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Old Nov 19, 13, 7:07 pm   #1
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Gate8 Trifold Garment Bag VERSION 2.0: Detailed Review

Hi, some time ago, I posted a very detailed and rather poorly arranged video review of the Gate8 version 1 bag. I was an early adopter of their bag, and despite some shortcomings, find their bag to be my invaluable go-to carry on bag that can carry a week's worth ofl clothes and electronics for my business needs.

Since then Alistair (the founder of Gate 8, I think) has been in touch with me and I've provided several inputs based on practical experience using it over many travels.

I recently received version 2.0 of the bag from them.

Full Disclosure: They gave this to me free of charge and requested I review it. Our agreement was that Alistair will not get to see a 'private version' of a review first and nor will he be able to request me to change anything, should I dislike something - Gate8 stood by these conditions.

So here is the review, for everyone here and for Gate8 as well at the same time.


PART I: OUTSIDE

(NB: Should any links to images break, you can see them all HERE)


Shipping and Unpacking
They are now shipping the bags directly from the US. Mine came from New Jersey and arrived within a day of my receiving a tracking number. Both great improvements over V1, where I paid a ridiculous amount to ship from the UK and then had tracking issues. Good job here.

The package arrived in good shape and nicely branded with their new "G" look



Taking out the bag, it reminds me that "Size matters". Well, Indeed.


External, side by side

Here is the V2 (left) vs V1 (right)



The new version has a more prominent branding and the zips are now yellow. The zips are HUGELY improved - no locking/getting stuck issues.
In case you think the new bag is a little bigger, I don't think it is - the new one leans forward a bit and the old one leans back a bit (more on this later, those in the know will probably guess why this is so...)

Now lets look at the depth of V2 (left) vs V1 (right)


You will notice that V2 is actually less deep than V1. The upper grips also have a leather like wrap on them compared to cloth in V1. Softer to the touch, obviously. Gate8 has also changed the type of nylon in V2. This is what Gate8 told me a few months ago when we exchanged notes:
Quote:
The outer material is now also a 1680D NYLON - lighter than the original 1680D Polyester.
I liked the new material as much as the old so no complains.

Now let's compare the front (V1 left, V2 right)


You'll notice that the new laptop bag is much bigger. It now accommodates a laptop upto 17 inches. Now I don't use 17 inches. I have a 13 inch, but the extra space is welcome because I now have more place to keep stuff on the side, which was not possible earlier. They've pulled this off without adding to the overall size. Nice.

Now lets compare the telescopic handles


The new telescopic handle is likely around 3-4 inches taller than the old one (I did not measure it exactly). But I walked around with it a bit and my heel did not hit the bag like V1. This is a great improvement for me. I'm 5-8. If you are taller than that, YMMV - I have no idea.

The new handle is built more solidly as well compared to V1.


Balance:
The old one had an incredibly irritating habit of leaning away from you - super irritating if you are in a train/escalator and let go off the bag and it leans away from you to the guy/gal in front. Well, V2 looks better balanced (NOTE: ITS EMPTY RIGHT NOW). V1 is at the back and V2 in the front in this image

But what happens when its all stuffed up? Patience, grasshopper.


Name Tag:
V2 also has a name tag which you can slide out.


Front pocket:
Here is the front of the V2. Sort of reminds me of the Iron man costume. Note however that they have reduced the capacity of the front pocket compared to the old one. It could still hold my toiletries and medicines, but I could make out the space is less here.


Bottom:
The V2 bottom (left in image) has a leather like padding that looks nice.


Wheels:
The V2 has a different wheel from V1. V1 was more rubber like, this one is more hard plastic like. Is it worse or better? I have no idea. Did not seem to rattle or shake - seemed solid - but time will tell - this is a road test issue that you can't figure out at home



Another side by side from the side(V2 left, V1 right)
You will notice that the zip that attaches the laptop to the main bag has now moved to the side instead of the bottom (as in V1). I think this may make it easier to zip the laptop bag back to the bag compared to V1, but I don't think its still a one hand zip back as you walk operation. I'll have to try it out when packed - if the relocation of the zip to the side makes the attaching/detaching process of the laptop bag any easier. I suspect it will be better than being at the bottom as it was in V1.



