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New From the Office of Improved Luggage

August 07, 1994|JUDI DASH

Frequent business travelers have learned that organization often is the key to job efficiency. That goes for traveling gear too.

Although a garment bag is great for keeping business attire wrinkle-free, most are not designed to effectively accommodate all the other clothes and accouterments needed on a trip.

Happily, Samsonite's Ultravalet Garment Bag does double duty as a suit holder and regular piece of luggage. Unzipped, the bag opens like a book. Hanging items go on one side, while, on the other, four zippered see-through mesh pockets of varying sizes are designed to hold folded shirts, sweaters, underwear, ties and belts. Corner pockets above the hanging compartment are provided for shoes and accessories, such as a hair blower or toiletries kit, while a fold-down panel with elastic straps at the bottom of the hanger side of the bag keeps longer clothes from wrinkling. The panel also has a zippered plastic "wet pack" compartment for keeping damp or soiled items separate from dry ones. The tops of both sides of the bag have hooks, so the open bag can be hung in a closet or on a door, with all the contents easily accessible. As a bonus, the hanger fixture (which holds any hanger), telescopes so you can take out one garment without removing others.

Because of all the pockets, this bag is slightly larger and heavier than many other garment bags, but the efficient use of space is worth the extra size, and I had no trouble getting the bag in most overhead plane compartments.

Samsonite Ultravalet Garment Bag lists for $200, but is available for less at discount luggage stores.

*

Lands' End, a distributor of upscale leisure wear and rugged luggage, has come up with the snazziest-looking attache case I've seen. Made of soft cowhide and reminiscent of a Pony Express bag, the caramel-colored bag is all business inside with two large compartments separated by a rigid divider that has pockets for note pads, a large calculator, note pad computer, or slim cellular phone, pens and business cards. The front flap opens and closes via spring-action snaps or adjustable straps with brass buckles. There's a padded handle as well as a detachable carrying strap with a padded shoulder guard.

While testing this attache on a trip, several people stopped me to ask where I'd gotten it--it's that gorgeous. The leather makes it heavier than the nylon carrying bags I'm used to, but I like the classiness of the bag. There's loads of room inside for business papers.

Nubuck Attache (Item No. 2689-2230) is $149 from Lands' End; (800) 356-4444.

I get some of my best business ideas while driving--often on long-distance hauls. But if I don't write my thoughts down immediately, however, they're frequently lost forever, but trying to maneuver a note pad on my lap while driving is unwieldy. Recently I found a car clipboard/note pad that attaches to the front window or dashboard via a suction cup with a lever release. The clipboard comes with a ballpoint pen attached to a coil chord, and there's a built-in light powered by one AA battery (not included).

Light-Up Car Clipboard/Note Pad, and Pen (No. 925190) is $5.98 from Lillian Vernon, a mail order company: (800) 285-5555.

Where's a stapler or scissors when you need one on the go? No problem. An ingenious 11-in-1 tool called the Multi Worker is like taking your desk drawer along on the trip. In addition to the above items, the diminutive container (four inches long and just five ounces) houses a refillable ballpoint pen, a knife-edge carton opener, a staple and tack remover, a pen holder, a tiny pull-out case for storing extra staples and paper clips and a ring for a belt hook. The whole shebang takes up little space in a brief case or purse, and mine has come in handy on numerous occasions all over the world.

Multi Worker (No. KT546) is $16.85 from Magellan's; (800) 962-4943.

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