide it down the handles of a rolling bag. There are no external pockets. Zippers are YKK and lockable.

The bag weighs  3.3 lbs empty and 4.5 lbs with the suit carrier (more on that later.)

Inside, the bag is separated into two compartments with a thick zippered fabric divider. This divider has thin narrow pockets on both sides of the center zipper opening.. On one side of the divider the pocket runs the entire length. On the other side, it’s split into three pockets. These are the only inside pockets.

On one side of the bag is a compartment to pack shoes, shirts, undies, toiletries, etc. It measures about 22 x 10 x 5.5 inches. Most packing folders will not fit.

The other side is meant specifically for the Torso Protection System,, the unique suit packing system specifically designed for this bag. (Click on the link to see a full explanation and then watch the video below to see it in action):


The suit carrier is easy to use, has instructions printed right on it, and can be used in other bags besides the Red-Eye. No additional hangers are needed as the SPS hanger has a soft hook allowing it to be hung in just about any closet.

The Red-Eye comes with a TSA approved combination lock and a special I-Trak system. Each bag has a unique number. Should you lose the bag, anyone finding it can contact I-Trak either via email or a UK based phone number to report it. I-Trak will then help to reunite you and the bag. This is a subscription service with the first year included with the purchase of the bag. There is also a lifetime guarantee covering repair and replacement should the bag get damaged.

The Red-Eye is advertised for the business traveler on a 1-2 night business trip where a suit is needed.

I don’t do many of those these days but I gave the bag a test run. I took a suit,  two dress shirts, two ties,  a pair of shoes, two set of underwear and socks, a toiletry kit, and sleep wear. (You’ll notice no electronics. No room. ) Total weight, 16 lbs.

The suit, pants and shirts came out wrinkle free. The bag does what it’s intended to do and let’s face it, it looks pretty cool—although someone did ask if I had a musical instrument in there.


However, there are some downsides:

-there are no outside pockets so you either have to open the Red-Eye to get to your 3-1-1 bag at airport security or, more than likely, you’re going to have another bag with your office stuff and electronics. You could carry the 3-1-1 in that.

—only one grab handle. Not easy to get it out of a crowded overhead.

—it has limited use. This is really only for someone who must carry either  a second suit or doesn’t want to wear one while traveling. Even if you leave out the SPS, I don’t recommend this bag for the leisure traveler.

—it is expensive. It’s $295 including shipping and handling within the U.S. But then I compared it to Tumi and Briggs & Riley garment bags and it’s pretty much on target in terms of weight and price.

I know, you’re wondering, do I like it or not. The answer is….yes and no. It does what it’s supposed to do but it has such limited uses.

Let me give you another option. The company sells the Suit Packing System by itself. For the true one-bagger, why not just buy that ($135), and use it in your current bag? Here’s a video on how to do just that:

In conclusion, if you’re someone who has to carry a lot of electronics or other “stuff” for work and may use a wheeled laptop tote but needs a separate garment bag, then the Red-Eye might be something to consider. Let’s face it, you walk into a business meeting with this bag and no one is going to think your underwear is inside. 

If you’re a true one-bagger who needs to travel with a suit, just get the Suit Packing System and use your own bag.

The Lat56 Red-Eye is now available for purchase in the U.S. direct from the company’s website. It is available from numerous retailers in the UK. For the rest of the world, contact the company.






Reader Comments (9)

VERY interesting, though the price for the folder alone...

<<The company sells the Suit Packing System by itself. For the true one-bagger, why not just buy that ($195), and use it in your current bag?>>

...when I checked the site seemed to be less, $135, though that is still not cheap. That's $100 more than the Eagle Creek Pack-It Garment Sleeve an item I have almost purchased a couple of times:


but have eschewed in favor of simply folding my sportscoat or suit jacket over the short end of a loaded 18-inch EC shirt folder. Of course, if Eagle Creek comes out with a version of the Garment Sleeve in their much lighter "Specter" material, I might take another look at one.
April 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlan B
Thanks for catching the price error...I changed it to $135.
April 30, 2012 | Registered CommenterFrank@OBOW
So, why can't I just use a regular hanger, a suit bag that came with the suit and some type of board stuck or glued in the bottom of the suit bag. Seems like it would work just as well and save a bunch of money.
April 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFrank T.
Frank T...it's not actually the bag and board that is the big issue with creases, but the hanger. The hanger for the Lat56 bag is designed to keep the shoulders of the suit in a specific position to prevent the suit from flattening out and causing wrinkles.

If you look back, I did a posting about how to roll a suit without wrinkles. You'll see that placing a towel in the shoulder area of the suit is key to keeping it looking good. This is done for you by the Lat56 hanger. It also prevents slippage and can go easily from bag to closet.

The bag itself is of better material than most of the bags given when you purchase a suit.

The hanger is also the difference between the results of the Lat56 bag and the Eagle Creek folder.
April 30, 2012 | Registered CommenterFrank@OBOW
Good review.

What are the dimensions of the Suit Packing System by itself?
May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDanH
Empty it's about 19 x 8. With a suit it will go out to about 20/21. I left out the thickness because that will depend on what you pack in it.
May 2, 2012 | Registered CommenterFrank@OBOW
I purchased the Red Eye for my husband. He likes it for quick trips. I did buy him an extra roller and the toiletries case. He uses 2 rollers for his suits inside a suitcase for longer trips. He loves the toiletry bag. However, I have had a HORRible experience with customer service in trying to return a briefcase that I bought for his birthday this year. They post NO way to contact them other than email and did not respond to 4 emails from me UNtil today when they tried to tell me that I had missed the time to return!! Good thing I had already filed a claim with American Express. I will not purchase from them again based on this experience. Buyer Beware!
March 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarlene Austen
Marlene, Lat56 contacted me to say that even though you did miss the return window, they did eventually agree to take the bag back.

If this is true, it's only fair that you include that information. Did they take the bag back?
March 14, 2014 | Registered CommenterFrank@OBOW
I too had a terrible experience with these guys. Ordered a bag which never arrived (they claimed it was a production delay). Months passed. When I tried to cancel and get a refund, I got a total run-around. They wanted me to return the freebie computer “case” they sent me (essentially, a neoprene sleeve). That took weeks to coordinate with them, but finally got done. 6 months later, I’m still chasing them for my $$$... and my CC company says it’s outside the window for refunds. My advice: STAY AWAY! These guys are terrible businesspeople at best, and arguably scam artists. You’ve been warned...
February 4, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEthan

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