The laptop bag detached

They added a pouch presumably to keep your wires, now that it actually has space for them ;-) As I mentioned before, this new laptop bag is bigger and better

Last edited by arjunrc; Nov 26, 13 at 10:24 am
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Old Nov 19, 13, 7:07 pm   #2
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Detailed V2 Gate8 bag review: INSIDE

Inside the laptop bag

Same quilted padding as V1, but now it has a nice pouch inside it. I am guessing I can comfortably fit in my kindle or my (about to be) new iPad mini retina. Nice touch.

The inside front is the same as V1


As before, you can open the back pocket zip of the laptop bag so you can slide it over the handle to convert the one piece bag into a standard 2 piece bag.


Here is a look at the inside of V2 (front) and V1 (back)
Gate8 has stamped a gate8 logo all around the texture - makes it look a little more sophisticated (to me). They have also changed the color - the previous one was a neutral grey - this one seems to be of a different green-grey hue


A closer look at their logo stamping


They have also changed the garment chain that you can use to hang the bag up in the closet. The new
hook/chain is more solid (V2 is left, V1 right)


The inside is the same as V1, with the added gate8 stamp all over


The clothes garment clip is still plastic (same as V1), unfortunately


Packing it all in!
Well, but what about capacity?!?! Here we are


1 suit
2 trousers
2 t-shirts
2 shirts
undergarments for a week
my icebreaker 200 base layer
In the laptop bag: my 13 inch mbp, a leather notebook, my cocoon grid stuffed with gizmos. In the front pocket: my medicines, toiletries

And here is the Gate8 fully packed, with all of the above


But wait!!!!! Does it lean away when packed to the gills? This was a big irritant with V1 (irritant grew over time as you used it more).
Well what do you know! It stays nice an straight. I can finally sit or stand without holding my fully packed Gate8 and not have it tease the person in front of me.

Wowza! So the lean is completely solved and the bag is rock solid?
Not quite. Great improvement, but now there is another issue. More later - this will need a video.

Edit (Mar 2014) - I've noticed that when the bag is fully packed (really, fully packed), it topples very easily. When it stands up, it does not tilt, but its not really stable when fully packed - very easy to tap it and make it fall.

Last edited by arjunrc; Jun 7, 14 at 1:15 pm
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Old Nov 19, 13, 7:08 pm   #3
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Detailed V2 Gate8 bag review: Videos

And now some videos.

How I pack the Gate8 V2
Given that I've been asked very often how I pack stuff, here goes. Frankly, given its a garment bag, its pretty straightforward
Part I - Stuff I will pack

Part II - How I pack it


Laptop bag attach/detach
Here is how to attach/detach the laptop bag in V2


Lean/topple test
Does the Gate8 V2 lean forward when fully packed, and/or can I easily topple it over?

Does the Gate8 V2 lean forward when partially packed, and/or can I easily topple it over?

Last edited by arjunrc; Nov 21, 13 at 12:00 pm
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Old Nov 19, 13, 7:09 pm   #4
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Detailed Gate8 V2 review: Final comments

Summary:
A good bag got much better.

The Gate8 V2 is a fine upgrade over V1 and worth a buy if you like carrying on and are okay with the width of garment bags (wider than normal bags).

Pros over V1
========
*) Much better zips - they don't get stuck
*) Longer telescopic handle, better build quality
*) larger laptop bag, I can now stuff in my wires on the side, additional pouch inside for a kindle/ipad mini
*) Leather like padding at the bottom and on the handle compared to polyester before
*) Better overall branding outside and inside
*) More attention to details
*) Fixed the lean forward problem when standing up
*) Laptop attach/detach zip on the side instead of the bottom - makes it easier to put back on (relatively)
*) Much faster shipping, and reasonable total price ($200 I think, shipped to US) compared to V1 (I paid around $300, after shipping from the UK)

Cons compared to V1
==============
*) Smaller front pouch
*) Edit Mar 2014 While it stands straight up when fully packed compared to V1, it actually seems less stable. Its very easy to make it fall by tapping it (only when fully packed, with the laptop bag stuffed too, with a MBP 2011 and iPad and lots of gizmos)


Whats improved but not solved
===================
*) While V2 solves the lean forward problem, it is still easy to knock it over with a push. I really don't think they
can completely fix it because you have the laptop and gizmos at the front which will always be heavy. Its something
you need to be aware of and be careful of. For me, the biggest issue was the lean forward when left alone - and
that part is addressed.

Others things I'd like to see in V3
======================
*) water bottle compartment
*) metal garment clip inside

Last edited by arjunrc; Mar 23, 14 at 6:30 pm
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Old Nov 19, 13, 7:28 pm   #5
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Gate8 V2 detailed review: Road test feedback

(Reserved for comments after I take it on actual trips - not 'in home' tests) - this will be updated over time - not immediately, of course.

Updated Mar 2014: After taking it to 10+ trips to a variety of places:

a) The good stuff holds true - see review in first post
b) When fully packed, especially with the laptop bag stuffed with lots of gizmos and two devices (laptop+ ipad) its not stable. Falls over very easily
c) I'd prefer the telescopic handle to be more solidly built and a little longer
d) I don't like the fact that they have located the laptop zip off base on the side and facing down - its impossible to zip it without laying it down completely

Last edited by arjunrc; Mar 23, 14 at 6:33 pm
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Old Nov 20, 13, 2:39 am   #6
  
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Hi Arjunrc,

Many thanks again for taking the time to independently review Version 2.0

Await Video Feedback + Road Test results.

I hope you don't mind me commenting on some of the points/observations you have already raised?

The more prominent branding including the zips (now yellow).

The primary one is to raise awareness of the GATE8 Brand as the product is in use - this was a marketing/commercial decision.

However as part of this, I wanted to deliver a "value add" and have delivered the highly visible GATE8 Yellow zipper to aid visibility when in use in "dimly" lit aircraft cabin environments.

1) You are correct I have decided to spend the additional money (in production) and now ONLY use the more premium and lightweight 1680 D NYLON as oppose to the previous 1680 D Polyester. My customer and audience base expect premium products and this therefore was a decision that made sense.

2) Version 1.0 was not maximising the space available for a larger Laptop bag, therefore I have increased in Version 2.0 the capacity of this zip-off bag - I am glad you can see the benefits this delivers.

3) Bottom: The V2 bottom (has a leather like padding that looks nice. This acts like a protective "kick plate" when you Road Warriors wheel the bag up and down stairs/escalators etc as you Travel at pace through Airports etc.

4) The wheels. After lengthy consultation with the factory and speaking to industry experts, the new wheel sets on V2.0 are a better quality and have a longer life expectancy than V1.0 - although V1 wheels are still considered VERY high quality and we have not experienced any issues with this component. This decision is about micro levels of improvement as we learn.

5) The Balance - await your feedback on this during Road Testing, but your controlled testing in house appears to confirm our findings - this is MUCH improved (if not entirely fixed)

Thanks again!

I am happy to answer any questions - thanks Alistair (GATE8)

Any GATE8 purchase either from Amazon.com, www.gate8-luggage.co.uk (with local USA shipping rates) or our soon to launch gate8-luggage.com will be a version 2.0 product.
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Old Nov 20, 13, 12:04 pm   #7
  
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Hey fellow Flyertalkers:

I was one of the harsher critics when Alistair (the owner of Gate8) first showed up on the board. Fair is fair - I have to take it all back.

I've been communicating with them and credit where it's due - they have been amazingly responsive, actively listen to any point I've raised, and did so without a hint of defensiveness or hostility.

The new bag looks amazing. Gate8 is a small company, that really does want to create something that we in the Frequent Flyer community can actively use and abuse. I've been impressed as heck with their company and with their product.
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Old Nov 20, 13, 7:21 pm   #8
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Review all done. Good upgrade, Gate8 folks!
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Old Nov 21, 13, 9:54 am   #9
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arjunrc View Post
Review all done. Good upgrade, Gate8 folks!
Thanks to Arjun for providing his opinion. I think it shows we listen!

Speaking of listening, if anyone has any questions about the product, I try to monitor this board, or you can PM me, or email me at info@gate8-luggage.co.uk

Many thanks Alistair
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Old Nov 21, 13, 6:45 pm   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gate8 View Post
Speaking of listening, if anyone has any questions about the product, I try to monitor this board, or you can PM me, or email me at info@gate8-luggage.co.uk

Many thanks Alistair
Alistair, quick question: What was the reason that you chose to put the laptop base zip on the side instead of at the top? I thought the top would probably be the best place so one could re-attach it while standing up and looking down on the bag (which is typically what you would do at the airport)
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Old Nov 22, 13, 3:28 am   #11
  
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Question - where is the V 2.0 made?
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Old Nov 24, 13, 3:02 pm   #12
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arjunrc View Post
Alistair, quick question: What was the reason that you chose to put the laptop base zip on the side instead of at the top? I thought the top would probably be the best place so one could re-attach it while standing up and looking down on the bag (which is typically what you would do at the airport)
Hi ARJUNRC,

During the process of manufacturing version 2.0 we tried the zip in various locations (including the top) and where it now is (side) was the best location during user evaluation tetsing.

HOWEVR, If you feel after Road Testing, that the top would be worth considering, please do let me know and I will happily revisit this.

Thanks Alistair (GATE8)
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Old Nov 24, 13, 3:05 pm   #13
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N1120A View Post
Question - where is the V 2.0 made?
Hi there, Version 2.0 is made in China.

We are using a factory that manufactures for a number of other premium brands. We have made a number of visits to the factory and very happy with their sourcing, production and testing facilities.

Many thanks Alistair (GATE8)
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Old Nov 24, 13, 3:14 pm   #14
  
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I have received a number of PM's inquiring about where to purchase the GATE8 version 2.0 in the USA. There are a couple of options:

1) Amazom.com (USA local shipping applied)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003I15CW4

2) Via our UK website, with USA Local shipping rates applied

http://www.gate8-luggage.co.uk/wheel...t-carrier.html

Alternatively, you can PM for further info regarding purchase of product.

We are now only shipping Version 2.0

Thanks Alistair
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Old Nov 25, 13, 2:56 pm   #15
  
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I bought this bag last week - excellent 24 hour delivery from DPD (although I picked the 3-5 day option). Alastair answered my queries very quickly which was reassuring. I did a fair bit of research and I saw that gate8's social interaction was very advertising-focused, but I think they have vastly improved lately.

I managed to fit a full 5 days of clothing into the bag using wire hangers - admittedly though everything is quite creased - perhaps I need to review my packing method. This came to bang on 11kgs, so let's hope my bag is never weighed..

Without tightening any of the straps, this bag fitted into a LCC overhead very easily. I feel the attachment of the laptop bag can be quite difficult when the bag is filled. I'm being picky, but once the laptop bag is attached I wish there was somewhere for the shoulder strap to be tucked into.

An excellent bag, although as quite a tall person I feel the handle could be longer. The handle also feels a little bit unstable in my opinion, it has an awful lot of flex in all directions. A nice solid handle with minimum flex would be good.

Last edited by AlbaGuBrath; Nov 25, 13 at 3:02 pm
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